Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice



Inner Work

For the week of: February 18, 2002

Pushing the Envelope

Unless we find ways to extend our spiritual practice, we wander and inevitably languish within a box of limiting assumptions about our lack of possibilities. That box keeps us in the same familiar, inner territory indefinitely. At times, external events break us out of our spiritual plateau and open new realms of our inner life. Though we may respond wholeheartedly to such unexpected opportunities, we also need to create our own.

Certain measures define the envelope of our spiritual life: breadth, depth, frequency, duration, intensity, and adaptability. Each of these dimensions offers ways to push our spiritual envelope. In broadening our inner work, we shine a light into areas of our lives in which we rarely practice presence. We could, for example, move from awareness of bodily sensation to also practice awareness of thought and emotion. We can plumb the depths of meditation to seek what lies just beyond our reach. We can set ourselves to practice presence more frequently. When moments of awakening grace our day, we can open to our physical sensation, to the energy body, so as to increase the time we spend in the present moment and decrease the time lost in haphazard thought and emotional reactions. Whenever our inner world is alert, we can put more emphasis on strengthening our attention, further intensifying our awareness. We can adapt the practices we learn to our own abilities and needs. We can adapt ourselves to practice in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

In these and other ways, we can grow the envelope of our practice. It is work and requires effort. While spirituality ultimately depends on grace, honest, intelligent effort and dogged perseverance prepare the way. For this week, push the envelope of your spirituality.


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