“Forgiveness” ~ Sonia Choquette


Most people agree that forgiveness is one of the most empowering and healing things to both give and receive, and they want to be able to experience this blessing and freedom for themselves. And yet, as we all know, there is a big difference between the desire to forgive, and the ability to actually do so…and with it fully and deeply achieve a deep healing inner state of being. What I came to learn above all, when it came to forgiveness, is that the ability to forgive is not achieved with lofty thoughts or intentions alone. It comes about by engaging several few practical and grounded tools over a matter of weeks that release your body, mind, and soul, from the trapped wounding energy that has caused you to feel so much pain and then be able to replace it with new healing energy instead.

Three Blessings in Spiritual Life, Part 1: Forgiveness, with Tara Brach


This 3- part series explores three capacities we all have, that when cultivated, bring spiritual awakening and serve the healing of our world. Drawing on an ancient teaching story from India, we explore together the power of a forgiving heart, the inner fire that expresses as courage and dedication, and the inquiry of “who am I” that reveals our deepest nature.

7 Days to Peaceful Sleep – Day 5 by Deepak Chopra


Forgiveness begins with the recognition that actions perceived as hurtful or wrong are the perception of the ego, not the higher self.

The ego moves us to seek justice or revenge to right a perceived wrong. The higher self, however, knows that the universe will rebalance all actions at the appropriate time, in the appropriate way in accord with the whole cosmos, not just the view of one person’s hurt feelings.

When you forgive, you are allowing that process to unfold instead of holding on to your ego’s point of view. Forgiveness is a courageous act of trust and compassion, one that comes with the bountiful reward of healing, love, light, and liberation for our bodies, minds and spirits.

When we find that we are holding on to pain or resentment connected to a person or situation, we are, in essence, holding onto memories from the past. On this journey we are now choosing to live love in every moment. Love exists, not in the past, but in the present moment.

The beauty of this choice is that as we forgive another we are actually choosing freedom for our own soul. Through forgiveness, we free ourselves from attachments to the past and we clear encumbrances that constrict our heart, helping to expand our ability to love and be loved.

As we embrace the practice of forgiveness, we recognize that this natural process brings us closer to our essential nature and is part of our spiritual evolution.

Sruti Answers – Forgiving Everything – Seek the Kingdom of Heaven Within


Published on Jan 8, 2017

Sruti is a spiritual teacher who writes about finding God within an experience with an uncommon and painful illness called Interstitial Cystitis. She has been interviewed on the Buddha at the Gas Pump talk show on YouTube about her experience of spiritual awakening in the midst of intense pain: VIEW HERE

This ongoing and chronic condition challenged her to stay present with daily pain and to look further inward for answers. In an extreme moment of pain, in which consciousness began to fade, Sruti experienced the erasure of all that clouds over the earliest source of vision.

She watched as one by one the layers of the mind, the body and feelings disappeared before her. She asks the question: Who is the One that Can Never Leave You? With whose vision are we seeing when the lights are going out? Has this early vision ever known anything at all?

Sruti’s book, The Hidden Value of Not Knowing, is available as an audiobook and an eBook online at Amazon: View Here

For more information about Sruti please visit http://www.srutisangha.org

How To Forgive And Let Go by Deepak Chopra

Everyone has things in their past that linger no matter how much we want to forget them.
Bitter memories, whether form childhood or broken relationships, can be hard to forgive. Then there are failures in one’s career that create self-doubt and insecurity today. The key is learning how to forgive and forget. Being able to forgive allows you to let go of the past. This isn’t something that always comes easily. Holding on to old grudges, resenting an ex-spouse, rekindling ancient grievances–the range of troubles brought on by an inability to forgive the past is vast. At any given moment, the majority of wars and civil conflicts around the world would end if one or both sides could simply forgive. Why don’t they?

The answers take us to the individual level, because no matter how large or small the conflict, lack of forgiveness is personal. Think back to someone you can’t forgive, and your reason will fall into the following categories:

You’re waiting to be proved right.

You still want revenge.

You feel a sense of righteous anger.

You’re sure the other side doesn’t deserve forgiveness.

You think they should forgive you first.

They crossed a line that should never be crossed.

You’re so emotional you can’t even think about forgiveness.

You’re scarred by a deep wound.

You don’t believe in forgiveness to begin with.

