It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Guy Finley is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and bestselling self-help author.  He is the Founder and Director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for transcendent self-study located in Merlin, Oregon. He also hosts the Foundation’s Wisdom School — an on-line self-discovery program for seekers of higher...

Guy Finley is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and bestselling self-help author.  He is the Founder and Director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for transcendent self-study located in Merlin, Oregon. He also hosts the Foundation’s Wisdom School — an on-line self-discovery program for seekers of higher self-knowledge. Guy offers 2 talks on GoToWebinar, open to the public every week. Each talk is followed by a Question-and-Answer session with the audience. These talks are free to anyone who wants to join in. To register visit www.guyfinley.org/online    

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Walk Through the Boundary into a Larger Life

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Have you ever noticed that the more negative you get, the more difficult everything about your life becomes, including being able to do the simplest things?

Even your intention to work spiritually in some way -- to develop and transcend yourself -- now sits in the hands of a very negative self, a dense level of self that sees nothing but darkness ahead of it. 

This dense sense of how impossible life seems when we’re negative is the direct expression of a certain kind of resistance that wells up in certain “dense” parts of us when life suddenly says ­-- usually in the form of some unexpected and unwanted event -- “Would you like to live in a larger world, without as much fear? Would you like to be less resentful, worried, or angry? Do you want the power to be more at peace with yourself?”

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Stop Running and Bumping and Start Seeing

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Self-observation is the key to a higher order of awareness; it is how we learn to become inwardly vigilant to our own thoughts and feelings, even as they pass through us. When we can observe ourselves in this new way, our higher nature naturally prevails over any troubling thoughts or feelings that want to drag us down into their lower world.

Self-observation allows us to understand what we witness in ourselves, instead of being washed away by our reaction to it. This new and higher interior “position”—as the observer of what unfolds around and within us—is at once a part of the proceedings and, at the same time, untouched by them.

When we are awake this way, we always make the right choices because we are acting from a level of consciousness that has no past investment in any event or its possible outcome. This means that it is free to select what is intelligent.

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Open Yourself to the Presence of the Ascending Spirit

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We have an innate need to rise above ourselves, to open ourselves to higher influences.

Our present condition is imagining what we need to do in order to get above ourselves, never seeing that whatever we imagine belongs to our past, to something known. In a manner of speaking, it belongs to the very earth -- the body of ideas and social values, morals, traditions, religious icons -- all those things that seem to lift us, but in truth sit beneath us and drag us down into their world, into tension and further division.

You are, whether you see it or not, in a constant state of tension. There’s always something that has to be fought with and overcome. And the mind doesn’t discern. It can be fighting with its past. You can be tense because of relationships that have been gone for fifty years, but you don’t know it because the mind calls up an image, imbues it with the sensation and emotion from the experience, and then puts you in a struggle to try to free yourself from it… which is tension.

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Catching Messages from Heaven

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Every relationship that we have in our life—our contact with each person, place, and event—serves a very special, if yet to be realized, purpose: it is a mirror that reveals things to us about ourselves that can be realized in no other way. I think this is one of the reasons that so many of us love to be out and about in that great showroom of life called Mother Nature.

For instance, gazing into the depths of a night sky we realize a sense of something vast and timeless; in her mountains we sense the soul of majesty; in any newborn there’s a sense of an all but forgotten innocence. With all that touches us this way, we are made aware of a life larger than our own, yet one that is inseparable from the part of us that stands as witness to it. 

Through these relationships we glimpse the ineffable. By their touch we are awakened to realize that whatever we behold in this world is but a mirror of the worlds above, and that all of these worlds reside within us. The soul knows this to be true: that in the common hides the celestial, and so it waits, watchful, never knowing when or where it will catch a message from heaven. Such moments are never announced. They enter quietly, unexpectedly, and—as the following illustration helps make clear—though they vanish into thin air, their impression lasts forever.

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Let the Light of Awareness Transform Your Life

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We are born hungry. We not only require food that we take in with our mouths, but we all have an innate need to take in impressions -- to take in the nourishment that stimulates our mind, that moves our heart, and that works to give us a sense of satisfaction in life.

When we’re young, we have a natural appetite for life, and we are educated by going out and engaging in the world. We meet other human beings, we find lovers, we find ways to make a living that will hopefully satisfy and stimulate us.

