By Guy Finleywww.guyfinley.org
When we first set off on the road to self-discovery, we're optimistic and excited about this inner adventure. We're confident that we'll plant our flag atop the inner mountain, and that whatever presently limits us will soon be a relic of the past.
But then we get a dose of reality. Talk about tough sledding! Rather than becoming noticeably better, it can feel as if we're actually getting worse...like one step up the mountain, two steps sliding back. The bad habit we would break looms larger; frustration mounts; despair sets in; and soon we're thinking about throwing in the towel.
But things are not what they seem, which is why those of us who aspire to reach and realize our own highest possibilities must gain new self-knowledge, beginning with the following: we have not gotten worse! To the contrary: what's actually happened is that our effort to be free has made us more aware of our captive condition.
This is why we must have new and higher self-knowledge to avoid falling for the trick of negative inner voices that want us to see our self-exploration as useless. These deceptive thoughts and feelings arise from a conditioned level of consciousness that knows our growing discoveries spell its dismissal from our life. And so to knock us down, and off the path of self-discovery, it uses its last card: discouragement.
Of course we fall down many times along the upper path; to rise above ourselves takes reaching for what may be temporarily beyond our grasp. But the key word to remember here is "temporarily." Nothing in the universe can keep a mind that wants to awaken from doing so! If we will stay the course, and persist with our inner work, we will learn that the only power those dark inner "voices" have is what we give them by listening to and believing in them.
The more we keep studying and moving forward, no matter what we see about ourselves, the more sure we can be of ultimately attaining the inner success we long for, with greater understanding, greater compassion, and greater alignment with higher transforming powers.
Above all, we must be willing to start over and over again with our self-study. And here we encounter a beautiful law that ensures our ultimate success:
Starting over is always possible because Now is always new.
In the present moment, life is continuously new, and so are we when we make the right choice. The inner negative voices that say we will never change come from habit and past experience, and not from reality in its perpetual newness. Seeing this gives us the strength to walk past feelings of failure and keep starting over on the path to self-discovery and true transformation.
To help you on this beautiful journey, here are four special insights on the power of starting over, no matter what the discouraging inner voices may be telling you about your potential to finally become your best self.
1. The power to start over is built into reality itself.
Life is constantly changing, bringing a new convergence of events. So work to see every unhappy ending or defeat as nothing more than a condition that is passing even as it appears. That's why there's no such thing as permanent defeat. The voice telling you that you are defeated is itself only an echo of a time that was - a time that is already gone. No unwanted event is the end of the story. Don't let the dark voices convince you that an echo in time has any power.
2. There's always more to know about yourself.
Any feeling of failure brings with it the unconscious assumption that you know all there is to know about what has you bottled up. Pull the plug on this self-limitation by meeting every moment of self-defeat with the realization that there's no end to your ability to learn about yourself. Your ability to learn new things, see life more clearly, feel new love - is without limit. Keep yourself open.
3. Question the source.
Just as the physical eye that sees can't see itself other than through a reflection, you cannot see your psychological self other than by gazing at mental images of your own creation. So, when you see yourself as a failure in your mind's eye, stop and remember where that image came from. The painful feelings will lose their force when you can see their root as arising from within your own conditioned self. Realizing that you unconsciously put that picture on the screen begins the inner healing that only real self-knowledge can provide. Now you can begin to see through, and dismiss, the lie of discouragement.
4. Use revelations to start over - not get discouraged.
When some moment of self-study reveals to you how spiritually asleep you are, don't let that convince you all is lost. Instead, use that same moment to wake up and remember that you can always start your whole life over. You'll soon realize you don't have to listen to the inner voice calling you a loser. Make any shocking revelation the focus of deeper self-study, and not the filter through which you look at yourself.
The Inner Path Is Always New
If we want to change we have to see where we are now. Can we sometimes be petty? A little jealous? Self-serving instead of compassionate of others? That's just the way humans are in our fallen estate. Don't identify with what you see and then think that's all that's possible for you. Instead, see these revelations as a needed step to self-perfection, like chipping away at the rough stone to reveal a perfectly cut diamond.
A basic truth underlying all such transformation is that life itself is constantly new and changing. Remember this and don't ever give in to the voices that tell you to give up. Instead, be open to life's newness. Keep starting over so it can polish you to perfection.
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. He is the best-selling author of The Secret of Letting Go and 45 other books and audio programs that have sold over 2 million copies, in 26 languages, worldwide. Guy's latest book Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together
applies decades of spiritual wisdom to practical relationship challenges, transforming any relationship from mundane to magical! www.guyfinley.org
Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.