Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of August 23, 2021


Direct Indicators: Conscious Energy

(The Spiritual Ecosystem: 2)

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Like the connections we have with other species in the physical ecosystem, the connection through inner energies in the air seems to be an external one, or perhaps it is on the borderline between the outside and the inside, the outer and the inner. There are, however, deeper interconnections within the spiritual ecosystem. These connections are of two classes: energies and will. Among the energies, we look first at the role of the conscious energy within the spiritual ecosystem.

What is conscious energy? Simply put it is the substance of consciousness. But what do we mean by consciousness? The term is usually taken as awareness in the sense of sensory perceptions: our five senses plus perceptions of our body, emotions, and thoughts. In contrast to that, we consider all of these as aspects of sensory awareness, fueled by the sensitive energy. Consciousness and the conscious energy, in this schema, are a very significant step deeper than sensory awareness.

The conscious energy enables the underlying awareness, the consciousness behind our inner and outer senses. Consciousness is a smooth and seamless cognitive field that is always with us, at least during our waking hours. Our sensory perceptions are displayed to us on the screen of consciousness. Even when there are few sensory inputs happening, for example with eyes closed, body relaxed, no sounds, and in between thoughts, consciousness is still here. However, we are not always in touch with consciousness. Our awareness tends to collapse into our most prominent sensory perceptions, leaving behind the wider context of consciousness. That consciousness is an inner, cognizant space of pure awareness, empty and silent in itself, but ready to show us whatever alights on it.

Significantly for our hope to understand a little more about the spiritual ecosystem, consciousness, the conscious energy has no boundaries. It is not that consciousness is in us. It is that we are in consciousness. Its seamless unboundedness gives consciousness its quality of wholeness. Its contextual emptiness gives consciousness the quality of peace.

All these characteristics become clear when consciousness emerges from the background of awareness to the foreground, when we open into that broad cognizance that is the context of every waking moment, when we notice consciousness as something in itself and not just the empty field of awareness. The classical and effective method for acquiring the taste of consciousness, for opening into it, is meditation. We can simply sit quietly and comfortably, relaxing into our body. Then staying with the sensations of breathing, or perhaps using an inner repetition or mantra, we allow our mental chatter to subside on its own. At that point, we can drop the staying with the breath or the inner repetition and simply rest in consciousness, wrapped in that peaceful, cognizant wholeness.

The more we practice this, the more we can recognize consciousness as consciousness and be in it during our day, even when we are not formally meditating. Even thoughts do not block us from being conscious. When we learn to notice and reside in the peaceful, cognizant field behind our thoughts and senses, we can be aware of both levels at the same time.

Now what does this have to do with the spiritual ecosystem? A great deal, actually. When we are in consciousness, its unbounded nature removes some of the inner barriers that keep us separate from other people, from the world around us. Our perceptions are less focused on the walls that divide us, less focused on the separateness of parts of our world, and more in tune with the wholeness of it all. We go beyond acknowledging our interdependence to living in the seamless whole. We realize that we all share the same consciousness. This moves us toward the spiritual aspects of the great ecosystem.

Consciousness is one energy among a hierarchy of spiritual energies. It is an energy that we humans produce in the ordinary course of our lives, even if it does remain in the background for many of us. It transcends time and space. It is a spiritual energy necessary for the health and evolution of the sacred reality we live in. If more of us were in touch with consciousness, humanity would be much more peaceful and wholesome, respectful, appreciative, and joyous. It would be a different world. This brings home to us the need and our opportunity to fill that need.

The planet needs more of the conscious energy. Through spiritual inner work, we can greatly enhance our personal production of conscious energy. Because that energy is not bounded by our skin, producing more of it not only benefits us personally, but also adds to the world's reservoir of consciousness. In that way, our inner work serves all life on this planet.

Noticing the unboundedness of consciousness in our own experience is a direct indicator of the working of the spiritual ecosystem. Other aspects of this can also be seen. If you have ever walked into a room full of people who are meditating, you may have felt a wave of peace embrace you. That is the conscious energy at work. If you have ever walked into a building where many people over a long period have engaged in spiritual practice, you may have felt a wave of peace embrace you. That is the conscious energy embedded in that place. If you ever taken in a grand view in nature, you may have felt a wave of peace embrace you. That is the conscious energy coming to the fore.

In all these ways and many more, the conscious energy underpins our spiritual reality. We need it and our world needs more of it. We can perform significant service by our inner work in producing more.

For this week, please strengthen your perception of the conscious energy.


     

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