Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

 

Inner Work


For the week of: January 21, 2002


Selfing

Imagine a large rock falling. As it falls through the air, the rock has minimal effect. The air, being a gas, presents little resistance. If the rock falls onto water, however, the water splashes and churns. Denser than air, with a correspondingly greater resistance to the motion of the rock, the water reacts more than the air did. If the rock were to fall onto something solid, like a man-made structure or a living being, great damage might be done. The solid object puts up strong resistance to the rock’s motion, which transforms into the destructive energy of the impact.

In a similar fashion, we can put up more or less resistance to the events of our lives. Take the traffic jam. If we are totally identified with getting some place quickly, traffic can send us into desperate paroxysms of fury: honking, screaming, making obscene gestures, and breaking traffic laws. If we are simply daydreaming, operating on autopilot, the traffic jam may just bring a mood of frustration. If we are in the sensitive state, aware of ourselves and our surroundings, we may only have a slight irritation with the traffic. If we are conscious, we are free within the traffic situation, courteous toward our fellow commuters, and we arrive at our destination ready to meet it with kindness and presence. And so it goes with many of life’s major and minor difficulties. The more solid our walls, the more damage we take en route.

The inward walls we erect, the inner resistance we put up, temporarily forms a self in us, an illusory and ephemeral something that we protect. In fact, the self is created by the protection, by the defenses. The self is the defense. In reality, however, there is nothing to defend.

Outwardly, of course, we may need to take vigorous action to defend ourselves or our families against attack, disease, etc. But here we refer to the many moments of inner defensiveness that create our ego, our ephemeral pseudo-self. Each instance of anger, hatred, greed, fear, jealousy, envy, self-pity, arrogance, laziness, worry, lust, vanity, and the like, is a moment of resistance to what is, a moment of creating a false persona to defend, a moment of selfing.

What to do? Begin with seeing all this in action. Seeing means consciousness, even if just a brief instant of it. The light of consciousness melts away our defenses and false self, which can only thrive in the unseeing darkness.

For this week, practice seeing selfing in action, seeing your inner resistance create your pseudo-self.


     

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