Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the week of January 19, 2015

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I Am Wholeness: Presence Meditation

(The Way of Wholeness: Part 7)

Luxuriating in the meditative and healing peace of pure awareness after our mind finally quiets down, we are so content that we may be satisfied to return to this daily for years or even decades. But repeatedly experiencing this wholeness of consciousness, the cognizant stillness, we may start to feel that somehow something is missing, that an even greater wholeness remains possible, that consciousness, though wonderful, is not the whole story, that this passivity lacks fire. What is missing is simple: it is our self. There may be consciousness in us, but is there someone here to receive what consciousness brings? Are we here in ourselves actually seeing what we see and hearing what we hear? Is our life a passing spectacle or are we participants on the field? Are we here as the one who is living our life, as the one who we are? Can we truly say I am?

This I of ours may seem elusive. We hardly understand what it is, what we are. This is the inherent nature of our I, for our I is our will. We cannot see our I, for our I is the one who sees. We cannot find our I, for our I is the one who looks. The only workable approach is to be our I. How to start?

There is one crucial power in us that we all more or less know. That power is attention. Often our attention is passively drawn here and there, like when watching TV or riding along a stream of self-generating thoughts or daydreams. But the power of attention comes through intentional attention, when we choose where to put our attention and hold it there. Intentional attention may be directed or undirected. We know the directed style, when we intentionally think about a problem, watch the road while driving, speak or listen in conversation, or engage in a sport. Intentional undirected attention occurs for example in mindfulness meditation, when we sit or walk while staying alert to notice whatever impressions come to us, without being carried away by those impressions: we are not passive, we are receptive.

In coming to ourselves, to our I, attention matters because it is a direct manifestation of our will, of our I. When we pay attention, we have the feeling that I am paying attention, that I am directing, steering my attention, that I am my attention. The trouble comes in our tendency to let our attention wobble, to let it wander into passivity. Then we no longer have this feeling of I, we are no longer whole.

I am wholeness means full presence. Our I must be supported and stabilized by our foundation in the sensitive energies, in our body, mind, and heart, which allows our I to penetrate our whole being. Our I must have the breadth of awareness afforded by abiding in consciousness. And finally, our I must engage in the ongoing choice to be.

If, once a day, we can experience full presence, that experience will guide our practice for the rest of the day, serving as a vivid, gold-standard for our inner work as we go about our daily activities. So we make time each day for presence meditation:

Sit comfortably with your back upright in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. If you do not have a quiet place, consider using the modern marvel of earplugs. If your attention wanders off the meditation, gently bring it back whenever you first notice that.

Begin by relaxing into your body. Become aware of every part of your body. Let your attention penetrate throughout your body, so that you have a perception of your body as a whole. Stay with that for some time.

Begin to be aware of the life in your body, of the vibration of energy pervading your body. Let that perception grow stronger and stay with it.

You need not just be a passive observer of this sensitive energy that enlivens your body and connects you with your body. Let your attention carry your active intention throughout the sensitive energy in your body, your active intention that the sensitive energy grow stronger, more robust. Your intention, your will, you, directly support this energy in your body. It is as if the active force of your will flows from you into your body, enhancing its life, though without causing tensions. The force of will is an inner force. Stay with this

Let the active force of your will pass from building and supporting the sensitive energy in your body to the active intention to be here, present, and fully aware. Make the active force of your will become the will to be. Here you are: you in your body, you in your heart, you in your mind, you in the cognizant stillness of consciousness. You occupy the whole of your being. Your will to be becomes active as be-ing, making the act of being into an active act, not a passive one. You become the one who is here. You feel: here I am. Stay with that.

For this week, please practice occupying the whole of your being, in full presence, so you are present, so that you feel: here I am, at the center of my life, whole and complete and in touch.


        

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