By William Bezanson
When one thinks about doing exercises, the term that usually springs to mind is “Working Out”. In this article, I want to introduce a new term “Working In” for the many activities that one can do for that other area of our lives that deserves regular exercises and development, namely, one’s inner, spiritual, mystical life.
Working in is often neglected in our society. First, it is real work, it requires effort, and it takes time; those impacts scare many people away. Second, it is work of an inward nature, and therefore not well understood, not visible to others and so not open to observation and guidance, and not of obvious immediate benefit. Also, it is typically done alone, so one usually does not have visible companionship and support. Finally, it is not widely encouraged in our modern, western society or medical community the way physical working out is.
But the fact that you are reading this article would suggest that you are a seeker, trying to enhance your understanding and capabilities with inner work for your spiritual life. So my hope is that the term “Working In” will resonate with you in a favourable way.
I first thought of coining the term “Working In” a few years ago as I became tired of seeing health-oriented advertisements and promotional messages being focused only on the outward manifestations of health. Having been interested in the inner life for so long, I started looking for other reinforcements of my interests. There were virtually none! At least in modern, Western society, it is almost as if people were embarrassed to admit that they meditated, prayed, thought spiritually, read spiritual literature, or otherwise spent time on their inner lives. Even Yoga, so widely practiced, is often considered to be a set of physical stretches and exercises for flexibility, not a spiritual discipline.
In my own case, I have the opposite embarrassment: I do not like to appear in public doing physical exercises, but I do enjoy discussing spirituality and related psychological and mystical studies. Further, I enjoy making up new words that seem obviously needed. No wonder, with these inclinations, that it became clear to me that a new term, such as Working In, was needed.
So, what are the techniques of working in? Some are obvious, such as meditation, mindfulness, and purity of intent. Others are more subtle, such as maintaining an attitude of gratitude, being compassionate to all living creatures, and developing one’s intuition. And next, there are some techniques that seem directly related to working in, such as mysticism, alchemy, and spirituality. Further, we can consider the characteristics of high integrity, noble thinking, and pioneering solitude. There are many readings that are applicable, such as in philosophy, metaphysics, and spirituality. And there’s the need to be able to work hard, with discipline, for many years of inner study and practicing of spiritual techniques. Finally, one can benefit from the teachings of mystery schools, such as the Rosicrucian Order, Servants of the Light, and others.
So, where to start?
A good place to start is by working on your intuition. You will find that a well-developed intuition will be invaluable for working in. And your intuition will guide you further in what to develop next, what to study for further topics, and how to keep on track with working in.
To develop and strengthen your intuition, try guessing who is calling when your telephone rings. Before looking or answering the phone, choose the very first name that comes to mind. Don’t change your mind by rationalizing; stick with your first choice. Then answer the phone. Initially, you may not guess correctly, or you may not trust your inner self sufficiently, or some other matter might lead you away from the correct answer about who is calling. But with practice you will get better and better at it. Your intuition will become more reliable and you will learn to trust it implicitly.
Try other methods of training your intuition (or, training yourself for listening to your intuition), such as guessing what time it is, who you will meet around the corner, what to say in a meeting, and many other examples. Eventually, you will attune yourself with the subtle voice of your intuition with greater and greater effectiveness.
Alexander Pope wrote in his Essay on Man, “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; / The proper study of mankind is man.” In modern ages, we have done enough study of man in the outer realms. It is time to revive the study of man in inner realms as was done in classical times. Working in is one method that each of us can perform. Doing so will certainly help to balance our one-sided mundane, outer lives with much well-needed inner, spiritual knowledge. And it has the hope of enhancing the higher evolution of society at large, and possibly even helping to rebalance the crumbling world.
I suggest that “working in” could be a new rallying call to focus our efforts on personal and global evolution for peace, balance, and contentment.
William Bezanson fulfills his passion for writing in retirement. His most recent book isAbandoned Shopping Carts: Personal and Spiritual Responsibility, available at Amazon.com. His next book will be I Believe: A Rosicrucian Looks at Christianity and Spirituality, to be published in the summer of 2014. He is a long-standing member of a Rosicrucian order and two related initiatic, mystical orders. He lives with his wife in Ottawa, Canada.