Then, as we grow older, our appetite becomes more and more refined, and we find we can no longer be satisfied by the life that we see around us. We realize that another relationship, more money, more food, more travel, isn’t going to fix things. It eventually dawns on us we can’t give ourselves what we’re hungry for through the things that we see in the world.

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Choose to Remember the Light in You

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Have you ever had appear in your mind the image of someone who hurt you, or run a whole mental movie about something that didn't work out, so that in recalling the event you actually relived the sense of loss?  

 How do such a painful images seem to stay in the mind, especially given the fact of how much we struggle to make them go away?

These unwanted images return again and again as they do because something within us keeps recalling them and drawing them to the forefront of our mind.

The the truth is we do not have to share a single moment with the memory of anything that we don't want to, this means there is something in our present nature that actually wants to recall painful past experiences.

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Get to the Bottom of What’s Betraying You

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We each have ideas about who we are, how the events in our lives should go, and how other people should treat us. We believe that if everything goes according to our plan, we will be safe. By the same token, anything that threatens the fulfillment of the plan is seen as an enemy. What might some of these enemies be?

 

         Other people who don't give us the respect we deserve.

 

         An uncertain future.

 

         Embarrassing events that prove we are not who we’ve been pretending to be.

 

In order to protect ourselves from the unpredictable “attacks” of these enemies, we direct our lives along a path that will allow us to be more powerful than what we fear. So we work to make money, excel, appear more intelligent — anything that will make us feel stronger than what we think has the power to punish us.

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Reorient Yourself to a Different Order of Life

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What is behind the fear of unwanted change? The uninvestigated mind says that I’m going to sustain a loss: "he's going away," "the business is slipping," etc. The fear of loss is connected in our mind with the image of what had previously given us the feeling of succeeding. So now here’s reality, and it's pretty different than our image of what should be, and we’d rather live with the image than look at reality. But the fact of the matter is, we can see clearly now that something "bad" has happened to us and there is this sense of loss.

Why is that loss so traumatic to us? Because that loss, if it's real, means that we’re going to have to literally reorient ourselves to life. That's why we don't want the loss. It’s because the present relationship that we have imagined defines us in our world. We are defined by our relationships, and if a relationship starts to change, the way we’re defined in life and the way we know ourselves starts to change. And we don't want that. We don't want anything we have imagined to be real to show us that it's not, because the super-structure of our self as it stands is rooted in this imagined life from which we derive these feelings of security as we imagine ourselves in it.

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How to Interrupt the Pattern of Fighting

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Have you ever been drawn into a fight with a loved one where – by the time you got knee-deep into who's “right” and who's “wrong” – maybe over the most trivial of matters – it felt as if, somehow, your very life depended on the outcome of that fight?

We’ve all had moments like this, perhaps too many times; which is why it seems strange that we’ve yet to see the following: there's no such thing as a “winning” side in any fight between two people who love one another, any more than one seat proved itself better than another on the deck of the Titanic.

Our demands never prove we’re right, any more than our negativity proves our partner is wrong. The only thing this kind of stress and strain between us proves is that we're missing at least one piece of the puzzle in that struggle with our partner.

What’s the missing piece? We can call it “love.” But if the word – or even the ideal – had the power to hold us together when everything feels like it’s trying to pull us apart – especially in the throes of a fight – then all we would have to do is call up that word, and our world would suddenly be right.

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Welcome the Freedom that Comes with Being Fearless

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If you were empowered to change life -- in order to give yourself whatever is always good and true for you to know and have -- would you ever make any other kind of changes? For example, would you fear unexpected events, such as a loss of any kind? No! Even though they may come as a surprise, you already know that they herald a new beginning of something better.

Would you resist the passage of time and the slow changes that grow out of it like branches on a tree? No! You already know that patience and willingness to persist through what is being revealed -- even if momentarily bitter -- will bring only sweeter fruits.

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Receive the Gift of Unlimited Possibilities in Any Moment

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When a wave of negative reactions comes along, something in us that believes itself to be apart from the wave, steps in and tries to mitigate or resolve it.  It never works!  As long as we run into the wave, try to fight with it, change its direction, or evaporate the ocean, there's only one possibility. What's the possibility? The continuity of conflict. That's the only possibility there is. The reaction actually drives the situation deeper and strengthens the idea that: “I really don't want to be an unhappy person. I really don't want to worry, but I just have to!” That’s a lie.

