Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of August 14, 2017

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My Perspective

(The Fog of Self 2)

Where am I? Apparently, I am here in my body, probably in my head, somewhere behind my eyes. Everything I see is seen from the viewpoint of my eyes, which places the source of my perspective in my eyes, or just behind them. To feel as if I am in my head is to follow the natural experience of seeing, an experience that creates a reference point from which we see, a point that we assume is our self, the self whose existence is yet another assumption.

Furthermore, that secret voice, the voice that seems to be me talking to myself, the voice of my thoughts, is also in my head. So on that score as well, if I am anywhere, it is in my head. The secret voice creates a self that both embodies and hears that voice in my head.

Touch, taste, and smell all take place in my body and feel like they are in my body, again implying that I exist here in my body, implying and creating a self that experiences touch, taste, and smell.

The one exception to self-making by our senses is hearing. When we hear typical sounds, they do not point back to us. They seem be located wherever they are coming from. Though we know that hearing happens in our ears and brain, those organs are transparent to the process. Hearing does not seem to have a perspective, a point from which we hear. The sounds seem to be what they are and where they are, regardless of the fact that we are hearing them.

This matters. Unlike, or at least to a lesser degree than our other senses, hearing does not make a self who hears. Hearing just happens. Seeing also just happens, but it points back to where we are seeing from. Hearing does not point back. It allows the sounds to be as they are without adding a layer of self.

Thus, hearing can teach us how to perceive without making a perceiver, without donning the mantle of a self who perceives. Despite the fact that perceptions occur in our body, much of what we perceive originates beyond our skin. Can we move, like the Copernican transition, from considering our body and the perceiving-self it engenders to be the center of the universe and instead see the universe as it is? Can we relax our inner stance to allow the world to be as it is, without inserting a self, a pseudo-self, as the receiver of all these perceptions?

We are so accustomed to making our self the perceiver that it is an unconscious process. Our inner work in this regard consists of noticing this self-as-perceiver process and position. If we can consciously relax this self-making, we take a step toward letting both the world and ourselves be, just be, without us having to be someone. Seeing, hearing, breathing, thinking, and the rest continue to flow on their own, without diverting that stream to create, maintain, and defend a self. Setting down the burden of our illusory separate self, frees us at many levels, from the psychological to the spiritual, and makes the world fresh at every moment.

For this week, notice your perspective, where you perceive from, and notice your tendency to become the self who is perceiving, the self who occupies the near point of that perspective. Notice that this perceiving self is unnecessary and extraneous. Notice that you can allow the stream of seeing, hearing, and the rest to flow unfiltered, uninterrupted and uncaptured by a self. Let the world and you just be.


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