Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of January 9, 2006

Staying Here

Stray moments of awakening enliven our days; we remember our inner work and rise into a more complete awareness of ourselves and our immediate situation. Nearly always, though, we evaporate within a matter of seconds, dissolving back into the stream of experience, living with little or no self-awareness. Why is that? Why is our real time so brief, when our path calls us to remain awake?

Energies matter. By not wasting ourselves on hurry, anxiety, overindulgences, anger, fear, distractions, and all the other myriad ways of misusing energies, we conserve our resources for inner work. The sensitive energy builds up naturally. We can also accelerate its accumulation by attending to being in our body and by the occasional practice of energy breathing. Paying attention to the silent background awareness, to the stillness beneath our thoughts, we open to the conscious energy. These two energies, the sensitive and the conscious, form the basis of presence, our inner home.

But the single most important factor in extending presence beyond a few seconds is will. If we have decided ahead of time that when moments of opportunity come to us we will make the effort to stay present, then we may stay here, in this body, in this place, in this time. Intention is the key. The continuously reiterated intention to be draws the necessary energies to us. This is the path toward stabilized presence, the doorway to love.

How to stay here? Given the requisite decision to stay present, we simply watch the flow of experience. We become the one who sees, the one who lives our life. Moment to moment, breath to breath, we stay. We stay with ourselves. We stay with our awareness. In walking, step to step. In eating, bite to bite. In speaking or listening, phrase to phrase. We stay in this immediate, elemental chunk of experience, and then in the next piece, and so on as the pieces naturally and seamlessly blend together within our growing presence.

The practice of staying here, established in presence, is akin to learning to ride a bicycle. We easily fall off to one side or the other, unless we pay continuous attention to staying in the center of balance. We pick ourselves up and begin again, and again. Gradually our stability grows and what seemed impossible becomes feasible.

For this week, work to stay here and now, a little more each day.


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