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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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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How to Bring Balance to Every Moment

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Do you have storms in your life that haven’t passed? Storms that were formed when you were four, eight, twelve or fourteen years old? Pains, resentments, fears that remain in conflict in the center of your being?

We live in a very peculiar state of being. We live with pain, heartache, grief, and fears that go on and on. And not only do they go on, but they actually tend to get worse.

That’s not how it’s supposed to be! You and I are not meant to live with any lingering negative state whatsoever, regardless its cause. No matter who or what happened to you in your life, the pain that is in you doesn’t belong in you! It was meant to be healed, and it wasn’t. Now the question is, why not? That’s the big question.

 Have you ever seen a storm in nature that didn’t pass? Why do storms pass in the world, but storms in human beings don’t pass?

In nature, storms are produced by colliding systems of high pressure and low pressure. Nature handles this conflict by balancing the opposing forces that cause the storms. As human beings, we also have conflicting forces as part of our nature. But unlike Mother Nature, who is able to reconcile these opposing forces that produce storms, there’s something in us that not only doesn’t reconcile them, but actually causes them to continue.

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Embrace the Challenging Conditions that Change You

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Do you feel like you can’t embrace anything these days? You go to the store and encounter a scowling face. You hear some bad news, or you get a call, and you have a terrible reaction. You don’t want to embrace it. You want to erase it! How many of you wish you had a giant eraser? And isn’t that what we’ve been trying to do most of our lives when things go wrong?

Wouldn’t it be nice to live from something that, at any moment, never feels like whatever it’s looking at is too much for it to embrace?

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5 Ways to Help You Choose What You Really Want

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It’s a little-known secret that our experience of life in any given moment is a direct reflection of what we actually value in that same moment. We may deny this unsettling truth, but when it comes to what we are in relationship with, inwardly and outwardly, actions speak louder than words—and, seen or not, all actions are a choice of one kind or another.

Nothing in the universe can make us choose to act against ourselves, as in when we consort with self-compromising negative states. Living in sorrow, with anger, or awash in regrets is a consensual affair. These dark states never dance alone; they must have a partner to produce their pain, which brings us to this good news: we are released from the dark embrace of any unhappy thought or feeling in the same moment we see that we’ve been tricked into dancing that troubled tango.

Use the following five insights to help you choose higher self-awareness as your new partner in life, and watch how effortless it becomes to start giving yourself what you really want.

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Learn to Welcome the Strange and Wonderful Goodness in Challenging Conditions

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There do come to us in our lives, for any one of innumerable possible reasons, certain conditions that challenge the very fabric of our being. Certainly, none of us would think to ourselves, "I wish upon myself these difficult circumstances," and yet the truth is it is through and because of these same unwanted moments that we are granted the opportunity to meet parts of ourselves that would otherwise remain invisible for the extent of our physical existence.  

There is no "magic" -- no individual or so-called asserted "powers" -- that can transform your life back to some preferred condition you may have enjoyed in the past… and this is as it should be. We are not intended to "return" to who we have been, but to use whatever happens to us as a point of inflection -- a moment where forces meet to produce possibilities that exist in no other way for us in that same moment. What is created out of these encounters of what I call “the truthful kind" all depends upon our willingness to see the good in them.

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End the Rush to Nowhere

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When we rush, we are not at peace. We don't see the world as it is; we only see whatever it is that doesn’t line up with what we have determined is “the way things ought to be.” Instead of being an inwardly centered person, our full attention is outwardly directed. 

Such an anxious state could not exist without our false belief that who we are, our well-being, is connected to something happening exterior to ourselves. This mistaken idea is driving us, compelling us to get the situation resolved, the person fixed right now, because then we will be back in a peaceful place.

If we are truthful about our life experience though, it is obvious that as long as we believe we have something to lose because of our identification with any temporary exterior condition or circumstance, we remain subject to every outer condition.

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Practicing the Presence of Peacefulness

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The next time something dark or disturbing tries to steal into you to wreck your contentment, do not consent to be drawn into its seemingly important considerations. Instead of sinking into this yawning abyss, rather than running after something to resolve that rift, better to remember this truth: the peace you long for also longs for you. Then, whatever you must do, find your way to it! Here’s a good place to start. 

Come awake to the backdrop of stillness within you, and while being aware within it, watch your own thoughts and feelings trying to drag you into the noisy world of their worry and fear. If you will go silent before them, they have no choice but to enter into the silence with you. This is how we turn the table on these thieves of peace. They cannot live with you in the light of higher self-awareness. In this mansion there is room for only one. 

