Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

One-Pointedness

The exercise of will lies at the heart of any spiritual path, because it addresses the very core of our spirit. One important mode of such exercise involves focusing our attention on some object, be it a phrase or an image, a feeling, the breath, or the body as a whole. We aim our attention toward the object and place it on the object. Focused attention, however, tends to dissipate quickly. So we add the effort of sustaining our attention on the chosen object.

This demanding work of sustaining attention, keeping to the chosen center of focus, requires the willingness to leave behind all distractions, all our automatically arising, associative thoughts and emotional reactions, at least temporarily. We are so enamored and identified with our usual patterns of thought and emotion that we loathe the very idea of letting them go, of doing without them for a time. This letting go, with its associated weakening of distracting thoughts and emotions, is itself the act of purification required to deepen our work on attention.. Sustained, focused attention entrains and unifies all the disparate impulses of body, heart, and mind, bringing wholeness to our being, a wholeness centered around our attention.

While a focused and sustained attention is necessary, it does not prove sufficient for true one-pointedness. We also need a focused and sustained intention: the intention to connect with, open to, surrender to, and serve the Sacred. This one-pointed intention, like our one-pointed attention, must be immediate, in this very moment. Gathering every fiber of our being, every wayward intention, we gravitate toward a higher world.

Particularly in periods of meditation, the effort of sustaining attention and intention gradually gives way to stabilized presence and the readiness to move deeper still. Together, our one-pointed attention and one-pointed intention merge into the wholeness of unified will, the source of who we are and our true connection with the Sacred. Simultaneously focusing and opening toward the higher, with everything else left behind, we discover our most direct approach to our deepest possibilities, to the Source of all meaning.


     

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