This article was written by Guy Finley, who is the best-selling author of over 30 books and audio programs on self-transformation. His works, which have sold over a million copies and have been translated into 16 languages, are recommended by doctors, ministers, and industry leaders. For information about Guy Finley's books, booklets, audio programs, and helpful on-going study groups visit www.guyfinley.com (http://www.guyfinley.com/Welcome/4/CD431/0) where you can also sign up to receive a free weekly Key Lesson.
I can think of no greater encouragement in this life than the self-evident Truth that there dwells in each of us the opportunity to explore and know the Extraordinary. By "Extraordinary" I do not mean any one condition that presents us with the prize of some particularly exciting experience or realization of some special achievement. The meaning of Extraordinary that I wish to convey goes far beyond all such isolated crowning moments, and points not to these individual gifts of life, but to their immutable and inexhaustible Source: A Resource open and available to anyone who will seek It.
Let me explore this notion of the Extraordinary from a slightly different viewpoint: We are created not just to glimpse passing greatness, as when we sight or set foot upon some promise-filled island only to find ourselves swept away in "moments" later by time and tide. All of us have already known times such as these and no doubt found them incredible but unable to satisfy our longing for something more Durable. Here is why this is as it should be.
All such exciting times and places in life are really just reflections of the Extraordinary qualities of our own Heart and Mind. They express the yet to be realized Character of a God-created Self that awaits us within. Only we have yet to grasp the Truth of this elusive fact of ourselves because of how our own physical senses perceive our being and its life on earth.
The way we presently experience ourselves - throughout the diverse range of the self's various realities - is reported to us as all transpiring outside of, or exterior to us. As a result of this limited perception, we are reduced to seeking mere fragments of the Extraordinary life instead of claiming our God-given right to live as conscious residents within its abiding Reality.
What this adds up to is a compromised state of self virtually undetected by us, but one that still causes a kind of unconscious suffering. It amounts to a self-imposed limitation of possibilities similar to someone trying to condition himself to be content with the occasional brilliant flash of a nearby diamond instead of walking over, picking up, and possessing the gem itself!
If these few explanatory notes resonate at all with your own past wondering of why you remain dissatisfied with life as it has proffered itself, then at this point in our study your mind may be asking: "What is to be done about our condition?" How do we regain this lost relationship with Real Life that not only manages to manifest the Extraordinary (for us), but that also reveals to us - in the same moment (should we dare to see it) - that the source of this same Extraordinary Life is ever-welling up from within us? In other words: How do we invite the Extraordinary to give Herself to us?
What is required of us to move beyond those more or less accidental but still extraordinary moments of our lives, as when timing and circumstance converge with the sweat of our hard work and we achieve new personal goals, or when we catch the magic of the last light of a late afternoon sun that seems to set a cloud on fire and we stand there rapt, feeling it is we who are inflamed?
The answer is simple enough to see, but so is the summit of Mount Everest on a clear day - which only goes to prove that knowing such a place exists, and reaching it to realize it, are two totally different stories. Yet, in what is but one more example of how beyond the ordinary the Extraordinary really is, we are created to choose which of these two stories our lives will reflect.
Do we spend our lives in dreams of the Limitless, or do we dare to do the inner work of awakening the dreamer to his unconscious limited choices? The answer should be clear! If the life story we choose does serve to determine what consciousness we are given to know as our own, then let us choose in favor of inviting the Extraordinary one.
To help us make the Right, Wise Choice, here is a special inner exercise. It begins with this idea: In each of us lives a perpetual promise. Mostly this unseen promise is fulfilled in us by accident - as when we stumble upon some splendid scene in nature set there as if just for our eyes, or when we are able to take part in a magical moment of music or relationship with another. And for some, the embers of this promise of the Extraordinary are inflamed in too brief moments of grace brought on in prayer or meditation.
However it may be that we experience these moments of the Extraordinary, we are at once thrilled and rebuffed by them. The thrill is our recognition that what moves us must secretly dwell within us, else why our interior resonance? The rebuff we feel is the blow of realizing that we somewhere settled, without notice, for the "ordinary" life, and are reminded it needn't be that way.
The following "7 Simple Exercises to Invite the Extraordinary Life" will help you to do the special inner work it takes to realize this Promise of Spirit hidden within you. As best you understand how, strive to practice its invisible intention. You will soon see how your new and higher purpose in life serves to help you fulfill this very Promise.
