Guy Finley explains that we all have natural preferences in life, based on our individual make-up and conditioning. But when life doesn’t match up with our preferences, the pain and negativity we feel isn’t because of what has happened, it’s because of the part of us that has become identified with the preference itself. Remember this exercise: P.I.P. – Preference Is Pain.
Question: My life lately has been a seemingly unending string of “unwanted events.” I keep thinking God is trying to teach me something, or worse, that He is punishing me for something (à la Job in the Old Testament!). It’s hard to get knocked down so many times and keep perspective!
Answer: If we can only remember the following, our lives will be filled with new understanding: The only thing that gets knocked down by an activity expressed in the present moment is an unconscious structure made up of our own past preferences that we are identified with. The new moment is an invitation and an emissary of Truth, not an adversary the way our false nature presently views disturbances and their necessary lessons.
We must develop the patience to watch a moment long enough to see that the pain in it belongs to the self that insists that life honors its preferences. When we are impatient, we are certain that it is because life has somehow failed to recognize that we were made king or queen for the day. When we’re sure things aren’t right, we meet life with force. If we have a great conviction that something shouldn’t take place, that it is unwanted, in that split second, all of our attention goes out to meet life as an aggressor … instead of understanding that if we can wait with patience, we will begin to see that the problem has nothing to do with life. The problem has something to do with this pressure inside of us that can’t be satisfied even when we get what we want from life.
When we wait with patience, we begin to see that this pain that we’re going through in a given moment doesn’t have anything to do with what the world did. It has to do with what we met that moment with. Then in patience the soul is perfected because gradually we are freed from our relationship with the parts of us that wreck us.
We may not yet see it as being so, but whenever unwanted situations come along — stripping us of some beloved attachment — it is the operation of one world acting upon another. There is our familiar world, the one we’ve always known — who and what we’ve been, filled with our preferences and possessions — and acting upon it is a new order of reality whose meaning is unknown at first, but whose secret purpose is to help us awaken to our own higher possibilities. But when in such moments — moments only these colliding worlds can provide, all we see is our resentment or regret — we lose sight of this spiritual gift that can be offered to us in no other way.
When we are hurt badly, the higher lesson hidden in this trial is to recognize the time has come to let go of who and what we have been up until the moment of loss. And “how” do we know this is true? How can we be sure there is something good in the “bad” others put us through? Because if we understand that events in themselves have no power to punish us, then who’s to blame for our pain when life changes as it must? The real culprit here is our present level of Self—literally wrecking itself—as it clings to what can no longer remain in our life . . .
Yes! It does hurt to be left behind, or to be lied to. Yes, we feel lots of grief and anger — those knee-jerk reactions that rush in and rule a heart that feels so wrongly compromised. But as long as we cling to the false idea that who we really are is meant to be defined by any “other” — regardless how sublime — we have no choice but to feel that we’re being pulled apart when our relationships change — as they must. There’s a silver lining to this kind of suffering once we learn to see it! Strange as it is, how else could any of our secret attachments ever be realized and released . . . if not for the unwanted events that come along to reveal them! Each “troubling” event, seen properly, is the herald of a freedom yet to be known.