Beliefnet
Letting Go with Guy Finley

Question: All of the difficulties we have with one another seem to be due to the fact that we’re all trying to protect ourselves. It seems like in the very process of trying to keep ourselves safe, we actually create the enemies out there who are threatening us.

Answer: Who is the self in you or me that needs to be safe? Let’s examine it. What is the nature of this self that not only feels like it has to be protected, but that is always coming up with different ways to do it?
It’s the past. Can you see it? Who is there in this moment, sitting here with me, that has anything to fear if it’s not something dragged over from yesterday or twenty years ago when you won an award, or you thought people should never talk to you in a certain tone? Free an individual from his or her past, and you free their future from fear. Why? Because that past doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist except for a content-laden image, fully conditioned, that sits in the mind, that is accessed when events transpire, and referred to as what should or shouldn’t be. Then comes up agreement or resistance according to that relationship, and a person spends their life worshipping that nature through their relationship with what they call the present moment. They are never in the present moment; they’re always busy looking at themselves to make sure that what is happening confirms the self that they have mistaken themselves to be. They have become identified with an image.

We don’t see the world, but we see the images we have of it, and what we want from those images. And when one lives like that, seeing only what one wants (or the opposite — what one doesn’t want — which is no different), then that kind of relationship that we have with those thoughts and feelings is a never-ending sense of dissatisfaction in itself. It has to be, because we can’t control the world.

It seems so obvious in some ways. A person will spend a day or a lifetime trying to figure out how to manipulate things so that something that they want will stay in place. We do that endlessly, endlessly refusing to see that the best we can hope for is a kind of truce with changing time. It never occurs to us that maybe, just maybe, we have a nature that isn’t intended to be at war with changing time, but is actually superior to it, actually sits above it and contains changing time so that in containing this world that is always changing on us, we’re no longer afraid of those changes.

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