Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For week of November 23, 2015

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Depth

(Presence Metric 5)

Do I have a center right now? Who or what occupies my center? Is it the mostly random stream of automatic, self-generating thoughts that sound like me? Is it I, am I here in my center? Is it something beyond I? Am I open to, and in the presence of, my sacred source?

One way to gauge our presence concerns how deep it is, how deep we are. The telling question is: who is present? Who is seeing what my eyes see? Who is hearing what my ears hear? If the answer is no one, just our thoughts or emotions, then this is not presence. This is our will fragmented to such an extent that every passing thought or emotion successfully claims to be me, to be who I am. This fragmented state is the zero line of our scale of depth.

The next clear mark up the scale occurs when we experience ourselves as being in our center, as being the one who sees what we see, who hears what we hear, who does what we do, who thinks what we think when we think intentionally. If we are here, at home in ourselves, in our body, mind, and heart, in our sensation and consciousness, then we have a center and we are present in it. In that condition we are unified as our I. We actually live our life, rather than our life living us.

Between the zero line of fragmented non-presence and this I-centered presence, there are various intermediate, partially unified states. We enter those when we make efforts to be in contact with our body, or our mind, when we make efforts to be wholly present, but are not quite there. In these intermediate states we still wobble and are not settled in presence, not even temporarily. These states also occur fleetingly when we are surprised or shocked by some unexpected event. We are bumped up, into presence. But, if we do not know the taste of presence and the methods for intentionally coming into or maintaining it, we fall apart quickly, back to the zero level, to non-presence.

There also exists a higher kind of presence, beyond our I. For that we need to let go and abandon ourselves. We drop our I into the depths beyond it. We open ourselves toward the direction of inwardness, beyond thought, emotion, and sensation, even beyond the stillness of consciousness. We reach deep within and ask that the door be opened to us. And we allow the higher, the sacred, to flow into us, as us. Our center expands to be everywhere and nowhere.

This is the direction of our work in depth. At first, when you drop everything, what is left is you, your I. To go further, we need to drop even this I, this wonder that is us.

The depth metric is a measure of what world you are in, of the state of your will: fragmented, partially unified, unified I, or the Sacred Self. For this week, please measure the depth of your own presence.


     

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