Relationships: What They Teach Us About Ourselves with Guy Finley

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Relationship Magic author Guy Finley states that it is through our relationships that we discover the true reality about ourselves. So what happens when we have contradicting views over the appearance of things and their reality? In the first episode of a series on relationships, Dr. Daniel Amen and Finley discuss the ways our unconscious demands can cause conflict in ourselves and in our relationships, and how we can prevent this phemonemon.

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Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. Here, we teach you how to win the fight for your brain to defeat anxiety, depression, memory loss, ADHD and addictions.
Dr Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we've transformed lives for three decades using brain SPECT imaging to better target treatment and natural ways to heal the brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceutical products to support the health of your brain and body. For more information, visit
Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast.
Dr Daniel Amen: Welcome, everybody. We are so excited this week to ... This is Relationship Magic week. We're with Guy Finley, who's been a friend for many, many years. He's an internationally renowned spiritual teacher, self-realization author. He's the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit center of transcendent self-study located in Merlin, Oregon. It's an incredibly beautiful part of the world. He is also the host of the Foundations' Wisdom School, an online self-discovery program for seekers of higher knowledge. He is the best-selling author of The Secret of Letting Go and 45 other books and audio programs. It's sold over two million copies in 26 languages. His latest book, which I have here, Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together, applies decades of spiritual wisdom and teaching to practical relationship challenges.
You know I grew up with five sisters[
Guy Finley: I know.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... and a brother - an older brother-
Guy Finley: How well I know.
Dr Daniel Amen: ... who used to pound on me. [inaudible 00:02:11] transforming any relationship from mundane to magical. So, welcome.
Guy Finley: Thanks, Danny. I'm glad to be here.
Dr Daniel Amen: Thanks so much for coming down. Talk about the origin of Relationship Magic. Why this book now?
Guy Finley: The greatest single resource on this planet in my opinion is relationship. It is how we discover ourselves. It is how we learn about ourselves. And ultimately, through relationship whether with friends, family or the world around us, it is how we transcend ourselves. We discover ourselves through relationships. And when you put it all together, there's nothing more important than self-knowledge, whether it's knowledge of the brain, of the heart, the body, or spiritual knowledge, the amalgamation of those elements all important, and relationships serve to do nothing but help us discover those higher parts of ourselves.
Dr Daniel Amen: And when they're not right, we want to kill ourselves sometimes or kill other people. I mean, just looking at the people I see, the crises happen when you get disconnected.
Guy Finley: Absolutely. And that's the real insight here is that we have as a human being a capacity to be able to be present enough to ourselves, to what our mind is doing, what our emotions are doing so that when these negative reactions appear, instead of looking out and blaming the condition or the person, we actually start to understand that there's something in my consciousness that is producing this alienation, something in me that is pushing away this situation saying that my suffering is because of what you said. My suffering isn't because of what you said or what the world did. My suffering is because I don't understand there is something in me that walks around with demands that nobody should speak to me in any other way than the way I imagine it. So when you have unconscious demand meeting an unlimited supply of challenges, you run into conflict with the world. But understanding that begins to mitigate it, Danny, so that then the very things that were problematic to us, painful, actually become a source of perfecting us. It's a very beautiful thing.
Dr Daniel Amen: So tell the audience about you. How did you start and get involved with teaching people how to have higher selves?
Guy Finley: You know, Danny, I was born and raised in an incredibly successful family. My father was Time Magazine Man of the Year. I was literally raised as a junior rat pack person. The children of the Sinatras, the Arnazes, the Martins, the Minnellis, they were my buddies growing up. So I was fortunate to be born into a situation where most people spend their lives trying to reach that supposed plateau, and I was born there. So it gave me a tremendous opportunity to see that there's these incredible contradictions that exist as a part of the web of our society. Why would the most successful people in the world be so dysfunctional? They've got everything. And then you start to realize that the problem isn't the conditions, the problem is, again, the nature that develops those conditions, actually seeking some kind of way to feel good and perfected by life and then turning out to be enslaved by the very thing that was supposed to liberate us. So I had a great chance to see that, and it started questions for me, Danny, honest to God at the age of six and seven years old.
I rode in the lap of Jayne Mansfield in the Hollywood Christmas Parade, and I remember smelling alcohol, feeling fear. I didn't know what these things were. You can't when you're a kid. But I knew there was something wrong and for some reason, I wanted to understand the contradiction between the appearance of things and the reality of one's being. And that led me through this work all the way.
I did go through a musical stint. My partner and I were the first white soft rock artists on Motown Records. I had a very successful career as a composer, but in the late '20s, I just abandoned it because I found myself living a lifestyle that instead of being free to enjoy, I had to fight to preserve. And I thought, well, how did this happen? I love music. I got successful, but now I'm serving the thing that was supposed to serve me. And again, another one of these contradictions, so off I went meeting people around the world to see if anybody could answer what in God's name was going on here? What's wrong with our world? With so much, why is there so much suffering? That's how I got going, Danny.
Dr Daniel Amen: Well, having seen a lot of the young stars, they're often not happy.
Guy Finley: Oh, man.
Dr Daniel Amen: And I like the idea of expectations. So then you became a student of another spiritual teacher, Vernon Howard.
Guy Finley: Yes. When I came back, I went to the Far East, India. I dusted the feet of more people with my forehead than you can imagine, which is a tradition, the way in which certain kind of [energies 00:07:29] are supposed to be. But I came back with nothing other than the realization that what I was looking for I wouldn't find outside of my own mind and my own heart. And it was right at that point that I was fortunate to meet a great individual and an illumined man named Vernon Howard. I spent 15 years with Mr. Howard, became a close associate, became the co-director of his foundation. And before about ... oh, I don't know, two or three years before he passed ... He must have known it because he told me he wanted me to write a book, which he had never done. There wasn't a single student that he'd ever instructed. And I wrote The Secret of Letting Go, which became and still is an international best-selling book some 35 years later.
So a wonderful experience. I owe everything in a way to this man for educating me to understand that if I was going to be a different kind of human being, it would be through authentic self-knowledge and its application.
We've all heard the expression, "You know the truth. The truth will set you free." You teach people the truth about their chemistry, their brain, and it liberates them to have new ways to approach their own health. I teach people self-knowledge as to be able to observe ourselves and to realize that the problem with any relationship isn't that the relationship has confronted me and denied me my happiness, but rather it has served to reveal to me a limitation in my own mind. So the relationship reveals the limitation. And if I get that, then I can begin to meet the limitation instead of trying to change you because you've awakened me to it. That's why we fight with people, Danny. We fight with people because they challenge an assumption that we have about ourselves - what we think we know, who we think we are, an image that we've got. And when people don't agree with it, instantaneous resistance.
Dr Daniel Amen: Or hostility, which is what's happening in our society today.
Guy Finley: That's exactly right because the resistance gives rise to a demand, and the demand is the overt expression of the hostility.
Dr Daniel Amen: So when I think of relationships or when I think of us, I think of four circles. We have a biology. That's the brain stuff that we do. We have a psychology, how we're thinking, which is what I'm hearing you talk about. We have a social circle, which is also what we're talking about, and the interaction of psychology and the social circle. Then we also have the spiritual circle, which is why the heck are we here? What is your deepest sense of meaning and purpose? And the four circles are always spinning together. So balancing them matters.
And so back to Relationship Magic. Over the next 40 minutes or so, we're going to unpack the major principles of that and I'm so excited to do this with you.
Guy Finley: Nothing could make me happier.
Dr Daniel Amen: So stay with us. When we come back, we are going to go deep into some of these self-healing principles that can change your relationships and change your life.
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