Beliefnet
Letting Go with Guy Finley

Question: In conversations with others, I find myself insisting on being “right.” Why should I care so much that my ideas about life are understood by others?

Answer: Be willing to try to understand the moment instead of needing to be understood in it. You will lose yourself, and you will begin to have the great bliss of disappearing from your own life. At first, as you are willing to work to understand others more than you want to be understood by them, it seems a diminishing experience. But you will grow through this kind of self-negation into a new sense of yourself that actually includes all of life. You will begin to have a completely different relationship with everyone around you because you are no longer bringing yourself first and foremost into every relationship.

Question: It is difficult to accept correction from other people. How do we judge the quality of correction when someone offers advice or criticism? I look at the unhappy lives of many of the people giving input, and think that their advice isn’t worth much if they have such difficulties. On the other hand, I might be missing some valuable correction. Any advice?

Answer: Do you remember the old expression “If the shoe fits, wear it”? Well, in our spiritual work, any reaction we have to a correction proves that our shoes not only fit, but they are laced too tight. We can use everything that is thrown at us (right or wrong) to walk away from what is wrong within ourselves. This path naturally turns every so-called “wrong” into a Right.

Question: I know someone who drives me crazy, and I want to help him by sharing the truths I am learning. Without using interfering tactics, how can we help others to come awake to themselves?

Answer: One of the most difficult aspects of our work is learning to bear the unpleasant manifestations of people around us. But this can also help us grow quickly. If by interfering tactics you mean, “make someone see the light,” it is impossible. But if we will do our work, which often requires waiting out our own unpleasantness before speaking, then not only can we lend someone a helpful word or action, but they will see that we are behaving differently. This willingness on our part to inwardly accept the weight of our own burdens first is really the best invitation to others to become interested in this Work.

Question: Is there a way we can know we are ready to teach others? I have tried and found I normally make things worse. How do I find the balance between the urge to help and when to be quiet?

Answer: It is the essence of our lives that determines the relationships we have with others. Teaching is a lot simpler than we imagine. For instance, what do we teach others when we are angry or anxious? What do we teach others when they see us afraid of some news? This is one level of teaching. On the other hand, there are natural times when (and this is important to note) someone you know will actually ask you for some insight or help. Then not only is it natural, but necessary, that you give what “water” you can to ease their thirst. Under no circumstances should you try to teach others anything they haven’t asked for. This kind of teaching comes from the wrong parts of ourselves and is a secret act of aggression and arrogance. Learn to taste the difference. The Truth will take care of the rest.

We always have the choice to start over with any difficult relationship…

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You never again have to wonder why people behave as they do… once you learn to watch the way you are (around them).

business woman lifting arms, breaking chains

Question: How do I let go of my disappointments with other people, including my wish to punish them for any pain or sorrow I still feel due to my relationship with them?

Answer: We can never hope to be free as long as any part of us struggles with, or suffers over what others are doing, have done, or won’t do with their lives. Besides, if we could remain aware of the often-compromised state of our own character, that is, how we still do those things to others that we don’t want to do, this awakened conscience would stir in us a new need. Rather than worrying about whether so-and-so gets his comeuppance for being the kind of person he is, our attention would be elsewhere. It would be focused fully upon being in the Now of our own life wherein we would be actively attending to what we must do to let go of old resentments that won’t let go of us!

A great part of our inability to release this conflict-bred sense of feeling ourselves to be a hostage of how others behave is born of a mistaken perception. In our ignorance, we believe we must fix others who have done us wrong, otherwise justice won’t be served. But the truth is far from this popular view and the chain of victims it serves to create.

There are great powers at work around and within us all the time. And as we awaken to realize that these same perfect principles are already in place to empower us, this same understanding puts us in relationship with a whole new order of freedom. Freedom is not a creation of ours. It is not something attained by making life line up with our wishes; it is a system already in place, needing only our awareness of its abiding reality to realize its power as our own. These same invisible laws hold true when it comes to justice for all. We’ve all heard the phrase, “What goes around comes around.” This principle of karma, that what we give, we will receive in return, is a mathematical law whose root runs through the heart of reality. Our present problem is that we don’t understand this principle in operation because we can’t always see with our physical eyes its unfailing fruition. But be assured, what is evil in nature never goes without its reward, just as what is good is always rewarded in kind. These forces of instant righteousness, or perfect balance if you prefer, are always at work. Nothing escapes their imperceptible presence; everything yields to the weight of their judgment.