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Guy Finley

Develop the Indomitable Self in You
by Guy Finley

Prayer is not what you think it is. The truth is that we have all been given a tremendous amount of information, most of it misinformation - indirectly and directly - from individuals who, without any real interior experience of their own, having either assumed positions of authority or had it granted to them, instruct others about the Way to God. This brings to mind an old Sufi saying, "May God kill he whom himself does not know the Way to Heaven, and yet presumes to show others."

The Lost Secrets of Prayer by Guy Finley

Having such insufficient inner instruction for too many years has predisposed our thinking toward having a very limited, often childish knowledge of what prayer is; of what it’s about; of what it’s intended to do. Even worse is the thought that this "knowledge of prayer" – along with its potential power and implied relationship – is somehow our possession alone and that the weight of it somehow makes us the center of the universe around which all others should orbit. Such spiritual immaturity is the secret seed of religious fanaticism, a form of sickness that thrives within any unconscious aggressive conviction that others must see life as you do and that pushes you into the life of someone else who has not invited you in. To demand that anyone blindly conform to anything is harmful to all involved and for all involved.

Why is our spiritual life something we practice only in certain places or at appointed times? How come it’s almost an inconvenience to have to go someplace for spiritual reasons, such as meetings or services to worship or to study Truth? What makes it so difficult for us to perform our inner practices each morning before we launch into the day, or quietly read a spiritual work before we slip off to sleep? Yet, whenever we find ourselves having been just knocked down by life, we can’t stop crying out, as though there’s no way to understand it, "God, where are you? Allah! Why have you let me down?" or "Christ, come into my life and save me, a sinner." What I’m asking you to consider here is why is life divided up into these times where a person fairly burns for a relationship with something Higher, and then, for what is the greater part of his or her life, this same person gives virtually no thought whatsoever to the Celestial?

We must admit that this condition is an accurate description of our present lives. We must be honest. Self-honesty is one of the main-sails that, when opened and allowed to be filled, helps to deliver a person to the safety of Truth’s shore. As difficult as it may be, we must be willing to see that the bulk of our present energies and efforts are consumed with pursuing money or authority; with struggling to get people’s approval; in fearing how "this" or "that" will impact our carefully laid plans; and all of the rest of figuring out what to do when it appears we’re not going to get our way. And oh, how in these moments, do we turn our tear-streaked faces towards the Heavens as though we’ve never thought to look any other place!

The following may shock you, and I hope it comes as just that.

Everyone practices prayer twenty-four hours a day. . .only they do not know they’re praying, nor do they know (and this is the real problem) what it is they’re praying for! And this fact of life includes those people who say, "But I don’t believe in prayer. I don’t have a spiritual practice." A moment’s consideration of the following insight proves the truth of this claim.

Expectation is a form of prayer.

Let’s look at a few simple examples to prove the point. Don’t you walk around hoping that what you’ve hoped for will happen? Whatever that hope may be for you? "Of course," you would have to reply. "But what’s that to do with prayer?"

Hasn’t it ever occurred to you that your hope that money’s going to come is a kind of prayer to the god of money? Certainly no one deliberately, consciously, sits there and says, "Oh please, lord of dollar bill signs, pour yourself down on me." Then again, most likely, some do. Hopefully you don’t say to yourself, "Oh god of Mars, strike down this person who said that evil thing about me." But you may be hoping for some harm to befall someone who hurt you. It’s possible the wish for revenge may be the momentary point of your life, as it becomes for many when they feel betrayed. So in case this isn’t yet clear to you, realized or not, these hopes and wishes, and all such similar underground expectations are prayers.

What you are really praying for, the still-secret purpose for your prayers that you don’t yet understand, is to be able to possess yourself. Think about it! When you were a small child (it happens to us even as adults!) you went to the beach and a wave rolled in and knocked you off your feet. Then, just as you struggled to your feet, along came another wave to knock you off your feet again! It’s a good metaphor for some days in life, don’t you agree?

Here comes this condition, this anger towards someone, and it knocks us off our feet; then all of a sudden here comes this other condition rolling in from a seemingly different direction, perhaps remorse for some unthinking cruelty on our part, and it bowls us over just as we’re getting up!

What I’m hoping to convey is that there are ways of asking for things that you don’t presently understand. And until you do understand how to ask for what you want, what you really want, you will continue to ask in the ways that you think are appropriate. You will continue to ask from a nature that doesn’t know the difference between what is genuinely good for you and what is not. This is a huge question for all of us. Presently, the way we’re constituted, our lives are nothing but a series of requests, whether they’re done in a "spiritual-religious" sense or from out-and-out greed or ambition. We are always asking, and then not understanding, why it is, despite all the things we’ve asked for, our lives still seem to be this proverbial leaf in the wind.

