They say that love can conquer all – but how do you really tap into “the power of love” to resolve conflicts in your relationship? On top of that, how do you learn what you need to learn so that you don’t keep repeating the same fights over and over again in your relationship? This week, our guest is Guy Finley, author of the new book Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together and the international bestseller The Secret of Letting Go. Along with getting juicy tidbits of Guy’s wisdom in a deep dive, we’re also going to walk through the process of transformation, so you can experience for yourself how to make the shift from conflict to love as you listen.
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Neil Sattin: Hello, and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. On this show, we’ve talked a lot about what happens when you get triggered and what to do and what not to do, and we’ve talked about it from this perspective of like, a neurobiological perspective, and we’ve touched a little bit on the perspective of trying to find love in those moments. What would love do when you’re in the middle of, let’s say, a conflict with your partner? But what if the power of love allowed you to dissolve conflict with your partner? And what if it not only allowed you to dissolve conflict, but it allowed you to truly learn the lessons that are there for you to learn so that you can get past the kind of pattern of arguing, and tension, and resentment that’s so easy to foster in a relationship? And that’s the strangest thing, right? Because it’s love that brings us together and yet somehow we find ourselves there with this person who’s the apple of our eye, when they are just annoying us to no end. Sometimes it’s the very things that drew us to that person that then drive us crazy.
Neil Sattin: So, there’s some purpose behind all of that. And today’s guest is going to help not only reveal the purpose behind all of that, but help us work a little magic in order to transform it. His name is Guy Finley, and you may be familiar with him, he’s the author of The Secret of Letting Go and his new book, Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together is all about what I’ve just been talking about, how to wake up and dissolve the conflict, the resentments, the things that seem to keep you connected and yet painfully separate from your partner. The book is new and if you want to find out about Relationship Magic, the book itself, you should visit relationshipmagicbook.com. We’re going to dive in and we’re going to talk about all of that. And of course, there will always be links available to you in the detailed transcript of today’s episode, which you can download if you visit neilsattin.com/magic as in Relationship Magic. Or you can always text the word Passion to the number 33444 and follow the instructions. I think that’s enough from me right now. So, Guy Finley, thank you so much for joining us today on Relationship Alive.
Guy Finley: Thanks Neil, I’m glad to be with you.
Neil Sattin: Well, it’s such a treat. And one of the funny things that I was thinking as I was reading Relationship Magic was how much I wished that I had had like say two more weeks to just sit there after reading the book, and really let it all digest and percolate. So a lot of the questions that you’re probably going to get from me are really raw from my experience of having been in the book and I’m still waiting for some of that magic to occur, but I feel like I’m on the cusp of its potential, and so I’m really excited to have you here to chat about your book and this idea that love and pain are these forces that can’t coexist really, and yet so often we find ourselves stuck in pain with our partner. Why do you think that’s so?
Guy Finley: First, your reaction to the book is perfect in a way in that if you ever go to a concert or if you are a seeker of some kind and read something about love or principles, and the moment you hear that music or feel that idea you’re like, My favorite image. We had a Rottweiler, and every once in a while I would say something to her to try to communicate something and she would start tilting her head left and right, knowing that she was hearing something that she didn’t understand, but that she wanted to which indicates that there’s a corresponding part, in this instance, in all of us when we read or hear something that resonates in such a way that indicates, “Boy, there’s something much deeper here that I’m getting immediately and I want to know what it is.” And then that waiting period or the re-reading period, a time of contemplation is the way in which we communicate, actually commune with that higher part of us that already understands what we are now wanting to know.
Guy Finley: And so, I just wanted to corroborate that, Neil, so that everyone can understand those moments, not just in hopefully reading this book with the principles that it presents, so that we have a little way to realize that something in us is listening and if we learn to listen even a little more carefully, we can start to understand what that part of us that’s pulled to that moment wants to understand. Now to tie that in with the last part of the question, it isn’t that pain and love can’t coexist, it’s that they have a relationship that we don’t understand and until we can begin to realize within ourselves why it is that someone we love can be so incredibly exasperating will blame them for the pain instead of understanding why that moment has appeared the way it has in our relationship. And that’s principally what my book is about.
Neil Sattin: Yeah. You’re speaking right to me and I’m remembering the part in the book where you talk about how the principle is there, let’s call it the love principle, it’s already there illuminating your experience, that that points to its existence as if you were… You need the sun in order to see your shadow and it’s like, “Well, the sun is shining right there behind you.” So you know it’s there.
Guy Finley: I love that you have pulled out of the, at least, in part out of the book. One of my favorite sections that I thought might be difficult to grasp, but I had to put it in there. Listen, yes, as hard as it is to understand, and we can continue with a metaphor, we sit here, I’m sitting here in southern Oregon, you’re in Portland and it’s a beautiful sunny day, it’s about 70 degrees outside and we look out and see the trees or the wildlife that I’m looking at and we see the objects, but we don’t see the light that actually reveals them. We don’t see the light that actually reveals them, we don’t actually see light other than those moments where we might look at a sunset but even then, we don’t see light, and we don’t see the fact that light isn’t the static affair, that light is a steady stream of waves and particles from that glorious orb that we are sustained by, and it never stops raining down on us; in one sense, making everything that’s visible, visible and at the same time giving life to everything that’s revealed by it. See, I think love is like that.
