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Some Notes on Natural Detachment from Negative States

Talk summary: In this extraordinary new podcast, Guy Finley talks about the difference between real freedom and the search for freedom born out of trying to escape a negative state.

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Talk notes: There is a lot of conflict inside of an aspirant's heart. As an aspirant of a true spiritual life, you will run into many inescapable contradictions.

Please read following sentence very carefully. There's no difference between not wanting a reaction that punishes you, and wanting to have a reaction that does not punish you. Wanting something and not wanting something are opposites that cannot exist without one another. Both opposites appear at the same time.

Real detachment cannot come out of wanting anything? Your negative reactions are about what you do not want. And why are your own reactions troublesome? The answer is that you do not like being the person who has that reaction. True spiritual work is not about suppressing our reactions, just as it is not about learning about how to express our reactions. There is a completely different road.

To be a human being is to be the embodiment of contradiction. On one hand we want everything to be defined, and the more defined something is, the more confined it is. And on the other hand, within the same mind there is a longing to be free. But that level of mind seeks freedom though the act of defining and pinning down everything around it.

At the level of the mind, the longing for security and the longing for freedom are opposites. But most of the time we are not conscious of the fact that these opposites exist at the same time, and therefore we feel a tremendous conflict.

In reality we are neither one side nor the other of the opposites. Reactions are just reactions--they are not yours. The longing for security is not yours, and neither is the longing for freedom. If you are trying to be free of negative reactions, you are involved in a misguided effort. Who is the "you" who wants to be free when that "you" did not even exist prior to the negative reaction? The self that wants to be free is a creation of the reaction.

When we finally get weary of trying to be the person we think we are supposed to be, then we will begin to be the witness of our reactions instead of trying to be the ruler of them. It is the "I" that wants freedom from a reaction that is the very thing producing the unhappiness about the reaction.

A reaction is just a reaction, and it does not belong to you--it never did belong to you. Your willingness and effort at trying to become aware of your reactions produces a natural detachment. We are not here on Earth to reconcile our own negative states. These negative states are not ours to reconcile. Try taking a step back from your reactions, and use your attention to be present to what is taking place.