Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the Week of May 9, 2022


Sensation

(Stable Presence: 1)

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Experiencing the sensitive energy in our body for the first time comes as a revelation. How could I have lived all these years in this body and not known about this? But there it is, unmistakable and vivid. Sensation is the gateway to a whole new inner world, a whole new dimension to our life. And it can be a gateway onto the spiritual path.

The sensitive energy comes in three flavors, which manifest in our mind as thoughts and mental images, in our chest and solar plexus as emotions and feelings, and in our body as sensations. The body version is the easiest to recognize as an energy, a kind of energy that enables our contact with our body in all its various functions. That variety of body sensations, though, does not mask the energy behind them.

It is different with our thoughts and emotions. In both cases we are more readily caught by the content, the form taken by the energy. When the mind energy takes the shape of a thought, we might notice the thought, but likely do not notice the energy that is the substance of the thought. Likewise with the feeling energy in the form of an emotion, we are taken by the surface and miss the energy it is made of. This is like seeing an ocean wave with little recognition of the water or seeing the beauty of a sculpture without noticing the stone.

To understand what all this has to do with presence and stability, we need only look to our body. Although our body perception is a constant flow of changing sensations and vibrations, the fact of having a body, of being in this body, does not change. Furthermore, the changing sensations from our body are mostly similar and stable. Our direct experience of our right arm does not change much from one moment to the next. Yes, we may move the arm or do something using our right hand, but the direct perception of the arm remains, the visceral fact of having an arm remains, regardless of its posture or movements.

That direct experience of having a right arm is an experience of the sensitive energy within the arm. And with enough sustained, persistent effort, that energy can be cultivated, strengthened remarkably, and even stabilized so that it stays, so that it fills our arm with its own presence, so that it fills our whole body and becomes the stable foundation of our presence. For that we need to feed it, to generate and gather more sensitive energy. A healthy lifestyle helps. The practice of sensing our body is necessary. And the practice of breathing the sensitive energy from the air helps. All that enables the sensitive energy in our body to grow strong, strong enough to call us back to presence when we wander off into some automatic thought train or get taken by reactive emotion. It can grow strong enough to give us an inner place to relax into and be present.

As we shall see, the ability to relax into presence is key to extending our stay in presence, key to being presence. We cannot all the time be inwardly initiating our state, be inwardly active toward sensing our body or toward being present. Sensation, whole body sensation, strong and stable sensation, awakens the sensitive energy in our mind and in our feelings, making us more complete. In that completeness, we can abide in being.

For this week, please work toward your own completeness and abide in the presence it affords.

See Also: Stages of Body Presence


     

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