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Go Beyond Thinking and Stop Sinking

Guy Finley 12-17

Too frequently we feel as though our lives are under the power of things outside of us and beyond our ability to deal with them: we are prisoners in one way or another of an unfair social system, impossible work conditions, an unforgiving past, or a failed relationship.

Whatever the antagonist, our response is pretty standard: we resist, struggling to get out from under what we see as standing over us. However, the fact of the matter is things are not as they seem. No event of itself has power, it is we who unconsciously color the moments of our lives with the unhappy quality of character that we then turn around and lament for being there. Let’s examine this important idea.

Our experience of any passing event--for the pain or pleasure of it is the product of how we see it.  This principle is a timeless spiritual truth: the inner determines the outer, which simply means that our experience of life is one and the same with how we perceive it.  The only power any unwanted moment holds over us is the power we give to it.    Negative states are not mandatory; they are voluntary!  

The following example will make this crystal clear.
   Imagine for a moment you’re driving home from work, and you’ve just come from having a pretty rough day at the office. As you drive along, your eyes see the road before you, but your mind is in the past. It’s very busy running and then rerunning a few of the day’s unpleasant events, much like an unattended slideshow cycling through the same few images over and over again. You relive that painful stab of some thoughtless remark someone cruelly blurted out, or the embarrassment of that stupid comment you made without thinking.
    All we need to see to be able to walk out of this darkened theatre of unhappy thoughts is right before our eyes: the more we think, the more we sink!  Instead of achieving the freedom we imagine will result from this struggle, we find ourselves further entangled in the dark web of our own imagination!
    In moments such as these, our lives and our choices are not our own; they are literally the property of a mind that is asleep to its own operations. Its unique “blindness” is that it’s busy showing itself the very images that it doesn’t want to look at! This means the more desperately the mind struggles to escape the conflict it feels, the less it’s able to realize that its real struggle is with itself--and not with the world that it blames for its conflicted condition.
    As we are now beginning to see, breaking free of this interior web of thought can’t happen by pulling on the individual strands of thought that hold us there. In the end, it is awareness of our actual dilemma that releases us from it. By its light we are empowered to see the truth about our “thought self” and the false sense of life it weaves for itself by thinking about itself: its world is not the same as ours.
    Like the swan that mistook itself to be an ugly duckling until it caught a glimpse of its own graceful reflection in still waters, we can open our interior eyes and see that the world of thought is not the home of our True Self. This practice is called self-observation.
    Learning to observe our self begins with one simple but deliberate act of attention on our part. As many times a day as we can remember to do it, we want to first come awake to whatever activity is running through our own mind, and then simply, quietly, take a single step back from our own thoughts. We watch our own thinking instead of allowing ourselves to be drawn onto its stage and into its drama.
    Our foremost wish is to witness what our false self is busy spinning out of thought so that we don’t fall into its web; instead of reacting to these thoughts and feelings as they pass through us, pulling us into their world as they do, we release them as they are being formed.  In other words, we are neither for, nor against, any thought with any other thought. And should we find ourselves sinking into the web of some needless negative thinking, we need only step back and watch that event. Although thought is sticky stuff, please know--in spite of appearances--release is immediate! So, we must stick with our new intention to “see” our way free until we know the truth of it in the moment.
     Higher self-awareness, through self-observation, puts us in direct contact with a new and superior intelligence that already lives within us; and through its steady silent wisdom we realize a new kind of strength that is always there when we need it.
    This living Light sees the mindless self-serving antics of our false self from a thousand miles away--which is the same as lifting us above its web of limitations. By this Light we see for ourselves what is real and what is not which is the same as saying negative states no longer have the power to hold us down because we can no longer be deceived into mistaking their world for that of our own.



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