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Escape to Freedom

By Guy Finley

An evil sorcerer once hypnotized a group of captives into believing that whatever he wanted was what they wanted. It was a powerful black spell. Not only did it keep each of his psychic slaves unconscious to his own unhappy feelings, but it also made him believe that he had no choice but to feel that way.

And so these poor men and women worked willingly for the sorcerer even though they were often commanded to act in ways that made them go against their own true nature. Year after year they went on hurting one another as they continued to toil unknowingly under the evil influence of his cruel spell. Then, one day, right in the middle of carrying out one of the sorcerer's wicked wishes, one of the captives had a startling insight. It came to him like a bolt of lightning. He wondered why he had never before thought to ask himself such a simple question. Here is what he wondered even as he was struggling to complete his unpleasant appointed task.

"If I am doing what I want to do, how come it hurts me to do it?" There was no way for him to know it right then, but this seemingly unimportant question was the beginning of a great miracle that would one day allow him to command his own life once again.

From that point on, every day and every time he would find himself unexplainably unhappy he would ask himself this same question: If I am doing what I want to do, how come it hurts me to do it? What he didn't know was that each time he asked this of himself, he was, at that same moment, delivering a smashing blow to the hold of the sorcerer's evil spell. Soon the happy day arrived when he just couldn't find any more good reason, in his own mind, to go on hurting himselfThis final realization spelled the end of the evil influence in his life. He escaped his unhappy existence and fled home to freedom.

No one really wants to talk about it, but the truth is there is a kind of “evil spell” hanging over each of us and our world as well. In fact, part of this global spell is our denial of its existence. It is called suffering. Everyone does it—and like the hypnotized captives in our story—everyone believes that their suffering somehow benefits them. That's how the spell works. Why else would anyone punish himself with unhappy feelings unless he had been tricked into somehow perceiving self-hurt as self-help?.

Let's examine one of these instances. First of all, to be angry is to suffer. It doesn't help anyone to get angry. Anger hurts whoever is angry. It burns. Anger ruins relationships, causes heartache and regret, and devastates health. And yet, in spite of all of these facts, when we are angry it feels right. Somehow, in some unseen way, anger proves to whoever is experiencing its heated feelings that he or she is right even though, in the eyes of reality, nothing could be further from the truth. The same scenario holds true of worry, anxiety, resentment, doubt, guilt or any other dark state. How can something so wrong seem so right? Here’s the answer: negative emotions feel like they are in your best interest because, at the time of their intrusion into your life, they temporarily fill you with a powerful false sense of self. However, just like the sorcerer's evil spell in our story, this sense of self born out of fierce but lying feelings can only exist without your conscious consent or awareness of its being there. Why? Because this negative-self's interests are not in your best interestThis conjured-up temporary identity is nothing but a self-of-sufferingNo one chooses to lose.

This lesson may seem difficult at first, but with your persistent wish to understand it, you will one day wonder how you were ever tricked into feeling bad about anything. Truth wants you to know that it is never in your best interest to unconsciously suffer, no matter how inwardly convincing it may feel to you that you will be betraying yourself or someone else if you don't. The only way that any suffering feeling can prove to you that you need it is to hypnotize you with a flood of itself. Step back from yourself. Learn instead to listen to the quiet stream of higher insight that runs softly through your True Nature. It sees through sorrow. Let it show you that suffering proves nothing. If you want to receive some special help for helping yourself escape yourself, always remember the key question that freed the hypnotized hero in our story. It freed him from his psychic captivity. Let it do the same for you. I'll repeat it for you: "If I am doing what I want to do, then how come it hurts me to do it?" The truth guarantees you will stop doing what you don't want to do once you know what you have been doing against yourself.

(Excerpted from The Secret of Letting Go by Guy Finley, Rev. Edition, Llewellyn Publications,).

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.

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 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

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