Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of January 5, 2009

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You, Being You

Our usual manner of not being our self misleads us. We spend a surprisingly large fraction of our life passively being carried through the day, just like we are carried through our dreams at night. In place of the active dream images of night-sleep, during our waking sleep we let our self-generating, pre-programmed thoughts, emotions, moods, impulses, opinions, attitudes, and reactions dictate our life. Even though we may seem to be active, our activity is driven by habitual patterns to which we passively assent. Those automatic patterns usurp our true place. We just go along for the ride ó or maybe not even that, with no one at home in our center.

Nevertheless, this situation, once seen for what it is, begs for our notice and action. To notice how the mask of our personality and the world view of our character create a cocoon of perceptual filters and auto-generated behaviors that causes us to sleepwalk our life away takes an unflinching self-honesty and a willingness to see. Too often my inner manifestations and my outer behaviors diverge from what I wish them to be. Why? Because of my half-aware passivity. We need more and finer energy to be more aware. We need more intention to be less passive.

Without seeing our true situation, however, the intention to transform ourselves remains weak. Fortunately, from time to time we catch a glimpse of our passivity, which is not to be confused with relaxation. A relaxed state is receptive, whereas a passive state is not. To be receptive we need a certain level of awareness. To be passive does not require awareness. Seeing truly comes from our efforts of presence, which have a byproduct of bringing more glimpses of the passivity that presence counteracts. Only as we emerge into presence can we see the passivity that enveloped us just a moment before. Together, the attraction of presence and the need to awaken from our sleepwalking invigorate our intention to practice, to pursue the spiritual path.

The action that can raise us up originates in our will, in our intention, our inner act of presencing, whereby we reclaim being the agent who chooses our acts, being the one who is aware, the one who lives and experiences and responds to our life. There is a sharp difference between being here at the center of our life on the one hand and on the other existing passively on the periphery, while the action carries itself forward, as if life were a prepackaged TV re-run. The opportunity to move into our center offers a chance for a major transformation and enhancement of our experience of living, an enlargement of the purpose and meaning of our life, a rising into real joy and even love. In some instances that move to our center just happens due to circumstances, but then quickly vanishes. For a lasting move into our center, we make the intentional and oft-repeated act of presencing, of I being I, of You being You.

We reach a major milestone when we practice presence so much that we feel when itís missing. A feeling of discomfort invades our passivity, the discomfort of missing our wholeness, and it awakens our longing to be. In our passive, semi-aware states, the memory of a better way of living jars, cajoles, and entices us back into the practice of presence, back to being our self, back to the fullness of life.

No presence means no I, no you. So for this week practice being you. Notice your passivity and transform it into presence. Inhabit the center of your experience.


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