Inner work is the foundation and core of the spiritual path. If we go without doing the inner work, we are simply wasting our time because no awakening can occur without it. Inner work enriches everything you do by complementing it and empowers you. When you commit to such work, you are turning pain into power like a spiritual alchemist. This inner work leads us to creating change in the world that is authentic, a bit at a time. Nothing could be better than finding true joy, freedom, and evolving as you live in harmony with others. The problem is that even though inner work is a worthy path, it is one we are horrified by on a subconscious level. This hatred of inner exploration is universal, but something you need to understand as a serious spiritual seeker who wants to help others.
Inner Work Defined
Inner work is defined as the spiritual and psychological practice of diving into the inner self through self-exploration, healing, self-understanding, and transformation. As we do inner work, we shine the light of awareness onto the inner landscape which composes the layers of our mind. The inner self consists of memories, hidden feelings, beliefs, thoughts, wounds, shadows, and mental or emotional conditions that influence our ability to transform. Through inner work, we can move past the limitations, fears, and feelings of unwholeness that follow us as humans. There are several signs that point to the need for inner work. A few of these are shared below.
- Feeling lost in life
- Feeling like an outsider
- Frequently fighting with others
- Not knowing who you are anymore
- Being a people pleaser
- Lacking confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Negative and self-critical thinking
- Lack of motivation for anything
- Chronic health issues
- Inability to sleep properly
- Anger Issues
- Intense sadness
- Struggling to trust others
- Attracting the wrong people
- High levels of anxiety
- Strong emotional triggers
- Desire to be around others all the time or alone to escape yourself
The more on the list that describes you, the more inner work will be necessary. Start first by seeking professional help to make sure these are not signs of a mental illness. Inner work is not a replacement for targeted psychological help, but it is a complementary practice that is essential at the core level.
People are often horrified at the idea of inner work, at least on an unconscious level. This is in part because we have explored most parts of the world and understand how things work mechanically, but not about the life force that animates all. The reality is that we are terrified about what going deep will uncover. We are more likely to blame other people, god, life, or anything rather than look to ourselves. Inner work can feel dangerous to our fragile egos, so it can seem scary. Some who have undergone a spiritual awakening say they do not have this problem, but everyone has an ego.
The Power of Inner Work
Inner work may look mystical and lavish, somewhat superficial, but at the heart of it is a gut-wrenching journey. Inner work is not about chanting and crystal work, though those can be complementary. It is about placing truth and desire for freedom above everything else. This will tear you down so you can be reborn. It never ends, even after attaining higher consciousness. Someone who believes they no longer need inner work has reached spiritual narcissism. Inner work is cyclical and when we give ourselves to this work, we are journeying toward embracing the paradox of existence. This work allows us to become all that we can and experience oneness. Walking this path is difficult, demanding, and uncomfortable. Most are not ready to take that journey. Still, there are ways to make the work more bearable through connecting with your inner free spirit and your Wolf essence. This will help you follow your instinct and intuition, make wise choices, and protect yourself while your path becomes clearer. The nature of the ego means it will always rail against inner work while your soul drives you toward it.
Inner Work Pathways
There are several inner work pathways and a few will be shared below, but only those that are proven to work on the spiritual awakening journal.
- Self-Love – This is a gentle manner of inner work, but that does not make it less important. Self-love is a good place to start with inner work. One form of this is mirror work in which you use a mirror to see your insecurities and fears. This connects you to your deeper essence, otherwise known as your soul.
- Inner Child Work – This inner work examines your childhood fears, beliefs, and wounds. We all carry a wounded child to some degree, but as adults we need to reconnect to this childlike part of ourselves and integrate it into our personality structure. Inner child work, especially for those who were abused, can bring on feelings of disgust and fear, but as you work through it, this will lessen.
- Shadow Work – The deepest level of inner work is shadow work. This is complex inner work that can be highly intimidating. This is exploring the dark places of the psyche that we suppress and deny daily. We all know what lurks in these shadows and shadow work helps us face these demons. This is facing the things we are secretly ashamed of in life. Before undertaking this type of work, you must be healthy, stable, and have strong self-esteem. This is not for beginners.
Other practices like journaling, mindfulness, meditation, art therapy, pathworking, visualization, and introspection can supplement your journey as well. The forms ultimately morph into one another, but it is best to start with the easiest. Hopefully now you have a path to follow and can invest the necessary time and energy into inner work. It will be worth it.