Guy Finley is a best-selling self-help author. He is the Founder and Director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center for self-study located in Merlin, Oregon. He is the best-selling author of The Secret of Letting Go, Relationship Magic, and more than 45 other books and audio programs that have sold over 2 million copies, in 26 languages, worldwide.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
In truth, it wasn’t a choice of mine that brought me to my present place in life, as much as it was that, starting at a very early age, the path of self-realization came calling for me. A number of insights and inexplicable interior experiences – beginning in my seventh year– set out the steps – and stages – that I am still following to this very day.
On the outside, one might say that I was born into fortunate circumstances. My father was a noted pioneer in the entertainment industry. My friends were the children of the world’s biggest “stars.” But for all the glitter and glamour, there was neither light nor happiness to be found in this, my world. My young mind struggled to reconcile why, with all of the power and prestige, having won the approval of the world, did everyone around me seem so afraid, so angry, so easily made to fear. Their inner emptiness, evident to me, sat in stark contrast to the fullness of our exterior circumstances. And I wanted to understand the nature of this pain, theirs…and my own. So, between the richness of my early (and ongoing) mystical experiences, and the invisible poverty of all that surrounded me, my journey was laid out for me: I knew that if I could find the real purpose of my life that I would find, in that same discovery, the reason for, and release from…the pain that no one wants to admit is their constant companion.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
Our life is not about “winning” at everything the way we envision such victories. We must be thrown into conditions that reveal to us what we are in that moment. This kind of testing that life does of us is to teach us how to let go of who we have been so that we can realize another, Higher level of self that awaits us IF we will agree to go through what we must.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
True self-help books should serve to awaken the reader to real Life, and not give him or her something else to dream about when – in a “time to come” – things will finally get better. The real criterion for any genuine self-help book isn’t whether or not reading it makes you temporarily feel good about yourself, but whether it leads to a new understanding about yourself that frees you from having to dream about yourself at all!
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
In truth, there isn’t much that can happen to a human being that hasn’t befallen me…paralysis, being nearly homeless, a near-death experience, to being a cancer survivor. And the one thing I can tell you is that every last one of these seemingly dark moments served as the herald of a new level of self-understanding that I would not change…even if I could go back in time and do so. Most of us have heard the expression, “When the student is ready the teacher appears.” What I’ve learned is that every moment is the teacher, and in some ways – more than others — unwanted moments bring the greatest lessons…so that ultimately, if received consciously, the greatest liberation.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
There are several key ideas whose truth I have come to see as unfailing.
Knowing that whatever freedom’s path requires of me it will also supply me if I just keep walking.
The knowledge that no sincere effort ever goes without being rewarded.
That our truest strength lies in our ability to realize that whatever our present weakness may be, it is only temporary, provided we are willing to persist, to wade into what seems greater than we are, and to test this truth time and time again.
What is your morning routine?
No morning goes by without several hours spent in some form of contemplation or reflection whose collected energies are not then directed towards greater personal clarification.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
Contemplate, meditate, work on my Bonsai trees, going outside to feed the many wild animals that have become my friends. I also enjoy golf: it’s far more a mental exercise than physical…but when you marry the two practices you have a wonderful mirror of life.
The truth is that every day, in hundreds of ways…there is no end to discovering where we have agreed to live with limitations, which is the same as saying that there’s no end to realizing an ever-increasingly limitless life!
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
Each of us has been given an immeasurable gift–a specific role to play in the celestial story so great, so vast, it can hardly be seen. As our eyes open–and we realize the truth of this invisible prize–not only do we reclaim our own grand possibilities, but we also help everyone else do the same.
The truth is that the universe itself is set up for us to succeed in finding the fearlessly loving, ever-fulfilled life. These are not just words; behind them is reality itself just waiting for an individual to realize the great gift lying latent in his or her being. To receive this greatest of gifts requires that we “ask” for this realization before all other things; that we be more watchful of ourselves than we are willful in trying to provide for ourselves what we imagine will fulfill us. It is through this kind of watchfulness – even as we employ our will to achieve our goals – that we make this grandest of all discoveries: asking for what we really want is one and the same with allowing life to unfold – to show us that within each of us already lives an abundance beyond anything we could ever imagine to give ourselves.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
The truth is there are just too many books to pick one… But, I will mention a couple. “Living Time,” by Maurice Nicol, “In Search of the Miraculous,” by PD Ouspensky, and “The Universe in You,” by Rumi. These books helped open my eyes to the fact that the limit of our present view is not the limit of our possibilities.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
“Not my will, but Thy will be done,” Jesus Christ, and “If you know the enemy, and know yourself…you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.” — Sun Tzu
To receive your free downloadable 60-minute audio program, “Stop Being Afraid Once and for All,” by best-selling Letting Go author Guy Finley, please click here: https://mailchi.mp/guyfinley/worldclassperformer
This free gift is sponsored by Life of Learning Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading seeds of peace and compassion all around around the world.