Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of: May 27, 2002


            The exercise of weight training requires weights. We do not consider the weights to be our enemy, to be harmful, avoided or ignored. The weights serve to strengthen us. Without the weights to work against, we would neither grow nor benefit from the exercise.

            Similarly, in spiritual exercise our inner resistance serves as the weight to work against. Luckily, we have at our disposal a treasure trove of resistance: physical habits and appetites, mental propensities to daydream, doubt, and worry, our emotional reactivity of anger, fear, greed, and so on, our lack of higher energies, our spiritual lethargy and procrastination, and the 800-pound gorilla in the corner — our self-centered attitude. All of this, the whole catastrophe, our whole personality, provides a rich and boundless field for our spiritual practice. We have much work to do and no lack of resistance to work against.

The universal principle of resistance manifests in the material world as entropy, the tendency toward disorder. In the inner world, we experience entropy as the strong current toward lower potential, toward the more automatic, indulgent, and constrained modes of living. By swimming against this inner current, we gain strength of soul, wisdom, and compassion.

For this week, notice your inner resistance to practice. Notice your attitude toward your resistance, toward yourself. Do you add another layer of resistance by rejecting or indulging the unpleasantness you find in yourself? Or do you take this inner resistance as a challenge, as an opportunity to practice?

Any active inner effort, such as sensing the energy body, conscious movement, conscious breathing, or the practice of presence, soon reveals our inner resistance opposing the effort. Between these two rails of active effort and inner resistance, we find the path.



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