1. Let Nagging Questions Go Unanswered: In stressful moments, listen to what life is trying to tell you about you instead of searching anxiously for familiar answers to push on to life to make it feel "right" again. All fearful, doubt-filled moments are secret reflections of what we have yet to understand about life and ourselves, not life's rejection of us or our wish for happiness. Learn what it means to go quiet whenever there is a riot in you. Don't take part in the search for power to repair what you fear is coming (psychologically) undone. This stillness born of conscious self-sacrifice invites the Extraordinary to enter, answer, and heal all aches.
2. Don't Make the Rescue Call: In times of anxiety and fear, we almost always call upon someone or something to help us get through our stress. This dependency on others for strength not only weakens our soul but also steals from it the possibility of the Extraordinary visiting it to deliver two major lessons: first, the crucial lesson that fear is a lie. With this revelation comes the realization that the same frightened self that seeks rescue secretly confirms its condition as being real with each of its plaintive calls for help. Refusing to rescue ourselves from inner states that scare us invites the Extraordinary that shows us that no such scared self exists that needs saving.
3. Take the Hard Way: Rut and routine are two sides of the same sad street. Repetitive patterns are the well-worn pavement that the spiritually asleep self needs us to mechanically walk along so that it can keep talking us to death with its empty promises of extraordinary times "just ahead." We can learn to do much better than to settle for being betrayed in this way, but it takes inner work! Instead of caving in to the demands of those slipshod parts of ourselves always looking for the "easy way" out -- whatever the case may be -- we must choose in favor of the "hard" way. This choice eventually shows us that the only thing really hard on us is our unenlightened nature that wants us to believe that getting around something is the same as rising above it.
4. Do the Thing You Fear Doing: There is a correct time and place for thinking though practical plans in the ordinary scheme of life's events. But nothing that is founded in thought can serve to reveal the unthinkable plans that the Extraordinary holds in store for anyone willing to leap into the moment without a parachute. Never mind those old fears of falling. Just jump! Being willing to risk failing is a prerequisite for fearless living. If you will take the leap into what you are afraid of doing, the Extraordinary will prove to you that Its unshakable Ground is everywhere beneath you at all times. Nothing compares with this discovery because, once realized, there's nowhere to go but up!
5. Take Time Out from Yourself Every Day: Unseen by the self that walks upon it, thought is a treadmill powered by the movement of our yesterdays as they produce our tomorrows. This is the real meaning of "doing time." The Extraordinary is Timeless. Its domain is Now. If we wish to share Its Life, we must find ways to enter into Its world. Here is a good way to begin this Work: Every day, as often as can be remembered, we need to deliberately break out of that self-confining cage called "self-consideration." Even if we can only collect ourselves to meditate, pray or ponder a Higher Idea for a few seconds at a time, we must do it anyway. These small windows - opened by our work to remember the Extraordinary - are its passage into our life.
6. Open Yourself to Life: Dare to see and experience yourself as you are without giving names to what presents itself before your watchful inner eyes. Allow the meaning of whatever states you see coming up in you to reveal their actual make-up to you, without interrupting their upwelling by explaining to yourself why you see what you see there in you. Have no intention toward these thoughts and feelings other than to be open to them and, in doing so, to permit them their uninterrupted passage through you. Why open up to life in this way? For one thing, this gives negative states the back door they need to depart. For another, the Extraordinary is very possessive. It will not enter any zone marked "occupied."
7. Make No Campsites: The Extraordinary visits individuals, not groups or organizations. It strengthens the soul willing to be alone for its sake. Keep your distance from people who insist that you believe as they do, who hope to convince you that the reality they have satisfied themselves with should satisfy you as well. These deceivers want only to keep you in their unreal camp. Never mind who is walking with you and who isn't. Be wary of any campsite - inner or outer - with its bright "welcome weary traveler" sign. Most of these campers desire your company so that in their endless gabbing to you they can forget they are going nowhere. Walk on! Your persistence is an open invitation to the Extraordinary to join you on your Journey Home.
If you liked Guy's writing, you may want to check out his audio recordings: Discover the Secrets of Being Unstoppable! (http://www.guyfinley.com/Welcome/36/CD431/0).