An excerpt from Freedom From the Ties that Bind
Think of each of the following eleven laws as individual magic strands of a flying carpet. Make it your aim to weave them together in your mind. Then watch how these lessons combine to effortlessly lift you to the next higher and happier life level.
• The First Law: Nothing can stop you from starting over. The greatest power you possess for succeeding in life is your understanding that life gives you a fresh start any moment you choose to start fresh. Nothing that stood in your way even a heartbeat before stands there now in the same way. It’s all new even if you can’t as yet see it that way. You’ve only to test the truth of this fact about the newness of life to discover the incredible freedom that waits for you just behind it. And then nothing can stop you. You’ll know the real secret and the perfect power of starting over.
• The Second Law: Don’t be afraid to see when something doesn’t work. Learn to be sensitive and to listen to the inner signals that try to tell you when something isn’t working. You know what they are. Frustration and resentment to name just a few. The presence of these emotional troubles isn’t trying to tell you that you can’t succeed, only that the road you’ve insisted upon taking so far doesn’t lead where you want. Learning to admit when something isn’t working is the same as teaching your self what will.
• The Third Law: If it doesn’t flow, there’s more to know. Learn to recognize that all forms of strain — whether at work, in your creative efforts, or in your relationships — are unnecessary. The friction you feel mounting when busy at some labor is never caused by the task at hand, but by what you don’t yet know about it. This means the only real reason for your strain is that you’ve got hold of a wrong idea you don’t yet see as wrong. This new insight allows you to release yourself by showing you what you need to know. Flowing follows your new knowing.
• The Fourth Law: Don’t take the easy way. There’s no getting away from what you don’t know, which is why any time you feel compelled to go around a problem by taking the easy way out, that problem always comes around again. And isn’t that what makes life seem so hard? Learn to see the “easy way” as a lying thought that keeps you tied up and doing hard time. Getting something over with is not the same as having it completed. And as this insight grows, so will your understanding that the whole idea of the “hard way” has always been just a lying thought, as well. Now you know: the complete way is the easy way. So volunteer to make the “hard way” your way and learn the real easy way.
• The Fifth Law: On the other side of the resistance is the flow. There are often times when it feels as though you can’t go any further in your work or studies. But you can learn to go beyond any blockage. Make the following clear to yourself. Those moments — when it feels as though you’re least able to get beyond yourself — are not telling you that you’ve gone as far as you can go, but only reveal that you’ve reached as far as you know — for now. This higher self-knowledge about your true inner position allows you to see the resistance you’re feeling for what it really is: a threshold, and not a closed door. Walk through it. Nothing can stop you. On the other side of the resistance is the flow. Learning to go beyond you is the same as entering into the new.
• The Sixth Law: Watch for the opportunity to learn something new. Everything is changing all the time. That means life is an endless occasion for learning something new. But this means more than meets the eye. Just as you’re a part of everything, everything is a part of you. The whole of life is connected. And your ability to learn is part of the wonder of this complete, but ever-changing, whole. Learning serves as a window, not only into the complex world you see around you, but through it you may also look into the “you” that’s busy looking into the world. And when you’ve learned there’s no end to what you can see about the amazing worlds spinning both around and within you, you’ll also know there’s no end to you. So stay awake. Learn something new every day. You’ll love how that makes you feel about yourself.
• The Seventh Law: Learn to see conclusions as limitations. If you approach the possibilities of learning about your life as being limitless, which they are, then it follows that any conclusion you reach about yourself has to be an unseen limitation. Why? Because there’s always more to see. For instance, let yourself see that all conclusions are illusions when it comes to the security they promise. There may be security in a prison, but there are also no choices behind its confining walls. Learn to see all conclusions about yourself as invisible cells. For that’s what they are. The seeming security these conclusions offer are a poor substitute for the real security of knowing that who you really are is always free to be something higher.
• The Eighth Law: Have no fear of being afraid. Fear can’t learn, which is why you must learn about fear if you ever wish to be a fearless learner. So, the first thing you must learn is how to get past your fear of being afraid. Here’s how. The next time a fear of some kind tries to fill one of your moments, try to see the difference between the fact of your situation and your feelings about it. This is the right use of your mind. For instance, it’s a fact that interest rates change. It’s not a fact you have to get scared when they do. That fear is not a fact of life, but only becomes one for you as long as you insist that life perform according to what you think are your best interests. As you learn to see that these fearful feelings don’t belong to you, but only to your wrong thinking, you cease to be afraid, even of your own fears.
• The Ninth Law: Never accept defeat. As long as it’s possible to learn, you need never feel tied down by any past defeat in your life. Here’s the real fact: nothing can prevent the inwardly self-educating man or woman from succeeding in life. And here’s why: wisdom always triumphs over adversity. But to win real wisdom calls you to join in a special kind of struggle. And if this battle had a banner under which to rally, here’s what would be written upon that higher call to arms: “But I can find out!” Yes, you can learn the facts. You may not know the real reasons why you feel so lonely or worried at times, but you can find out. And you may not understand how you could have been so blind to that evil person’s real intentions, but you can find out. Take these four words that are freedom’s battle cry. Use them to defeat what’s defeating you.
• The Tenth Law: Learn to let go of painful pretense. Most people approach their troubles with one of these two non-solutions: they either pretend their problem isn’t a problem, or they pretend they’ve solved their troubles with temporary cover-ups. But their pain remains. It doesn’t have to be this way for you. You can learn to let go of painful pretense. Here’s how. When facing an old problem, what you don’t want is another “new way” to deal with it. What you really want is to learn something new about the true nature of what has a hold on you. To go far, start near. When faced with any pain, let go of what you think you know. Act towards your trouble as if you don’t know anything about it. This new solution is the only true one because the truth is you don’t know what the real problem is. Otherwise you wouldn’t still have it. Letting go of what you think you know puts you in the right place for learning what you need to know.
• The Eleventh Law: Persistence always prevails. If you’ll persist with your sincere wish for higher learning, you can’t help but succeed. Persistence always prevails, because part of its power is to hold you in place until either the world lines up with your wish or you see that your wish is out of line. But, for whichever way it turns in that moment, you’ve won something that only persistence can pay. See the following: if you get what you think you have to have to be happy and you’re still not satisfied, then you’ve learned what you don’t want. Now you can go on to higher things. And should you learn you’ve been wearing yourself out with useless wishes, then this discovery allows you to turn your energies in a new direction: self-liberation.
Our time will be well spent in exploring this new kind of learning, a higher schooling that instructs the mind with the energy of the heart. We must always remember that law without love is like a guide without eyes.