Each time we feel an emotional pain, we should use that as a signal that we’ve made a mistake, that we’ve crashed and now need to find and try another new way. For example, our presently pained position is the proof that our past responses to personal crises are inadequate to clear the barriers we still are crashing into — that we not only need a new way to meet life, but that our old ways just don’t work. The problem for most of us is that we rarely allow ourselves to learn in this way. We have hundreds of experiences each day in which our expectations crash into reality. Whenever this happens, we have a close encounter of the truthful kind, because in that same moment of trial we see for an instant that we really don’t know what to do. These small and large self-crashes in themselves are not a problem. They are, in a way, the school of life. The problem is that we won’t admit we don’t know what to do. We don’t use the event to learn a new response. Instead, we become defensive and return to the same mindset that led to our latest collision. We tell ourselves we understand the cause of getting hurt, and that we know what or whom to blame. And once we’ve assessed fault through this unseen faulty approach, then we know what to do. Some self pops up and tells us to “act happy,” “eat something,” “call a friend,” “think about it.” But none of these responses has ever made us better equipped to handle the next crisis. We persist in our belief that we know what to do, and instead of trying something different, we just return to the familiar route.
Until we understand where the true cause of our unhappiness lies, we can never be happy. As long as our preconceived notions about life run into the reality of it we will continue to feel like we’re on the losing side, and since we do not learn from the crash, the process continues. We feel that our lives are out of control, and they are.
We start learning from life when we stop blaming reality, and accept that it was our lack of understanding that created the perceived problem. Our sincere wish to learn cannot fail to attract the healing truth we desire, which can then become a part of us and act through us. This can only happen through our own self-work. No one can tell us the truth, for then it would not become a part of our own nature. We must test our beliefs and question our responses for ourselves. When we begin to understand the truth about reality, and our own place in it (because we have actually entered into it for ourselves), that truth, along with all its power, becomes our own.
It goes without saying that what took place in Newtown is unimaginable, as is––in many ways––the pain and grief felt by those directly impacted by this monstrous act. And, of course, it’s natural and necessary that the individuals whose lives have been devastated should seek consolation and comfort from friends and family, from the community around them. My heart goes out to everyone, along with my wishes that such things, such suffering never have to be endured.
But wishes alone change nothing… and if comforting one another had the power to transform human nature, so that the need to comfort one another — born of heinous acts against one another — could forever be averted, I’d be the first person in line to embrace all those who have been hurt by acts of hatred. So if there is any message here, if there’s any true good to come out of this dark and terrible moment, it must be that we find a way to use events like this not just to change laws but to change our individual nature, so that we – individually — begin to die to this latent and violent darkness that lives in all human consciousness.
The world we live in is a reflection of our interior reality — regardless how we resist that notion. As difficult as it is for those who wish to be true aspirants of the higher life, we must see that any rage or violence we feel — that seems so justified — is the exact same dark state that drove this sleeping man in Connecticut to perpetrate the violence that he did on others.
The task in such moments – when we are tempted to let hatred be our guide — is to realize that no matter where it surfaces, no matter how much suffering it produces as a result, violence is violence wherever it appears. It is blind, dark, and dedicated to expressing itself, using whatever hapless human being it may appear temporarily within.
The true task of anyone who would share in the life of the Divine is to be aware of this flaming hatred, and to not be its instrument: Rather than lending it your life — as it demands its expression — to die to it in yourself by consciously suffering its presence without participating in its direction. The light of this awareness — the goodness and the love that is its source — then does what only it can do: transforms both the darkness that has been brought into it, as well as the individual who agrees to this transfiguration. For it means not only that some degree of that unconscious, raging force is made conscious of itself, but the individual within whom this has taken place is also integrated, liberated — in the truest sense of the word — from all that would denigrate and otherwise corrupt the soul.
In this short talk, Guy Finley reveals the true, practical meaning behind the idea of reincarnation.
Click here to listen to “A Short Talk on Reincarnation”
The only one who never loses sight of his True Nature, who never becomes a captive of negative states, is that fortunate person who never forgets this one great truth: Even though nothing we look upon in this world belongs to us, everything about our life is a gift.
Some of God’s greatest gifts to us often appear, at first, as though He is taking something away from us.