Guy Finley: I think we stand in it, we’re related to everything through it, we’re connected because of it, and yet we don’t know anything about it other than to say, “I love you,” when somebody does what we like, or pleases us, or we have that moment of sentimentality, which isn’t too different from sometimes saying, “I love milk shakes,” or “I love pizza.” I know, and it is, it’s humorous in a way. Actually, if one has a proper detachment to our present level of consciousness, it’s all pretty funny. But it’s sad in a way because with the same ease that we can say, “God, I love you. My love, you are my heart, thank you for being you.” And then two minutes later because he or she looks at us askew, there’s no remembrance at all, that the moment before we were joined by something that now seems to have disappeared, obliterated by a flash of a negative reaction, and we don’t understand the negative reaction and because we don’t and take the feeling of it as being viable and real, meaning that it confirms that something’s wrong with our partner, we lose touch with the fact that love never separates, love never alienates, and certainly love never has an enemy.
Guy Finley: So these are the things that we want to examine but not just intellectually, moment to moment, heartbeat by heartbeat, in the throes of those moments as you said at the start, where the reaction is ruling us and ruining everything and all we can do later is say, “I’m sorry, this book is for people who want to get past saying I’m sorry.”
Neil Sattin: Right, right. And I’m thinking of this thing that happened the other night, that was such a clear example of the difference between how love acts, let’s say through me and when I’m in a negative place, and when that negative energy comes through me. So my wife Chloe and I, we’d had a great day, a fantastic day, and we were wrapping up and in fact, we had put a little bit of energy into resetting our kitchen which is something we’ve wanted to do nightly for years now. And finally, we’re on it, so every night, even if we’re exhausted, we’re in there just making sure the dishes are clean, counters clean, like it’s all good. So we went through that whole thing this one night, a few nights ago, and then maybe I took the dog out. I’m not sure I’m remembering the exact sequence of events, but it’s not important. What is important is that I came in and Chloe picked up this little corner of a wrapper that had been left on the table and she asked me where does this go? And I looked at her and what I could have done is just said, “Oops, I guess I missed something.” ‘Cause we’re on the same team in trying to reset the kitchen, and honestly, just those little corners of wrappers, if they’re not thrown in the trash, they do add up, you start finding ’em all over the place, especially when you had a couple kids to the mix. They seemed to have a knack for leaving corners of wrappers everywhere.
Neil Sattin: So anyway, I took it from her and I had to laugh at myself after reading your book because the very next thing I did wasn’t just throw that away and give her a big hug and laugh about it. What I do was, I saw that there was a wrapper from a stick of butter that had been left on the counter.
Guy Finley: Oh, god.
Neil Sattin: And that wasn’t my doing, of course. That was Chloe’s doing and so what did I do but I grabbed the wrapper on my way to the trash and I said, “I guess I’ll throw this in the trash too.”
Guy Finley: Yeah.
Neil Sattin: And for us, we live this stuff so we’re typically very tuned into when we’re triggered, and calling a stop to things, and getting back into balance, and at the same time there we were. And it’s something that we’ve actually been talking a lot lately is feeling like there’s something new for us to discover here around the ways that those little resentments have found their way into the nooks and crannies of our coexistence to drive us crazy.
Guy Finley: Yeah.
Neil Sattin: And so I read in your book about this tendency of a negative when one of you is in a negative space to meet it with negative energy and just how ridiculous it is to think that that’s going to actually lead to anything positive. And I just laughed at myself thinking about that incident and that didn’t end up being a big blowup between me and Chloe. I think we’re long past the big blowup stage of anything like that, but at the same time I was like, “Oh, yeah, there’s something else here for me to learn.”
Guy Finley: This is such a perfect story ’cause you’d have to be physically dead not to relate and understand the example, the way in which couples partners or the way in which the standing in line at the supermarket, and somebody makes a comment, or the cashier’s going at the speed of molasses. And something slips out of the mouth that seems to be justified because the individual has said or is doing something that has produced pain in us. So let’s go through this. I don’t know if you got to the section of the book, Neil.
Neil Sattin: Oh, yeah, I read the whole thing.
Guy Finley: There’s actually a story in the book that is the long hand explanation of what happened and we’ll look at it together. So first, when… And everybody look, everybody, we have to understand, we are in no way or means judging ourselves or others, there’s far too much of that. You can’t judge and learn, it’s impossible. In this life, whether we realize it or not, is a school for our higher education particularly that love provides, if we’re willing to take the curriculum, which this book is about and what Neil and I are speaking about. So Neil, if and when out of your mouth comes the, we’ll call it the initial contact. Your wife made the first contact that evening bringing up a wrapper that was out of place. Pretty small thing. But if and when we do that, and point something out to our partner about where they miss the mark in some way, is it because we’re happy and content in that moment? Or is there some kind of pain in us that prompts us to point a finger so that there’s something to blame for our pain?
Neil Sattin: Right. Where we are pointing the finger so that we can blame for the pain.
Guy Finley: That’s right because something has suddenly stirred in us a certain kind of resistance or pain that we did not know was in us the moment before. For instance, I’m just going to walk through it when Chloe points out the wrapper, she wasn’t initially negative about the wrapper, but when the wrapper appeared, meaning she saw it, something in her in pain wanted to find a way to reconcile itself because in essence, the wrapper became the reason for the pain. Following me?