What you don’t realize is that the punishing mental or emotional condition dominating your spirit has no real authority whatsoever to take you over – NONE! No dark state has authority over you! No self-compromising state is entitled to command who you really are! Now, is this higher understanding at work in your life? Most likely not. The odds are that you’ll have to admit that virtually every state that comes visiting expresses its life through yours, whether welcome or not. Fear surfaces, you’re afraid; cruelty appears, you’re cruel; hostility comes, you’re hostile; anxiety jumps up, you’re uptight. Every response of yours that either embraces or denies the visitation of these self-compromising states is a secret prayer on your part to never possess yourself. Now, in the light of these new and true facts about ourselves, let me ask you: What is it that we’re praying for?

We’re praying – if we’re praying – because we know that we’re not meant to be human beings who can be blown this way or blown that way; bowled over and turned into something dark or hateful. We know that we’re not supposed to be psychologically fearful, so that we take advantage of other people to free ourselves from our fear. We know, or at least deeply sense, these truths about ourselves. Yet every visiting state that comes, every despairing condition that washes over us, transforms our life into its own. When that state turns us into what it is, we are unable to respond to life from anything other than the content and "quality" of that state. Our inability to respond from anything but the quality of that state is the same as requesting all the conditions that are in line with and similar to that negative condition. Are you following me? Because this new finding reveals two very important discoveries.

First, we have an inherent God-given understanding within us that we’re not intended to spend our lives being dominated by anything. This cannot be stated strongly enough. Nothing is supposed to dominate us – nothing! But presently our lives are nothing but a series of explanations to ourselves about why we have been dominated and how we will never be dominated again. Incidentally, this includes being dominated by what we call excitement, because it always just flips in this world of opposites into the boredom or the depression that follows its receding high. So, here we are day in and day out dominated by one mental or emotional state after another, washed over so thoroughly that there’s no difference between us and what has washed over us.

The second part of this self-discovery is even more fascinating. Each and every state that washes over us is replaced with another state that washes over us in the form of a reaction or resistance to the initial state. Thus, we are never truly in possession of ourselves; our lives are secretly spent running through a series of being possessed by these mechanically alternating states.

Will you agree – continuing with our metaphor – that these negative states that wash over you also roll around you even as they roll you around? Yes, they do. It is as if you’ve been caught in a rip-tide; you can feel one set of currents pulling you in one direction even as you’re aware of other currents waiting to pull you in yet another. Like being in the grip of an anxiety while fear waits its turn to get you even more turned upside down. This essential insight into our inner world raises an important question for us to ponder; If you know these runaway inner states wash "you" back and forth like a bubble rides the tide – that their action rolls you around and around – what’s the hub? Go slow here. Your careful consideration of what’s being revealed here will be rewarded in ways beyond words.

Consider the ground upon which those waves roll back and forth. You know the waves. You’re pushed around by them or punished by them. Yet for now, at least, you don’t know the ground. The point is that you couldn’t know these states as waves unless there was ground underneath. You could not have the awareness of these negative states going around and around unless something within you wasn’t going around and around. This is the nature of the hub of any wheel. This is what I mean by intrinsic nature. That’s what I mean by something already being inside of you that is the Unchanging Being you seek.

At our current level of consciousness, we experience ourselves as beings who have a certain emotional state of energy come into us, which defines and shapes our individuality. But the fact of the matter is that there is no separate self. Not really. There are just these states of energy and the fleeting sense of self that their undetected possession produces. We then fight and resist the state – or if it’s pleasing we embrace it – while believing that we’re doing something for ourselves, from ourselves, and that we’re special for our experience. Then in a heartbeat, because that state isn’t really ours and only washes through, the minute its nature has moved on, so does the sense of self that we had derived from it. Now a whole new and unwanted feeling floods in, leaving you asking yourself, "Hey, I’m missing something here. Where did my life – my sense of self – just go?"

So we spend our lives in a continual kind of unconscious struggle, attempting to overcome our own persistent and painful sense of loss. We search for a way to contact some power to empower us; to make us superior to those states that punish us, or to allow us to hold onto these pleasing states that lend us a sense of ourselves as being powerful or loving. Now the truth is that you are meant to be more than any of these states. Can you imagine?

Think about what it would be like for you to begin asking to live from God’s ground. To stand upon something unshakable. How do you ask to live from that ground that knows itself as part of the whole, yet isn’t washed away by it?

Can you see how down to earth such a question really is, even though it deals with heaven? If not, then you can begin seeing its value by asking yourself if you’ve ever given yourself away; sold yourself for a crumb; been the fool again? Then ask: wouldn’t it be nice to never again be washed away by any state that compromises your real life? This is what I’m talking about. But you have to ask for it. You have to learn to ask in the "right" way for this kind of Help – and the "right" way is the spirit you ask from.

