Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of January 29, 2001

Revised March 5, 2008


Examine your goals, the ones that actually motivate your day-to-day activities and choices. These motivating goals may be different from what you typically regard as your true goals. But true goals are the ones we act on, the ones we hold dear enough to spend our precious time and effort. Do the goals that actually motivate your actions correspond to your deepest yearnings? Do they make good use of your talents and gifts? Are they your goals? Do you care about them? Do they arise from within you?

Examine your activities. Do any of them reflect your true goals? Why do you do what you do? Is there a purpose? Is your life leading to a place you really want to go? As long as our goals remain dreams without any action toward them, there can be no progress.

Sometimes we engage in activities without knowing why, only knowing that we must do them. These may be the result of cultural conditioning or they may arise from the depths of our heart. In the Taoist view, great works arise from non-doing, doing without a doer, doing without attachment to results, letting the Tao work through us. The same holds in the monotheistic paths, only substitute God for the Tao. The action of non-action characterizes this mode. It can happen that our highest goals enter us through non-action, through allowing an action to take place through us.

By creating goals, we create our future. Through purpose, goals act on us from the future. Once the goal is there, with purpose and commitment we can follow the line of time that leads to that goal. In following that line, in taking the inner and outer actions that lead there, and in relinquishing the actions that lead away, we strengthen our goal itself, enhancing its power to act on us, its power to form our purpose and thus to attract us toward it.

Thus our motivations matter dearly, because they shape our life. We can even say that we are our motivations. To know and understand ourselves, to make sense of our life, we must know our motivations, our true goals.

For this week, look at your goals, clearly and impartially, and serve your own future.


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