Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of May 1, 2006


Running Commentary

Our minds produce a nearly continuous stream of commentary on anything and everything in our life. It sounds as if we have a miniature news reporter in our head, continually speaking as us, about us, about our situation, about other people, and about everything around us. Every event and every plan, big or small, loom large to this commentator, this inner voice that seems convinced that it actually exists in some real way beyond the comments themselves.

This running commentary profoundly affects our life. It distracts us from direct and open perception of the world, diminishing our alertness and clouding awareness. The attitudes and opinions exhibited in our play-by-play and color commentary take on a self-reinforcing life of their own, driving our emotional reactions and enmeshing us in futile inner rejections of situations we cannot change. Life shrinks to a circle revolving around our running commentary, effectively blocking us from reality, from simple being, and from peace, joy, and love.

Our inner commentary cannot be stopped. Though it may subside for a time, it always reemerges. Thus our practice is not to try to stop it, but rather to not identify with it, not to take it as who we are, or even as representative of who we are. That intention to be free of identifying with our running commentary confronts the difficulty that our thoughts seem so close to who we are. The commentary is so intimate, so secret, that it seems to be the real me.

For this week, work persistently to notice your running commentary and to see it as just thoughts, not as defining or embodying who you are.


     

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