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About the Author
Guy Finley is the bestselling author of The Secret of Letting Go, Let Go and Live in the Now, and 35 other works that have sold over a million copies in 18 languages worldwide. He has spent the last 30 years showing individuals the authentic path to a higher life filled with happiness, success, and true love. Finley lives and teaches in Merlin, Oregon where he is Executive Director of nonprofit Life of Learning Foundation.
Read an Excerpt
THE ESSENTIAL LAWS OF FEARLESS LIVING
FIND THE POWER TO NEVER FEEL POWERLESS AGAIN
By Guy Finley
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2008 Guy Finley
All rights reserved.
WELCOME THE LIGHT THAT MAKES LIFE BRIGHT
Let Go and Grow Beyond the Limitation of Illusions
The true depth and breadth of the heart is measured not only by what it can hold, but also by how willing it is to let go.
There is no brighter gift, no greater potential given to us human beings, than the presence of a timeless Light within us whose power makes all things possible. Its celestial character knows we have not been created to live as the captives of any fearful condition, let alone those we unconsciously create for ourselves.
This ever-quiet, always present Light goes before us at all times, as illumination of a lamp moves ahead of the one who walks by the safety of its beams. This little metaphor helps explain many things. For instance, one wonders, If this Light is already within us—a timeless power whose presence makes things right—then why do we run into as many problems as we do? With such a source of courage at the very center of us, why do our fears outpace our ability to put them behind us? As we are about to see, the answer to both these questions is amazingly simple.
What good is the light of any lamp in the dark if we forget to take that lamp with us out into the night? In other words, what good is this fearless nature of ours if we can't remember that to walk through life without our Light means we are likely to stumble and "fall into a pit"? Together we will find the answer to this important question, along with much, much more. As we uncover the cause of why we forget our True Self, we also The Essential Laws of Fearless Living recover its native fearlessness ... all in one clean action. Soon comes a whole new way to live, laugh, and love.
Over the course of our studies, we will examine the secretive nature of this indwelling Light, looking at it from many different angles. It has almost as many names as there are tongues to speak it; but, in the end, regardless of what one calls it—God, True Self, Christ, Krishna, Atman, one's Higher Power, Buddha nature—it is still one voice, calling for a singular action. So if any of these names disturb you, just drop them; in and of themselves, they are of no real importance.
We could just as easily think of this Divine character as our own sleeping conscience: the part of ourselves that knows—without having to think about it—what is right from what is wrong, true from false. It is that "still small voice" within us that is incapable of compromising itself and that would rather perish than cause unnecessary pain to another. This celestial part of our individual consciousness lives in everyone, and even though we humans number in the billions, our conscience is one. By its Light we are empowered to see things as they are; through its encompassing intelligence we understand, at once, the beautiful wholeness of things and their many separate relationships. And as the Light of this new awareness dawns within us, we become the very things we have sought for and fought for all of our lives: compassion, wisdom, kindness, courage, and love.
Our spiritual task, assuming we are stirred to seek this truth of ourselves, is to awaken ourselves to this Light that first invites us and then unites us with its uncompromised life. Our receptivity to its abiding presence is our connectivity to its fearlessness, and accordingly we are empowered to possess ourselves; for as we enter into its life we not only see what is right, bright, and timeless, but we also come to realize these beautiful qualities as being one and the same as our True Self.
Nor does it matter if we "believe" or not in the powers of this living Light that is discussed in the pages that follow. Belief is a hand-me-down, a poor substitute for direct relationship with the veracities that are one with our own higher consciousness. "When you believe in things that you don't understand, then you suffer; superstition ain't the way," writes songwriter Stevie Wonder. Together we shall prove the existence of a Light whose timeless life and love is self-evident. As we learn the wisdom of welcoming it into our lives, we will earn the fearless life for which our heart of hearts longs.
What does matter—and is the whole purpose of this book—is our individual awakening to this most indwelling Light. Our hope is nothing less than to realize conscious relationship with its Life; for then ours will be—without stress or strain—the effortless awareness of what is our own, and what is not our own. Now, should you be wondering what the value is of such a seemingly innocent power, here's the surprising answer—in depth. When all is said and done, what is it that we suffer over other than finding out that something we thought belonged to us ... doesn't! You name it: persons, powers, praise, possessions ... even our own life proves itself not our own in the appointed time.
Before we can hope to let go of all that is not our own—with all of the painful relationships attending these mistaken conclusions—we must be able to see them as such, beginning with this revelation: No fearful sense of limitation or inadequacy belongs to our True Self. As we awaken to see this truth, by the Light of what is real within us, we also make this most astonishing discovery: We already have everything we need to succeed. Let's pause here for a moment and see how this realization changes our reality.
