Key Lesson
Part I:
Life itself has never weighed-in so heavily upon us as to hurt us; rather it is we who - - in ignorance of reality - - carelessly attribute weight to events that are essentially without substance, causing ourselves to suffer nothing less than the fervent magnitude of our own imagination.

Part II:
The degree to which we feel ourselves confined by any circumstance in life is directly proportionate to how our own conditioned thoughts have defined the same. Now, in contrast to this self-imposed sense of captivity, consider the following truth: the True Present moment, by virtue of its ever-unfolding nature, is essentially un-definable . . . Which means that whatever seems to be our "confined" condition must be the secret doing of some unseen act of self-definition! A new Freedom dawns with the light of this discovery.

Here's an inner life exercise of immeasurable value. Think of these new instructions as a kind of special cleansing agent, but not as a way to improve yourself. Let me explain.

When we wash a window, to clean away its obscurities so that we can better see the beautiful outdoors, we haven't improved the nature of the colorful scenery we can now see clearly. All we've done is take away what was preventing us from enjoying what was there all along. This is exactly how the following exercise will work for you. Soon you'll see all suffering as just something that was unnecessarily in your way. Enjoy your new, bright view.

Start by dropping everything that isn't a part of the perfectly present moment. Work consciously at clearing away all those rock-like, hardened thoughts and feelings that aren't a part of what is the naturally occurring, spontaneous now. For extra help in discerning what's a part of the present moment and what's not, connect this next insight with all that you've learned in this chapter.

Everything arises within the present moment, but not everything has to linger within it. This means that no unhappiness is a natural, or necessary, part of the perfectly present moment. For any sinking inner state to thrive, it must actually be carried into the now by someone who insists on clinging to his or her concept of happiness in the face of uncooperating life changes. And this is the key point in our lesson: even though conflict may briefly appear in the present moment, it cannot dwell there anymore than it's the nature of a stream to carry the impression of a stone that sits in its flow.

If there's friction in our lives, that conflict is the proof we're holding on to limiting beliefs which can never be a part of our freedom. Whatever psychological pains we may live with are the ones we just won't give up. And the only reason we won't release these loco-notions about ourselves is because we still wrongly believe that our ideas about who we are is who we are. They are not. They're only incomplete concepts, as is the troubled and temporary identity they provide. Let go of these concepts and we lose their pains.

This is the power of the perfectly present moment: Dwelling within its incorruptible realm you awaken to the Truth of who you really are by repeatedly witnessing all that you are not. There's no need to make this idea complicated, as the following clearly illustrates.

You are not that fear. You are not that worry. You are not that anger. You are not that doubt. You're never any of those clouds of thoughts or feelings that pass through and darken the sky of the perfectly present moment. And even as you bask in the light of this higher self-understanding, and feel a new strength coming to you from beyond your mind, yet another realization awaits you.

Growing in awareness of the perfectly present moment is the same as awakening to your own True Nature: the Free Mind. They are one and the same. Your life and what is eternally now are one and the same Truth. And when you know that who you really are is new and fresh every moment, you also know that you never have to suffer over who you are - or are not - ever again. Know it!

Now it's up to you to transform these principles about the perfectly present moment into your own experience of their powers.

As an additional exercise, copy the next ten insights on a separate sheet of paper. Then, using your own words, rewrite each one in a new form pleasing to you. Using your mind in this way helps to take you from the world of these higher ideas into a higher world of new personal understanding, where you see at last that you need never suffer again.

1. Never hesitate to question those thoughts your own thinking tells you don't need to be questioned.

2. Freedom from the ties that bind follows outgrowing the need to always be in a struggle.

3. Who you really are is not, and cannot be, any thought you may have about yourself.

4. Dare to put aside for a moment what you want from life and, instead, dare to see what you're really getting.

5. Until you directly experience the Truth of something, you may think you know it - or that you have its powers - but all you really possess is one thought about another thought, and neither thought is the thing or its power.

6. The father of frustration, anger, and ultimate defeat is looking to the temporary for a sense of permanence.

7. The "me mind" loves to feel inadequate so it can imagine what it would be like to live without those painful feelings.

8. See that self-comparison serves no purpose other than to produce self-conflict, and then watch how this painful form of self-interest fades away.

9. Call upon the power of the perfectly present moment to anchor you in a world where you can see that any suffering is a stone in the stream of your True Self.

10. Come awake as often as you can and consciously bring yourself back to the protective custody and permanence of the perfectly present moment.

-- Guy Finley