Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of March 13, 2006

Distracting Changes

Changes, large and small, inhere in the very structure of the universe and especially of life. Our body lives in time, which is nearly synonymous with change. But our hearts and minds can live in the changeless, the eternal. Usually though, the changes in time distract us from the eternal.

Major life changes, like a new or lost job, moving, a sudden illness, a birth or death in the family, or the start or end of a significant relationship, capture our minds and hearts. Lesser changes, like acquiring some new thing, dramatic weather, some outrage in the news, a threat to our status quo, an insult, a failure or a success, also take us. Our minds go into the high gear of autopilot, perseverating around and around the new situation, repeatedly mulling it over from every angle. In these roiling waters of time, our inner peace evaporates and along with it the quality of our inner work.

Presence derives from the timeless. Everything that happens passes through this gate, this one, always-present moment. Presence can be the container, the context of our life and all that goes on in our time. When changes pin us to the surface of life, to the events in time, we lose our anchor in the timeless.

Toward the events of life, we respond and adapt, feel their impact, and consider the past, the present, and how to create a better future. All of that is our sacred responsibility. But we also have another responsibility, a deeper opportunity, to hold the events and things of time within the timeless vessel of conscious presence.

In practical terms: when we notice our thoughts and feelings attaching around some situation, we find time to rebalance and reconnect with the timeless through our inner work. Perhaps this requires more or longer meditation than usual, a redoubling of our efforts to sense our body, a more intense use of counting our inner work through the day, a greater focus on setting immediate challenges of presence, or a return to heartfelt prayer.

For this week, when you notice your mind and heart captured by changes in time, thrashing on the surface of life, work to return to your roots in the timeless, while continuing to respond appropriately in time.


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