Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of June 12, 2006

Communicating Presence

A great part of our life involves communication. Many professions consist primarily of communicating: law, medicine, education, journalism, the arts, politics, management, marketing, sales, and knowledge work of all kinds. Family, social, and religious life all revolve around communication. Whether by speaking or listening, by writing or reading, by facial expression, tone of voice, gesture, posture or touch, every mode and venue of communication presents an opportunity for inner work, for presence, for kindness, quality and effectiveness, for aligning communication with intention.

Can we bring our inner work to the field of communication? Can we be fully present in the very act of communicating? Can we bring our intention into it, to say what we mean to say, and to mean what we do say? Can we see and repair our lack of appropriate consideration in our interactions, whether by commission or omission? Can we be firm or gentle as befits the circumstances? As we communicate, can our situational awareness be comprehensive, including both other people and our own inwardness?

The flip side of communicating presence reveals that by being present when we are with other people, we communicate the living fact of our presence itself. This form of inner communication happens directly and without external signs: the deeper the presence, the stronger the effect. Another personís presence helps us come into our own, and vice versa.

For this week choose one of the four primary modes of communication, during which to work at presence: speaking, listening, writing, or reading. These modes cut across many applications, e.g., writing can be with pen or with keyboard, emails or memos. Listening can be with iPod, cell phone, TV, radio, or in person. Whenever you engage in the chosen mode of communicating, also pay attention to your inner work. Begin with sensing your body as you communicate. As you are able, extend your practice in those moments to more complete presence, to awareness of the meaning and quality of the communication and how it is affecting all those involved.


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