Neil Sattin: Yeah.
Guy Finley: But the wrapper isn’t the reason for the pain in Chloe, the pain is brought in to the present moment in Chloe and in all of us in an unconscious nature, a body of experience whose residue never reconciled or healed sits there like strange objects in a closet until something bumps one of them and then out comes this comment or this action. Now, she didn’t know. And then that pain looks at you and finds an object to blame, she points the finger at you and throws the grenade, passive-aggressive comment meant to point to you, look what you’ve done, you’ve missed the mark. And then what happens when Chloe’s pain pushes on Neil? Was Neil in pain the moment before that? No, I had a good night, we were doing pretty good. But all of a sudden, I’m nuclear, but I don’t want to go nuclear. I know that’s not right. So, my mind, now in pain, blaming the pain on Chloe looks around and finds the butter and then it throws the bomb back. The point being that the moment of pain is not Chloe’s pain and not your pain, it is our pain, it is a pain that goes into the moment before us that we don’t know is there and that becomes this continuation of a string of conflict and resentments that feed each other in a pattern that never goes away, because the unseen instigator, the real cause of that conflict lies unseen in our consciousness.
Guy Finley: Now if we can understand that much and let me stop and ask you, are we on the same page? Can we see this together?
Neil Sattin: We’re definitely on the same page and where my mind is going with this is to that concept of the debt that we owe each other and how we carry that with us as part of the burden of that pain.
Guy Finley: Yes, yes, it’s intimately connected to that without our knowing it, which is the point of our existence in one respect ’cause when we started we said, “Well, how can pain and love be in an actual relationship?” Without our knowing it, living concealed in all of us, not just as a result of growing up with the parents we had, our experiences in high school and college, not the relationships that gave us a broken heart, not those individual instances, but sort of a composite conditioned consciousness. We live, Neil, with a kind of unseen expectation. It’s built into our present level where, again, as example, I’ll speak about my wife, I know you would say the same of Chloe. I’ve been with my wife for nearly 40 years. I remember when we first met, it was all roses. We couldn’t talk enough about stuff, we had those conversations that go for hours on the phone.
Neil Sattin: Yeah.
Guy Finley: The sex was divine and intimate, the time together was precious, everything that was quirky about her was my greatest delight, everything that I did somehow had no problems in it at all. My idiosyncrasies were fascinating. This is the beginning of love because we’re drawn to each other as the result of, she revealing in me things I don’t know about myself that are delightful. I love the way I feel when I’m busy loving what my wife reveals to me about myself. She loves what I reveal in her to her about herself and there is a magnetic power. Everybody understands that, but part of that relationship and part of that magnetics includes the fact that gradually, the things that we were so enamored with, for what she could show me about myself starts to change. The thrill is gone, BB King used to say. And now the little things that were never a problem start to have a little edge to them. And here is the point: Why do I love the things my wife shows me about my nature that I feel are positive and good and accept as being a part of myself and on the other hand when she shows me things about myself, I don’t see it as being about myself, I see as being about her?
Guy Finley: When we can answer that question with honesty and responsibility, we begin to recognize that, yes, when it comes to love our partner is a mirror that shows us the most positive, empowering, and beautiful things that the human heart can hold. Love makes that possible, but it is also a fact that love makes it possible for that same human being and their same idiosyncrasies to show us what is concealed in us that is limiting our love, so that until we are present to what has been concealed in us by the actions of our partner and accept the revelation of that moment as an invitation to let go of and die to those parts of ourselves we will continue to have the fights, blaming, later resenting without ever realizing we are caught in a loop that is actually a kind of system that this present nature with all of this residue that’s been carried over insists on repeating it, literally reincarnates itself at the cost of a new and higher kind of love.
Neil Sattin: Okay, so there’s so much there in everything that you just said. What’s that?
Guy Finley: I say let’s take it apart.
Neil Sattin: Let’s do it. And maybe a vehicle for that would be the wrapper.
Guy Finley: Sure.
Neil Sattin: So for one thing, what I’m hearing from you is that the love and the mirror of relationship makes it possible for me to see all these things reflected back at me that I think are glorious.
Guy Finley: Right.
Neil Sattin: And however it also allows me to have reflected back at me the ways that I fall short.
Guy Finley: Not reflected back at me, reflected as being an unknown part of me. I don’t know that I have pain when I’m holding my wife’s hand and we’re having a glass of wine, but if she said, “You’ve had two glasses, that’s enough.” What happens?
Neil Sattin: Right. The collapse.
Guy Finley: Boom!
Neil Sattin: Yeah.
Guy Finley: She didn’t produce the conflict, she revealed within me is this sensitivity about too many wines. Don’t eat that piece of bread. You’re really going to have more butter? Why are you driving that way? Do you know where you are. I mean, all of these little questions that you call triggers are actually revelations that we have within us parts of us that we don’t know. And to the point here, does love… Let’s see, how shall I start this? When I want to lash back and we don’t have to Pollyanna it, in fact, she said something that hurt me, I’m throwing the grenade back. Would love throw a grenade?
Neil Sattin: No.
