Key Lesson: Seen properly, what is any dark mental or emotional habit – such as fearfully trying to protect ourselves from what “may be” – other than the unconscious practice of perfecting what punishes us?
Here is a particularly vital idea for those of us who are tired of finding ourselves a surprised victim of our own actions: in this world of ours, response is request. We can slightly enlarge this idea by restating it this way: The way you respond to life is also a request you make to it. See how the next example proves this important discovery.
Someone walks into your home or office and says something that just steams you. Instantly you see “red,” and then you sit and simmer over what’s taken place long after the offending party has left. But here’s what you don’t see: your continuing negative state – your response to the event – acts as a request to all those you encounter in the hours to come. It’s a law: people tend to treat us as they find us treating ourselves, and when we meet them with some kind of misery, they reflect the same back to us. Surely we’ve all seen how “like attracts like.”
In this context it should be clear: Our refusal to let go of some negative state amounts to a request for its continuity.
Whenever I present ideas like these to groups, invariably someone will get upset and say something like, “You’re wrong! I don’t want to feel as I do, and I certainly don’t agree to be taken over by some dark feeling. The truth is there are times when negativity just overcomes me, regardless of what I wish.”
Of course this happens, just as you’ve described – which is the point, really: No one is saying that each of us isn’t doing the very best we can at the moment. Believe it or not, even common criminals are doing the best they can right in the commission of that crime that will one day lock them away. In scale, haven’t we found ourselves captives of some choice that we thought would set us free? Too late we learned that what “burned” us was our own best idea! The point is this: We can only do what we know to do, and if we want to do better, we must learn something better to do – such as follows.
Most of us have found ourselves washed away, overcome by a flood of punishing thoughts and feelings. Picture a desperate man being swept down a river, grabbing onto whatever comes along, and it’s easy to see how we end up clinging to things that – rather than saving us – actually serve to further sink us. “From the frying pan into the fire” is the expression that defines “bad bounce” relationships, addictions, and a host of other self-compromising acts meant to end one’s misery, not extend it.
There is only one reason any pain has the power to command us as it does. We have forgotten this one great rescuing truth: No dark state has authority over who we really are! This is spiritual fact, pure and simple; but why can’t we remember it in our hour of need?
The answer is somewhat shocking: in those moments when the Light that lives within us is meant to transform whatever troubles us into a new and higher form of self-understanding, it is we who get transformed into that trouble itself! Here’s a look at how we get so turned around: we become the very negative state we don’t want by identifying with our resistance to it. And we all know what happens next. It is no longer we who meet life, who welcome the lessons it brings; instead the conflict we are in goes before us, as do dark clouds before the storm. Seen in this light, it’s little wonder that we receive what we do back from life. After all, what do lightning rods attract?
Every one of us knows – from somewhere deep in the heart of us – that we were not created to spend our lives contesting whatever dominates us in the moment. And yet, we can see how each unwanted state that washes over us is replaced by another state of some similar ilk. It’s pretty clear: we’re never truly in possession of ourselves, unless we believe that not wanting to be unhappy or anxious is the same as being calm and content. Our sense of self is on a kind of “spin cycle” running through a series of alternating states where, for example, resentment washes over us until it’s replaced by some form of guilt or regret; then guilt is washed away by a feeling of trying to find or give forgiveness. And we feel better until another cycle starts . . . again. So now we must ask ourselves, “How can any order of consciousness that continuously repeats itself request anything genuinely new from life?”
The answer is clear. It can’t; which means we must abandon all hope in our usual way of responding to what challenges us. What’s needed is a whole new way to ask life for what we really want – to live from an unshakable self that cannot be made to act against itself or anyone else. This is where new and true self-knowledge is irreplaceable, as is about to be made self-evident.
Your True Nature is something already greater than any self-compromising state, much in the same way as the ocean shoreline is greater than the waves that pound it. Your True Self is the unshakable Ground over which all “waves” of thoughts and feelings both move and break. And just as light doesn’t fight with shadows for fear of what the shadows portend, neither need we ever do anything about our interior troubles except meet them from this timeless Ground within us. This willingness to be inwardly still and take no action toward our interior troubles is one and the same as our new request. How so? Deliberate non-action toward whatever threatens to wash us away is the same as asking our God to lift us above these troublesome waves.
The beauty of making this new kind of conscious request is that the rescuing response to it is immediate – only in ways formerly unimaginable to us! Here’s just a hint of what we see each time we “choose the higher Ground” instead of habitually identifying with negative thoughts and feelings.
We realize these various mental and emotional states are visitors, not who we are. We see that while negative states are within us, they are not our True Nature any more than superheated deep sea vents are the same as the waters they warm. And by our choice to remain aware of their presence within us – instead of identifying with the pain they bring – we are instantly “transported” to that higher Ground within us: a higher state of our present self that dwells worlds above the waves that used to sink us. Only then and there is the real difference evident between Self and its states, just as a man standing on the beach knows the difference between sand and sea.
Practice this new interior understanding that starts with remembering the truth of yourself. Each effort will reward you with the growing realization that any time you start to feel miserable it’s only because you have mistakenly identified with who and what you are not. Learn what it means to seek out and stand on the unshakable Ground of True Self. Be one with who you really are, and the waves of a thousand passing worlds cannot wash you away.
About the author:
Adapted from Guy Finley’s newest bestseller, “The Essential Laws of Fearless Living,” a Red Wheel/ Weiser publication. For a limited time you can order this groundbreaking new book for a deeply discounted price, PLUS, receive over 108 free bonus items including Guy Finley’s bestselling 60-minute DVD, “The Power to Never Again Feel Powerless.” It’s a complete life-changing package! Quantities are limited. Visit Essential Laws right now to take advantage of this incredible offer.
It will look like this: Stand on the Unshakable Ground of Your True Self