Question: It seems as though I'm always in a state of suffering. Not only do I feel this anguish myself, but I know that it cuts me off from other people. I feel isolated. How can I open my heart?
Answer: Have you ever noticed that whenever a secret is circulating among your close friends you will do almost anything to learn its undisclosed nature? Or, if you think someone knows something that you don't, you won't rest until you too are "in the know"? All of this is to say we seem to love secrets!
With this fact in mind, I want you to know that there is a great secret on this planet that virtually no one wants to hear, let alone know. Be assured this is no understatement. Truth be told, this one secret is so explosive, so dangerous to the social status quo, that billions of dollars are spent every year to ensure that this secret remains just that, a secret.
Entire industries exist to mask the truth of this secret. Nevertheless, every great once in a while, whenever some awakened person appears on the scene and tries to tell this secret to a world that is dying because of its very fear of this same secret, the world will either ignore the presence of such Teachers or, in some instances, try to wipe out their lives.
What is so unique about this secret is that everyone - in his or her heart of hearts - already knows it! They just don't want to know that they know it! And this contradiction in our consciousness makes for part of the secret itself, because the more we resist anything in life, the more real it becomes to us - even if we have buried it (in us) as deeply as possible.
Another thing that is so strange about this secret that we don't want to know is that it is the very Gateway to the Life that we really want - in that once we would tell (acknowledge) it to ourselves, its "dawning" in us would instantly dispel other dark secrets now lodged and living in us. What are these other sorrow-making secrets still hidden in us?
These are the ones that always betray us, that tell themselves out loud in bursts of resentment, fear, impatience, and other acts of intolerance. But think of it! With these enemies of Love and Light removed from our hearts and minds, what could be left within us other than the pure goodly qualities of soul and Spirit that are strength, contentment, joy, and peace themselves?
So what is this secret that no one wants to know, that applies to all people equally regardless of social or economic standing? What is this secret that if known by us — if realized in our core — could not only transform us but help to change the whole world for the betterment of all? Here it is:
Everyone we know - suffers.
That's it. We all have a pain in us that won't go away or that, at best, can only be pushed aside as long as some pleasurable vibration can be sustained through self-created cost or by a gentle natural coincidence of an accidental cause. Why would anyone want to know this unwanted secret about his or her life on earth?
For one thing, its realization sets the stage for being empowered to fulfill the two great commandments that reign as the Heart and Soul of every True religion: To love God first and foremost, above all else, and to love one another as ourselves.
Now, how does the realization of this unrecognized secret end our unconscious relationship with (what amounts to) a "reality" built out of resistance to knowing this same truth of ourselves? Study the spiritual logic that follows all the way to the True Freedom it reveals. Look closely and you will see the foundation of a new and compassionate Reality being revealed.
First, psychological suffering is secretly rooted in what is either the fear of a pending loss, or the negatively imagined fate of oneself because of a loss just incurred. And further, this same fear of loss is not the fear of some coveted possession, person, or position suddenly disappearing on us. Our fear of loss runs through deeper "waters" than these surface attachments.
The dreaded sensation of loss is caused by the involuntary severance of an attachment of ours; for it is through such attachments (whatever their nature, whether physical, mental or emotional) that our sense of self is structured and upon which it rests. This unconscious subtle condition at the root of our sense of self, and the pain that comes out of it, is known as being "identified."
So, psychological suffering is a result of our reliance upon an imagined self that is sustained through being unconsciously identified with its own mental and emotional creations. If we can see that this state of self amounts to what is pure narcissism then we can also begin to realize what all of these discoveries have been leading us up to.
To know that we suffer as we do because of a nature within us that can love only itself - and that this suffering persists because it believes it can end its one pain through its own means - produces the possibility for us to put this backwards nature behind us, where it belongs. And in doing this we do what we have as yet been unable to do for ourselves: Put God first in our lives.
Lastly, how does knowing this truth of our own state of suffering create conditions that lead us to loving our neighbor as ourselves? It's simple, really. To begin with, we don't much see the despair of others because our own unhappiness blinds us to almost everything else except for what this same suffering tells us to pursue (or get away from) in order to end our pain.
But have you ever been brought to a moment where the pain of another around you was so obvious, so unmistakable, that you had no other choice but to consider this person before yourself? Hopefully you have known such moments. And not to be missed here is that in these moments — despite the weight you may have carried into this encounter - you were given the strength to carry a bit more!
Your awareness of their suffering awakened a conscious compassion in you strong enough to bear the both of you better than you were carrying just yourself. Please ponder this miracle. Within these facts we have the evidence of a secret Path to a Real spiritual Life hidden right within the uneven cobblestones that pave our walk through this earthly existence.
Here is a simple, straightforward inner exercise to help you put these new secrets to work in your life, and with this, to transform the foundations of your world. First, we will look at the exercise in its simplicity, and then we will look at some of the reasons why it is, in too many ways to list, the secret solution that can help to end world suffering.
Twenty-four hours a day, whenever you can awake to yourself and remember that your Aim is to know your self and your God, ask yourself this question: What is it that is in my heart right now?
Then, with this wish to see the unadorned content of your heart - free of any justification, bare and unprotected - come as aware of your heart (the emotional center in your solar plexus area) as best you are able. Just see; don't try to be anything. Just watch; don't want anything but to see the fact of what is sitting in the center of you.
It makes little difference what we find there if we are honest and watchful. The beauty of being conscious of either the "low" or the "high" hidden in one's heart is that both states serve to rectify the soul by expanding its need for God; a need that, by a new necessity, must increase the soul's relationship with God. Here's a brief look at "how" this works:
If one searches his or her heart and comes to see a suffering there - some sort of "lowness" or "darkness" therein - this person cannot stand tall; pride cannot be his footstool; the wish to punish others out of a false sense of superiority simply could not be acted out. Such persons would know that they need God (in their life) instead of imagining they already have Him (there).
If, on the other hand, through self-observation we have become a bit conscious of our heart's secret content, and find there, for our work, a bit a grace, of goodness, of a joy not our own — then we experience a true gratitude that is amplified for this Gift in our soul; a thankfulness made sweeter for having already known the lower forms of one's former state of the heart.
There are more benefits to this exercise. First, as we learn to listen to our heart, to all of the notes sounding there, we realize that there is no suffering on earth that doesn't also sound itself out in our own heart. With this awakening we become someone who can never again add any more measure to the sum of our fellow human misery. We start to become harmless.
Last, but not least, if we know the content of our own heart, when we can be aware of this telling condition of our own hidden self, then we not only know the secret contents of the hearts of everyone else we meet, but we also know there is no real difference between us and all of these "others" around us. And it is this discovery that fulfills our purpose for being on earth. For with the realization of this undivided life - that we are not apart, not separate from one another as our suffering makes us believe - we are awarded the Grace of knowing that God is one, and that each and every one of us is a secret measure of His divine life. All of this is in our heart.
(Unpublished Writing by Guy Finley)