Guy Finley: This is so important, listeners, please. And we’re not idealizing love, I’m not making it some religious or iconic image. I’m just saying that you and I, if we’re a human being know that there is a love that cannot hurt anything, that would not harm anything, that love is the love that we and each and every one of us live in and through and buy at all times without knowing it. These moments in passing time with our partner allow us to see and then begin to use consciously the very thing that ordinarily we mechanically do I.e. Neil throws back the butter comment. Now, if love would not harm anyone, and I know that love would not do that, is it really I, is it my truest nature that launches the attack back? Or is pain responding to pain? And this is important, is the pain of something in me, maybe when I was a kid I was teased, maybe my parents called me on the rug for things that they were in pain over and didn’t know what to do with and abused me psychologically so that the smallest question of my character by anyone else produces instantaneous conflict? You’re not going to disrespect me.
Guy Finley: Now, we all know these parts live in us, and if they are there and they are acting in our stead, we have to recognize that something has been stirred and has stepped up and out of our mouth that feels like us because it’s part of our past but that cannot be who we are in reality or at least who we know we ought to be, and therefore, we have to do something that this book is all about. We have to recognize that love would not make anyone suffer. Another way of putting it. Why is my suffering in that moment more important than your suffering? Why is what I am suffering over if I love you, why would I want to add 1 ounce of more suffering to your life?
Neil Sattin: Right. Yeah, this is something that I found really profound in, if you can recognize that… And this was what you wrote about, that if you can recognize that the pain in your partner is what probably produced that comment in the first place, like if you saw a defenseless creature in pain you would show up to try and help that defenseless creature, you wouldn’t kick it in the head, right?
Guy Finley: And you wouldn’t even know if it tries to bite you, that it couldn’t do anything else.
Neil Sattin: Right.
Guy Finley: You would know it. And knowing that, which is, see, look, my new book is the culmination of 40 years of writing and speaking. It brings about a very simple point that if we’re willing to receive it, it makes change possible in the moment, not as an intellectual exercise by which we hope going into appointed moment we won’t punish somebody. And certainly not afterwards as a retrospective event where I blame myself or think I could have done better, what I call a reflective event. I understand that in me is a pain I didn’t know was in me. It was concealed until you said what you did. Now I’m going to pick up the tab, I’m going to do the one thing I’ve never done in my whole life with someone who has said the cruel comment or done something that upsets me, I’m going to live with my own pain. I’m not going to blame you for it, I’m not going to point it out to you, I’m going to in effect go quiet inwardly in that moment so that rather than listening to voices that then become my mouth speaking what causes others to suffer, I’m going to listen to my own voices, how they want to leap out, how they want to have an enemy, someone to make feel bad for the bad way they made me feel. And in that patience, which is a keyword. You know the original, the ancient meaning of the word patience, Neil?
Neil Sattin: No.
Guy Finley: To suffer myself.
Neil Sattin: Yes.
Guy Finley: I think that’s the most beautiful thing in the world, because you see, if I can in the moment, my wife throws the… Did that wrapper, did that just manifest itself on the counter? And we can all hear the tone, we know what sarcasm is. Right?
Neil Sattin: Right.
Guy Finley: It’s instantaneous and bang! Like that, comes up, this pain I didn’t know was there.
Neil Sattin: And to be fair to Chloe, she actually was very light and almost joking about it, like it wasn’t even sarcastic, it was light and yet it did hit me that strongly.
Guy Finley: Yeah, but see, if there wasn’t pain behind it, would she call it out or just pick it up?
Neil Sattin: Right. She would have just picked it up.
Guy Finley: I mean obviously, and I’m not, again, there’s no condemnation in this. All of humanity, all of us live in this level of consciousness that doesn’t know what to do with its pain. So to the point, here I am, and in that split second if I can bear myself, meaning bear what has been revealed in me by the comment, the sarcastic, intended or not, comment in that split second something had happened that is the true magic. And here it is, I don’t return unkindness for unkindness. And when I don’t return unkindness for unkindness, my wife, Chloe, whoever it may be, is left holding the bomb they threw. In fact, they’re shocked because the part of them that pronounced that cruel or otherwise sarcastic comment suddenly has nothing to validate its pain because now, Neil, Guy is not returning pain for pain, and the pattern has a chance to collapse on the spot so that the whole thing is revealed in that heartbeat when one of us as a partner agrees to bear the responsibility of the pain that’s been driving the pattern.
Guy Finley: Boy, we’re talking about hard work and lots of missteps but man, can I tell you after 40 years the beauty of this because now my wife, my husband, my partner has space to see themselves as they are, instead of mechanically blaming me for their pain because of what they say I am. They get to meet their own limitation, which is this unconscious negative reaction instead of it being validated by my unconscious reaction to their commentary. It’s a game changer in the truest sense of what love has always intended for us to do and be with each other, which is to work as polishing stones so that what comes out of the moment is shinier, truer, better, a more pure reflection of what love intends for us and by the way why it brought us together to that end.
Neil Sattin: Okay, so there are two things jumping out at me right now.
Guy Finley: Yes.
Neil Sattin: One of them is, I would love to distinguish what we’re talking about from maybe the flip side pattern that can happen in a relationship where there’s never conflict, and yet it’s not a system that’s fostering love. In fact, it fosters resentment because things aren’t being surfaced. So that’s the first part. And then…
Guy Finley: They’re being surfaced, Neil.
Neil Sattin: Go ahead.
Neil Sattin: They’re just being ignored.
