The Meaning of Inner Work

My teacher, Rudi, used the term “ inner work” in reference to spiritual practice, which could be understood as making an effort and working for an accomplishment. But Rudi, in talking about “inner work,” was not talking about that at all. There is a kind of an effort, but the effort is a natural introspection that arises from our cultivation of the awareness of our own energetic mechanism. By awakening the channels, the senses automatically naturally rotate within, and that rotation brings us into contact with our own essence. So, in effect, what we are doing is not making an effort, but cultivating an awareness. This awareness doesn’t lead to an accomplishment—it leads to a realization, or layers of realization.

In our physical engagement with our spiritual practice, we realize our ignorance. Dealing with our ignorance, we realize our physical capacity. Realizing our physical capacity, we can begin to understand our creative potential. Understanding our creative potential, we encounter our attachments—our hopes and fears. Encountering our hopes and fears, realizing our hopes and fears, and dissolving them, brings us into contact with a deeper layer of resistance in us. Realizing and dissolving that deeper layer brings us into contact with what Rudi called “nothingness,” what the Buddhists call “emptiness,” what the Shaivas call “consciousness,” which is sometimes in all those traditions referred to as “the Void.” Our practice brings us into that dimension of unmanifest, pure creative energy, which is without beginning or end, without any limitation whatsoever. It is pure awareness that is also self-aware and unimaginable possibility.

This unimaginable possibility is not an accomplishment, because it’s already inside you. It is a realization because, turning your attention inside and becoming sensitive, you come to a realization of the depth and the range of what is going on inside you.

If you get lost in the idea of an accomplishment, you will get on a treadmill and go around in circles for a hundred million years. That’s why so many times I have said surrender is the key, because this is not an effort of effort, this is an effort of awareness. It is the cultivation of an awareness of what is going on inside you right now and realizing the cosmic implications.

In this realization, there is tremendous relief and a great sense of joy. There is no amount of shedding of worldly engagement that can any way bring any pressure on us or any tension to our mind. The process is a process of continuously becoming enlightened—lighter and lighter, more and more light. The experience of all of the tensions which we have accumulated in this life, and all of the tensions that we have brought forward into this life from the family system that we have been swimming in for thousands of years, is dissolved.

If you work with the idea of making a big effort, what you will end up with is a complete desensitization to your own energetic mechanism. It does not take a big effort; it just takes a conscious awareness to open all of the chakras and activate all of the channels and begin to experience a simple sweetness and a joy. That simple sweetness and joy is like Drano: it dissolves all the clogs. How fantastic! How unbelievably fortunate that we have the opportunity to dissolve our clogs as we are growing our own happiness and cultivating the innate capacity of the breath of life within us to awaken, in all the lives that we are connected to, a similar experience of joy and a dissolving of tension.

Even though my title is a “teacher,” I don’t teach anybody anything. I will share with you my own experience, and also I am sharing with you the blood of my blood, the life of my life. I am making my entire energetic mechanism available to you, if you have the ability to access it. I make it available to you so that you will have the extra energy that’s necessary to awaken your own energetic mechanism and begin a transformation process in you. But I won’t teach you anything; you will have to learn this yourself.

In order to learn, you have to have a passion for growing. To be alive, you have to have a passion for something. If you don’t, you’re wasting your time here in this world. I suggest you begin to have bit of passion for growing, which is the only reason we’re in this world to begin with. Out of that passion, you will develop a curiosity and a hunger for an understanding of the life that is flowing in your body, and the life that is vibrating as your mind, and the life that unrolls itself from within you in the form of your life experience. To grow, you have to have some curiosity about that, and some commitment to understanding it. Then, paying attention, you will realize.

This is really what life is all about—realizing. This is where the nectar is in life, in realizing. It’s where the juice is. It’s where the joy is. It is the most important thing we are in this world to do.