Human psychology is complex, and when hostility has a tangled story behind it, almost all of these reasons could be involved. Grudges fester and take on a life of their own when forgiveness isn’t present. I think it’s unrealistic to forgive someone unless you’ve actually resolved the reasons you have for blaming them. “Just let go” sounds good, but psychologically speaking it takes a process before you feel ready to drop your grievance.

The steps of forgiveness are straightforward enough, and we’ve all gone through them.

1. You decide that being angry and resentful has lasted long enough.

2. Your sense of blame no longer dominates.

3. A circumstance arises that allows you to communicate your desire to forgive.

4. You open yourself up to the one who hurt or offended you.

5. Better feelings begin to flow between you.

6. You see the other person’s viewpoint.

7. The old grudge is settled and no longer has the energy to spring up again.

These steps form a sequence that can only unfold if you take the first step, deciding that you’ve had enough of blame, anger, and resentment. In other words, there must be a shift by the rational mind. Anger is a powerful emotion, but not all-powerful. It can be subdued by reason, and in most cases, finding a reason to start the process of forgiveness is absolutely necessary.

Faced with something or someone you simply cannot forgive, including yourself, you need to reverse the reasons that keep you holding on to your anger and blame. Let’s review them in that light.

You’re waiting to be proved right.

Reversal: You realize that it’s not that important to be right. Good relations with anyone else, including your past self, depend on flexibility, a give and take. Besides, the act of waiting keeps you stuck. If you want to move on with your life, being stuck in the past prevents that from happening.

You still want revenge.

Reversal: Test the proposition that revenge is sweet. How often does revenge only bring on the next argument, war, or resentment? Consider that things will happen after you get your revenge, and those things aren’t under your control. Since revenge is almost never a final act, unintended consequences always loom. Finally, admit to yourself that the fantasy of revenge is an empty form of self-gratification.

You feel a sense of righteous anger.

Reversal: Feeling righteous is a way to connect a destructive emotion (anger, blame, resentment) to something positive, a sense of justice. But in reality the emotion hasn’t lost its negativity; you’ve merely cloaked it in a rationalization. True justice is impartial. It requires the kind of balanced equanimity that anger only distorts.

You’re sure the other side doesn’t deserve forgiveness.

Reversal: Apply common sense. Have others in your situation found a way to forgive? Did that decision work out better than holding on to a grievance forever? Look at the other side as impartially as you can. Do you see nothing but unmitigated wrong? Perhaps your certainty has stubborn bias behind it.

You think they should forgive you first.

Reversal: Consider what you would lose if you made the first move. Would you actually lose anything? Fears of being humiliated, rebuffed, or opposed are based on emotion. If you examine hostile situations that were peacefully settled, the side that stepped forward first is usually given the most credit.

They crossed a line that should never be crossed.

Reversal: Soften your absolutist position. Think of a line you crossed. Consider why it happened. The cause won’t simply be black and white. Once you can see your own transgressions with shades of gray, seeing someone else’s transgression no longer demands an absolutist judgment.

You’re so emotional you can’t even think about forgiveness.

Reversal: Consider the drawbacks of being dominated by anger and resentment. Forget the voice that tells you how good it is to forgive, how much bigger you will seem, etc. Instead, go into the negative emotion itself. work with it; get it to start to move. No one can take responsibility for your anger except you, and you won’t do that until you realize that negativity has made you its victim.

You’re scarred by a deep wound.

Reversal: consider if living in the present isn’t a way to heal old wounds–it often is. When you place your allegiance on the past, you are living in unreality. Wounds are one thing, but having a life here and now is another. The first step in psychological healing is the willingness to let get of ghosts from the past. You are not now the person you were then.

You don’t believe in forgiveness to begin with.

Reversal: this is rarely true. If you can find a single thing, however small, that you forgave, you will have to admit that in fact you do believe in forgiveness. You just haven’t gotten around to believing in it for this particular grievance. but if an eye for an eye is a moral doctrine that you owe strong allegiance to, be prepared to live with its consequences–they won’t be pretty.

If you sincerely try to reverse your reasons for withholding forgiveness, results will follow. It’s in your self-interest to forgive, but this realization cannot arrive as long as your consciousness is dominated by the illusion that anger is the right road to follow. Examine the beliefs that lie behind your allegiance to blame and resentment. This isn’t the same as healing, and it won’t bring automatic forgiveness. However, once you start to reverse your beliefs, new energies can enter the situation, and it’s these that bring healing.

