Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of August 9, 2021

The Spiritual Ecosystem


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It is a truism that we are utterly dependent on each other and more generally on all life, on nature. We need only look around us in our home and consider how much of what we see we could create entirely ourselves. We can look at our dinner table and ask ourselves how much of that we could have produced entirely on our own and how much of it we take from nature. We depend on other people and on nature, and they depend on us. Despite the very serious, sometimes tragic, global problems we have created, we humans live in a truly symbiotic relationship in a remarkably efficient economy in a remarkably effective civilization in a wondrous biosphere. This is the visible portion of the ecosystem of which we are each a part.

This visible, biosphere ecosystem is embedded in and depends on a much larger, invisible ecosystem, which we may call the spiritual ecosystem. Their border resides in the emotional nourishment that comes through our varied interactions with other people, with animals, and with nature. That emotional nourishment, straddling the line between the visible and the invisible, has long been recognized as essential to our health and well-being.

Another step toward the invisible ecosystem brings us to our need to give, to contribute, to produce, to help, to be responsible toward something beyond ourselves. In our soul, we are called to this and our fulfillment and meaning derive from it.

We are also called to be. The depth of our giving can increase with the level of our being. In the visible ecosystem, interactions involve an exchange of some kind, be it food, goods, money, energy, effort, or a myriad of other things. In the invisible, spiritual ecosystem, the interactions also involve exchanges, typically of inner energies. Between the two, we have for example the exchange of kindness. In the visible ecosystem, the products and efforts of a master craftsman are sought after and well-compensated. In the spiritual ecosystem, those with greater being are able to produce and transform more and higher quality energies. Their compensation lies in the giving itself, in being part of something that matters.

The beings who participate in the spiritual ecosystem are not only us human beings. Plants and animals, as well as humans, produce various kinds of inner energies, some of which are liberated as they go about their lives, for example, shed into the air and thereby made available to others. This flow of energies, both through the air and in deeper ways, comprises one of the major organizing features of the spiritual ecosystem, directly analogous to energy flows in the physical ecosystem.

Another major feature is the hierarchy built into the spiritual food chain, just as in the physical ecosystem's food chain. At each level of the spiritual ecosystem, transformations take place that raise the quality of the energies: lower energies are consumed, and higher energies are produced. The spiritual ecosystem extends both below us and above us in the great chain of being: from plants and animals up to the Earth and Sun and even to the Divine.

Our soul participates in and depends on these transformations and flows of spiritual energies, and so do the souls of the Earth and higher levels as well. As taught most clearly by G.I. Gurdjieff in the universal synthesis that he called reciprocal maintenance, we are all consumers and generators of inner energies. But for the most part, we humans deal with these energies haphazardly and unconsciously, not having made the effort to develop the necessary perceptions, not having the know-how, and not understanding the crucial significance of spiritual energy transformations, for ourselves and for all life on our planet.

Through our personal and collective inner work, we can greatly enhance both the quality and quantity of spiritual energies we produce, thereby serving the universal ecosystem we live in and its evolution. That brings us to a third major feature of the spiritual ecosystem: like and along with the physical ecosystem, the spiritual ecosystem also is evolving. Indeed, the physical, visible ecosystem and the spiritual, invisible ecosystem are not separate. On the contrary they are tightly interwoven into a single web that includes but transcends life and even our planet. The future of all life on the Earth depends on its healthy evolution.

In the coming weeks, we will explore our spiritual ecosystem and the energy transformations that enable its workings, that feed our soul, and enable us to contribute directly.

    1. Direct Indicators: Energy Breathing
    2. Direct Indicators: Conscious Energy
    3. Why Pray?
    4. The Evolution of Will 1: Particles to Humans
    5. The Evolution of Will 2: From Me Toward I
    6. The Evolution of Will 3: Consciousness and Will
    7. The Evolution of Will 4: The Core of Presence: I
    8. The Evolution of Will 5: From I to All

[1] G.I. Gurdjieff; Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson: All and Everything see in particular Chapter 39 The Holy Planet "Purgatory"


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