To awaken, reclaim, and possess the courage we need to be free, there are several important insights for us to study. First and foremost is this key lesson:
No negative state, no compromising or otherwise self-defeating thought of feeling, is your “original equipment.”
In other words, who you really are, your original Self, doesn’t come loaded with worry, regret, fear, resentment, or, for that matter, any other self-limiting states that can grow where darkness gathers. Let’s make this perfectly clear:
No self-limiting thought or feeling – not one – is original equipment.
These feelings have power over us only when we are tricked into believing that we need something we don’t. When we let this happen, we begin to look at familiar negative thoughts and feelings as old friends; and though we want to be free of them, we still call on their powers to help us. We look to them to guide us, as when we walk and talk with worried thoughts, or when we embrace angry emotions for their short-term strength. But truth tells otherwise.
In and of themselves, negative states provide us with nothing of value. Instead, they make victims of all those who seek their counsel. We are deceived into acting against our own best interests.
Are We Clinging to Things That Makes Us Ache?
When life falls apart, or threatens to come unglued, it seems almost natural to carry around some desperate, stressed, or depressed emotional state. But why cling to something that makes us ache? The answer is surprising, but evident, once we’re aware of what’s actually taking place within us.
Negative states tell us that we must feel as we do.
In some strange and unseen way, the weight of a dark worry serves as proof that we have “no option” other than to buckle beneath it . . . to fall down, feel betrayed, or prepare for a fight. Which brings us to our next key lesson.
Real life can no more act to pull us down than the rising sun can burden the spring flowers that wait to bathe in its nourishing light.
Key Lesson: No psychological fear is part of your original equipment.
Proof: You aren’t born with a slide projector in your head – let alone one preloaded with unwanted negative images!
Insight: No psychological fear exists without negative imagination.
Explanation: No event, in itself, is the cause of the fear we feel in the moment of its appearance. William Shakespeare, whose insights into the workings of the human mind still remain treasures in spite of passing time, validates this important finding: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” The same wisdom holds true when it comes to the moments that make up our lives: we meet in events nothing more or less than the wealth of possibilities they present before us.
Fear: Making Monster Movies Out of Shadows
It is the mind asleep to itself that makes monsters appear where there are none, just as a child’s runaway imagination creates menacing shapes out of shadows on the wall. In this instance, we feel fear when our mind sees something that threatens us in some way. But what the mind that feels this doesn’t recognize, but that we must see if we’re to be free, is that it’s looking at a negative image of its own making! This level of mind, divided and asleep to its own creations – then tells us what we must do to protect ourselves from its projection!
To give you a picture of how this plays out in a mind still asleep to itself, imagine a team of bogus bug exterminators, one of whom shoves termites under your back door, while the other knocks at the front door to sell you a service you suddenly need!
Awareness: Discovering That We're Making Scary Movies in Our Mind
How does this new knowledge empower us to walk away from what’s been hurting us? Imagine an artist who, as he sleepwalks at night, walks into his downstairs studio and paints a picture that, when he awakens the next morning, terrifies him. He’s at a complete loss as to how this could have happened! So he buys an expensive security system, hires a patrol service, and takes a host of other steps to protect himself from an imagined intruder. None of these efforts work – and we know why! It isn’t until he installs a motion activated video camera that he catches the real culprit: himself! Shocking, for sure, but the outcome is wonderful. The artist’s fear disappears in the very same moment he discovers its cause.
Your new action: The next time some fear tries to drag you down into its world of worry – first showing you all that’s dark and wrong, then telling you how to make things right and bright again – choose in favor of this action instead.
Being Awake to Who You Really Are
At the onset of any frightening situation – whether in the form of an actual event, or because of some worried thought that appears – remember that no such fear exists outside of the dream that makes it seem real. Then simply come as awake to yourself as you can, and see what you’re giving yourself to look at in that moment. This new and higher self-awareness reveals the unthinkable: Your own mind is scaring itself.
This kind of clarity gives birth to a whole new kind of spiritual courage, for now you know that you don’t have to free yourself from anything other than a misunderstanding about who you really are. And, by this same light, a promise dawns you couldn’t have seen in any other way. You’re already free; you simply have not yet seen the truth of it.
Reprinted with permission from Red Wheel/Weiser LLC.
©2010 by Guy Finley. This book is available wherever books are sold
or from the publisher at 1-800-423-7087 or www.redwheelweiser.com.
The Courage to Be Free: Discover Your Original Fearless Self
by Guy Finley.
There is a world of wisdom in this small gem of a book. Guy Finley is a master at opening our eyes, ears, and hearts to the plain and simple truths of this life. We are not our sense of inadequacy, our compulsions, our defeated thoughts and feelings. We can choose the fearless path because we were, in fact, born fearless.
Click here for more info and/or to order this book. Also available as a Kindle edition.
About The Author
Guy Finley is the best-selling author of over 40 books and audio albums on self-realization. He is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for self-study located in southern Oregon where he gives talks four times each week. For more information and to download Guy’s Free 60-minute MP3 “Five Simple Steps to Make Yourself Fearless,” visit http://www.GuyFinley.org/kit
Watch a video and Interview with Guy Finley on the topic of "who we are".
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