Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


Inner Work

For the week of August 16, 2021

Direct Indicators: Energy Breathing

(The Spiritual Ecosystem: 1)

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The spiritual ecosystem and its evolution are the reasons for the existence of life. But how do we know whether this notion of an ecosystem based on the transformation and exchange of inner energies is real? For something as important as the meaning of life, we need confirmation before we can fully embrace it and serve it. Rather than rely on ancient texts or on more recent views of other people in our attempt to confirm the existence and discover the operations of the spiritual ecosystem, we rely instead on ourselves, on our own direct perceptions, not only on our intuition and beliefs. Because of its many levels, the ability to perceive the spiritual ecosystem as a whole may reside solely with the Divine, Who sits atop and within the entirety. Yet we humans can perceive enough of it to know its reality, though the necessary perceptual capacities grow as our inner work deepens.

There are at least three areas where such direct perceptions may already be available to us: in the practice of energy breathing, in recognizing the presence of conscious energy, and in prayer or deep contemplation. For now we address only the first of these three.

Energy breathing is a remarkable and important spiritual practice. It consists of intentionally drawing in the inner energies from the air around us as we inhale and having those energies stay within us as we exhale. One prerequisite for this is familiarity with a basic form of inner energy, namely the sensitive energy.

For that, we begin with sensing our body. Sitting comfortably, without other demands on your attention, and with your hands palm-down on your knees, put and hold all your attention in your right hand. Be aware of the hand from within it. This is not thinking about the hand, or visualizing the hand, but being in the hand by means of your attention. Stay with this for a few minutes…

Now notice the difference between your right hand and your left hand. The right may be more alive, warmer, filled with vibrations, or just more there, than your left. This is sensing your right hand. As you hold your attention in your right hand, the sensitive energy builds up in it.

Now do the same with your right foot. Taking a few minutes at each, continue to your left foot. Left hand. Right arm. Right leg. Left leg. Left arm. Both arms. Both legs. All four limbs. Whole body. For that final stage of whole-body sensing, just add a general sensation of your torso, neck, and head, without attempting to sense any particular physical organ, so as not to interfere with your body's instinctive functioning.

Work at that sensing practice every day. Robust, whole-body sensing, especially when coupled with the action of that same energy as it floods over into our mind and emotions, begins to form what feels like a second body in us, a sensation body. And that starts to feel like a soul. After some time, perhaps weeks or months, you may be ready to try energy breathing to enhance this work of building the sensation body.

For energy breathing, after bringing yourself into a state of whole-body sensation, while maintaining that sensation also bring attention to the air you are breathing. Without altering the physical pattern of your breath, except perhaps for a slight emphasis on the inhalation, cast your attention like a net into the air you are going to inhale. Imagine that air filled with shimmering particles of energy, which enter you as you draw in the net of attention as you inhale. Let that energy spread on its own throughout your body as you exhale. You will notice it has the same quality as the sensitive energy already present in your body. Indeed, as you continue drawing the energy from the air with each breath, you may notice that your sensation grows stronger. The energy you are breathing feeds your sensation directly. Continue until your whole-body sensation is strong and complete. Then rest in that.

This energy that you are now able to perceive as it enters you from the air is a key part of the spiritual ecosystem on this Earth. Due to its affinity for the sensitive energy in our body, the energy in the air seems to be the same energy, or at least in the same class of energies as the sensitive energy that we produce in our bodies. It also seems reasonable that it may go in the other direction as well, with some of the sensitive energy from our body at times being sloughed off into the air. Plants and animals likely also participate in the exchange of this energy with the air. Thus, the air is a key medium for the spiritual ecosystem, just as it is for the physical ecosystem. This perception and realization give us an important and direct indicator of the existence and working of the spiritual ecosystem.

A related, but scientific indicator concerns a very strange notion put forward by Gurdjieff as part of his presentation of reciprocal maintenance or reciprocal feeding of all that exists. That notion is that part of the inner energies produced by us humans becomes food for the moon. Yet modern space science shows us that this bizarre idea could be literally true.

For about five days each month, around the time it is full, the moon passes through the earth's magnetotail. This means that particles blown from the earth's atmosphere by the solar wind are carried to the moon every month. Putting this together with our experience of energy breathing, which shows us that inner energies are indeed present in the air, the weird concept that our energies feed the moon becomes almost feasible. If our intentional inner work adds to or upgrades the active elements in the air, then some of those could feed the moon. In negative states we likely lose some active elements into the air, potentially feeding the moon that way as well. The exchange of particles driven by the solar wind may also be a mechanism of direct spiritual energy connections within the entire solar system, between the Sun and the Earth, and between the Earth and other planets. We need not adopt these unproven possibilities as beliefs, but merely recognizing their feasibility can open our world view.

Lastly, we consider the notion of forest bathing, the unexpectedly nurturing effect of being among the trees. If trees produce sensitive energy and release it into the air, then breathing that air should be particularly nourishing for us, for our soul.

For this week, see if you can notice something about the inner energies, or active elements in the air.

See Also: Energy Breathing


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