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation, and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The World Post and The Huffington Post global internet survey ranked Chopra #17 influential thinker in the world and #1 in Medicine. Chopra is the author of more than 80 books translated into over 43 languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His latest books are Super Genes co-authored with Rudolph Tanzi, PhD and Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine. http://www.deepakchopra.com
Source: Linkedin

Is There Really a Spiritual Path? By Bob O’Hearn


What is the Secret to ‘Higher Consciousness’?

The Masters employ methods to tear away any lingering remnants of borrowed support, leaving the disciple with nothing to fall back on, no comforting religious consolation or conceptual crutch to cling to. This teaching by Ma Tsu is one effective method that is used.

Monk protests: “But Master, yesterday you said that Mind is Buddha.”

Ma Tsu: “That was like offering yellow leaves to a child and telling him it is gold — just to stop his crying.”

Monk: “And what about when the child has stopped crying?”

Ma Tsu: “Then I say, Not Mind, Not Buddha, Not things! ‘The Mind is the Buddha’ is like medicine. ‘No Mind, no Buddha’ is the cure for those who are sick because of the medicine.”

Mind is Buddha, or is it?

Mind is Buddha, or is it?

Plunging into the Unknown

The purpose is to fully plunge the student into the Unknown, or “the Realm of the Real Dharma”, as Huang Po poetically calls it, beyond philosophies and partial realizations, and into the direct realization of the two-fold emptiness of self and phenomena.

The late nondual Sage Ramana Maharishi, proclaimed that the final truth consists of the fact that there is no path, nor any such thing as progress. In other words, There is simply the unfathomable expanse of spontaneous presence, pure unborn awareness, regardless of any intermittent mental content which might appear in that sphere of being.

Sage Ramana Maharishi

Sage Ramana Maharishi

Pure Consciousness has No Path

Recognizing the empty nature of both the dreaming, as well as the dreamer, both the seeking as well as the seeker, is considered by the sages to be liberation, though paradoxically, there is nobody being freed or bound. There is simply awakening to that which has always been the case, even as we daydreamed. As the modern Dzogchen adept Chogyal Namkhai Norbu noted: “If everything arises from pure and total consciousness, then pure and total consciousness has no need of a path to tread to reach itself.”

This challenging realization forces the aspirant to let go of all gaining ideas, along with all the interpretive dualities of the intellect that represent fixation, reification, and solidification of perception associated with “the search”, thus opening them to direct and immediate re-cognition of the prior freedom of the Real. And what is “the Real”? The late great master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche pointed to its essential realization when he noted:

Confronting pure consciousness

Confronting pure consciousness

“Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realize. The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness. Everything is naturally perfect just as it is. All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment; yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves.”

The Truth Staring Us in the Face

Of course, such appealing notions as inherent perfection are easy for beginners and casual practitioners to misconstrue, especially when they hear that there is nothing that needs to be done, and no effort is necessary, because “enlightenment” is always already the case. However, if we do not want to fall into that trap, all we need do is take a good honest look in the mirror at our own character.

The truth staring us in the face

The truth staring us in the face

Are we free, for example, from greed, envy, hatred, ignorance, and pride? Do we always live a life characterized by integrity and loving kindness? If not, then there is still work to do, even though, paradoxically, it is also true that there is no doer, and nothing to be done.

If we rely on the verbal, conceptual mind to make sense of that seeming contradiction, we will just end up going this way one day, and that way the next, while getting nowhere in the process. That is why we practice, to go beyond conditional second-hand reason and logic programs, and recognize the truth that is always right here, staring us in the face.

Forgiveness and Healing

In that conscious process, we don’t need to point some accusatory finger at ourselves, or wring our hands in self-concern, but simply wise up to exactly who “that one” is that we have taken to be “me”. Who is this character believed to be either perfect, or in need of some serious adjustments?

Forgive yourself

Forgive yourself

Another good example of the paradox being considered here is the common phrase: “We must forgive ourselves first, and then forgive everyone else.” Of course, in this human drama, forgiveness is not only appropriate, but critically necessary for our relationships and personal happiness. If we carry around unresolved traumas, wounds, regrets, and resentments, we will always be fueling an internal conflict, and never achieve psychological healing and mature adaptation to the stage of balanced and un-contracted emotional adulthood.

