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JULY 2006 • Vol 3, No 7
Presence • Awakening • Higher Centers • The Beloved • God

Being Present

A monthly newsletter for putting Fourth Way ideas into practice.


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The Quiet Place Within

Before reading through this article, pause for a moment. Sit back. Let go of the many ‘I’s and try to divide your attention. Just be aware of yourself and hold this awareness as you notice what is around you. Shift your gaze every few seconds so that you look at things without having thoughts about what you see. Try this for 30 seconds or so.

When divided attention is sustained like this—or longer—it starts to produce an internal calm. The momentum of the lower centers diminishes, the noise of the many ‘I’s grows quiet, and presence begins to emerge. As the Sufi mystic, Rumi, said, “The sun fills with light when it gets hold of itself.” This is what happens when we divide attention and keep it divided. Presence starts to get hold of itself. As it does, we step out of the second state and onto the threshold of the third state of consciousness. We start to awaken.

Mr. Ouspensky described this process as entering “the quiet place within.” He said, “Continue to observe and you will find that there is a place in you where you are quiet, calm, and nothing can disturb you. This quiet place is not a metaphor, it is a very real thing—only it is difficult to find the way there. But if you do it several times you will be able to remember some of the steps, and by the same steps you may come there again.”

The whole idea, of course, is to “come there again” because this quiet place within is what makes human beings so unique in the universe. It is in this place—and only in this place—that we can cultivate a state of wordless presence which is capable of flowering into higher states of consciousness.

(At this point in reading, pause again for a few moments and try to reestablish divided attention. It may help to reread the first paragraph before continuing.)

In the second state of consciousness, without divided attention, the door to the quiet place within is closed and the entrance is blocked. The main thing blocking it is imagination—the constant veil of ‘I’s that keeps us from seeing the way to presence. The other barrier is identification which has such a strong hold over us that our undivided attention never breaks free enough to establish presence, much less prolong it. And so it goes with negative emotions and unnecessary talk, the other impediments to presence.

But even knowing about these impediments is not enough to get past them. We have to learn the exact steps that lead to presence. We have to know what the first step is, and the second, and the third, and so on. We then have to connect these steps like links in a chain of conscious effort. As Mr. Ouspensky said, “Control means effort at every step.”

Mr. Ouspensky also pointed out that, “Continuity is the main thing.” He said, “Glimpses [of presence] might happen, but continuity needs effort.” In other words, periodic efforts to divide attention are not enough to reach the quiet place within. We have to sustain divided attention, we have to do it repeatedly, and we have to remember why we are doing it.

All of this—learning the steps that lead to presence, learning to retrace them again and again and again, and understanding where they lead and for what purpose—has always been the special work of schools. As Mr. Ouspensky said, it is why schools exist.

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Introductory lectures

We offer two introductory lectures in cities around the world. To register:

• Call our USA information line (1-800-642-0212),
Find a center nearest you.

1— An introduction to the system
• The system is ancient, objective knowledge
• The microcosmos man can transcend himself
• Schools use precise methods for awakening

2— The four lower centers
• How the lower centers function
• How the lower centers displace presence
• Using lower centers to reach higher centers

Membership information

The Fellowship of Friends, Inc. is a school for spiritual awakening with centers worldwide. Membership is monthly. For details:

• Email

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• Call 1-800-642-0212

Egyptian tomb with the statue of a pharaoh looking in. (This image is included here for educational purposes only and is not intended for any other use.)

About the quiet place within
It is easier to find yourself in silence than in speech.
Robert Earl Burton  
True art makes that divine silence in the soul.
Our mind is pure and simple, so when it is stripped of every alien thought, it enters the pure, simple, Divine Light. When this comes to pass, it is followed by a quietude which contemplates all.
St. Simeon the New Theologian   
All the doors remain bolted, except for him who enters through the door of the law.
Ahmad Ibn Ajiba 
Satisfaction is quietness of heart in the midst of troubles.
Come and sit in the innermost room, where you will be safe from the love-thief. Come to this table of quietness.
I am the silence that is incomprehensible.
Gnostic Gospels, Nag Hammadi
Quietness is the surest sign that you’ve died. Your old life was a frantic running from silence.

When the words stop and you can endure the silence, that is the time to try and listen to what the Beloved’s eyes most want to say.

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