Neil Sattin: Yeah, yeah, great.
Guy Finley: Yeah, that’s a very important distinction because what you just said is the slow motion death, not of love, the slow motion death of the possibility of two people awakening through and with each other, to a higher order of their own being that love makes possible. So, example…
Neil Sattin: Now, I wish I had read the book before the wrapper moment happened because I’m hoping that we can also paint a picture and maybe that’s what you’re about to do with this example of how that unfolding might take place. You used strong language earlier, which was like, we want those parts to die, the parts of us. And I’m curious to know what that actually… What that looks like, what that experience is like, and what that might have been like in the kitchen that night with me and Chloe.
Guy Finley: Alright, so here I am, I’ll play Neil, okay.
Neil Sattin: Okay.
Guy Finley: And everybody can play Neil, at least as far as we’re able to follow this. My wife drops the bomb. Doesn’t look like a bomb, and in fact, she’s trying to make it not look like a bomb, but it’s a bomb, and suddenly I have a reaction. Now for the longest time I can’t begin to encourage the listeners to understand this. We don’t know that we’re combustible. Were you thinking Neil, prior to that? You’re in this contented state, you’re working together, getting the kitchen set, having a nice dialogue, working together as men and women should, as partner should. Does Neil know there’s something combustible in him?
Neil Sattin: No, and in fact this is why I love the shift that I feel like your book is creating in me. Because not only did I not know it was there but because I combusted and immediately my thought was, I want to blame her. If she knew how to act in a situation like this, then that… Exactly. So that’s the pattern that I personally want to see end in myself.
Guy Finley: Yes, exactly. So you said you have children.
Neil Sattin: I do. Yeah.
Guy Finley: How old are they?
Neil Sattin: They are nine and eleven.
Guy Finley: That’s perfect. Okay, so let’s say just for grins I don’t know what it would be, maybe you’re out with one of them and maybe it’s… You hand them a fishing rod, and say, “This is how you cast the lure, you throw them a football and they can’t catch it ’cause their hands aren’t big enough. Would you get angry at your child for not being able to catch a football that you throw at them?
Neil Sattin: No, of course not.
Guy Finley: No that would be ludicrous, why? Because the child has limitations. I’m not going to blame my child, for the fact that it can’t hold on to a football yet or thumb the reel when it cast the lure.
Neil Sattin: Right.
Guy Finley: It doesn’t have the capacity to do it yet. But when we blame our partner for producing this discontentment in us, for being the seed of this conflict, are we not in essence saying, You know what, you have this limitation, Chloe. You could have been like this, and if you’ve been like that then you would fulfill my expectation, and it would be no more pain. Yes?
Neil Sattin: Right, yeah, exactly.
Guy Finley: So we see the person who is producing in a sense, this moment of disturbance. We see the problem as being their limitation. They’re not meeting our expectation, we don’t know that we walk around expecting that our husband or wife, or partner be at all times, everything that we have written a list for them to be. What would happen if, this won’t happen directly, but one day you’ll see it, everyone will who will work with these ideas. My partner says something to me, the little offhanded comment, and then instead of, as I usually do, responding with resistance mechanically, a tit for tat. I was able to, have literally appear in my hand this list that says, “The 444 things that no one is ever supposed to say to me.” Well, we laugh at it ’cause it sounds silly, yet with God as my witness, that’s what we have living in our nature.
Neil Sattin: Right, right, yeah.
Guy Finley: So then I start to realize, hold on a second, the limitation isn’t my wife’s it’s mine. ‘Cause I only know how to respond by letting this list tell me how people are supposed to be and this isn’t even my list, it got made over time. It was produced by a host of painful circumstances that I never was able to figure out. So all I could do was think about them, in other words, now formulate them, get them into something I could live with and then I think that gets buried and goes away, but those moments don’t go away. They live as objects of thought, literally formations in our psychology that when the proper circumstances appear, much as a seed sprouts when the nourishment it needs happens, up comes this list and the item on it and then by God, I know I’m right and you’re wrong.
Guy Finley: We’re saying, “Can we understand now that within us lives this lower unconscious unloving nature, and that when stimulated by circumstance, it’s going to do the only thing it knows to do ’cause if we can know that this is what Christ called Metanoia, this new knowledge, a new understanding that allows us, literally the translation of the word repent, to turn around in the moment and see what we’re actually looking at instead of what something in us wants to point to for our pain. “Cause if we can do that, Neil, then we can begin to understand our tendency, and then we take our awareness of that tendency into that moment with us and then we begin to wake up. We begin to let the moments that beat us up, become the moments that make us better, because we’re agreeing to see our own limitations, what Love is showing us is keeping us from being truly loving.
Neil Sattin: So when I notice that I am in a moment and experiencing pain and in fairness to Chloe, it could have just as easily been me saying… Having something to complain about…
Guy Finley: Of course, of course.
Neil Sattin: To start it all off. So when I notice, okay, I’m experiencing pain and I want to fix something right now, what… what do I do… I’m right there in that moment.
