Much of our time is spent identifying the so-called cause of our discontented states, and the rest of our time is taken up trying to change our unwanted situations into what we imagine will better suit our pleasure. Of course this description puts a kind of positive spin on what amounts to one's never-ending whirl of wishes, but the facts are that these dreams of a better time to come do not originate with our True Self. They are the incessant creation of our unconscious thought nature — that ever-seeking, never-quite-satisfied self whose endless aspirations we all know too well!
This level of self knows only the kind of comfort that it can imagine into being. For instance, who among us hasn't found themselves conjuring up some imagined pleasure when faced with the pain of some contradiction in life that seems greater than our ability to deal with? And this imagined contentment is fine, if we believe an imaginary umbrella has the power to keep us dry in a downpour! To become conscious of this unconscious dynamic effectively cancels its authority over us. We don't have to live from any such self that is always seeking to exchange what we are in the moment for its more idealized conception of what it imagines can complete us. Key to this finding is that this would-be contented nature is inseparable from the discontentment that it breeds as it drags us through its comparison of what is to what should be.
Here's something even more surprising about this level of our discontented self: this nature is not just driven along by its unhappiness but, in fact, has no independent existence apart from it. It requires that something always be wrong in order for it to set things right. In other words, the contentment this self seeks only exists as long as its sense of being discontented is allowed to remain. The life span of this discontented nature is the length of time it takes to hand you over to its opposite: the projected pleasure that awaits you when you arrive at your imagined destination. But, as we know to be true, we no sooner arrive at this chosen port of pleasure than we become aware again of what is not right with where we now are. You can see now how the cycle of discontentment starts all over again!
Awakening to see this cycle of discontent for what it is not only empowers us to cancel it, but it also brings to an end the strain of living under the unseen contradiction in our consciousness: the hope that one's discontentment can be resolved by the very nature that creates and sustains itClearly a whole new order of solution is required. Finding this solution begins with a simple question that summarizes what we have been learning so far: Who in his or her right mind believes — even for a moment — that the path to lasting contentment would be paved by continually thinking about everything that is seen as missing from one's life? Such a path may promise pleasure to come but, as we are uncovering here, its steps are spiked with discontentment.
We have been the unwitting servants of a thought nature whose appetite is unappeasable. Its life is fueled by opposites that cannot cancel each other, any more than picking up a sword can kill the fear in us that creates those whom we detest. The clearer our understanding of our present condition becomes, the more certain and surgical become our daily actions. We can end our agreement to live with this unenlightened nature. Now let's look at what we must do to free ourselves from our discontentment and the divided nature that sits at its core.
First, we must be willing to see the futility of our struggle to acquire more of those things in life that have already proven themselves powerless to please us. In concert with this effort comes the inner work of deliberately detaching ourselves from the familiar sense of self that promises us comfort even as it continues to sow the seeds of our discontent.
In spite of how daunting such an effort may seem at first, we can succeed with our wish to let go because we are beginning to act from the power that our own awakening grants usNothing is greater; no force can frustrate such a light as it dawns within. Here is why this holds true: We are starting to see through the source of discontentment. We now understand how the thought-self habitually perceives what its conditioned natures sees as not right about our lives, and then compares this negative image to what it further imagines ought to be taking place. And presto, we are in pain of some sort! These are the opposites at work within us. This is what has been working on us, dragging us into ever-deeper stages of discontentment with life.
But we can declare, "Enough is enough." The divided nature that embodies these opposites is not our True Self; it is but a shadow, a single aspect of our own original contented character. We can learn to call upon a new “I” within that understands the futility of continu ing to vest ourselves in the "hope of things seen." Rather than giving ourselves over to these malcontent feelings with their empty promises of a better tomorrow, we can let them go instead and gain possession of ourselves in the Now.
Our new intention to consciously detach ourselves from this discontented nature and the objects of its life is not an act of denial or resistance to whatever we may be feeling in the moment. This shift in the sense of "I" is a deliberate re-placement of our attention. Instead of trying to escape this discontented sense of self, we bring it — along with its troubles and plans for freedom — into the new and higher awareness of our True Nature. By daring to bring what would displease us about our life into the light of our new self-understanding, that light itself sees to it that we emerge victorious.
Excerpted from Let
Go and Live in the Now by Guy Finley
ABOUT GUY FINLEY:
Finley is the acclaimed author of The Secret of Letting Go and more than 37 other books and audio programs that have sold over a million copies in 16 languages worldwide. In addition, he has presented over 4,000 unique self-realization seminars to thousands of grateful students throughout North America and Europe over the past 25 years and has been a guest on over 600 television and radio shows, including national appearances on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, NPR, Wisdom Network, and many others. His syndicated weekly radio program is aired on several international networks including Healthylife Radio Network, WorldTalkRadio Network, Contact Talk Radio International, BBS, Earthchannel, and Penguin Radio.
Finley is Director of Life of Learning Foundation, the renowned non-profit Center for Self-Study in Merlin, Oregon, and over 400,000 people in 142 countries read his popular “Key Lesson” emails each week. His work is widely endorsed by doctors, business professionals, celebrities, and religious leaders of all denominations.
Guy’s career reached this point through a circuitous path. Born into a successful show business family, he is the son of Late-Night TV and radio pioneer Larry Finley. His childhood friends were the sons and daughters of the most famous celebrities in the world. As a young man Guy enjoyed success in a number of areas including composing award-winning music for many popular recording artists including Diana Ross, The Jackson 5, Billy Preston, and The Four Seasons, as well as writing the scores for several motion pictures and TV shows. From 1970 - 1979 he wrote and recorded his own albums under the Motown and RCA recording labels.
Throughout his youth, Guy suspected there was more to life than the type of worldly success that led to the emptiness and frustration he saw among his own “successful” friends and colleagues. In 1979, after travels throughout North America, India, and the Far East in search of truth and Higher Wisdom, Guy voluntarily retired from his flourishing music career in order to simplify his life and to concentrate on deeper self-studies.
In addition to his writing and appearance schedule, Guy presents four inner-life classes each week at Life of Learning Foundation headquarters in Merlin, Oregon. These classes are ongoing and open to the public. For more information about Guy Finley and his life-changing work, visit www.guyfinley.org