On the other hand, from the point of view of the higher wisdoms, there is actually nothing and nobody that needs to be forgiven, since at the absolute level, all is indeed perfect just as it is, and without qualification. Moreover, even conceiving the existence of a self, some solid and enduring character that requires fixing or forgiving, can be an impediment to fully awakening to the truth of our prior nature, which has never required modification or remedial attention.

All is perfect just as it is

All is perfect just as it is

Pure Perfection

Echoing the previous comment from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, another contemporary Dzogchen Master, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, puts it this way:

“From the very beginning everything, whatever appears and exits, has never been anything other than pure perfection. There has never been a single day, a single moment when everything was not complete purity, pure perfection. It’s not that everything has to be brought to a state of purity at some point, but rather that it always was and is.”

Indeed, the paradox of our prior freedom and inherent perfection is that we all may be perfect in the ultimate sense, and yet the eminent Zen Master Suzuki Roshi makes a pertinent comment in this regard: “You are all perfect the way you are, and you could use a little improvement.”

Zen Master Suzuki Roshi

Zen Master Suzuki Roshi

Certainly, if we were to spend some time reviewing the day’s headlines in the news, we might recognize that Suzuki was being rather kind and generous in his assessment. Moreover, if we examine our own life and relations, including our thoughts and behaviors, most of us might readily acknowledge that “a little improvement” would probably be comparable to taking the first few steps up Mt. Everest.

What Are We Really Made Of?

How then to explain this paradox? One possible angle of vision would include the recognition that we are both human animals, with all the positive as well as negative attributes that the human incarnational circumstance implies, and yet we are also immortal spirit, forever free, awake, and unconditionally loving. As light being souls, we choose to inhabit human creatures in order to experience the kinds of adventures and challenges characteristic of the human species.

We are light being souls

We are light being souls

For one example, experiencing ourselves in the physical sphere, with all of its puzzling and even harsh circumstances, allows us to test ourselves, to see “what we are really made of”, so to speak. Such experiences thereby serve to enhance our levels of self-awareness in our expanding soul evolution, as well as bring more information back to our soul group in the spirit realm.

Most of us enter into the virtual reality of this 3-D realm in the same way one might engage a video game. The trick, however, is that we generally assume a kind of amnesia about our true nature for the duration of the game, in order to get the full impact of the experience. In doing so, we take the human identity to represent who and what we really are, and this (mistaken) identity is rarely questioned in the midst of the adventure. By fusing with the human bio-vehicle, we thus become subject to its complications, which include less than perfect qualities.

Are we living life like a video game?

Are we living life like a video game?

Characters in a Dream

If we apply our innate soul power to improve the host, we will likely see the development of soul-like qualities, such as compassion and expanded consciousness. However, if we choose instead to not interfere, and just remain a detached witness/observer to the human’s life, then the human will follow its animal course, which is often filled with violence and selfishness.

Again, all we need do is review current world events, characterized as they are by blood lust, interminable conflict, blatant self-interest, and outrageous inequality, to recognize what kinds of choices are being made these days, in terms of efforts to effectively train the animals with which we are identifying.

There is more to this story, however. Ultimately, we are not only not the human animal, but we are not even the soul being. In reality, we are dream characters in the Mind of Source, being lived by Source in a drama of unfathomable love. It is unfathomable, because it is beyond the human capacity to comprehend, and so is typically misunderstood and misrepresented by the religions that humans have created to provide explanations for the Mystery.

Are we characters in the mind of Source?

Are we characters in the mind of Source?

A Thirst for Experience

Source wants to explore Itself, in much the same way we want to explore our own breadth and depth by incarnating as humans, for example, among the countless possibilities we may and do choose. Thus, in our role as immortal souls, we afford Source the perfect vehicles for such exploration, and as such, we are in a sense co-creators of a movie entitled “Infinity”.

In any case, as dream characters, there is nothing in need of forgiveness or improvement. Just as we are, with all our seeming faults and foibles, we are perfectly fulfilling Source’s desire to know Itself, in all the possible permutations of Itself which It can manifest. Source does not need to improve or forgive us, any more than we need to enter back into last night’s dream to improve or forgive our own dream characters, once we have awoken.

We are fulfilling Source’s desire to know Itself

We are fulfilling Source’s desire to know Itself

It was, after all, a dream. There is no judgment, no blame or punishment — only a thirst for experience, in whatever way it might happen to present itself, or in whatever form it might happen to manifest, as we enter into the compelling illusion of time and space as shards of Source’s own divine light, playing our parts perfectly.

