Inner Work Friday: Week Two of Eight Week Series by Jonathan Steele

Hopefully after having made contact with the sturdiness of the foundation of our physical bodies this week, through moving sensation into the hips, legs, and feet with the attention, and, noticing the relaxation that ensues in the upper body, we have begun to get a sense of safety that we can create for the holding of our emotions and the quieting down of the noise of our thoughts. This week we will prepare to work further toward this effort through harnessing the power of eros.

If you’re just beginning to work with attention in this way, I invite you to stay with the inner-task from ‘Week 1.’

Week 2’s task will include maintaining contact with sensation in the lower half of the body and working from that base as we expand the attention to begin to bring a grounded presence to our mostly erratic and reactive emotions.

As we’re taught in the 4th Way the emotional center is generally disordered. And in our culture, we often mistake this emotional reactivity for authenticity. But we know there is a deeper seeing of the heart yet one in which we struggle to stabilize.

One of the ways to begin to unwind ourselves from the axle of our storied selves and their associated emotional patterns is in creating a holding tank of equanimity for the presence of emotions in the various forms they arise. And let’s not fool ourselves into believing we do this very well no matter how many times we’ve read or heard Rumi’s ‘Guest House.’ It’s hard work.

Many of us are finding that to do this with any level of consistency we need a sturdy, grounded presence in the body, especially the lower-half.

So in continuation, this week I invite you to try on the following inner-task:

Remain connected with sensation in the hips and undercarriage as much as possible. Remain poised. And keep watch. Regard this as your home base to return to. When the heat of intense emotion arises (whether afflictive or not), instead of becoming uncoiled, allowing the attention to scatter or rise up into storytelling, harness the creative power generated in the hips, genitals, and lower abdomen to field the energy of the emotion and push it down the legs and into the ground. If you’ve ever given birth you probably already instinctively know how to do this. For those of us who haven’t or who have a harder time remaining connected to our feet on the ground it’s a bit trickier. The real harnessing power however comes from the primordial energy of eros that we have concentrated in the genitals. And grounded in this downward moving sensation can be wielded creatively giving us access to greater agency. So let’s take it serious in this way.

And remember, just as help comes from above so it too comes from below. So as we offer up our suffering as food, we do so in this case as a reciprocal and conscious exchange with the earth who literally has our backs, or feet, legs and undercarriage in this case. Trust it. It is part of the field of mercy from which we draw and are just beginning to tap into as a species. And notice the spaciousness to act and align with the energy of immediacy (versus urgency) that opens up in doing so.

Remember, no one need know. And don’t forget to work with delight! See you next week and feel free to share what you observe about your experience with the rest of us in the comments below.

Inner Task Series by Jonathan Steele

Jonathan Steele posted this Inner Task Series to the Wisdom School Community on Facebook from July 2 – August 21, 2021