As we realize that our compulsive need to control life is no longer necessary, or that we don't have to have someone or something in our life to lend us a sense of being whole, we gradually stop resisting the changing conditions around us that once threatened these imagined needs. Which means we are released from all forms of feeling ourselves inadequate to these false tasks of trying to fulfill ourselves. Now, instead of fearing unexpected changes, we have a new "role" in life: we are a consciously grateful participant in its ceaseless unfolding. How nice.
A big part of learning to welcome this Light that liberates us from our fears requires that we do the interior work of seeing where we have been living from false conclusions: mistaken ideas about life and ourselves that we believed to be real but that are not. As we have already seen, it isn't until we see the truth of our condition that we stop participating in our own punishment. The world becomes a better place for us, because we stop wasting everything in it in order to free ourselves from things that are illusions in the first place.
Let's see for ourselves where we have reached some of these self-compromising conclusions that are supported by unsuspected illusions.
One common illusion is that the world revealed to us through our senses is the whole of reality. In other words, our present nature believes that everything worthwhile—that is, pleasurable—has to do with what we can extract from our relationships, business, money, powers, and so on. We look into this world that we see as being outside of us, hoping to find something in it to complete us. What we don't see is that the nature that searches the world outside of itself—to make itself feel whole and real—has set itself apart from that which it hopes will heal it. It divides to conquer; but this level of self can never overcome the unhappiness that is born of its own divided state!
The "healing" we need, the sense of wholeness for which we search, has nothing to do with adding anything to ourselves. This needed healing comes from recognizing that the pain we have—along with the suffering inherent in being negative over this pain—is born out of participating in a series of illusions that have been handed down from generation to generation!
Who in their right mind would educate anyone—let alone their children—that the answer to heartache is to further stress oneself by struggling to control conditions outside of ourselves—especially when the only thing we "win" for such effort is to become the inadvertent slave of what we hoped would free us? Or what about trying to distract ourselves from what "dogs" us in life—as if running toward a pleasure changes the fact that something is barking at our heels, making us run away from its unwanted presence?
We are divided within. We serve two masters: what we don't want, and its opposite—the desire of the moment produced by resisting what life has brought to our door. Being split this way keeps us from knowing the peace of mind and fullness of heart that is the same as being whole in the here and now. So this is the first illusion, and in a sense, the first and last lesson in true self-liberation: the real world is not what our thoughts and feelings would have us believe it is.
We must begin the necessary work of welcoming the Light that leads to letting go; our soul task is to release ourselves from an unconscious relationship with a false self whose imagined conclusions—about how to find lasting peace—are the secret source of conflict on this planet. Then, liberated by the Light of understanding, we will enter and know—as our own—a brand new world in which happiness and wholeness are one and the same.
Adapted in part from the audio album The Illusion of Limitation
New Rules to Rise Above Whatever Is in Your Way
The main reason we must always remember to hold our chin up whenever negative thoughts try to drag us down is that whichever direction we choose first, in that moment, is the one the rest of us will follow.
Rebecca had decided that her best chance of getting hired by a company doing geological survey work in the Alaskan wilderness was to earn a private license to fly twin-engine planes. A few days later she began taking lessons from a wise old bush pilot, highly respected throughout the region for his cool and collected ways of dealing with the worst possible situations.
After the mandatory ground schooling, at which Rebecca excelled, and during her fourth lesson in the sky, the flight instructor gave her what she thought was a special treat: Taking his hands off the yoke, he turned the flight controls over to her. There she was, just as she had dreamed, sitting tall in the copilot's seat with the flight stick firmly in her hands.
Rebecca felt as though she was literally on "cloud 9"—at least, until a scant moment later when she found herself rudely awakened from her dream. She tried shaking her head to get rid of what was before her eyes, but that did not work. In the distance, through the windshield, she could see something rushing toward her faster than what she could think to do about it!
Right in the path of the plane, and seeming to have appeared out of nowhere, a huge snow-capped mountain lay dead ahead. Transfixed by its sheer mass, Rebecca found herself as frozen at the stick as were the iced and craggy peaks stretched out before her. And she was headed straight for them! A deep chill came into the cabin.
All along the wise old instructor was watching her closely, studying her reactions. Of course, she didn't know it, but he had turned the controls over to her for just this test now taking place. He waited until the last moment he could, and was just about to take over again, when Rebecca snapped out of her fear-induced trance. She looked away from the mountain and turned to face him.
Then, in a voice so trembling and timid that it even scared her, she broke the tense silence of the moment. "Sir," she said, "please take over the controls. I'm afraid we are about to crash!" His reply stunned her. "No," he spoke quietly, "I don't think I will. After all, it's your flight."
