Two very close friends, Karen and Sophie, went on a long-awaited vacation to a tropical island where, the first day, before that evening’s grand welcoming luau, they spent the whole day playing in the ocean.
But early on that same evening, in the midst of all the great food and fantastic island music, Karen could barely keep her eyes open. Every part of her felt tired; in truth, she was feeling a bit of resentment towards her friend. For some reason, Sophie was showing no sign of slowing down, while all Sally wanted to do was to just collapse somewhere. It just didn’t seem right!
So, collecting her thoughts—as well as her facial expression to not show any of the irritation she was feeling inside—Karen pulled Sophie aside and said, “I don’t get it. You and I did the same thing all day: we lay on the beach and swam in the sea. Why aren’t you as tired as I am? How come you seem to have energy to spare, and I’m dead in the water?”
“Well,” said Sophie, “all I can think of is that while we were out playing around in the surf—which was for most the day—I enjoyed floating quietly between each of the waves and you—well, you didn’t.”
A tree has many leaves, and the wind touches all of them in way or another. Some shake, some quiver, and some hardly move at all. Yes, the tree knows their trembling, but neither the wind nor the leaves it stirs are the tree that feels their touch. Thoughts and feelings are like leaves: learning to watch them wave is much better than being carried away with every breeze.
Guy Finley explains how self-awareness allows you to directly experience what is currently interfering with your ability to be in relationship with what is good, true, and beautiful. The more this real self-knowledge is brought into your relationships, the more you grow into a new mind and begin to realize the timeless, immortal life within you.
Knowledge, regardless of how sophisticated, is a tool. It arises from and belongs to what has passed; it is the past put into a formula. As such, it embodies, defines, and relates us to life through what we, or others, have already come to know is true about reality.
But real life is not limited to what was; it is always new. It is always now. And while it may bring to light, under law, certain conditions or events that precede its appearance—what we call karma—it is more than just these forms alone, just as a flower in bloom is more than its newly opened petals.
Real life is the expression of living, intelligent forces that actively shape whatever they touch, as well as whatever reaches out to touch them. It might be said that each moment appears as it does—in whatever form or color, hard or soft, dark or light—to teach us about ourselves. How can we hope to learn what we must from such moments if we meet them already knowing how they should unfold? No form is free.
And just as we wouldn’t mistake a ladder for being the same as the rooftop upon which we hope to view the stars, neither should we confuse knowledge for those innermost revelations that can come to us only through self-understanding. This level of genuine self-knowledge is never static. It places no demands on life; therefore, it fears nothing that life may reveal. It has nothing whatsoever to do with thoughts, plans, or otherwise imagined purposes.
Real self-knowledge is the unshakable ground of enduring peace and security. It is one with the present moment and a timeless intelligence that is at once aware of all that is unfolding within it, including what flowers as a result. This is your immortal Self.