Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of: June 7, 2004

Ad Hoc Tasks

We can create opportunities for inner work during our ordinary activities by choosing to practice in particular situations and events as we enter them. For example, I am about to go into the grocery and suddenly remember that this offers me a chance to work. So I decide, on the spur of the moment, just before entering the store, that I will attempt to practice full awareness of my body through sensation during the entire period I am in the grocery. Then as I shop, I keep returning to my intention to practice and keep strengthening my contact with the sensitive energy in my body.

Similar possibilities abound in which we can choose discrete events, on an ad hoc, opportunistic, non-premeditated basis, to be venues for inner work: going to a party, a concert, a commute, a walk, a meeting, a meal, doing a household project, pumping gas, watching a TV program, performing minor tasks like taking out the garbage or washing dishes, and so on. The power of this method lies in the fact that the inner task is limited to one time interval, which becomes a field for our will, for our intention. Because we can envision the entire event ahead of time and because it has a clearly defined duration, we can fill the event with our intention to practice and bring stronger, more frequent effort to bear on our inner work than might otherwise be possible.

For this week, be prepared to respond to the unexpected impulse to pursue your inner work during a situation or event you are about to begin. When you recognize the opportunity, set yourself a particular form of inner work to practice during the event. As you go through it, stay in touch with your intention and actually practice for the duration of the event. If you lose your intention, then as soon as you remember return to working at sensation, conscious breathing, kindness, listening, opening to stillness, presence or whatever your chosen practice is.


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