When we see this world as a hostile place where new attacks are constantly launched against a shaky self, it only seems natural for us to be self-protective, and that’s exactly what we do.
We put tremendous amounts of energy into developing and carrying out our plans for defense. Thus, we justify our actions to ward off the possible criticism of others. We fawn before people we see as more powerful than we are. We tell ourselves that we are superior to those we see as less powerful than ourselves. So, instead of living our lives fully and freely, we suffer from constantly comparing ourselves to others while unconsciously hoping we can make ourselves into someone against whom others will compare themselves!
In a way, it’s as though we have built psychological bunkers from which we peer out at the world, wondering from where the next attack will come. Whenever we find ourselves hunkering down in those bunkers, building our defenses and planning our attacks, it would be an excellent time to remember this new view of our lives: that we are actually unfolding from the inside out, regardless of the perception we have that the problems lie in threatening enemies that charge us from outside. This means that instead of putting our attention on what others have done or said, or what the news of the day is, we turn our attention inward.
When we see the “attack” coming, we turn our attention around to see that it is only our false view that perceives an attack; and when we see that the “threat” we’re about to battle is really just a shadow — cast off from a false idea we hold about ourselves — then we meet the event from our true self; our own awakened nature whose higher understanding realizes that the perceived “attack” upon us has no power of itself. It is only our reaction to it, our belief in the insulted or hurt self it gives rise to, that gives it any power over us.
In the past, we accepted the cruel remark of a thoughtless person as being something real, with the power to hurt us. Our wrong thinking created the problem, and therefore could never solve it. It was not separate from the problem. Now, as our new and higher awareness refuses to give our life energy to perpetuating the wrong thinking, the problem must fall away of itself.
To achieve this state, we must first become tired of fighting all these battles and trying to be strong from our own present idea of strength. We can be that rare person who says, “I won’t try to be strong anymore. I’ll just watch. I’ll start to participate in my life in a whole new way.” This means working to see that our life is created from the inside out. When our tricked perception sees something as threatening, we are tricked into another battle. When our conscious awareness sees that there are only passing events and does not get involved, there are no battles. The only critical issue is what unfolds inside of us. We cannot change, control, or be stronger than anything our mind says is outside of us. But we can be inwardly awake, conscious of the fact that we don’t need to be stronger than what we see because we aren’t really separate from what we see. We just need to start seeing more accurately. Then, we will understand that there is another kind of strength altogether — a higher strength — of which we can partake. Resting in that strength means we don’t have to try to win anything outside at all.
This article is excerpted from Who Put That Stone In My Shoe?
About the Author: Guy Finley, Your Bi-Weekly Mentor, is the best-selling author of more than 40 books and audio albums on self-realization. He is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for spiritual discovery located in southern Oregon where he gives talks four times each week. For more information visit www.guyfinley.org, and sign up to receive a free helpful weekly newsletter and other gifts.
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