If we really understood that, then what position would we take towards our painful reactions? What would be our conscious choice? I'm going to tell you what it would be. It would be to have no position at all. None. We would just be watchful instead of being tricked into being willful.

Have you ever watched a little cloud in the sky until it disappears? Where does it go? It changes form. It lives in a relationship with a host of forces acting upon it, and the very purpose of the relationship is to change the forms that those forces produce.

When the cloud disappears, nothing is lost; it has simply taken on a new role. The role that it takes on will change again and again, and eventually it will appear as a little cloud again. That's the nature of life.

What would happen if we understood that our true nature is to our negative reactions, as this broad body of forces is to the awareness of the cloud?

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Learn to Use Dark Reactions to Free Yourself from Them

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In this life, we have one of two choices when it comes to painful events, past or present. We can either go on hating and fearing what we think life has done to us (or others), and let these negative reactions create our experience for us ... or we can learn to use these same dark reactions to free ourselves from them. But just wanting to learn the truth isn't enough; we have to be willing to see the truth if we want its liberating touch.

Hating the past and blaming it for the pain we're in now seems to justify our continuing suffering. But whatever justifies blame and hatred is, itself, a part of – in league with – these negative states. 

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Reconnect Yourself with Timeless Wisdom and End Useless, Painful Thoughts

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We must recognize the almost endless cycle of pressure, anxiety, anger, and regret that always appears with the promise that if we follow some branch of negativity, it will lead us back to the source of understanding where we’ll be free at last. In fact, that branch we’re tempted to follow belongs to something that can never complete itself, and that requires our energy to sustain it.

Instead of trying to complete the moment through what anxiety, fear, or anger tell us to do, we must be completely present to those thoughts, completely present to that pain – a pain that promises freedom in a time to come, but is really the continuation of the consciousness that is pain itself because it lives apart from the true Vine and the true life. 

Instead of trying to untie all this experience that seems to be the product of unwanted conditions we try to control, our real task is to sever our relationship on the spot with anything in us that wants to continue trying to free itself in time.

This may sound impossible. We’re concerned about what will happen to us if we don’t serve that master.  We feel stress and anxiety, we wonder what will happen if we don’t do again what has never freed us in the past, but hope may work this time.

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Meet Every Moment Awake to a Limitless Life

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It’s safe to say that most us wrestle with some kind of frustration on a daily basis. This kind of dissatisfaction can be with ourselves, over what we can or can’t get done—or with others, who may deny us our wish or otherwise disappoint our expectations. Accordingly, we can feel as though we are blocked, incapable, unable, not strong or wise enough to move ahead as we would.

The more we feel the unwanted presence of this limitation—accompanied as it always is by a host of painful dark thoughts and emotions—the more our attention is diverted to wrestle with them. Without seeing it, our struggle is no longer with wanting to understand the actual cause of our situation, but is now with these negative states that we don’t want. Feeling resentment over what we regret about ourselves only makes sense to the mind that believes soaking in a mud bath is the best way to get clean!

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Bring Your Loneliness into the Light of Your Self

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We're about to learn about a new kind of understanding with the power to transform “dark” moments into liberating self-discoveries. Let’s get started… 

We don’t yet see “problems” for what they really are: a part of the Light within us that we have yet to perceive! Any thought or feeling that troubles us in mind or heart, any fear or worry, is like a candle not yet lit. What purpose has any flame or light—in any form we may find it—other than to enter into and transform what is dark into more of itself?

 For instance, maybe we turn around one day and find ourselves caught in the dark grip of some kind of fear. Perhaps we see the one we love “looking the other way;” maybe a phone call delivers uncertain news about our deteriorating health; or someone tells us about a forthcoming change at work that threatens our sense of security.

