Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of December 18, 2006


Sending Good Will

One purpose, perhaps the primary purpose, of the spiritual path is to enable us to give more. Development of soul creates in us the inner capacity, sensitivity, and willingness to offer our good will to others, especially those in need. We all know of individuals and whole nations, near and far, who suffer from illness or debility, poverty or war, natural disasters and other misfortunes. In addition to personal, outward acts of compassion, inner actions can help. On this, all the major religions agree.

You can make such inner acts of compassion part of your normal daily meditation or prayer. Visualize the person or group of people toward whom you will direct your good will. You might, as in one Buddhist practice, begin with yourself and those closest to you and then move out to others. Simply and inwardly send your good will, your concern and prayers, your bright energy of heartfelt blessing to them. If it helps, use words of prayer or good wishes specific to their situation.

The essential thing is to send your very best, from the innermost recesses of your heart and soul, without holding back. It will be replenished, even immediately, as the energy passes from the spiritual depths, through you, to your intended recipients. Your willingness to give your best opens the gates of light from Above. Receiving the light of the sacred and giving it in turn, becomes one continuous action flowing through your soul. If God is benevolent will, then the practice of sending good will must align us with the Divine.

Such inner giving also has the happy side effect of fostering our personal transformation. We need not concern ourselves with whether it actually helps the people toward whom it is directed. Those results will take care of themselves. But we can see its effect on us. Sending good will softens our heart and loosens the grip of self-centered egoism on our soul. It trains us to understand that the world does not revolve solely around me. It prepares us to respond appropriately, compassionately, and wisely to people in need who come into our life. It teaches us how to open to a deeper level of energy and spirit.

While the barriers of our partially malformed personality, such as ill will, anger, schadenfreude, and self-centeredness do stand in the way, this intentional practice of good will strengthens a deeper part of us. Gradually it helps us connect with the sacred in ourselves and in other people, diminishing the importance of those inner barriers. It overflows our period of meditation or prayer and enters our ordinary life, enabling us at times spontaneously to adopt an attitude of greater acceptance and even warmth toward others, both those in need and those apparently not in need.

For this week, practice sending good will.


     

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