We may deny that we value our aches, but on the other hand, we think about them all the time. We have yet to recognize the fact that our thinking about any painful event as something real, solid and unavoidable is one of the conditions that perpetuate it. Take one thing out of the conjunction, and it is no longer the same event. When we stop giving our life energy to any moment which seems overpowering, it loses its illusion of power. In that moment is also lost our prior belief that we have to submit to its punishment.
This shows us that no negative state or event has any individual, independent existence. We can begin to free ourselves from the event when we understand the truth about its power over us. Until now, we thought from our suffering instead of toward our suffering. Now, however, because of our new understanding, we can see through our suffering instead of through its eyes. And what a world of difference this difference makes!
What we see is that our perception produces what we experience, and our experience is made up of many different small elements that by themselves mean nothing. When our perception combines and organizes these events, and connects itself to them through an expectation or desire, the thing takes on a kind of life. It appears to us as a whole, dark, permanent entity that has the power to hurt us, but it isn't that at all. It's only a conjunction of events that has conditional dependence, and the primary condition that gives it power is our perception. When all these conditions are stirred up and "baked in a cake," that cake has reality to us. But in fact, the cake is made up of individual facts that will simply pass if we let them.
Why have we not seen this for ourselves? Why have we not let those facts just pass by without grabbing onto them? It's because we have become so used to being in a storm, we aren't at all sure who we are without something to suffer over. As strange as it may seem, we welcome the painful experience because it makes us feel real. But who is it who feels real? It's the false self -- the intimate enemy.
Can you see what good news this is for those of us who wish to free ourselves from false suffering and find the higher life? It means that all those conditions that seemed so real and painful are just the creation of faulty perception. Our belief that the event had the power to hurt us is what made it so punishing and continued its existence, but now we understand that if the events are left to themselves, they must move on. The expression "This too shall pass" is now revealed in all its wisdom. Every temporary conjunction of events must pass as long as we don't keep it going through our own thoughts.
The bitter cake can't exist if one of the ingredients is displaced. In our own lives, we have kept the achy cake baking; but now that we see the facts, we no longer need to be a victim of our own misunderstanding. We can inwardly say to that suffering state, "You are not a power. You only feel like one. The knots in my life that have me all tied up have no power over me outside of my own misperception. That misperception put the stone in my shoe, but now I will learn to see things as they really are."
Now that we know negative events are not powerful in themselves, we can turn away from what we perceive as permanent punishment toward what can be called permanent pleasure. This is the same thing as turning toward Truth.
Everything passes. There is great beauty in this, both in the passing of pain and in the passing of pleasure. When things present themselves to you as permanent, don't believe it. Exercise a reasonable doubt. Discover from your own experience that the negative event that seems so overwhelming is not the power it presents itself to be. As your perception changes, a critical ingredient in the cake will change, and then the entire cake must change.
Excerpted from Who Put That Stone In My Shoe? (c) by Guy Finley
About Guy Finley
Best-selling “Letting Go” author Guy Finley’s encouraging and accessible message is one of the true bright lights in our world today. His ideas cut straight to the heart of our most important personal and social issues – relationships, success, addiction, stress, peace, happiness, freedom – and lead the way to a higher life.
Guy 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.
Guy 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 colleaguesIn 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