The Power to Leave Painful Thoughts and Feelings
By Guy Finley
Excerpted from "Let Go and Live in the Now" (Red
Just as a storm in the atmosphere of the earth is born of conflicting
fronts of different temperatures colliding with one another, so
too must there be conflicting forces within us in order to form
a mental or emotional storm. Our task is to become conscious of
these unseen forces that dwell in the unenlightened parts of us.
As we grow to realize that no disturbance can remain within us
without our granting it the force it needs to sustain its fury,
we realize that we have at our disposal two great powers. We are
empowered to dismiss storms when they appear in our psychic system
and, with time and practice, we can learn to dismiss these disturbances
before they begin!
What are these invisible conflicting forces at work within us
that cause so much foul weather? We uncover the first of these
unconscious forces by recognizing that the storms in our lives
all share a common cause. Each storm, large or small, centers
around something that happens to us that we don't want to be happening
for whatever reasons. A few quick examples prove this insight,
but best success is assured if you will fill in the blanks from
your own experience. Imagine a woman caught in an emotional firestorm
of anger because she does not want to be treated like that. Or
a man who feels trapped by a tormenting depression because he
doesn't want what life continues to bring to him. Can we see that
these two storms share a common root? Both rise as they do because
of our unconscious resistance to something that has already happened.
Whenever we face an unwanted event and find ourselves feeling
nothing but resistance, we can discover that this stress-mess
is made from our insistence that this should not have happened.
And how about when we recall past mistakes, painfully reliving
how we fell down — either a moment ago or ten years back? Aren't
we sure that whatever that error may have been — it shouldn't
have taken place?
Which brings us to the following insight that deserves a few
moments extra consideration. It feels natural for us to go along
with the feeling of not wanting what we are powerless to change!
What on earth lies hidden in this strange struggle of ours that
compels us to wrestle with what amounts to mental ghosts? After
all, once something has happened in our life — that moment is
over; it's gone, done with, finished. Clearly, what was no longer
exists in the here and Now. So, we have to ask ourselves, given
this understanding that is above dispute, how can something from
our own past feel as real and as alive as it does to us in the
present moment? The following answer brings us one step closer
to living in a world without storms.
Within our mind lingers an untold number of chemically and electrically
stored images of the way things were. These mental pictures include
complete scenes of every experience past, as well as pleasurable
or frightening images of what is yet to come. And these same images
are secret storehouses of all the sensations that accompanied
them in the moment of their creation. Each one is laden with its
original emotional content that pours into us each time we revisit
them. To help visualize how this unseen psychic sequence unfolds
within, put yourself in the place of this imaginary person —
Barbara — walking down the street. As Barbara window-shops her
eye catches sight of a lace-sleeved lavender blouse on sale in
one of her favorite stores. In an instant, Barbara recalls wearing
a similar blouse many years ago the night her father passed away.
Now, virtually unnoticed, a small wave of regret washes over her.
For reasons unknown to her, as she stands there still looking
at a blouse she feels sure should be in her closet, she is beginning
to think about the last words she had with her father, and how
she wishes she would have said something else.
The more Barbara is drawn into these flooding considerations,
the more she suffers. And the more unwanted this painful experience
becomes, the more she unconsciously resists her mounting turmoil
until she is caught in a full-blown storm. Haven't we all been
there before? Where a seemingly harmless thought, which we turn
over in our mind, becomes a tornado? Well, it need not be like
that . . . for any of us!
The only reason we ever find ourselves caught in a psychological
storm is because we have been drawn, without knowing it, into
identifying with — actually merging with — mental images from
our past. These images are pre-loaded — rather like psychological
time capsules — with punishing thoughts and feelings that flood
into us the instant we identify with them. As the invisible, but
psychically palpable blows from these painful memories pour through
on us, we are unconsciously moved to try and resist them — all
of which makes us feel as though we are trapped in a storm about
which we can do nothing other than try to escape its lashing!
Once we invite the following insight to become our own, we need
never again endure the pounding of such negative states: No storm
of mental torment or dark, emotional suffering belongs to you.
Any wave of resentment, anxiety, or fear that comes to wash you
away is nothing more than a kind of psychic residue left over
from who you once were. Not only do these negative states have
nothing in common with your True Nature, but they cannot enter
into the living Now where this higher consciousness lives.
This same truth can be said in a slightly different way: we cannot
be punished by any painful storm when we are grounded in the present
moment. The reason for this perfect protection is as pure as it
is simple: psychological storms are powerless to push their divisive
and destructive forces into the spiritual harbor of Now because,
within Its native wholeness, they have no way to remain there.
Now let's pull these important lessons together in a short summary.
We have seen that the storms we suffer are not born simply from
any particular event that takes place, but rather they rise from
an unknown ground in us due to our undetected resistance to them.
Further, these unwanted events that we so strongly resist are
not the actual events themselves. What we secretly struggle against
in these moments are unwanted images of that event fashioned by
ourselves. This occurs, for example, when we imagine a fearful
future, or see ourselves thrown for a social loss of some sort.
In these moments we suffer, as we do, because we are looking at
what we don't want to see. And then, because we don't know that
we have been tricked into giving these negative fantasies our
attention, we try to imagine ways to escape their punishing presence.
The more we struggle to get away, the more attention we inadvertently
lend to what we wish would disappear! It's a great paradox: not
wanting to look upon what is bothering us keeps what is bothering
us in plain view! But now we are beginning to see our way out
of this trap.
From this moment forward, whenever some dark storm appears in
us we must neither run from it, nor stand there and hate what
we think is happening. Instead we must awaken to ourselves, bring
ourselves back into the Now and quietly, deliberately, drop any
image that our thought-nature presents within us to justify the
brewing conflict. Learning to dismiss the storms that sink our
chances to be happy takes dedicated inner work, but you may be
assured such powers are possible. Your True Nature already dwells
beyond the reach self-wrecking storms. Join it; begin Now! •
© 2005 Guy Finley
About the Author
Guy Finley is Founder and Director of the Life
of Learning Foundation,
devoted to helping people realize their True Relationship with
Life. Guy is the author of over 25 books and audio albums that
have sold over a million copies in 12 languages worldwide, and
is on the faculty of the Omega Institute, the nation's largest
and most trusted holistic education provider. Guy's television
program "Wisdom's Way with Guy Finley" airs Sundays
on Wisdom Television, and his live, call-in radio program "Guy
Finley Live" airs monthly on HealthyLife.net as part of the
Visionary Celebrity Host Series." For more information about
Guy Finley and Life of Learning call (541) 476-1200 or visit www.guyfinley.com,
where you can also sign up to receive a free, weekly Key Lesson.