Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of:   March 12, 2001


A surprisingly effective and important mode of daily spiritual practice consists of resolving to repeat an inner exercise a certain number of times during the day. For example, take the exercise of sensing each of our four limbs in turn. We begin by placing our attention in the right arm. Once sensation, the direct perception of the whole arm, becomes apparent and established, we move on to the right leg. Then we sense the left leg and finally the left arm. We set ourselves to repeat this exercise a particular number of times during the day: say ten. When we remember the exercise, we turn to it, increment our count, and then leave it until the next time we remember.

The determination to work at a specific inner exercise a definite number of times provides an extra impetus to our efforts for that day. That personal and clear commitment develops our will and enables us to remember our practice more often than we might otherwise. The repetition of the exercise gradually works to open our perceptions, collect our energies, and dispose us toward the path. The efficacy of setting this numerical commitment applies to the full range of spiritual practices from how many times a day you engage in prayer to how many consecutive breaths you maintain awareness of in meditation. As you proceed along the path, your own flair will guide you in bringing this powerful method to bear.


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