Letting Go with Guy Finley

Every destructive act ever committed against oneself or another — every self-wrecking habit, every dark decision that ever caused the earth or her creatures to suffer — began with a single false thought mistaken as being true.

The passage of time always proves one thing: we cannot keep what is unreal, and… that what is false will inevitably prove itself to be so.

back of woman in winter clothes

Question: Money seems to always be an issue for me. It doesn’t matter if I have a little or a lot — there never seems to be enough for what I want to feel happy and secure. Money matters have been central to almost every important decision I’ve made in life. If I knew I’d have enough to provide for my family’s needs, I wouldn’t have to keep a job that I hate, I could get out of debt, and start thinking about something other than just surviving. How can I stop feeling like a slave to this never-ending concern? I know that money should not play such an important part in life!

Answer: It doesn’t matter who you are, money is a problem for everyone. If you’ve got millions, money is a problem for you. If you’ve got nothing, money is a problem for you. How can something that is supposed to be a blessing be something that beats us up daily and steals from us everything that’s vital and viable in life? This is a question we must ask ourselves, because everything about our lives is not only about acquisition but then about ways to show what we’ve acquired.

Money is only a problem for people because men and women today imagine it to be a solution. How is money a solution for the mind? “I’m suffering, I’m in pain! Somebody treated me like this; I look out and I just know things aren’t right. It’s evident to me. I’m just not worthwhile enough somehow. I’m not valuable enough; I know I’m not!” We live with someone that talks to us all the time, and not just inside our heads. Turn on the television, pick up a newspaper, look through a magazine, and you’ve got something chatting away, day in and day out… a voice telling you that you are only something if you possess something, that you are only something if someone else agrees that you’re something.

There’s a moment that comes in our life (if we’re among the fortunate) when it begins to dawn on us that we have been carrying around with us a basket of social convention and cultural conditioning that was given to us at birth. At every moment as we mature, we gaze first into this basket and determine from what we see there what we must add to the basket to make up for what isn’t there. From that mindset, a man or woman can spend an entire lifetime trying to do the impossible.

Out of this culturally conditioned life, we literally live our daily lives, punished — without even knowing it — by a string of false purposes: to be seen as “a man of means,” “a woman of substance,” a person who “has their life together.” Coming into this world in a foot race as it were, the false purposes that we are possessed by give rise to false desires. Our belief is that somehow we haven’t sufficiently answered these purposes that we are peppered with, and if we could just get it together, then we would stop feeling this pain that we feel, and our life would go on the way we believe it’s supposed to.

Those false desires give birth to false fears, because the more we acquire according to the desires that these purposes gave rise to, the more we recognize that we’re not getting any closer… and the more we have to compromise ourselves in order to obtain the things that have failed so far to give us the fulfillment we are looking for. This constant sense of fear gives rise to greater dependency, greater attachments, and more suffering because now the answer is part of the very aching we have, and we don’t know how to mitigate it or make it all work out for us.

We are pounded by false purposes. If we had the correct purpose in mind, if our hearts somehow got tired of being pushed around, we would recognize what the true purpose of our lives is. For one thing, it is to no longer be dominated by desires. My desires have destroyed my relationships, they’ve destroyed my body, they’ve destroyed the world that I live in, and that’s all they’ve ever done. They have brought me momentary pleasures of which I end up being the slave.

This vicious cycle becomes quite evident when the mind is clear, but our minds are not clear. Our minds are nothing but cloud after cloud after cloud, based on reactions to moments in which we feel a certain pain, and in which we run to the only solution we’ve ever known: comforting ourselves. How do we comfort ourselves? “I have to have means. I have to be able to afford certain things, because if I can’t afford those things, God knows this world is full of pain and I have to be prepared so I have enough to comfort myself when needed.” Everything that we have that gives us that sense of comfort is dependent upon the very system that we’re trying to escape, and that’s why we suffer.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can begin to wake up from the dream that we’re in — this alternating series of losses and gains. Again, money is not the problem. Our idea about what money is and what it can do for us is the problem because we’ve named it as a solution to our suffering. Money is not a solution to suffering. Money is something that you buy food with, but if you don’t have enough money, you just buy the food you need. If you don’t have enough money, you don’t drive a fine car; you drive a car that allows you to get to where you have to go in order to be able to do the work you need to do to be a different kind of human being.

Our egos, our runaway wish to see ourselves as someone special is our god, and that’s why so many people don’t have any money. A person will say, “I can’t do that kind of job,” or “I can’t find a job.” No. Here’s what the person is saying: “I won’t do that job. I only will do the job that will give me what I believe will satisfy the need I have to get rid of my pain through imagining myself to be someone because of my possessions.” People are lazy liars, all the time saying: “I can only do the things that I want to do, because if I don’t do what I want to do, then what am I?”

This is the point where we discover that our wants are not our wants and they never have been. Is there anything wrong with wanting to be happy and whole? No, but there’s a road that leads to those things and then there’s a road that leads right to hell. Here’s hell: Believing that I can do all that I have done to make myself happy — that has yet to bring it to me — and then accelerating that process. What’s heaven? The beginning of understanding that God made me an individual within whom the Light deposited a nature that needs nothing save the company of the very presence that created it. That nature can be happy and whole wherever it is and under whatever conditions are asked of it.