Guy Finley: I know, I can hear you, man. Look, you said the… Exactly the… “And I want to fix something.” I’m going to fix Chloe. Chloe is going to fix me. And nothing gets fixed other than a growing body of resentment from conditions never resolved consciously through love. So here’s how it gets fixed. I stop trying to fix my partner and I stop trying to fix myself. Instead, and this is an exercise ’cause we’re getting to that point where we need something where we can get our hands on a practical set of actions. You might want to write it down, listeners. I call it stop, drop and endure. Neil’s ahead of me. Stop, drop and endure. All right, I know my proclivity, all my wife has to do is say, “You know that shirt’s a little tight on you. Really, you’re having another helping? Why don’t we drive out to the winery in Jacksonville instead of go to the place locally?
Guy Finley: Any one of a thousand things can be innocent as the day is long and maybe not even intended as you indicated to be a cutting remark because she may be just asleep psychologically, just saying what comes to her mind. But it’s already interwoven. So here’s the reaction, bang. So what’s the first thing, Neil? Bang, come to a stop. What does it mean come to a stop? It means I know because I have been interested enough to think about it, to contemplate it, then my tendency when my wife or partner says whatever they do, is that I have a thousand tender spots. Let’s use this another way, I have a dozen places in me that have never healed. They never healed. The way that my former girlfriend, husband, wife let me know that she’s leaving me, it never healed. All I could do was hate my partner, regret my situation, despise myself for not being good enough to keep or to hold in place whatever it was.
Guy Finley: These places have never healed. And all of this unhealed, psychologically divided mind and heart goes forward in time with me. Then I have a new partner. She says, whatever it is, and the sore spot is stimulated. Come to a stop. I know it’s there, and I’m going to absolutely stop. Now, what does it mean, stop? That’s the next word, drop. When I come to a stop, the intention is to see everything in me that wants to keep moving. I want to see and hear these thoughts and feelings without being mechanically identified with them and what they are trying to do as they want to fix the moment. I’m not going to fix the moment. Physician heal thyself. Instead, I’m going to drop every last one of those thoughts that come in and that want to point to my wife, my partner that moment as being the source of my pain. And if I can come to a stop and sit there and drop all of these thoughts and feelings, I’ll begin to notice something extraordinary.
Guy Finley: They won’t let me drop them. My intention is to be the observer, the conscious witness of what love is inviting me to see, that’s been concealed in me. And something doesn’t want me to see anything other than who’s to blame for the pain. Hold on a moment, what is that about? I say I want to heal. I say I want to be a loving partner, but now I realize there is a flood loosed in me that wants to free itself, by putting someone else into a cage. Stop, drop. Now you tell me what endure means, Neil. It means I’m going to suffer myself.
Neil Sattin: Yeah, yeah. I’m feeling the waiting, basically.
Guy Finley: Yes, yes. For as long… Listen to this, ’cause it answers an earlier question of yours. I’m going to suffer myself, meaning I’m going to sit and observe these thoughts and feelings instead of identify with them. I’m going to suffer myself patiently for as long as it takes for me to finally see what love has brought this moment about for, and what is it brought it about for? For me to see that there’s no love in that nature. That is not who I am, and that is not who I am going to manifest. I will not incarnate what has passed and its pain and its false plans to fix things, instead I’m going to incarnate what love is asking me to incarnate in that moment, which is the revelation that the me that came into this moment, that has been revealed by it, is no longer necessary. And that Neil, is what it really means to die to ourselves because love makes it possible.
Neil Sattin: Don’t hate me.
Guy Finley: Oh no.
Neil Sattin: What happens next? ‘Cause I’m imagining this, and in fact, the sense that I feel is actually a whole lot of grief. That’s the first thing that comes up for me, is like seeing all of that, all of that pain and all of the ways that I would want to lash out and recognizing that that’s not love, and…
Guy Finley: Yeah, isn’t that extraordinary? And by the way, that’s… At a certain level of development, which I’m glad to speak with you as you’re experiencing this. Isn’t it phenomenal that when I hear about what it means to love my neighbor as myself, that no greater love does a husband have than laying down his life for his wife, or vice versa, whoever the partner may be. And that my response to that part of me that can hear that, but doesn’t… Is grief. What would grieve for the loss of something that only wants to produce the continuation of pattern? Yeah, isn’t that beautiful, Neil? Man, this is what… Whether it not… Anybody here with us listening, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m… Obviously, I want everybody to hear this, but what a marvelous point of connection for you and I, to unfold something so that I can actually suspect for the first time, maybe good God, there is something in me that’s grieving over not having a good reason to be mad.
Neil Sattin: Yeah, and as I’m really tuning in, I think some of it also is a sense of shame that…
Guy Finley: I get it. Yes.
Neil Sattin: Yeah. Shame that that’s what I’ve done or where I would want to go, or… Yeah.
Guy Finley: Yes, yes. I’m greatly enjoying the conversation. Look, everybody write this down, please. There is no such thing as a bad fact about yourself, there is no such thing as a bad fact about yourself. Facts are friends, but we have a nature conditioned over time, that’s more interested in appearance than it is in being. Being is the moment-to-moment expression. Love is the moment-to-moment relationship between facts. So as we grow to understand these things and begin to have some of these wonderful exchanges and experiences, whether it’s just first with our minds, and then with our hearts, it doesn’t matter ’cause we can start to understand. We are the last section for the book, we are in training. You don’t punish someone who’s in training unless you don’t know you’re in training. So when we get this and start realizing, God I can see… You know what, I can feel it in the deepest part of myself.
