Picture a man who just heard that one of his closest friends has betrayed him. How does he respond? What’s his first answer to this ordeal?
Anger that includes plans for revenge.
Imagine a woman who suddenly realizes she’s going to be late for an important appointment. There’s no way to make it on time. How does she meet the pressure of this moment? What’s her first answer to running out of time?
Anxiety that includes inventing excuses she hopes will be believed.
These are different people under different circumstances, but they’ve made the same miscalculation. They both have the wrong answer. To understand their error, let’s take a closer look at how each arrived at his or her mistaken solution.
The man who found out he’d been betrayed thinks his anger is a source of strength. And he also believes his heated plans for making the score even will make him feel better. But anger is never real strength, and revenge is always self-wrecking long before it ever touches its intended victim. What this man doesn’t see is that the reason his heart aches isn’t because of what someone has done to him, but because of what he’s doing to himself by embracing punishing, raging thoughts. He can’t see the real reason he aches is because it’s his own answer that’s hurting him.
The woman who’s late for her date is certain her anxious feelings and worried thoughts can help her find a way out of her predicament. What she doesn’t understand is that her feeling of being squeezed into a tight spot is because she’s temporarily tucked away in a darkened corner of her own mind. What she can’t see is the pressure she feels isn’t because she’s late, but because she keeps jumping headlong into a torrent of cascading emotions. She doesn’t understand that the crushing rushing she feels is a part of her own answer.
Your answer to the challenge of any moment — and what you experience as the quality of your life in that moment — are one and the same thing. In other words, the way you answer life’s events, and what you experience as your life, are really one. Let’s examine how this works.
If your answer to some sad memory that floats through your mind is to just drift along with it, why should you be surprised when you suddenly find yourself being carried over the falls of deep grief? The reason you have the feeling of falling is because you and your answer are never apart.
You can’t separate yourself from what you receive from life any more than the ocean is apart from its own waves.
Within the space of each beat of your heart, you get the exact measure of the answer you gave to life the moment before. No more, no less: Life is always true in this way. Without fail, and without judgement, life speaks directly to you through your own immediate experience of it. Learn to listen for its wise council whenever you meet a moment. What it always says is: “Here is you back”. .
Reality is a perfect mirror. It always reflects exactly what’s in it. But we forever distort everything we see in order to justify concealed, unconscious intentions. This is why we must always be willing to meet life from something higher than our present consciousness. Truth alone is the perfect teacher because its fearless nature never denies what it sees. And your life can be light-filled and light-hearted if you’re willing to see that when there’s something sour in your life, it’s your answer that’s bitter.
Don’t be afraid to see that most of the answers you presently meet life with are the wrong ones.
… Self-doubt, anger, denial, anxiety, aggression, worry, resentment, ambitiousness, envy, greed, self righteousness, sarcasm, one-upmanship, demands, cynicism, avoidance, recrimination, dependency, expectations, coercion: all are wrong answers that can only supply secret aches.
You may be wondering, “Well then, what’s the right answer for me? How can I be sure of making the true choice? Or even if there is such a thing?”
That’s easy! Here’s why. Do you remember in your school days, during exams, there were some questions that came with multiple choice answers? And how there were always those times when you were able to come up with the right answers — not because you knew them — but simply because you knew that none of the other answers offered could be correct? In other words, you arrived at what was right by knowing what was wrong! You may not have known it then, but by deliberately eliminating what was false, you were employing an ancient and wise technique to come upon what’s true. And contained right within this powerful principle is a truly amazing secret.
Each time you refuse to choose wrong answers to live from, you’ve just stepped that much closer to coming upon what are new and true answers for you. Then, you’ll have their reward: a quiet mind, a contented heart, and complete confidence.
Regardless of how unpleasant any circumstance seems at the moment, always remember: it’s impossible to answer any situation with negativity without casting yourself into that same self-created darkness.
There is always a higher, happier answer if you’ll only learn how to ask for it. Again, this kind of conscious self-suspension — of putting your habitual mind and its answers on hold — can seem scary at times. But one day it will be your greatest pleasure to realize that you don’t need any answers that want you to be afraid.
The more you understand about the Truth and the nature of the way it fearlessly answers life, the stronger you become yourself.
(Excerpted from Freedom From the Ties That Bind by Guy Finley)
About the Author: OneJourney founder Guy Finley is the bestselling author of more than 45 books and audio albums on self-realization, including “The Secret of Letting Go,” “The Essential Laws of Fearless Living,” and his newest book “Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together.” He is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit Center for Spiritual Discovery located in southern Oregon. Guy is a faculty member at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York and at 1440 Multiversity. Tune in every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening for Guy’s free online classes, visit www.GuyFinley.org/freeclass