The essence of this practice is to discern between the inner and outer realities, to tell the difference between the outer events in the world and our inner reactions, and to respond to each reality accordingly.
In every encounter there are two layers of reality occurring simultaneously: the inner and the outer. The outer reality is the actual event in the world. The inner reality is how we feel about it and what we think about it. Dealing with both layers effectively is crucial to creating a peaceful existence. If we get these two layers entangled we will inevitably end up with conflict.
Let us look at a few examples.
Example 1: A situation arises in which you have to follow someone’s orders at work. The job will not get done if you do not obey but it brings up feelings for you of disempowerment by having to subjugate your will to someone else’s will.
In the outer you need to obey the orders so that the job gets done. In the inner you need to work on your feelings of disempowerment and see where in your life you are not able to exert your will. If you attend to the outer and not the inner then you will grow increasingly frustrated with being told what to do. If you attend to the inner and not the outer then the job will not get done and you might lose your job. If you try to deal with the inner and the outer at the same time you might start a conflict with your boss.
Example 2: There is an oil spillage on the road. Someone needs to clear up the spillage to prevent any accidents (outer) but the people involved need to deal with how they feel about the situation (inner) and who they think should assume responsibility for the spillage (inner) and for clearing it up (outer).
Example 3: You get in your car to drive to work but you find that someone has blocked the entrance to your driveway. You are running late for work and you get irritated by this. In the outer you need to find out who has blocked the driveway, ask him to move his vehicle and try to make sure he does not block you in again. In the inner you need to deal with the anger that arises and any other feelings which might surface, for example, feeling blocked in or trapped.
If you get the inner and outer layers entangled you might start shouting at the person who blocked you in and accuse him of being selfish and so on.
The outer event needs to be dealt with in a calm, yet assertive manner, and the inner reality needs to be given adequate attention so you can understand how it is that these emotions arise and understand what beliefs and judgements lie behind them.
The inner reality is concerned with our sense of personal power, disempowerment, emotional wounds and soul loss. The outer reality is purely what happens in the world.
*** This chapter is taken from my book The Light Within ***