Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the weeks of April 29 & May 6, 2019

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Be Purpose

(Spiritual Dynamics: 13)

By creating purpose we create ourselves. By living in purpose, we live with meaning.

What is life for? What is my life for? Do I have a purpose? Can I serve a purpose? Do I choose my purpose or does it choose me?

Nearly all who can, engage in some constructive work, whether in a formal job or profession, or doing informal work like going to school, raising children, volunteering, or taking care of a home. In one way or another, all such work serves society, helps others, or prepares us to help others. That in itself is a noble purpose and can be our purpose. Whatever our role in life, that role matters in its benefit to society. An external purpose like that gives meaning to our life. Of course, we have multiple external purposes, corresponding to our various obligations and commitments.

Another dimension of purposes is that they unify. When a couple shares the commitment to raise their children, it unifies them. When people come together to connect in friendship, it unifies them. When a group shares a moment of meditation or prayer, it unifies them. Examples of the unifying force of shared purpose abound.

An altogether different, though not completely separate, realm of purpose also calls to us: inner purpose. Spiritual inner work serves both society and the Sacred. In any given moment, we typically can have an inner task as well as an outer task. The outer task is whatever is required and appropriate for our situation or opportunity, perhaps for our external purpose. The inner task can take many forms, but generally involves transforming spiritual energies up the scale.

Purposes come in hierarchical layers, from our immediate needs, to our family, our community, our society, our planet, and many layers in between. When we cook a meal, our purpose is to prepare the food for whomever is going to eat it. When we brush our teeth, our purpose is to keep up our oral hygiene. When we put on our clothes, our purpose may be simply to dress ourselves. But beyond the immediacy of brushing our teeth or getting dressed, those purposes feed into the next level purpose of preparing for whatever we are going to do that day. When we eat a meal, the purpose is to keep our body energized and to enjoy the taste of the food. When we exercise, it is to keep our body healthy. But why? Why keep our body energized and healthy? Perhaps to enable us to work, which is yet another layer of purpose. Or to be able to enjoy our life, another level of purpose.

When we work to be present, we have the intention, the purpose to be present, which informs and supports the entire effort. But this goes deeper than we might suspect. The core of presence is our will, more specifically our I. If we ask who is present, it is our I. Our I is our will. Attention is a manifestation of will. So we can be our attention to be present. Purpose is another form of will. If our purpose at this moment is to be present, we can be present by being our purpose. In this moment of presence, we are purpose. We ride it, we strengthen it, we be it. Our I, our purpose, permeates our entire being.

The hierarchy of purpose encompasses the entire universe. At that scale, all purposes are subsumed into the One Purpose, the purpose of the universe, the Sacred. We cannot define or delimit that, and we cannot understand or fully know it. But we can aspire to participate in it. We can be part of it, be an intelligent and loving conduit for it. We can be a bearer of the Divine Purpose.

The upward direction in the hierarchy of purpose is the direction of self-transcendence. The more ego and self-centeredness motivating our immediate purposes, the lower down the hierarchy those purposes are. Seeing through the illusion of egoism, opens our way to climbing the hierarchy of purpose. Ultimately, through us, the all-encompassing Divine Purpose permeates our little corner of the universe.

How can we fill ourselves with purpose? One simple exercise: when you walk, be the purpose of getting from point A to point B. Better yet, be the purpose of being in contact with your entire body, while also being aware of what is around you and what is inside you, in your mind and heart, at each step of that walk. Gradually, we extend this toward all that we do: we practice being the purpose of whatever we are doing.

Presence as purpose is the clearest approach to this. Being present as purpose in what we do transforms our inner experience, while raising the quality of our actions. This is not a matter of thinking about or formulating our purpose, though sometimes we certainly need to ponder it. Instead, presence as purpose means being our will, in this moment. It means being purpose itself. This very act of being purpose connects us with the hierarchy of purpose, with the hierarchy of will, which reaches all the way to the Divine Purpose.

For this week, please practice being purpose.

See Also: Living as Intention


        

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