Outer Or Inner Life – Where Is Our Work Focus?

Logopraxis work is psychological work, we are called to work with the Word in a way that brings a light onto our mental life with its thoughts and affections. It’s a given that we have a life in the external world, but this external level of life with its relationships, activities, situations, and circumstances is not the direct focus of Logopraxis work. It’s important that these levels of life are kept separate in our thinking so that we can be clear about the “right” points for the application of the portion of Text we are seeking to work with. When we first begin working we tend to focus on our outer life, looking for improvements in our circumstances, relationships etc. We have yet to see that disharmonies in outer life are but outer effects that represent disharmonious relationships that exist between elements within ourselves. In Logopraxis work the issue is never the person or event that we choose to focus on in the external world, this is merely a diversionary tactic of the proprium to draw our attention away from where the real work has to be done.

It is perhaps one of the most difficult things of all not to have our attention drawn into the external world and see it with its outer events, circumstances, and people as having some causal connection with how we are feeling internally. If only this or that would change, if only she or he would just do things this way then… What we fail to see, when attitudes like this dominate our sense of life, is that it creates inverted ways of thinking in terms of the relationship between the outer and inner life that results in unnecessary suffering. Outer things are always effects, inner things are what are causal; the spiritual world is a world of causes while the natural world is the world of effects. This is a spiritual law and as such cannot be reversed. Yet how often do we have it reversed in the way we relate our external to our internal life.

… all external sensations derive their origin from internal sensations which are of the understanding and will, thus in man from the truths of faith and from the good of love, for these constitute the understanding and the will of man. But the internal sensations, which are proper to the understanding and will with man, have not that sense which the external sensations have, but are turned into such when they flow in; for all things made sensible to man by the external organs of sense, flow in from internal things, because all influx is from internal things into external, but not the reverse. For there is no such thing as physical influx, that is, influx from the natural world into the spiritual, but only from the spiritual world into the natural. The interiors of man which belong to his understanding and will are in the spiritual world, and his externals which belong to the senses of the body are in the natural world. (Arcana Coelestia 10199{2})

If we are looking to see changes in our external world, thinking that such changes will provide us with relief from inner feelings of discomfort, frustration, sadness, or alternatively provide us with feelings of happiness, fulfilment, and joy in life then we don’t understand the nature of the laws that govern cause and effect. We will forever be looking to see changes in our externals missing, or even refusing, to give attention to our inner spiritual world which is where the cause of suffering truly lies. This attitude lives from a belief that the external world is causal and the internal world is its effect which is an inversion of an established law of life. Whenever our beliefs run contrary to what is true, the inevitable result will be some form of suffering.

Logopraxis provides us with the tools to see how disharmonies in outer life can be useful for our spiritual growth if we make a conscious effort to use them as a trigger to remind us to focus our attention on our inner states of mental life. If we would do this while resisting the temptation to attribute causal properties to outer events then maybe some change might become possible in the nature of the states that we choose to bring to outer events, and which ultimately determine the quality of meaning which we bring to them.

May the words of our mouth and the meditations of our heart be acceptable in Your sight O Lord.


  1. Dianna Synnestvedt

    This is the root of a fallacy I sometimes work from: If I (from myself) change some external condition or situation in my life, I will be better able to obey the Word.

  2. Carol Roennfeldt

    A concept that makes perfect sense, but is difficult to put into practice without some struggle or real conscious effort. Working this way – not blaming others, but instead focusing on what needs to be changed within me – seemed foreign at first but it really does deflect negative thoughts and anger. Helps me to recover from disappointments and upsets in a much calmer way.

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