This is Perfect. That is Perfect.
From the Perfect springs the Perfect.
Take the Perfect from the Perfect
and only the Perfect remains.
~ Nityananda Bhagavan


Source: UPLIFT

Tears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment by Marianne Williamson

The internationally recognized teacher, speaker, and New York Times bestselling author of A Return to Love argues that our desire to avoid pain is actually detrimental to our lives, disconnecting us from our deepest emotions and preventing true healing and spiritual transcendence.

Marianne Williamson is a bestselling author, world-renowned teacher, and one of the most important spiritual voices of our time. In Tears to Triumph, she argues that we—as a culture and as individuals—have learned to avoid facing pain. By doing so, we are neglecting the spiritual work of healing.

Instead of allowing ourselves to embrace our hurt, we numb it, medicate it, dismiss it, or otherwise divert our attention so that we never have to face it. In refusing to acknowledge our suffering, we actually prolong it and deny ourselves the opportunity for profound wisdom—ultimately limiting our personal growth and opportunity for enlightenment. Frozen by denial, we are left standing in the breech. Whole industries profit from this immobility, and while they have grown rich, we have become spiritually poorer.

As Marianne makes clear, true healing and transcendence can only come when we finally face our pain and wrestle with what it has to teach us. Written with warm compassion and profound wisdom, Tears to Triumph offers us a powerful way forward through the pain, to a deeper awareness of our feelings, our lives, and our true selves.

Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and activist. Six of her ten published books have been New York Times bestsellers. Her books include A Return to Love, A Year of Miracles, The Law of Divine Compensation, The Gift of Change, The Age of Miracles, Everyday Grace, A Woman’s Worth, Illuminata, and A Course in Weight Loss. She has been a popular guest on television programs such as Oprah, Good Morning America, and Charlie Rose.

TEARS TO TRIUMPH
—from the Preface, TEARS TO TRIUMPH

“This book is a spiritual reflection on human suffering, both its cause and its transcendence. Spirituality is not some pale-pink, gauzy, psychologically unsophisticated understanding of the world. Rather, it represents the most profound elucidation of how the mind operates and how it filters our experience. It recognizes the extraordinary depth of our most fundamental yearning—our yearning for love— and the extraordinary pain that we feel when we don’t find it.

There is an epidemic of depression in our world today, and a myriad of options for how to treat it. Just as there are natural remedies for disease within the body, there are natural remedies for disease within the mind. And by a “natural remedy” for depression I do not mean herbs or homeopathic remedies; I mean the practical application of love and forgiveness as a medicine for the soul.

As a society, we invite deep sadness by trivializing love. We have sold our souls for a mess of pottage. Human existence is not just a random episode, with no higher purpose than that all of us should get what we want. Seen that way, with no overlay of spirit, our lives seem to have no ultimate meaning. And the soul craves meaning the way the body craves oxygen. In the absence of a spiritual framework, we know the mechanics of life but stop short of understanding it. Failing to understand life, we misuse it. And misusing it, we cause suffering—for ourselves and for others.

Every great religious and spiritual philosophy speaks to the issue of human suffering. This book only touches the surface of the spiritual depth of insight available in the great religious and spiritual teachings of the world, but hopefully it gets to a point often obscured behind veils of dogma and misunderstanding.

Buddha’s spiritual journey began when he saw suffering for the first time; Moses was moved by the suffering of the Israelites; and Jesus suffered on the cross. But the point is not simply that Buddha saw suffering; the point is that he transcended it through his enlightenment. The point is not simply that the Israelites were enslaved; the point is that they were rescued and led to the Promised Land. The point is not simply that Jesus was crucified; the point is that he was resurrected. Human suffering was only the first part of an equation; what matters most is what happened after God showed His hand.

We too are suffering and observe suffering all around us; we too are enslaved by an internal pharaoh; and we too are dying on the cross of the world’s cruelty and lack of reverence. Whether it occurred thousands of years ago or is occurring today, suffering is suffering, oppression is oppression, and cruelty is cruelty. These things are not ancient realities that don’t exist anymore. They’re not gone.

