Beliefnet
Letting Go with Guy Finley

Those with whom we assemble, we soon resemble!

This simple old saying hides a deep Truth that can enlighten and empower every aspect of our lives:

Who we are — our very essence — is continually being transformed by the company we keep.

Stated differently, when we keep the company of what is light and bright, our lives get lighter and brighter. And when we keep the company of what is dark and discouraging, our lives can’t help but be dragged downward.

This idea might sound a little simplistic at first, but its power soon becomes evident when we put it to use in the quest to realize our highest aspirations. The key lies in understanding that this principle is active on multiple levels at once. For instance, when referring to “the company we keep,” we of course mean the people we spend time with every day — family, friends, co-workers, etc. However, on a deeper and more important level, “company” can also refer to the thoughts and feelings moving within us in any given moment.

Have you ever been home alone in a fine mood, enjoying a meal perhaps, only to find yourself bored or depressed an hour later? That’s a perfect example of the effect of hanging out with the wrong interior friends. When we are unconscious to the operation of our minds, any indigent thought or feeling that passes through us has the power to strike up a conversation and drag us into its dark circle of influence.

But just as it’s possible for us to keep bad interior company that pulls us down, so is it possible to keep positive inner company that works to raise us up in any moment we choose to remember it. This not only means that we can choose not to get dragged down when we are alone, but it also means that we can choose not to get dragged down when we find ourselves in the presence of negative people as well.

How encouraging! When life places us in a situation where a run-in with someone is inevitable — perhaps at work, with a family member, in a store, etc. — we can choose to keep the company of good and true interior friends who can help keep us from falling into negative states. And therein lies the key: when we remember that keeping the company of negative interior friends is a choice, instead of an obligation, we are free to keep the company of compassion instead of anger, generosity instead of greed, and patience instead anxiety.

Building on this idea, let’s look at four common types of people that can be identified by the four prevailing dark states that inhabit them. By learning to recognize and understand the interior workings of these four types of “toxic people,” we gain important insight into what is dark and limiting inside of us. In this way, we begin the process of liberation from everything inside of us that stands in the way of knowing the peace, happiness, success, and love that we long for.

1. Muckrakers: These negative sprits live to drag up old painful events and then revel in the anger, resentment, or bitterness that such unhappy memories hold. Stay away from any spirit, in others or in yourself, that wants you to dive into some suffering over what happened in any past moment.

2. Mud Slingers: These malicious spirits pull themselves up by pulling others down. They love to gossip, criticize, judge, and denigrate anyone who ever had the misfortune of spending time with them. The only loyalty these denizens of the unconscious worlds have is to their own pain, which they feed by involving everyone they can in their mud slinging.

3. Swamp Dwellers: There is a group of mired spirits that thrive on low vibrations, and that require a human instrument to play out their endless dark dissonance. Easily recognizable, these misfortunate forces serve up dreadful mental pictures of past and future events for the sake of the unnatural reactions they produce. Ignore these corrupted spirits and they must take their evil speculations elsewhere.

4. Life Haters: These dark spirits perpetuate their hold on the human soul by resisting the beautiful gifts of life. They trick us into commiserating with their complaining, cruelty, and irritation because without our unconscious consent, these chronically conflicted spirits can’t spread their poison.

Just as harmful viruses require a human host to exist and thrive, so do negative states require the unconscious consent of human beings to carry out their dark mission. For what power does a negative thought have other than the power to convince a person to do its bidding? The answer is none!

When we begin to consciously withdraw our consent to associate with toxic people, and the toxic thoughts and feelings inside of us, we leave them with no place to thrive. Our real inner work is to sweep clean the places in ourselves where such creatures reside which in turn brightens our life and the lives of everyone around us.

Begin today, this very moment, to withdraw any permission you have unknowingly granted these dark spirits to be in your life. Do not judge yourself, or those around you in whom these misdirected forces are active, but instead come awake and refuse to spend one more moment of your life lending your precious life force to their dark purposes.

This powerful, positive action will change your life. As you begin to refuse to consort with what is dark, you’ll find that you begin to attract with what is light, bright, and cheerful. Your relationships will deepen, your professional life will take on new vigor and freshness, and the whole of your days will begin to resemble the radiant life that you have deliberately chosen as your conscious companion.

The strength of your negative reaction over what someone else may have done to hurt you does not prove his wrongness,

but speaks only to your weakness for allowing yourself to be carried off by self-destructive thoughts and feelings.

road narrowing, blue sky

How many men or women do you know that when a fight has begun – or even in the middle of one – they suddenly see and agree that to blame the other person for the state that they are in is a lie? How long would a fight go on between any two human beings if one of those individuals awakened sufficiently enough to see that the pattern of fighting with another person to prove that I’m right is in fact the proof that I’m in the wrong?

Our experience has shown us that the fighting continues because we are not learning from the relationship. Instead we are burning over what someone or other has implied that we are or that we are not doing and therefore we are at fault. We are never at fault in our relationships until at last the fighting becomes so egregious that we can’t hide the truth from ourselves anymore. And by the time we reach that point with other human beings, we have most often ruined whatever little love had brought us together in the first place.

On the other hand, in our relationship with our own psychology, reaching the point where we realize that we can no longer defend ourselves is what happens when people finally get serious about recovering from addiction or substance abuse… because they’ve run out of excuses for the weakness that hid itself through their relationship with the addictive substance. The same holds true with the people in our lives we fight with: we hold them responsible for our pain, for the disturbance we feel, when the truth is (to see it properly), they are not creating the disturbance in this relationship. They are revealing to us in that moment the part of us that lays in the dark and waits to get disturbed so it can hide behind the cloud of war.

Any time we find ourselves defending some characteristic, some quality in ourselves that we have been affecting, we can be quite sure that in the moment we are called to fight with someone or to prove that we are who we are pretending to be, that we are not what we have pretended to be. And because we are beginning to understand that, before all other things, the purpose of our relationships with others is revelation, we should thank that person for helping us wake up to the fact that there is a difference between the struggle to appear to be something and being what we actually are in the moment. In this way, we serve the real purpose of that relationship by seeing what we are as a result of it.

Our resistance to any evil or otherwise corrupt character — regardless of circumstance — proves the presence of an unseen similarity; there can be no recognition of any exterior degraded nature that isn’t born of our interior resonation with it. Which means…any sustained negative reaction is actually the unconscious action of that dark nature attempting to hide itself…by seeming to despise whatever it points to as being dark or evil.

On the other hand, this doesn’t mean that we are to agree with something we see as being evil — in ourselves — or in the world around us; only that before we take any action to right a perceived wrong, we make sure that whatever part of us — about to act for us — is not acting from (the evil) of some unseen form of secret self-righteousness.