The beauty of this new request is that as you begin to do this special internal work, you find that there are actually ways that you can work at being more than the state. But the way that you work at being more than the state is by becoming aware of its presence within you and, while remaining aware of it, working consciously to neither express nor repress it. When you refuse to give yourself over to any state that ordinarily dominates you, for the first time you are conscious of the state and the ground it is rolling over. Do you see this? Here’s a spiritual fact that will help you to develop this necessary new and higher self-discernment.

All of your emotional states are visitors. They are not you. They are not selves. They are part of your self only to the degree you identify with them, which then turns you into that expressed self.

So, when this psychic visitor comes, your ability to recognize it as a visitor does what? All of a sudden there’s you and the state. There’s you and the condition that before has dominated you because you didn’t recognize it as being a visitor. You thought it was something you had to go along with because you thought it was "you". And by keeping your attention where it belongs (on the ground and not on the waves), you don’t give yourself away to something that doesn’t belong to you. Instead, you find your new sense of "I" in the quiet revealing quality within you instead of in those wave-like qualities that are being revealed to you. A brief review will serve us well.

In every moment there seems to be a "you" and the appearance of these visiting states, whatever their qualities, rushing over and through you. Ordinarily, as each mental and emotional state moves into you, its nature defines you. You’re unaware in these moments that you have within you a Being that is changeless, that is indeed timeless. But you can’t ask for this wonderful, truly empowering internal Life to be yours as long as you continue to identify with every single emotional state that wanders through you. So it’s necessary to work at self-detachment. And this effort of conscious detachment is a special form of prayer in two ways.

First, as you can begin waking up to the presence of these visiting states and work to deliberately detach yourself from their inner influences, you won’t lose yourself to them. This is an elementary but powerful form of self-command.

Second, as you become newly aware of yourself in this way, you’ll also contain the visiting state. This conscious sense – of being both containment and its contents – is the proof there is something "higher" than that visiting state. Not only does the higher contain the lower, but it also reveals the presence of another Self whose lofty nature may be in one world, but that is not of that world at the same time. Please ponder this deeply. You can understand all that it implies because the truth of it lives within you. Find it there.

Start asking for a relationship with what can’t be washed away by doing this specialized work upon and within yourself. Learn to ask for something that is Permanent. Ask for something that doesn’t shake. Ask for something that doesn’t turn into its painful opposite by learning to recognize and detach yourself from what you’ve always mistakenly assumed was yourself. This is the kind of powerful prayer that proves itself even as it provides proof that within you dwells the Indomitable. Work at it every moment.

Find that immovable ground that is inside of you. Learn to live there by working to not let your life be lived out by visiting states.

Copyright ©
2001 Life of Learning. All rights reserved. This excerpt taken from The Lost Secrets of Prayer, a Llewellyn Publication, all rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint with author credit only.


Letting Go by Guy Finley

Design Your Destiny by Guy Finley

Freedom from the Ties that Bind by Guy Finley

Guy Finley is today's brightest voice in the field of self-development, showing men and women how to find a life of freedom, enduring fulfillment, and true purpose. Nightingale-Conant, the world's largest producer of motivational books on tape, calls Guy Finley "one of the leading experts at the forefront of human potential."

Guy's career reached this point through a circuitous path. Born into a successful show business family, he is the son of late-night talk show pioneer and radio celebrity, Larry Finley. His childhood friends were the sons and daughters of major celebrities. As a young man Guy enjoyed success in a number of areas, including composing award-winning music for many popular recording artists, motion pictures, and episodic television. From 1970-1979 he wrote and recorded his own albums for the prestigious Motown and RCA record labels.

Throughout his youth, Guy suspected there was more to life than the type of worldly success that led to the emptiness and frustration he saw among his own friends and colleagues. In 1979, after travels to India and parts of the Far East in search of truth and Higher Wisdom, Guy voluntarily retired from his flourishing career in order to simplify his life and continue his inner studies. Today Guy is the best-selling author of over a dozen books and tape albums on self-liberation, including, among others, The Secret of Letting Go, Design Your Destiny, The Intimate Enemy, and Lost Secrets of Prayer. His works have sold over a million copies and have been translated into 9 languages. Guy has been featured on over 300 radio and TV talk shows including Sally Jesse Raphael, CNN, PBS, Entertainment Tonight, Coast to Coast Live with Art Bell, NPR, David Essel Alive, and the Wisdom Channel. His writings have been featured as "Today's Pick" in USA Today. Guy presents more than 150 seminars each year on self-liberation.


Visit Guy at The Life of Learning Foundation:


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