Guy Finley: Not only have I missed the mark, I didn’t even know what it was. Then everything’s explained in that moment, because… And now to answer your question again, what happens next? This is my favorite part. Can a pattern go on if any part of the pattern is changed in the truest sense of it?
Neil Sattin: It seems that it would be different from that point forward.
Guy Finley: It cannot go on. It’s even… Physics states it this way, “Change the observer and the observed changes.” That’s some theory or another that the observer changes what is observed by him, or her. So here I am, and let’s just say for the sake of argument that I catch what we’ve been talking about in the middle of that moment. Maybe I’m on the freeway and here comes somebody barreling up behind me or someone cuts me off or someone passes me in the fast lane, and then drives slow to punish me. In that moment, can I see that the condition has not created the pain, but it’s revealing a part of me that is sure that it has expectation and a list that this isn’t supposed to be this way and therefore wants to respond with unkindness. If I can just see that much and even think… Wait a minute… This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. In that split second I am no longer the man or the woman I was, leading up to that moment. Because something… A bit of light, bit of love has come in to interrupt the pattern.
Guy Finley: Maybe I go on and lose my temper. Maybe I say the passive aggressive remark. Maybe I stew, but the fact is, now I’m more aware of what has happened after the event than I was before. Because I realize the repercussion is actually the continuation of this unconscious nature that I was unable to not express in that moment. And here is the final word, at least as far as this question. If I change, my partner has to change. If I’m not the same, they have to see where they’re being the same and have a chance to step out of that space. As I change, I give my partner the space they need to change. So in those relationships where nothing is said and all is this sort of horrible compromise building into a ball of resentment that ultimately boils over. One little change produces the possibility of a greater change. It’s the most wonderful thing in the world that love makes possible. But it always begins with us, not with our partner, not with what we act out toward them, but what we see in ourselves and then accept as our responsibility to be present enough to to witness that a change can take place in us first.
Neil Sattin: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned that because I think that would probably be the natural question that many of you listening would have, which is like, “Well, something like how much of being treated this way am I supposed to tolerate? How much stopping, dropping, and enduring am I supposed to do in this situation?
Guy Finley: Exactly. And there’s, again, there’s a whole section in the book about that too. You’re not on this planet to let anybody abuse you. In fact, any abusive relationship that we stay in is because we’re enabling it, we have a part of ourself that would actually rather live with someone to resent than to be on our own and not know who we are through that resentment. The only thing that troubles us about other people, Neil, in the end is what we want from them. And when we start to understand that most of what we want from others is a way in which we can keep these debts running, then we want to pay the tab. And if someone continues to abuse us, and I mean if anybody abuses you physically and you say, “That’s that. Don’t do that again or I’m gone,” and then you’re not gone, it’s your fault. “I know, well, I have kids and I’ve gotta know what’ll happen to me.” Do not stay with people who abuse you, period. They will never change until you change. It’s the only hope that abusive person has ’cause they don’t know, good God, do you think a parent would deliberately abuse a child if the parent knew for a split second the child wasn’t responsible for the pain they’re in, that’s producing that horrid outcome?
Guy Finley: We are complicit in relationships where pain keeps itself alive because we use it to prove the other person’s responsible. So, no abuse of relationship continually. No. But neither do we sit and live with a mind that says, “You know, she keeps bringing up that I shouldn’t have that second glass of wine, she’s abusing me.” No, she may have a point. Then it’s up to you to discover that, use those moments and become a different kind of person, which might include by the way, not wanting the intoxicating cup.
Neil Sattin: Right. While I’m stopping, dropping, and enduring what might I communicate to my partner? Is there anything that you think is helpful?
Guy Finley: I’m glad you asked that. Yes, you do not say, “Listen, I’m enduring you
Guy Finley: This is not meant religiously, but it’s all part of this beautiful golden thread that winds through our life and relationships. Christ said, when you go in the closet, when you pray go in the closet, do not let anybody know you’re praying. Same thing, Buddha, all the great saints, prophets, all spoke of the same thing. If I’m going to change, I can’t announce it because the change hasn’t taken place yet, I’m agreeing to go through it and if I point out to my wife or partner, “Look, I’m going through this change because of you,” I’ve just thrown the passive-aggressive comment out, haven’t I? So I have to learn what it means to be silent and I might just say, “You know what, let me if you want, if we have to have a way to deal with it, look, I’m just not going to take part in an argument, I’m just not going to do it. And you may not think that what you said was hurtful, but it hurt me but I don’t want to hurt you back. So for now, I’m just going to put this down. You do with it what you want to do, but I’m done with the fight.” And if you really mean it, not because you have an image of yourself as someone who wants to be like that, but who agrees to put down the fighting nature, you will see in yourself and you’ll be shocked at what happens to your partner if you actually say to them, “Do you want to go on with this, that’s your business. I’m done with it.”
Guy Finley: And listen to this, Neil, ’cause you even said it, when you said suddenly I feel grief while hearing these ideas, your partner when you say to them, “I’m not going to continue this negativity,” they’re going to say, “What’s wrong? You don’t love me?” And you’re actually doing what you’re doing for the sake of love, and you know it, but they can’t see it yet. Can you sense some of that, Neil?
