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The First Step in Stepping Away from Unconscious Pain

Key Lesson: The reason it's pointless to ask, or otherwise demand that someone explain himself to you for your troubled feelings over his words or actions, is because no one in the world can explain away a pain that you are creating for yourself.

You Have the Right to Choose

Since what others may do to us is not in our power to change, we need only concern ourselves with what we do to ourselves, for this is in our power.

It's not in our power to change how people treat us. It's not in our power to control the way people experience what we say. It's not in our power to make our relatives into different kinds of human beings. It may be natural to wish that certain things didn't take place, but it is not natural to give our life away for it -- to hate or try to punish someone because they did something that contradicted our wishes. Demanding that others behave the way we want them to is investment in a false sense of power, one that pays itself off in pain.

Real power is, at any given moment, our ability to recognize that what we are going through cannot be resolved by the parts of us that don't want it. Not wanting what is taking place may feel powerful, but it is powerless to change what is happening to us except that it will see to it that we remain the same person, punished by our own mind.

We have but one true power, and that is to decide what it is that we want to be in relationship with in every moment in which we can see the relationship we are in. That's the power. In moments where there are problems, where there is anger, heartache, worry, fear, or shame -- no matter what happens -- we don't have to feel powerless. We have the power to choose to give our power to what we want.

No matter what it is that thoughts may be telling you, no matter what feeling is passing through you, no matter what the whole world has done or not done, you are never without power because you can always choose to place your power in the hands of something greater than yourself. You can always do that.

You can do it now. Instead of being tricked into resisting the moment and hating everything that tries to show you that you're powerless, come awake. Remember yourself. Remember that you weren't created without power. You were created with the power to give your power away.

That's right. We were created to agree -- in the moment where we feel powerless -- to recognize that the condition has presented us with qualities far exceeding our ability to understand them. And it isn't a question of acquiescence or of giving up. It's a question of re-aligning ourselves and placing our attention where it belongs in such a moment - which has nothing to do with trying to control the condition, but rather with bringing ourselves into a higher level of consciousness through which we can understand the truth of what is taking place.

What a difference it makes just to stop fighting! The reason we fight with life is because we're trying to regain control. The only reason we fight with another person over any question is because we are trying to recover from a sense of loss. Fighting, regret, feeling guilty, worrying... all these are false powers. We can't lose something real, but if we want to gain something real, we must place ourselves in a real relationship with what is true.

"Let go and let God" is not just some empty platitude. It means that I realize, at this moment in my life, I have a choice. The choice is to do what I want to do with my attention, not to have something inside of me give my attention to what it wants. Can you see the difference? The first is a conscious act. It is a moment born of realizing that of myself I am not going to lift myself out of this problem. Of myself I am not going to straighten out these circumstances. The second (and higher) choice is to give away my power. To keep it is how I have tried for years and years to make changes, and not one change has taken place except that I tend to fall into problems more quickly - and then hate myself for it.

Do you want to change that cycle? Begin to understand what it means to call upon the power you possess to give your power to a higher power. Then you're not helpless. You've made a choice. Then you'll receive the benefit of the choice you've made. Presently you receive the bitterness of the choice that you've made because it always proves itself incapable of changing anything except that it makes you angrier, more frustrated.

You have the right to choose. There is never a moment in which you are without a choice relative to the presence of negative states inside of yourself. That is a lie that the negative states give you to sell you more negative states to lend you the sense of power you've lost. You can choose an altogether different action. You can choose to turn your pain over to a higher power.

Make the choice. This is a real act. This is something that every human being is intended to do. Every day, do what is in your power. There is a God. There is an Intelligence, a bright Light, and it's just waiting for you to hand over your power as a choice, and to remain there. Then let that Light, that Intelligence lead you to what needs to be done in all your relationships.

This article is an excerpt from, Life of Learning's Online Wisdom Center directed by Guy Finley.

For a deeper understanding of this topic we recommend The Essential Laws of Fearless Living.

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