Imagine a man lost in a series of deep and dark caverns. He anxiously shouts out "Hello!" and then strains to listen for a response. A heartbeat passes and in the distance he hears "Hello, hello." His spirits surge and off he races in the direction of the caller. He doesn't understand it is only an echo. He doesn't know he is following the sound of his own voice -- a voice that is taking him deeper and deeper into the caves and further away from any real help that could deliver him back into the sunlight.
In an illustration like this it is easy for us to see that the man lost in the cave didn't know he was listening to himself. If he had known differently he wouldn't have trusted or followed the sound of his own voice echoing back at him. His mistake was assuming that the voice he was hearing belonged to someone else who wasn't lost like he was.
When it comes to discontentment or any other unhappiness, we are making a similar painful mistake that is taking us further and further away from real rescue. Like the man lost in the caves, we are living with and acting from an equally false assumption. We believe that the inner voices within us, that so readily point out the discontentment in our lives, are doing this pointing from some safe harbor of contentment that we can reach only by following their directions. These persistent and often highly pitched thoughts and feelings project a future well-being for us, a safe harbor -- but a harbor that wouldn't be necessary if these same thoughts and feelings hadn't whipped up a storm in the first place! See this! The false self is trying endlessly to get your attention in order to point out to you that there is something missing in your life. Who needs a friend who wakes you up every night to ask if you were asleep?
You are not who you think you are. Your present level of thinking is your discontentment because, for the present, the one doing your thinking is Mr. Discontented himself, the false self. I want to make this very clear. You are not discontented. You have never been unhappy, not now or ever before. No self-described condition of what you have or don't have is at the root of your aching. Your feelings of discontentment and unhappiness, all of these hollow echoes, are the very nature of the false self with which you have unknowingly identified.
Try to remember that what you really want isn't just to feel different. No, you want to be different. Where feelings invariably fail, Being always triumphs. Who you really are is not separate from the Cause. We can use other words to name this Absolute Source. But again, I say that what we call it is not of any importance. What is important to remember is when something from within you starts telling you that you are all alone, you are hearing not your nature but the voice of separateness itself. This is why you must never do anything about your discontentment because it is not your discontentment.
Don't be afraid of not having something to do. If you will permit the inner-echoing to fade, it will disappear -- and with it, the false self. Choose Being over doing and one day there will be no more pain in what you do or don't do, because you won't be doing anything anymore to prove to yourself that you are real. You are and you will know it.
Guy Finley is the best-selling author of more than 40 books and audio albums on self-realization. He is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for spiritual development located in Southern Oregon. For more information visit www.guyfinley.org.
Submit Your Own Article