Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice


A Path of Fits and Starts

The spiritual path winds like a road toward a stately mountain, a road not well maintained or marked. It is riddled with potholes, detours, red lights, traffic jams, wrecks, and all the rest. The region lacks car dealers, so you are stuck with the car you have, with its monthly payments and its maintenance. If you stop to ask directions, you find conflicting answers. If you take an extended break, your car automatically shifts into reverse and you slip backwards. The fog lies so thick, that you often cannot even see the road.

Nevertheless, you drive, drive blind if need be, push when you run out of gas, shovel snow from the tires, remember landmarks in case you unintentionally circle back, look for better maps and reliable travel directions, deal forthrightly with a mechanical breakdown or wreck and start afresh, and always watch the horizon for the first light of dawn. And you never, ever give up when the road grows hard — or easy. Sometimes you drive past a beautiful vista, but you don’t let that sidetrack you. Occasionally the sight is so compelling that you believe you have reached your destination, but you keep driving nonetheless.

Somewhere, a road winds steadily up the mountain. But that unfamiliar route is rarely used by anyone. We stick with the roads we know, forgetting that they do not lead to new territory. We settle for the false security of our habitual ways of living in our inner lowlands, unwilling to stretch ourselves into the unknown. The truly creative spiritual act builds our path out of the material of our life, discovering ways to dissolve or surrender our every obstacle.

The path is long - a lifetime. Our intelligence, strength, and passion fuel the way. Unrelenting commitment proves essential, but grows as we approach the high country. Our overriding obligation is to keep to the path, not to stop. The longer the stop, the deeper our regret afterwards when we, inevitably, embark yet again. Although the high country is not in time and space, our body and our path are. Every moment counts - or doesn’t and is lost. Inevitability, however, befriends us. We discover what we must do, and our resistance to it dissolves.


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