Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of February 16, 2009

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Sensing the Whole Body

(Part 5 of 9 in the Inner Work Series: Stages of Body Presence)

The inner experience of wholeness carries a sense of completeness, integrity, unity, and substantiality and relates us to a higher level of being. True wholeness comes from a high energy, the conscious energy. But we can practice basic wholeness in a more readily accessible arena, the sensitive energy. And this, in turn, prepares our nascent soul for true wholeness and imparts a foretaste of it. Acquiring the taste of wholeness gives us a measure by which to judge our state at any given moment. And not only a measure, but a direction from our current condition toward wholeness of being.

We approach true wholeness through the practice of whole-body sensing, at first in a quiet time set aside solely for that. After relaxing, we sense each limb in turn, then both arms at once, then both legs at once, and then all four at once. Finally we add the torso and head. Without trying to sense particular internal organs, so as not to interfere with their instinctive operation, we bring our attention into our torso and head, allowing the sensitive energy to arise and collect there, joining the sensitive energy in our limbs.

At this point we shift from sensing parts of our body to sensing the whole body. With our attention spread throughout our body, we open to and engage with a complete sensation, with our aliveness as a whole. We keep our attention in continuing contact with our entire body, through the sensitive energy. Whenever our attention wanders, we gently and simply bring it back to our body.

With practice we feel comfortable in and with our body, our natural place. With practice we feel off-kilter, incomplete, ungrounded when we are not in contact with our whole body. That discomfort cues us to our tenuous connection with the present and invites us to return to sensing our whole body. Contact with sensitive energy throughout our body creates for us a more substantive home in the world and we experience ourselves to be more substantial.

For this week, practice whole body sensing. You may find it easier to begin each attempt by sensing parts, like an arm or a leg, and then build up to sensing the whole. But with practice, you will eventually be able to come directly into whole body sensing and, increasingly, strengthen and maintain it.


     

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