Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of: December 13, 2004

Not Accepting the Superficial Life

Our interior life consists almost entirely of a cacophony of mutually-reinforcing trivia: associative thoughts, reactive emotions, and petty desires, all bouncing off our sensory impressions of the external world. This is a most uncomfortable and ultimately meaningless way of living. Yet we are so accustomed to it that we passively accept it as the only life possible for us, forgetting the tastes we have had of another way of living. Or if we don’t accept it, we merely look to change our external circumstances instead of changing our inner world.

There is another way of living, a way not mired under thoughts, under emotional reactions, under desires for this and that. Those who pursue the path of spiritual inner work, seek this other way of living, perhaps because they see they are still immersed in the superficial. If my attention is constantly drawn into a self-perpetuating, alluring whisper of thoughts, or if I always lose myself in hot or cold reactive emotions or trivial desires and entertainments, then I am only half alive. The days of that life pass all too quickly, yielding nothing of real value.

But the more clearly I see this situation, the less likely I am to continue accepting it. And the degree to which I do not accept to live this life of inward banality is one measure of my commitment to spiritual inner work. The other measure is the quality of my openness to the higher worlds.

For this week, notice whether you accept to live in automatic mental associations, reactive emotions, and superficial desires. Notice this in actual practice, perhaps as you “come to” after a long train of thoughts or as you return to yourself after a bout of anger or fear. Notice whether you accept your inner thralldom, while discounting the possibility of inner freedom.



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