Guy Finley explains that setting intentions and working on spiritual exercises helps you to see parts of yourself that you’re currently unconscious to and have no authority over — and it is seeing that disparity that begins to bring those parts into proper alignment with a higher will and authority.
What drives us mad isn’t the opposing actions of life or the erratic behavior of someone close to us. The source of our craziness is an inside job. Our mind is divided; it is a house set against itself in the truest sense of the words. A few simple examples more than prove this assertion.
Whatever one part of us is for, another part usually stands against, ensuring some kind of painful debate. For instance, most of the pleasures we take are accompanied by a torment that we ought not give in so easily to that desire.
Whenever we face some challenging circumstance, we rarely choose a choice of action without first being brought into a court of appeals. Every possible thought and feeling takes the stand, some for and some against what we intend to do. Then, after being prosecuted by the fear of making a bad decision, we “decide” to postpone what needs to be done, even though this procrastination is as punishing as the fear from which it springs.
False beliefs and socially conditioned, culturally corrupted morals go before us like a battering ram, running headlong into anyone or anything that doesn’t think like we do. There is mistrust, even enmity, toward those who love any god besides our own, and this self-punishing fear and anger is justified by calling others ignorant.
Even when we suspect there may be a sickness in our soul, our solution is piecemeal: we look the other way by donating time or money to those “less fortunate,” promising to meditate or exercise more, or joining some organization promising to make the world a better place. These half-hearted actions give rise to half-results: sorrow and suffering remain in place. Nothing real changes because we don’t.
We cannot change ourselves by actions in fractions any more than we can change soured milk by removing one curd at a time or by adding fresh milk to it in increments. Either the whole of us changes or not; our being is not its individual parts but the sum of sun and earth. It really is all or nothing.