Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of September 10, 2018

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Change and the Changeless


How many friends and acquaintances can you keep up with on Facebook? How many twitter accounts can you follow? How many Netflix or HBO episodes can you binge on? How many news stories, opinion columns, podcasts, or blogs can you watch, listen to, or read? How many emails and texts can you deal with? How many reviews can you read before deciding whether to follow through on that purchase?

This firehose of information streaming at us, so much of it of great value, so much of it dubious, and so much of it utterly absorbing, can leave us a little disoriented, in touch with the world of information, but less so with ourselves and the people around us. By confronting us with so many real threats to our way of life, the information cascade can leave us anxious about the future. By confronting us with a radically changed world, the information tsunami can leave us disgusted with the present. It can leave us wanting to make our country great again or wanting to create a socialist utopia of equality. It can leave us demonizing those who oppose our world view, dividing society into us and them.

In this inner work series on Change and the Changeless, we will not be considering the pros and cons of various political positions, nor creating prescriptions for the future of governments and their policies. While these issues certainly matter for us individually and collectively, we will look instead to delve below the surface, to see how the accelerating change in the world around us affects our psyche and spirit, and how we can find and maintain our personal center in the midst of the whirlwind. Sticking our head in the sand will not resolve the issues. But operating from our center can enable us to better adapt to the changes or to help create effective solutions in a realistic and compassionate way.

The Buddha taught that nothing is permanent, that every created thing bears the seeds of its own dissolution. Today those created things seem to change more quickly than ever. There is, however, the uncreated, the changeless. We are in that and of that. If we can open to the changeless, it can help us enormously, help us weather the storms of time. Life may happen, but the changeless abides. Beyond time, we open to the eternal. From there, we enter time, while remaining rooted in the unchanging. With that peace in our heart, we can flow with the changes or even be agents of change.

We usually think of an agent of change as someone who makes an impact on society as a whole. But we can also work to create changes on small scales, changing ourselves, changing our habits and actions, changing our life circumstances, changing how we interact with our family and all the other people we come into contact with, changing how present we are. Lasting change starts slow and small, and scales organically over time; witness the dramatic fall in world malnutrition and poverty over recent decades. Massive, rapid changes arouse opposition, for example, as evident in the polarized politics of today. This also holds on a personal level: ask former smokers how many times they quit before it stuck.

The Buddha also taught that the self is illusory, a view that some in modern psychology are adopting. Seeing and accepting this, and living in the freedom of not having to feed and defend our illusory ego, further enables us to flow with and adapt to changes on all levels: personal, societal, and planetary.

For this week, please look at what is changing with you and our world and notice how you deal with those changes.

    1. Social Change
    2. Body Change
    3. Technology Change
    4. Climate Change
    5. Spiritual Change
    6. Time Is Passing
    7. Enlightening Society


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