Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of May 17, 2021


Creating Our Soul

Introduction

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Knowingly or not, those who follow a spiritual path, who engage in spiritual practice in a committed manner, are creating and purifying their soul. Even if it never reaches completion or purity, soul-building is a true lens through which to view the spiritual path, the other lens being service. The stages of the path are the stages of the soul.

To say that there is a great deal of confusion about the soul would be a gross understatement. There seems to be little we can know about it directly, for ourselves. Yet, given the fact of our inner life, scattered perhaps, but with intimations of depth, we do not reject the notion of soul outright. So that leaves us with trusting authorities, be it scriptures, religious leaders, scholars, or poets. Maybe the best we can do is adopt a trust-but-verify approach to the soul. We take what seems reasonable about it as a working hypothesis and follow it diligently, as long as we meet confirmatory milestones along the way. Without such direct, personal indicators, we are left to question either our own ability and dedication or the veracity and efficacy of the path we are following.

Some ways, most notably the Buddhist, reject the notion of an individual soul, while incorporating notions of reincarnation and past lives. Others tell us that we already have a fully-formed soul and that by living good and moral lives, as defined by that way, our soul will be in a permanent state of bliss after our body dies. Neither of those views lend themselves to direct verification, relying instead on belief.

Our path gives a somewhat more detailed representation of the soul, one that does make room for stepwise verification along the way. Like other paths, we view the soul as comprised of several levels. However, we consider the default state of our soul to be unformed, amorphous, tainted, incomplete, and requiring a great deal of inner work to attain completion. The three soul levels to which we aspire are as follows.

The lower soul we can call the second being-body[1] or simply the second body, named this way by considering our physical body as our first body. This foundational soul, also known as the astral body, is formed intentionally, primarily from the sensitive and conscious energies, blended.

The next part of the soul we can call the higher being-body[1], also formed intentionally, but primarily from the conscious and creative/light energies, blended.

The third part, our spirit, can be viewed as ready-made but not readily accessible to us unless we complete the other two parts and a process of purification. This highest part of the soul is our deepest identity. It is the ray of the Divine Will allotted to us around the time of our birth.

The great value of this picture of the soul, and the accompanying details and spiritual practices, is in bringing some clarity into the otherwise vague notions about it, a clarity that grows over time as our inner work deepens. We want to understand ourselves and our place in this world we inhabit. But when we look into ourselves for understanding, we all too easily become lost in our inner noise or sidetracked by the hot item of the moment. Having this map of the soul, as a working hypothesis, guides us along the way and gives us a chance of seeing more clearly, knowing where to look and what questions to ask.

After all, the difference between us and the saints is the state of our soul. Though rare, they were or are humans, just as we are. If soul completion and purification was possible for them, it is possible for us, in this very lifetime. Perhaps there will come a time for the human race, after some further stages of evolution, when an appreciable number of people attain full soul completion and purification within their lifetimes. Those who work at this now, hasten that day.

By entering the path of creating our soul, we also perform a great service with benefits flowing far beyond ourselves. The transformation of higher energies in ourselves serves the whole, because the energies in us are part of the energies of the whole. The purification of our will serves the whole, because in our roots we all share in the same will. The ability to transmit the sacred impulses of hope, faith, and love serves all. These abilities to transform higher energies and transmit sacred impulses depend on the state of our soul and are enormously enhanced as our inner work develops our soul.

In the coming weeks, we will delve into understanding the soul. We will look into the qualities and practices at each level of soul creation. It is not a linear process, but rather holistic. We need all three parts developing together.

    1. Sensation Body
    2. Living with Heart
    3. Purity
    4. Mind Presence
    5. Total Presence
    6. Blending Conscious + Sensitive Energies
    7. Entering Prayer
    8. Light for the Soul

For this week, please examine your own views of the soul, as well as the threefold view of second body, higher being-body, and will. What is the state of your soul?

See Also: Soul

[1] This name was given to this level of soul by G.I. Gurdjieff in his masterwork: Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson: All and Everything, First Series (Compass)


     

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