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Self-Pity

Question: I lost a great deal of money to a dishonest business partner. I can't believe I could have fallen for such an obvious scam or that a person I thought was my friend could have stolen from me what I had hoped to be my children's legacy. I'm burning up inside with rage, guilt, and concern over what my children will do now. I know this is killing me. What would you do in my position?

Answer: To begin with, I would muster everything I could find in me and, whatever the personal cost, I would refuse to be self-pitying. Self-pity and regrets about the past are born out of being identified with the idea that you could have done differently than you did. If you could have, you would have. Give up the regret. It only ties you to the old life-level that didn't know better and keeps you from the one that does.

Then I would start over, right from the beginning, whatever that may be -- or wherever that may take me. There is no power on earth that can interfere with this intention and act.

Next, instead of falling into despair over my losses, I would deeply examine what it is inside of me that feels all I am worth is money, or whatever it says to me I've lost, and then I would get busy losing interest in that nature that calls itself by my name.

Hatred of anyone, or anything destroys the one who hates. This is unequivocal spiritual law -- so I would do all that I could to lay down my resentments by seeing that all I'm doing is burning myself up with wasted energies that could be put to productive purposes.

And lastly, I would seriously consider, not what it is that I think I won't be able to leave my children, but what it is that I'm giving them with my current attitudes and example. Then, as tough as it may be to act it out, I would make it abundantly clear to them through my revised actions that a man is not what he possesses, but is, rather, what possesses him. And since it's possible to choose what possesses you, which you start doing by refusing to be possessed of self-pity and other dark spirits, this means you can choose in favor -- over and over again -- as many times as necessary -- what's authentically good and True for you.

Excerpted from The Intimate Enemy, Pages 210-211.

Question: I am feeling very depressed and overwhelmed by sadness and a sense of futility. I just turned 60, and due to a chronic illness I can hardly function physically. My money is not flowing and unless I get it moving I will lose my home. My landlady jumped all over me yesterday and I found out how much she dislikes me. I just can't seem to get out of this negative state and I am becoming frightened. Help!

Answer: While you do what you must to be a good householder, let go of everything else in thought that tries to drag you down into the mud of self-pity. This you can do with inner watchfulness.

The only thing most of us know to do when life takes an unwanted turn, bringing us what we don't want, is to take a turn for the negative ourselves. And when the circumstance in question really makes a wreck of things, not only do we summarily reject the event seen "at cause," but for good measure we often will turn our wrath upon our own lives, pronouncing them "not worth living"!

Such flashes of frustration born from our growing sense of futility make sense on the surface of things, and even seem curative to the self that feels so impossibly stuck. But a closer look proves otherwise.

What many have yet to understand is that dark, negative reactions to unwanted events do nothing to cure them. In fact, these painful impulses have just the opposite effect. They actually "cement" things -- fixing both themselves and the false sense of self through which they then are empowered to run their unhappy course. Here is some help to see the truth of this.

Each negative response that passes unconsciously through us actually confirms its own dark perception that life has "done me wrong"! But this is only half of its occult operation. This same conclusion -- of having been somehow victimized by an uncaring world -- virtually locks the door on the possibility of ever discovering the real lessons and the truth behind these times of trial. Whenever life runs counter to your wishes, try to see that it really isn't life that has denied you your happiness, but that the real culprit responsible for darkening the moment is some idea you have about what you need to be happy.

Admittedly, this new and higher perception takes courage, because instead of struggling to change the "dark" condition called into question (or just silently stewing over it), you must turn and face the false self responsible for this outlook. But the truth is there is really no alternative, not if you can see that as long as this demanding self stands unchallenged within you, so will the painful pattern of fighting with unwanted events continue to occur. The next time that life comes knocking with what you "don't want," instead of allowing yourself to be dragged through the old round-around, make these three new choices, and watch how they dismiss the darkness knocking at your door:

Your first choice (always!) is to come wide-awake to yourself. Remember: Your new aim is to not allow old, mechanical reactions to rule the day. Then, in this awareness of yourself, see that the unpleasantness of the offending moment is not actually in the event itself but is an effect of resisting your own perception that something has taken away your happiness. Key here to escaping this circle of self-perpetuating punishment is in coming awake to its existence, and how not wanting to feel a certain way is giving you the very feeling you don't want!

For your second new choice, stop complaining to yourself (and others) about what life has "done" to you. All you are really doing is recreating the very dismal state-of-self you are condemning. Consciously choose to go the other way. Finally, your third choice is to say "yes" to life. Instead of blindly refusing moments that seem contradictory to your contentment, and then arbitrarily pushing them away, learn how to embrace these unwanted moments. Bring them into your real life, into the light of self-awareness, instead of trying to get rid of them. Your conscious embrace invites these times to tell you about the self they help to reveal. Freedom follows.

Excerpted from Seeker's Guide to Self-Freedom, Pages 105-107.

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