It was getting harder for her to take in a whole breath, as if she were standing in the oxygen-thin air atop the great white mountain before them. Struggling to control her voice, she dug down into herself and managed to ask one more question of her teacher: "Then what should I do? Please, tell me what to do!"
She looked over at him again, and was surprised to see virtually no worry at all upon his face. His calm demeanor helped to steady her nerves. She took a deep breath and relaxed her hands that had just about choked the life out of the control yoke. The next moment he gave her a short three-word instruction, and she knew everything would soon be all right. He simply said, "Change your altitude."
"Of course," her own mind echoed back to his command, and a split second later she pulled firmly back on the yoke; the craft responded by rising, and mere moments later the icy peak passed beneath her and out of sight.
As Rebecca sat there, relieved by the results of her actions, she was struck by two things at once: How could she have forgotten that the controls were in her hands, and at least as important, why had she been unable to remember this on her own? At that moment, soaring at ten thousand feet above the ground, she made a silent vow never again to forget the lesson of this day: She could choose her own altitude.
Doesn't this short truth tale remind you of a certain kind of spiritual strength that you know belongs to you but that you have somehow forgotten or misplaced? It ought to; after all, how many of us look out ahead of ourselves at some unwanted event that looms too large and find ourselves feeling out of control ... headed for what seems an unavoidable collision?
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to reach down inside of ourselves, grab hold of the controls of our own consciousness, and pull ourselves up? To quietly watch that would-be mountain of a problem, whatever it is, pass by harmlessly below us, even as we reach ever-higher and happier skies?
We can learn to do this. Such a power is not just a pipe dream; ours is the ability to take conscious control of our spiritual altitude. But this greatest of gifts is given to us only in proportion to our willingness to awaken from those unconscious parts of ourselves that not only become transfixed before challenging events but are the secret creators of the very things into which we crash! This is why we must work in every moment to remain inwardly awake—to be aware of our attitude toward our life as it unfolds before and around us: so that whenever we find a negative attitude in ourselves—some form of dark thought or feeling trying to drag us down—we don't say "I" to it. In a manner of speaking, we pull up and away from that part of ourselves by withdrawing our consent to be confined by how it would define us. This kind of conscious action on our part changes not only what we perceive as being possible in the moment, but it also empowers us—in the same moment—to see and make new and higher choices.
Seen or not, our attitude determines our altitude in life. The "low" life comes by default. Gravity guarantees we will reach the bottom. To go higher begins with choosing to be higher. Realizing that the power to leave dark states beneath and behind us begins with recognizing that who we really are—our True Nature—has as much in common with self-limiting thoughts and feelings as does the open sky with the crow that wings through it!
Remember this one great lesson: Do the moment-to-moment work of dropping anything that wants to drag you down, and Truth itself will see to it that you rise.
Find New Strength in Awakened Attention
Whether for its joy or sorrow, whatever we wish for another person comes true for us in the same moment we make that wish!
Imagine for a moment a woman who inherits an antique jewelry box from a loving grandparent. She puts the cherished keepsake on her makeup bureau, next to her own collection of mostly costume jewelry, but never really pays it much mind. And there it sits. But what she doesn't know is that her grandmother hid a priceless diamond ring within it, in a secret compartment. It's hers to have, if only she knew where to look for it. But will she?
In many ways this is a story not unlike our own: for "hidden" within each of us, and yet in plain sight, is a power unmatched in its brilliance. What is this potential diamond of the mind that awaits whoever will find it? It is our ability to attend to what we will. Coupled with awareness, attention empowers us to unite ourselves with whatever we wish to know and be. Let's examine this largely unexplored gift of ours.
Much as we just learned in the preceding section—that we have the right to remember what we choose to—so are we graced with an immense interior gift: the power to give our attention to what we will—to what enriches and serves us.
Excerpted from THE ESSENTIAL LAWS OF FEARLESS LIVING by Guy Finley. Copyright © 2008 Guy Finley. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Foreword by Dr. Ellen Dickstein
1 WELCOME THE LIGHT THAT MAKES LIFE BRIGHT
2 BUILD THE FOUNDATION OF A FEARLESS LIFE
3 BREAK THROUGH THE ILLUSION OF LIMITATION
4 TAKE CONSCIOUS COMMAND OF YOURSELF
5 REALIZE THE INVISIBLE HEART OF HAPPY HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS
6 BEING AT PEACE WITH YOURSELF
7 BE ONE WITH THE LIGHT OF LIFE
Summary of a Story Without End
About Life of Learning Foundation
About the Author