Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the Weeks of April 18 & 25, 2022


Behind Form 

(Into the Stillness: 4)

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We have started exploring the stillness behind sensations: the simple fact, the simple experience, of existing in a physical body, an organic, visceral body. Beneath all the sensory perceptions from our body, this grounding in being in this body is unchanging, silent, and still.

We have started exploring the stillness behind emotion: the fundamental peace and equanimity at the core of our feeling nature. Beneath all our emotions, underlying our capacity to feel, this grounding in equanimity is unchanging, silent, and still.

We have started exploring the silence behind, between, and beneath thoughts: the cognizant stillness. Behind all the thoughts and mental images passing through our mind, at the core of our mental capacity, this grounding in the cognizant stillness is silent and unchanging.

If we practice those forms of stillness, through meditation and increasingly as we go about our day, a new possibility begins to open. We start to recognize that there is a stillness, a ground of being, beneath everything, even beneath consciousness, not only beneath our body, emotions, and mind. We start to recognize that the stillness behind our body experience, the stillness behind our emotions, and the stillness behind our mental activity are all part of a vast stillness behind everything.

With our eyes open, we look at the part of the world visible to us in this moment. At the same time, we reinstate our contact with the stillness beneath our body, heart, and mind. We come into just being, into pure being. From this vantage of inner stillness, we open ourselves to the stillness beneath all that we see. We open ourselves to the formless, the reality prior to all content, the ground of being that has no boundaries, inner or outer. The forms of our world do not disappear, but now they rest on the surface of vast being, just as our body, heart, and mind do. We are intimately and permanently connected with, united with, this formless ground of being. Our own inwardness, other people's inwardness, and the inwardness of the world around us are all one and the same. We live in this ocean of being and our ordinary lives take place on its surface.

Our challenge is to open to, to reconnect with, the formless ground of being. And then to live from that. Here there is the non-separateness that is love. A solid and its surface are one. The ocean and its waves are one. A hand and its fingers are one. Our sensory life and the being beneath it are one. The forms of our world and the formless are one. The conditioned and the unconditioned are one.

Thus, we are not meant to prefer our external life to our living being, nor to prefer the living, formless being to our external life. Most of us err on the side of giving our interest, attention, and effort to world of the senses and our external life, neglecting the less apparent but equally significant ground of being. Some of us err on the side of giving our interest, attention, and effort to reconnecting with the ground of being, neglecting the more apparent but equally significant world of the senses. But to live completely, to live in wholeness, we live in both the inner and the outer, the forms and the formless, the senses and the ground of being. Opening to both reveals the whole.

At any moment during your day, look at what you see, and be with what is beneath, behind what you see. Try that with what you hear: be with the sounds and also with the silence beneath them. Try it with touch: be with your visceral, interoceptive sense of your whole body and with the stillness underneath that sense. And you can try it with your thoughts: be with the thoughts and images streaming through your mind and with the cognizant stillness between, beneath, and around them.

Let your own inner stillness merge with the outer stillness. And then be with this world brought to you by your senses and with the vast, formless stillness behind it. This is not far away; you are already in it.


     

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