Our resolve to live a real life, an awakened life, is strengthened when our self-study reveals that at any moment we're not consciously in command of ourselves, a mechanical nature is in charge of us, directing us to look for someone, something to blame for our pain.
But the real adversary in our lives, that proverbial thorn in our side that leaves us aching and angry, is not what we have always believed. It is not something "out there." It's something "in here": an intimate enemy.
We sense what that intimate enemy is as soon as we hear the expression. We all know that self-tormenting voice of defeat that rings within our own minds. No one is as critical of us as we are of ourselves. We all know how we are besieged by conflicting voices that send us first one way and then another, and finally make us doubt every decision. No one sabotages our plans and happiness as we, ourselves, do. No wonder none of our victories are permanent. Oh, we may have "fixed" that enemy for a time. Perhaps a heart-to-heart talk eased our anxiety about that relationship, or an especially good job done at the office made that employer finally take notice; however, "fixing" that person outside does nothing to fix the problem inside. The unhappy nature that created the first enemy will just create another. It has to, because the inner dissatisfaction that projected itself outward to identify that first enemy continues to rule from within.
This closer-than-close enemy is a product of our misperception, and it is made up of the many conflicting parts within us that battle against one another and a warring world that they create. It is this enemy within that makes the world we see so mad and wobbly and causes all the inner pain we feel. Then, when we project all this pain outward, we identify people and conditions to blame and fight against instead of looking to the true cause inside ourselves.
Many years of my own studies and experience prove that the inner and outer warring will just go on and on for most people. They will cling to their unconscious selves, which means their conflict with and in life will continue. But for those who will choose to choose real life, all can be different. They can begin living from an interior and higher safe haven instead of from their feuding minds. They will have the courage to ask, "Is it possible I am my own enemy? Could it truly be that my own thoughts and feelings are against my own best self-interest?"
The work of constantly shaking ourselves into new self-awareness -- and then struggling to snap out of this lower nature's gravitational field we find ourselves in -- can be an exhausting experience -- not unlike struggling to strip off a soaked, skin-tight sweatshirt. As long as we remain unaware of just how vulnerable we are to negative influences while asleep to ourselves, it seems easier to just remain in psychic slumber. This is a state to which we have all grown accustomed, and the inertia that tends to keep us locked in it is very powerful. As a result, we're easily convinced that a little self-pampering is just what the doctor ordered!
"I don't feel up to working on myself today," we might hear ourselves say, or, "I'm too tired. Besides, there's no point in trying to quiet my mind when it's in such a whirl. I'll just wait for a better time when I'm more alert."
We must not fall under the power of these deceptive voices coming to us from within our own minds. We must refuse to accept that the weakness any false sense of self claims as being ours is the same as our own. If we wait to do our self-study until we "feel like it," we'll never do it at all, for no temporary sense of self ever wishes to be unmasked for the false guide it is. We cannot wait until we feel the time is right for self-work. When it comes to defeating the intimate enemy, "tomorrow's" victory never comes. Now is always the only time there is.
Instead of putting our attention on what others have done or said, or what the news of the day is, we can turn our attention inward. When we see an "attack" coming, we can 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.
Watch this lower nature in action for yourself within yourself. You will come to understand the invisible processes by which it is created and the way in which it grows and steals your energy. Then, through the clear light of understanding, you will see how it is possible to win permanent victory over this intimate enemy.