Neil Sattin: Yeah. Well, one thing that I think is the gift here is, in some respects it takes that pain and it depersonalizes it so that I could see in a moment like that, and hopefully before those moments happen, being able to talk to your partner and say, “Wow, you know, I just read this book by Guy Finley,” or, “I just heard this podcast episode and I’m seeing how like pain exists in me, in us waiting for an opportunity to like spring.”
Guy Finley: I love it, Neil. I love it.
Neil Sattin: So in a moment like that, being able to say, “Whoa! The pain in me just reared its head,” and almost like, “This isn’t about you. I just need to step back from this for a moment.” And there’s something in me, Guy, that wants more around the enduring like, I’m going to stay here, I’m going to endure, I don’t know what happens at that point.
Guy Finley: Yeah. You know what? You can’t know. You can only be.
Neil Sattin: Yeah.
Guy Finley: See, I want to know ’cause I want to be safe, I want to feel secure, spiritual, intelligent, loving on top of it. That’s where all the pain has come from, that nature that wants to know going in how things should be, or that already knows how things should be going in. That’s where the conflict is. See, here this will help maybe, Neil.
Neil Sattin: Great.
Guy Finley: ‘Cause this book actually, I swear to God, this book came out of an experience that I had when I first fell in love, which I’m almost 70. So what was that? Fifty-three years ago, I fell in love and I already, I’d been on the path. My spiritual life started around the age of 6, that’s another story. But I didn’t understand much of it, but I was with my partner and I said to her, “You know what?” I said, “Let’s agree, you and I, that love is more important than any of the personal issues that want to pull us apart.” I’m not even sure what I’m saying. I said these words, and yet I know that we’ll have disagreements. “Let’s agree that when we have a disagreement, love is going to be more important than what wants to pull us apart. Can we do that?” And of course she said yes and I said yes, but we weren’t mature enough to even understand. I didn’t understand what I was talking about, 53 years later I understand.
Guy Finley: That you can say to Chloe, listen, I’m having some revelations, I’m seeing new stuff and I never want to hurt you as long as I live, I never want to hurt you, and I know you love me and I know you never want to hurt me. So let’s agree right now that we’re never going to hurt each other. And then because I also know, as I’m sure you do, that while our aim is lofty, we live from a nature that isn’t going to be able to live up yet to what love is prescribing as our partnership and the way it grows. So instead of them blaming each other when we can’t live out our agreement, we will step back both of us and see the parts of ourselves unable to keep the contract we have with love, then we’re not going to blame each other and we’re not even going to blame ourselves. We’re going to be different people because we see on one hand, where we’re compromised and because of the revelation of the compromise itself will know what we can and can’t do next time. Yes?
Neil Sattin: Yeah, I’m soaking all that in. You can’t see my head nodding but I’m just reveling in those words, yeah.
Guy Finley: This is so important, God help us. Look, anything that’s right, bright and true in this world, no human being is the sponsor of. We are the instruments of what is right, bright and true including love. When we understand that an instrument can be played by something that serves its own interests and that its interests don’t serve love, then we stand in a place where we can start to recognize this is an ill wind that’s starting to blow through me and by God, I’m not going to share it with my partner, I’m going to let it buffet me so I can die to it. And then we have something real to work with.
Neil Sattin: Yeah, I think we might have to… So for those of you at home who are listening to this, my wish for you is that you’re able to experiment with what we’re talking about. And of course, there are more nuances that Guy writes about in the book, Relationship Magic. And please send us your feedback, firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, there’s a Relationship Alive community on Facebook, tell us about your experiences. I could envision a follow up at some point, Guy, where we talk about what happened after. What happened after we endured?
Guy Finley: Yeah, you know what, ordinarily I do so many interviews, but I would… If you want to follow up, it’s done.
Neil Sattin: Great. Great, well, we will keep in touch about that.
Guy Finley: Alright.
Neil Sattin: In the meantime, it is such a pleasure to have you here and an honor to be able to talk with you about this book that’s the hot off the presses, and yet the culmination of 40 years or more, 53 years of experience, Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together. You can visit relationshipmagicbook.com, and if you order the book, you can go there and you can instantly get an audio version of the book. Are you reading that, Guy?
Guy Finley: I’m sorry, say that again.
Neil Sattin: Are you the person who’s reading the audio book that people will get?
Guy Finley: Yes, yes. Yes, I’ve… It is I.
Neil Sattin: Great. So you can get the audio book and I saw that there are a bunch of other bonuses that you can get. So a lot of special gifts for purchasing the Relationship Magic book, and you can also visit guyfinley.org where you can read more about Guy and his work. What’s the name of your center again, Guy?
Guy Finley: I live in southern Oregon, and I teach at Life of Learning Foundation three times, four times a week, open to everyone. People come from all around the world, and there’s a body of 50 or a hundred students who actually live in the area now, and a $3 donation at the door, no one’s turned away, nothing to join. Just a group of men and women just like Neil and myself who want to understand a little bit more about how love works.
Neil Sattin: Well, I appreciate you illuminating a little bit more of the journey for me and for us here on Relationship Alive today, so thank you so much, Guy. And just as a reminder, if you want to download the transcript, you can visit neilsattin.com/magic. We’ll also have all the links that I mentioned or you can text the word Passion to the number 33444, and follow the instructions. Such a pleasure to have you with us here today, Guy.
Guy Finley: Thanks, Neil. It was just a really good conversation.
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