Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the Weeks of June 20 & 27, 2022


Loving Presence

(Stable Presence: 5)

We cannot enter Heaven, the Sacred Void, with our personality, with our mind, body, or reactive emotions. We cannot enter the void as ourselves, with our name, our opinions, our positions, or our possessions, inner or outer. As long as we feel we are somebody, we are blocked. To enter the void, we must empty ourselves, even of ourselves.

Yet that is not as abstract as it may sound. Nor is it as fearful as it sounds, especially as we come to see that peace, joy, and freedom lie in that direction. What direction? We all know the difference between sound and silence, both inner and outer. In coming into the silence behind our thoughts, behind our emotions, behind our body sensations, behind our senses, we come toward the void. From the inner stillness, it is a relatively short step beyond our self, beyond the forms that surround us into the formless, beyond boundaries into the boundless, beyond separateness into love.

This is sacred presence, whose hallmark is non-separateness. And non-separateness is love. Where there is no inner barrier between us, there is the sameness, the oneness of love. This is the wonder of communal worship, group meditation, and other situations where a group is aligned and focused. First perhaps a shared intention, which deepens into a shared consciousness, which can deepen into a selfless, formless, common reality.

A very good place to practice this loving presence is in listening during a conversation. We begin with simply and actually paying attention to what the other person is saying. We notice and let go of all our inner reactions and responses, of our criticisms and rebuttals, approval and associations, and of planning what we will say. We just listen, quiet inside. We trust that we will know what to say when it becomes our turn to speak. As we listen, we keep letting go of everything that arises in us, even of being the one who is listening. We just listen, as if we were creating an inner space, an inner auditorium for the other person to speak into. We listen from the inner stillness, the welcoming receptivity of that inner space. We allow listening to happen in us, through us. At that point, there is no one listening, there is just the listening.

In this space of listening, the distinction between the speaker and the listener, between speaking and listening, evaporates. Both the speaker and listener are rooted in the stillness, the silence that envelopes them. One speaks, one listens. Behind that action, it is the same one.

That Real I is the same in all of us. Its instruments, our mind, body, and emotions, are different and unique to each of us. But in our innermost core, we are the same. The void is the void and we all touch that same void. We all live in the same silence. That sameness is the embodiment of love.

For this week, please practice loving presence.


     

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