There is always a moment before a problem starts with another human being where we realize that what we want is not going to happen. Ordinarily we’ll say the other person is about to “ruin my day.” But there is, for those of us who want to understand, not only a way for our day not to be ruined, but a way for us to elevate both ourselves and the other person, or at least give them the opportunity to change their lives as well our own.
The nature of change has nothing to do with what another person has done to us. What the other person did presented us with a moment of grace — the opportunity for us to see that the reason this happened is so that we are moved to where we can take the next step in our life. We can use this painful moment to prove to ourselves that not only has what we’ve wanted all along not worked, but there exists something that if we change what we want, we can begin to know ourselves at a higher level.
A self-working man or woman, the person to whom and in whom the Truth begins to become a living force, cannot have a bad day or a bad relationship. It’s impossible, because everything that happens to that self-working man or woman is used for the purpose it was created, which is to help the person discover first the condition they’re actually in, and then to be moved to meet it, and to want the understanding that rests above them.
What happens when we get hurt by another person? We either lash out in the moment we feel hurt, or we run the other way. Have you ever changed another human being by lashing out at them or running away from them? It is not our power to change anyone. All that happens is the experience that is there trying to bring us to understanding just keeps repeating itself… over and over again. Our experience always brings us to this moment of truth where we have the possibility of changing what happens to us.
This is what is in our power to do: Whenever someone hurts us, we can put our understanding first and remember that this person cannot do anything different toward us than what he or she understands to do.
Simply put, the person who is hurting us is doing the best they know how to do… and no one wants to be punished for their ignorance. The only way that person will ever know what they don’t know is when we stop punishing them for it. But here’s what we say: “That’s not good enough!” Then we try to drag them through a change, which means we resist their negative behavior. And what do we do when someone resists our negative behavior? We just hunker down all the more. So our resistance to their state not only keeps their state alive, but we’re convinced that we’re different than them, when really it’s one secretive relationship perpetuating itself.
In the moment that I feel hurt, I am in a space where I’m upset with you because of what you just did to me. That space wouldn’t exist if I weren’t standing as a secret opposite to the other person. What I’m looking at and feeling is really me. Therefore, what’s mandatory in that moment is to realize that this space that I’m in – meaning my sense of self and all of the relationships that are producing this sense of self – must be abandoned.
This is what is in our power to do: Instead of placing our attention on the person that we say has hurt us, we can place our attention and our wish on Love.
I intentionally place it on my understanding that, even though I can’t see it at the moment, the Love that would free me from this moment exists right there within me, above me.
When I understand that this human being could not do better than they’re doing right now, and even though I’m sure they’re wrong, they’re the worst thing that ever happened… I can realize: that doesn’t help me. That doesn’t take me to the next level, and I can’t make the other person go there… it’s impossible. Therefore, I must quit the relationship that seems to be the only possibility at that moment, and join myself to the relationship that I know in my heart stands here even if I can’t see it, and I can intend to the truth. I intend to be in relationship with what I know.
This is a key problem for us: I know the truth is above me, and right now I’m angry and upset, and I don’t feel any love at all. But by the same token, I know that what I am feeling is not only conducive to keeping this conflict going, but it’s not letting me rise above myself. What I must do is understand that above me sits this truth, this love, this goodness, and here is where I am, and that there exists some relationship between where I am and where I long to be.
Nothing in the universe can prevent a man or a woman who wants to know love, who wants to reach the next level, from reaching it. The entire universe is set up for the purpose of us realizing our intention. The whole thing is designed for us to succeed at rising. When we understand the true nature of change, we can begin to intend that. It is not necessary to strive to succeed or to blame oneself if one doesn’t. As we allow our understanding of the truth about our relationships to guide us, we will change… and we will know the change that we go through was given to us by something above us, and we will continue to long for that until our life is one beautiful upward movement. Truth promises it.
Guy Finley is an internationally renowned spiritual teacher and bestselling self-help author. He is the Founder and Director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for transcendent self-study located in Merlin, Oregon. He also hosts the Foundation’s Wisdom School — an on-line self-discovery program for seekers of higher self-knowledge. During the coronavirus pandemic Guy is livestreaming three talks a week. Each talk is followed by a Question-and-Answer session with the audience. These talks are free to anyone who wants to join in. To register visit www.guyfinley.org/online.
Image courtesy of Justin Follis.