Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of: July 19, 2004

Asking for Help

The very idea of spiritual independence and separateness is an illusion: unique, yes, but separate, no. And because we are not spiritually independent, we have both the opportunity and the need for help in our inner work. The lowest level of help comes from texts. The written word can be an enormous support in instructing us, developing our understanding, and even enlivening our heart. But we need to ask for this help by staying alert for books that appeal to our current, personal spiritual situation and by actually taking the time to read and digest the concepts.

The next level of help comes from other people, from our family, our fellow seekers and our teachers. Sometimes such help comes unbidden: by example or by unsolicited advice. Sometimes we find this help in communal spiritual practice, wherein the shared intention, energy, and openness bring all involved higher than each could go by their own efforts. If we are fortunate enough to come into contact with a genuine spiritual teacher, a selfless person of heart and understanding, the benefits can be incalculable. In all these cases we need to ask for help from others, whether by being open to the unbidden help, by participating in communal practice, or by presenting ourselves to be taught.

Another level of help flows to us from deep within. When our mind and heart settle down and stillness pervades our being, we may touch the ocean of peace and wisdom that forms and informs our very consciousness. For this we must ask by doing the lengthy, difficult, and subtle work of letting go of all that binds us, most notably our self-centeredness.

Our path cannot extend very far without help from the Higher Power. For this we ask through our heartfelt prayers and through our continuing efforts with spiritual practices. This level of help comes in unexpected and sometimes unrecognized ways, but is nevertheless crucial. Indeed, our real possibilities wax and wane in direct proportion to our need for connection with the Source of All.

Perhaps this week, we can genuinely ask for help.


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