How to Go Beyond Any Painful Struggle You May Have with Life


Our lives, as they are, are less than half of what they are intended to be. We can recognize that something is clearly missing. Often, even though we come up with: “It’s him,” “It’s her,” “It’s this,” or “It’s that” which is clearly missing, it turns out that we may even get these things, and things still seem to be missing in our lives.

What’s missing in our lives is our relationship with what is timeless.

We have in us that which God gave us that is timeless, and without a relationship with that, we are half a creature spending our life in one world that can’t possibly satisfy us. It doesn’t have the qualities that we need, not only to give us a sense of wholeness in our bodies and a sense of wellness in our psychology, but it doesn’t cause us to go through what only can happen to us when we are in relationship with what is timeless.

getting through painful struggles in lifeImage by Sven Vahaja from Unsplash

The biggest problem relative to the way in which we meet life is that we see it from the part of us that keeps us from seeing the other half. You would know something was wrong if you went up to a mirror, looked in the mirror, and half of you wasn’t there, wouldn’t you? But when you look out at life, when you talk to each other, when you wait for a meeting to take place at work… you don’t know that you’re missing half of life.

Half of the beauty of springtime is that it comes out of winter, only we don’t see that part of the beauty of spring. If the field in which the wildflowers bloom didn’t lie completely empty, if the forest floor wasn’t littered with leaves and stayed that way with complete barrenness for the whole of a season, then you would never see the shooting stars, the mustard, or anything that comes out of that if it weren’t for the emptiness that precedes the fullness.

But human beings don’t like emptiness. We don’t want anything to do with it. Our lives are nothing but a series of experiences trying to put little objects on shelves. Our lives are crammed full of things, and we don’t like anybody to move the things we’ve crammed in because we think, “I’ve found myself there. I made myself there.” But thinking about our life is not living in emptiness and fullness at once.

When you look upon the beauty and fullness that appears in a spring field full of flowers, you are pleased by the sensation of it, but you don’t understand that it is also an empty field – meaning a completely new field of potential that has in it what is empty and what is full at the same time.

So, when you can learn to sit and be quiet, to meditate, it isn’t so much a practice of trying to become something as it is being aware of all that is becoming inside of you. There are certain senses of yourself, a certain set of “I’s” that pop up out of the field. And because these “I’s” are empowered by a certain act of mind and imagination, those flowers go about pollinating themselves. They go about ruing that they were next to this flower instead of that flower. Each flower comes up with a separate identity born out of its own conditioned past, and then because the flower never had any power apart from the field it came out of, it descends back into the field.

Over and over again, a human being can spend their entire life identifying with each and every sense of self as they appear in this field of silence. Until one day the person is just tired of having no say over who and what they are, how they treat others, and how they treat themselves. They’re tired of being a slave to the passage of time. This is when a person begins to want to bring their attention so fully to themselves so that wherever they are, they never miss seeing the field and the flowers – the emptiness and the fullness – at the same time.

I can’t tell you strongly enough how important it is to have a time where you sit quietly, at least once a day. People say, “You don’t understand my schedule.” Your schedule of what? Trying to figure out what to do with the flowers that have to go away? The flowers have to go away! Only the field remains. Only God’s life remains – our relationship to that broader life that has given us this body, and within that body, an aspect of it that is capable of being conscious of the simultaneous appearance of the field and the flower.

The soul – our true nature – is intended to be reflecting in what is timeless. Instead, the soul reflects in its own creations, which are its flowers. So, it’s backwards. Instead of being inward and turned upward toward what is truly holy, truly whole, our eyes (our attention) are directed downward so that all our energy goes into trying to create something, which is thought trying to create that which it can know itself by. But everything it can know itself by returns to the field, and we can’t understand, “How come I can’t keep these things?” They were never ours. They belong to what is timeless, as do you and I – our true nature.

As you’re sitting quietly, you can learn to watch the flower come up. Don’t try to not have the flowers appear. That’s another flower. Let thoughts come up, but then start to notice how they come up, bloom, and then go back into the ground. You are aware of both the emptiness and fullness – both halves of life – at the same time. You don’t have to do anything because this natural genesis that is occurring – in which because of the placement of your attention and your willingness to be empty (not empty in terms of what is there, but empty of self as you watch self-operate) – gets quiet. Then you sit as you are intended to – eyes open or closed – aware of the fact that you are a human being who is on earth but whose heart and mind are in heaven.


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Guy Finley
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. Guy offers two talks on GoToWebinar every week, which are open to the public. 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


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