Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of February 1, 2021


(Reclaiming Our Life: 4)

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There are sounds and there is silence. There is activity and there is stillness. Surprisingly, these opposites do not preclude each other. There is silence beneath sounds. There is stillness within activity. Both in the physical world and our inner world. The silence is always there, at the shoreline of the spirit, in the zone of utter peace, welcoming us.

Our civilization rightly values productivity. For most of us, the emphasis on purposeful activity resides deep in our psyche. But not all activity is equally productive, even when intended to be so. Some activity is more creative and some is more effective. The creativity and effectiveness emanate from stillness and manifest in activity. Thus, it behooves us, for these and other reasons, to cultivate stillness, including the stillness within activity.

That outer stillness and the inner stillness, the outer silence and the inner silence are all one and the same. In stillness, the distinction between outside and inside, between external and internal, evaporates. Beneath everything, there is stillness. And in that stillness, we are not taken by this or that, we are not defined by this or that. Thus, we can be. We can be ourselves. We can be who we truly are.

Though stillness and the practice of it are not confined to the meditation cushion, that is the best place to acquire the taste of stillness, to learn the way into it and how to abide there. When we sit quietly, we notice thoughts and images coursing through our mind. At first it seems those thoughts and images are our mind, define our mind. But if we continue sitting in our body and simply watch our mind, the thoughts and images will slow down and become quieter. As that happens, we notice gaps between thoughts, seemingly insignificant gaps of nothing, gaps of stillness. Persisting, we notice that the stillness resides not only between our thoughts, but also beneath them. Even as a thought passes through our mind, the stillness remains. If we, if our attention stays in contact with the stillness, then the thoughts do not obscure, do not hide the stillness. They coexist. We coexist. We are in the stillness and in our thoughts. We are whole.

In the midst of activity, we recall the stillness behind our thoughts. And there it is, even now as move about our day, as we speak and eat and run and clean. We open ourselves to include that undertone of stillness, to reside in it. And because our thoughts no longer take us away, the stillness enables us to be even more fully in the activity, enriching all that we do. Bringing eternity into time, we are whole.

Back on the meditation cushion, we enter the stillness more deeply. We discover it is the shoreline of the spirit, the gateway to the Sacred. The fullness of being is there. The silent voice of conscience is there. The boundless heart of compassion is there. We are there.

For this week, please abide in stillness.


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