Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of March 16, 2009

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Body Presence

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

Our body and our presence how do they relate to each other? As long as we live, our body is here. But the same cannot be said for presence, which at its core means I am here. If my body is always here, but I am not, then I am not my body. But because my body is always here, it presents a prime opportunity to establish and sustain my presence. Only I need to find a way to relate my I to my body.

Over the past weeks of practicing in the inner work series on the Stages of Body Presence, we have explored and developed our perception of and facility with the sensitive energy in our body, sensation, through the practice of sensing. That practice itself already has the key elements of body presence. First is our intention, our will to sense, which supports the whole structure and emanates from our I. Second is the conscious energy through which our I operates. Third is the sensitive energy perceived and directed by our I through the conscious energy. And fourth is our body, the field in which we plant the sensitive energy. That is how the relationship from presence to body goes.

But it also moves from the bottom up. The constancy of our body offers a firm foundation and container for the sensitive energy. The sensitive energy, as whole-body sensation, serves as a vehicle for the conscious energy. The conscious energy can respond directly to our will, our I. The more conscious energy, the more our I can be in its place. Thus the sensitive and conscious energies together relate our I to our body. And this reciprocal action goes both ways: from I to body and from body to I, from inside to outside and from outside to inside.

So much for the theory what is this next stage in practice? As consciousness serves as the core energy of presence, we look to build on our work with sensing in order to rise into consciousness. The practice for this consists of two simple aspects. First we establish, at least temporarily, whole-body sensation by sensing our entire body. Second, we relax into our whole-body sensation.

This relaxation enables us to be in our inner body of sensation. My I, my individual will naturally entrains the conscious energy. And because of the affinity between the conscious and sensitive energies, if I shift from being in my physical body to residing in my sensation body, I bring the conscious energy to a place where it can coalesce and emerge. Ordinarily consciousness is masked by and mixed with our disorganized and limited sensitive energy. Increasing and organizing our sensitive energy as a whole-body vessel, offers the conscious energy a suitable and attractive platform. We recognize the conscious energy by its quality of cognizant stillness and peace, forming a substrate beneath our thoughts and activities.

So the foundation of whole-body sensation facilitates our entry into true consciousness, which in turn allows us, our I, to be present. This I, our will, does not come to us from the outside. It is the very kernel of who we are. Our I is the most inward of our inwardness. While the conditions for presence are created by the practice of sensing, full presence begins when we, our I, take our place in consciousness and within our sensation body. We establish a place for our I, our will, to reside in our inner body and complete our presence. Here I am.

As a major benefit, the wholeness of our presence, built on our sensation body, enables unity of our will in action. Whole-body sensation supports wholeness of will. And the deeper work of prayer, in turn, depends exactly on this: the whole of our will opening toward the Divine.

For this week, be present within your whole body of sensation.


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