You can work at this exercise anytime you remember it. Try it now. Look past the familiar forms around you, including those reactions in you about them. Don’t think about the moment unfolding before you, see it; Be the whole of life in the perfectly present moment. This Now is where the spirit of peace resides. Drop the minutiae, the too-familiar sense of self found in sorting through the particular. Place your attention in the awareness of your thoughts instead of losing your­self within them and what they tell you is happening.

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A Simple Practice to Bring More Harmony Into Every Relationship

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Our relationships with one another are often a source of distress. One major form of conflict we experience with others involves their failure to give us the consideration we feel they owe us. We often suffer from thoughts like these: "She is not being respectful enough." "He is not as kind as I want him to be." "They just don't care as deeply as I do." 

However, if we will be courageous enough to see the truth of the next insight, and then admit it into our heart and mind, we can change the real root of this underlying sense of our dissatisfaction with others along with the conflict it generates: Many times the very thing we want from the person we are with -- for example, respect, patience, kindness, love -- is the very thing that we ourselves either lack at the moment or otherwise somehow are withholding from them. The "catch" here is that we are mostly unconscious to our actual inner condition in these encounters with others, and here's a major reason why this happens: 

Hidden in each of us are certain clever "self-concealing devices" whose sole reason for being is to protect our self-image and keep us asleep to ourselves. One of the ways they work is to show us ourselves as blameless while pointing the arrow of insufficiency at someone else.

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Let the Light of Awareness Transform You

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There are parts of our psychic system that reject the shocks -- the lessons needed for our evolution because they imagine they’re already flying above the world of troubles. It is this mistaken sense of self that stands between us and true self-transformation.

Nothing that resists life can hope to learn from it.

Until we can embrace the lessons that ride into our lives on the back of events, we walk through an isolated world of our own making. Confined and defined by the content of our own thoughts, we are cut off from reality. And, as long as we remain so, there is no hope of realizing our relationship with that limitless Light from out of whose life pours the lessons intended for our transformation.

So, this much is clear: something within us is acting against our best interests. But what would do this, and why? The following insight helps us to see why our lower consciousness —our false self—resists the lessons we need in order to be born anew:

Real learning requires surrender.

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12 Ways to Improve Your Relationships. . .Including Your Relationship With Yourself

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Our most fruitful field for self-discovery and life-enhancement is also the one we least understand or know how to use. And yet, virtually every moment offers abundant chances to benefit from it. What is this highly valuable field of opportunity? Our relationships.

Consider these truths: It is within relationships that we grow as individuals in everything valuable, because it is through them that we become stronger and wiser, allowing us to realize a love that transcends our unseen self-limiting self-interests. Yet, even though we may acknowledge the existence of this path to self-perfection, the essential mystery of exactly how to use this endless resource remains obscured.

How do we use our relationships to change the balance sheet of our lives so that for every measure of impatience and intolerance there may be at least an equivalent sum of compassion and consideration? And how do we learn to use our relationships with others to realize a new kind of relationship with ourselves so that we can discover the beautiful fact that who we really are is all we need to be?

Our willingness to work our way through the following twelve special practices -- to strive to use these higher ideals in our relationships with others -- will reward us with the Real Life our hearts longs for. 

The main purpose of these special practices is to show us how to use each developing moment in our relationships with family, friends, and coworkers to consciously change our relationship with them, and more importantly, with ourselves. 

If we are honest we will admit that, with few exceptions, the usual focus of our attention and interactions with others is centered on our selves and the fulfillment of our desires. "How do I feel about you?" "What do I want from him?" or "When will she realize that I know best?" In other words, the mindset of this largely unconscious self, under most circumstances, is: "Me first."

By forever placing its own considerations before considering any other, this self-serving nature remains the master of its own universe, even if all that revolves through it is its own imagined importance.

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How to Rise Above Any Betrayal

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Have you ever suffered from a betrayal? Who hasn’t! Fortunately, you can gain a new understanding of yourself that will both raise your understanding of others, and take the sting out others’ betrayal of you.

To get started, we need the following brief explanation of the inner workings of our personality. Because of our experiences in life, over time different “selves” develop in us. We’re not aware of them. In fact we think we always respond to events as a single, consistent person. But these conditioned selves live within the structure of our personality, and when we experience new situations, they emerge to respond to them. That’s why we might be confident and talkative among one group of people, and shy and quiet with another group. Each environment calls up a different self that’s been waiting within us, and that’s the self that responds. I call this self that responds the TPIC – the Temporary Person in Charge. It’s the aspect of us that takes charge in the moment. It’s not who we really are; it’s just a temporary self that the moment called out.

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