Tell me, what is the fear in making a simple living if that’s what we must do? There is nothing to fear with a simple life, because the only thing we fear now is the pain, pressure, emptiness, and the sense that we have that if we don’t provide ourselves with something sensational, we won’t have anything. If we look closely, we can see that what we have now is nothing other than the tail of a lion in our hand that alternatingly pulls us through the jungle and then turns on us and mauls us.

On the flip side, if we have enough money, why do we waste it? Just because we have money doesn’t mean that we must give ourselves everything. We could “save it for a rainy day,” but instead, we can’t seem to stop giving ourselves every last thing that we want (and hating life for not giving us enough to get more) because we want to have something by which we know ourselves.

So, the person who won’t take a job because of an image they have that it’s beneath them, and the person who never needs to work again because they have all that they ever will wish to have are not different at all. They are both pounded and punished by the same illusion, the same imagined life that believes that it’s possible to use something — that was intended to be nothing but a simple instrument of exchange — for the purpose of allowing a person to give themselves a kind of life in which they use it for the purpose of discovering the truth of themselves. There is nothing wrong with a pleasure here and there, but when the pleasure becomes the purpose, when the fear of not being able to pleasure ourselves becomes the driving force, we’re lost.

This is why so few people want the spiritual life: It isn’t until a person starts to recognize that they have sacrificed everything to get everything, and they look clearly and see there is nothing there, then that man or woman has a chance to no longer be the slave of the idea of money. No one is a slave to money; they’re a slave to the idea of what money can do for them. The idea is a cultural idea that has been ingrained, woven through us to the point where we believe that those images and ideas are one and the same with our own individuality. They are not.

Ask Truth to set you free. Ask Truth to show you where you have been wandering along, hoping that somehow through a stroke of good fortune or by selling your soul, that you will be able to give yourself a satisfaction that nothing can take away. You will never find it in the world. Never. You can find it in one place, and that begins by walking away from those parts of you that believe you can fulfill the purpose of yourself by answering what the world says is a plan for your happiness. See through this and be free!

Awakening to Real Life occurs in direct proportion to waking up from our own sleeping nature — a fact which brings us face to face with some of life’s oldest and greatest spiritual mysteries.

The myth of the phoenix, the riddle of the sphinx, even the story of Christ’s birth in a dimly lit stable of barnyard animals… all point to the existence of one nature dwelling in the midst of another; of two separate orders of being merged in one relationship — one lower, one higher — one asleep to itself, the other awake, above, and in charge of its lesser parts. This invisible state of self must be realized before its relationship can be reversed and the sleeper awakens to his or her indwelling Spirit. To this end, we must learn to use each moment possible to awaken to ourselves instead of surrendering ourselves to our usual circle of dreams in which we alternate in appearance as either hero or villain.

Yet it is often right here, at the outset of our resolve to awaken to ourselves, where we run into an old foe: the “how-to” stumbling block, an ancient barrier created by the very same level of mind we wish to awaken from. And this stage of our self-development brings us to another fascinating fact along the path to self-awakening. The path before us is paved with pitfalls for the unwary, where what others would have us believe is true — or otherwise tell us what we must do to awaken — becomes itself a barrier and a part of the very limitation within ourselves that we set out to transcend. So let it be known that far more important to our inner success than coming upon these so-called secret “how-to” practices, or those who would teach them, is our own awakening awareness of our need to come awake. For though we may be (and often are) deceived, this divine need in us cannot be deceived. It is this awareness alone that remains our true friend and ally upon the path. Here is why:

As long as we are willing to remain within the emerging radiance of newly dawning awareness within us, this Light in the darkness of ourselves will not allow us to fall back to spiritual sleep. This higher self-awareness is the light force that facilitates the necessary reversal or “turning around” of the two distinct natures living within us. In its presence, the formerly active parts of our lower self are made passive, and the higher aspects of us are revealed and become active. With this one great principle and practice of the true path alive in our mind, we cannot go wrong. In its gentle and corrective light, even our spiritual “mistakes” will prove themselves eventually to be in our favor. All of which brings us to this simple but perfect truth… so simple, virtually no one sees it, and so perfect, it dispenses justice fairly to all… I’ll state it several ways:

We become what we love. What we put first in our lives is what we receive from life. The treasure of our heart both measures and determines our wealth, or our inner poverty. But not everything we love in life loves us back. Not everything we serve serves us as we imagine. Only God, only Truth, never fails us… never.

Which brings us to the exercise that, just as the Truth it reveals, is simplicity itself:
Whenever we find ourselves confused, depressed, angry with someone, or upset with ourselves for whatever reasons, we must come wide awake and realize — through our inner awareness — that we suffer as we do because we are ruled in these moments by our own thoughts and feelings. We must see clearly that this self that dominates the moment may be doing all that it knows to do to “make the crooked places straight,” but that as it is, it is just not enough. What we really need is a new and greater ruling power at work in our life than we know how to supply for ourselves. There must be no mistake about this understanding.

As the truth of our situation becomes clear — that our experience is what we are, no more, no less — we can begin simply to release ourselves, to let go of what we want and of how we think things should be. And, within this same internal movement, we can find a silent voice to call upon the Almighty with this simple request: Please step in and rule this moment.

This practicing of the presence of a power beyond our present self places us in a new relationship within ourselves. By working to remember ourselves and our God in this fashion, we agree to forget our former relationship with who we have been and its legion of impossible demands. In essence we agree to a new order within ourselves that is for us in a new way; we agree to have a new “first” within us. And as this inner agreement becomes established — through our willingness to put God’s life before all of our other concerns — we will find that God, in turn, places us where troubles can no longer touch us.