In moments such as these our future grows as dark as it seems full of the loneliness, worry, and loss we see coming our way. But our lives need not be swallowed up in unconscious servitude to this kind of suffering. We have another choice if we will only dare be still and be the Light. Here now are some ways to practice realizing the truth of your Self. Each case begins with remembering to make the new choice that follows:

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Stop Being Tricked into Feeling Bad About Anything

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No one really wants to talk about it, but the truth is, there is a kind of “evil spell” hanging over each of us and our world as well. In fact, part of this global spell is our denial of its existence. It is called suffering. Everyone does it—and, like hypnotized captives, everyone believes that their suffering somehow benefits them. That’s how the spell works. Why else would anyone punish themself with unhappy feelings unless they had been tricked into somehow perceiving self-hurt as self-help?

 Let’s examine one of these instances. First of all, to be angry is to suffer. It doesn’t help anyone to get angry. Anger hurts whoever is angry. It burns. Anger ruins relationships, causes heartache and regret, and devastates health. And yet, in spite of all of these facts, when we are angry it feels right. Somehow, in some unseen way, anger proves to whoever is experiencing its heated feelings that he or she is right—even though, in reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The same scenario holds true of worry, anxiety, resentment, doubt, guilt, or any other dark state.

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Take the Step You’re Sure You Can’t

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How many times have you found yourself thinking you’d like to develop a new skill or sharpen an old one? Maybe you’ve wanted to learn another language or play a musical instrument; further your education; or just do some catch-up on those emails you’ve been putting off for a week 

But in each, or at least most, of these instances, before you can even get started, you find yourself turned back—repelled from your upcoming chosen task by an onslaught of invisible forces! Suddenly, you’re surrounded by deep weariness, self-doubt, mental fog, or sometimes just plain fear.

Do you recognize any of these self-stalling inner-attackers? Would you like to be liberated from their limiting influences? Freed to pursue higher levels of your own inner development? That’s what this exercise is all about; teaching you how to take that next step each time you’re sure you can’t. Let’s begin by covering a few basics in higher, or esoteric, psychology.

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Watch and Release Yourself from Disturbing Thoughts and Feelings

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All of our life experiences have been trying to teach us a certain grand lesson: Liberation from our captive condition (whatever that may be in the moment) cannot come by further deliberating it. We can see the wisdom in doing nothing toward our own troubled thoughts and feelings when we realize that the only way not to be dragged under by these negative states is to stay out of their life.

 

In many ways, this kind of watchfulness is a meditation. It involves our willingness – wherever we are and in whatever we’re doing, and regardless of what that moment may be that brings up in us what it does – that to do nothing in the face of those reactions is the beginning of a new relationship with them, the beginning of the next level of meditation. Because you see, meditation isn’t just sitting someplace with our eyes closed, quietly contemplating something of a spiritual nature, or doing whatever discipline we do in order to make the mind be still. No. That’s not meditation, at least not the next level that we’re looking at together.

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Rise Above All Runaway Reactions

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As events occur in our lives, it seems we always know exactly what they mean for us. Then immediately we rush into what feels like the appropriate emotional reaction.That reaction further influences the way we view the event, and in this way our initial response is “confirmed.” We rarely question either our view of events or our response to them.

As we are carried away unconsciously from one automatic reaction to another, these conditioned responses grow more entrenched. And with each repetition, they feel more and more natural to us.The likelihood that we will ever question them diminishes. Our behavior grows more settled into these mechanical responses and the way we view events becomes increasingly rigid. As a result, we are taken further away from the spontaneous lives we were meant to enjoy.

But it’s not necessary to continue being defeated by our own mechanical responses. We can learn to recognize these “dark horse reactions” eager to take us on a bad ride, before we are carried away by them.

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Stop Trying to Overpower What Disturbs You

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It isn’t this world that threatens or disturbs us. We are dominated by our own thoughts and feelings. We are taken over by our own reactions. This is painful for us because our original nature, our True Self, longs to be free and unencumbered by self-limiting, self-defeating, compulsive thoughts and feelings.


The problem is, at our present level, we believe that another person or event is causing our unhappy feelings. We want power over them in the hope that it will give us power over our punishing feelings. Can you see that this approach to self-command is doomed from its ill-conceived beginning?


So where do we look for the power we need to be happy?

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Weekday Personal Support

Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.

Designed To Move You From Survival and Fear to Safety and Peace. Available Monday - Friday. Meditation begins at 9 AM.  Access early to hear Panache's monologue -  around 8:30 AM.