Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of January 25, 2021


Appointments with Yourself

(Reclaiming Our Life: 3)

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The notion of making appointments with yourself sounds like scheduling some me-time for self-care or for one's favorite activities. While those may be enriching and even necessary, that is not exactly what we intend when making appointments with ourselves as part of our spiritual path. We make appointments to be ourselves.

One might raise an objection to this by asking: aren't I myself all the time? Who or what else would I be, if not myself? To see this directly takes a good deal of self-awareness, something which can be practiced systematically. Then we might notice, for example, a continuous stream of random, reactive, and associative thoughts running through our mind. So much so, that we believe that is our mind, we believe those thoughts are who we are or at least represent us directly and accurately. We believe there is little or no difference between this self-generated mental stream and us ourselves, or between our reactive emotions and us ourselves. This is a fundamental illusion that blocks us from truly and fully being ourselves, from being our I. So when we make an appointment with ourselves, it is to be, for a few moments at least, our true self, our I.

The question arises here: what does it mean to be ourselves? To be our self is simple, but far from obvious. An excellent way to start toward that is to be in contact with our body, to be in our body. This brings us much closer to being ourselves than our usual lifestyle of being carried far afield by our thoughts, emotions, and digital media. We are not our thoughts. We are not our emotions. We are not what we read or see or hear. We are not what we do, but we can be the one who does what we do. The practice of being in our body, of sensing our body, rebalances us between inner and outer, between now and the past, between now and the future, between reality and fantasy. We can further this by the practice of being in our body, in our mind, and in our heart, simultaneously and without getting carried off by the content of any of these.

There are innumerable ways to make an appointment with ourselves, some of which will be noted here. But from the outset we recognize that only by our personal creativity, exploration, and experimentation can we discover what works best for us and keep innovating as needed to keep it fresh.

To make an appointment to be ourselves, we set it up in the morning, at the start of our day. We take a moment then to stop our outer activity and imagine the appointment and how we will be at the appointed time or times.

The appointment can be for a particular time on the clock later in the day, or we could make several appointments for set times during the day.

Or the appointment could be triggered by a certain event, such seeing a particular person, walking through a particular door, or hearing a particular sound, or some other trigger that works for you.

In any case, what matters is that we keep the appointment, that we come into ourselves, into being ourselves, in body, in heart, and in mind, at the chosen moment or event.

If we miss the moment and realize that later, then as soon as we realize that we missed it, we take that realization as our cue to come into being ourselves right then, instead of falling prey to self-recriminations for the miss.

Our longer-term aim is not to need such appointments, but rather to be in ourselves, to be ourselves, at all times. But we begin where we must, we begin where we are and do what we can. So we set appointments with ourselves and keep them.

For this week, please make and keep appointments with yourself.

See Also: Presence Triggers


     

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