And neither is God’s power to eradicate them. Spirit enlightened Buddha; Spirit delivered the Israelites; and Spirit resurrected Jesus. If we know our suffering is the same as theirs, it makes sense to seek a deeper understanding of their deliverance that we might more easily invoke our own. How arrogant we are, and how blind, to think that our suffering is the same as it’s always been, yet somehow we’ve improved on ways to deal with it. Are any of us under the impression that Buddha could have transcended suffering by making more money, getting a better job, or buying a better car? Or that the Israelites could have escaped slavery if they’d had another round of negotiations with Pharaoh or a private jet to take them to the Promised Land? Or that Jesus could have risen from the dead if only cryonics had been around then?

Humanity, over the past few hundred years, has lessened the incidence of some forms of suffering and increased the incidence of others. We’ve diminished the threat of polio, but increased the threat of nuclear disaster. We’ve diminished the dangers of travel, but increased the chances that our entire ecosystem will implode. And if we think we don’t do “rape and pillage” anymore, take a look at what’s going on around the world.

There is no worldly solution to the suffering, or self-destructiveness, of humanity today that can compare to the solutions offered by the great religions and spiritual philosophies of the world. Which is exactly why the ego mind has sought to co-opt them for its purposes. It has turned the power of peace into the power of the sword, both within the world and within our hearts.

Today’s search for spiritual sustenance is not confined to a particular teaching. There is no right or wrong when it comes to Buddhism, or Judaism, or Christianity, or Islam, or Hinduism. They are all kaleidoscopic facets of one essential diamond. Whether we relate personally to the story of Buddha, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed, or Krishna; whether we understand truth more deeply when it is expressed by Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell, or A Course in Miracles; the essential themes at the heart of all these teachings are universal. They apply to all people, and most significantly, to all times.

The great religious figures and teachings of the world are God’s gifts, a divine hand reaching down to touch the minds of those who are called to them. While the ego uses the outer aspects of these teachings to divide us—sometimes even as justification to destroy one another—their inner truths unite us by teaching us how to live with each other. On an internal level, the great religions of the world have always led to miracles. On an external level, they have as often led to violence and destruction. That must change, and will change, as more people come to recognize the mystical truths, the inner gold, that lie within them all. The greatest opportunity for humanity’s survival in the twenty-first century lies not in widening our external horizons, but in deepening our internal ones. That applies to us personally, and it applies to us collectively.

And we will be sad until we do. Our bodies, our relationships, our careers, our politics, will continue to be sources of suffering when they should rather be sources of joy. Hidden within all great spiritual teachings is the key to turning that around. Once we find the key, and turn the key, we are amazed by what lies hidden behind the door that’s been locked to God. We’re not without hope; we just haven’t been seeing it. We’re not without power; we just haven’t been claiming it. We’re not without love; we just haven’t been living it.

Seeing these things, our lives begin to change. Our minds are awakened. Miracles happen. And at last our hearts are glad.”

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY HERE and Watch A Free Bonus Video In this 30 minute video, I discuss more deeply the themes in the book and what inspired me to write it.

I hope this book brings comfort, healing, and new insight to your life.

All my best,
Marianne

NEW BOOK: TEARS TO TRIUMPH | Marianne Williamson

The Second Mystical Law: Forgiveness is Essential ~ Caroline Myss

The Second Mystical Law: Forgiveness is Essential

Scientists, physicians, and psychologists who have researched the relationship between stress and illness have concluded that the ability or inability to forgive affects the outcome of serious illness. People who have a forgiving nature increase their chances of recovery.

Forgiveness is a mystical, not a logical, command. It makes no sense to the reasoning mind, because the reasoning mind is incapable of forgiveness. Genuine forgiveness is a self-initiated mystical act that requires the assistance of grace to release you from the compulsive and often self-righteous chatter of the ego, which continually enforces a position of entitled anger or hurt.

Forgiveness is not the act of releasing the aggressor, though it is usually interpreted this way. Nor is it a way of telling others that what they have done is “okay” with you and “all is forgiven now.” Neither of those interpretations even come close to the mystical essence of forgiveness, which is fundamentally between you and God. A genuine act of forgiveness takes place in the inner landscape where your disappointed, hurt, abused, or angry ego confronts your soul, which holds to a cosmic template of justice. The ego wants to hold another person responsible for why certain events in your life turned out as they did or for why you were hurt or treated unfairly. We always want justice to serve us and not the “other”, which, of course, means we always want to be right.

Ultimately, forgiveness is a battle between the righteousness of your ego and your capacity to transcend whatever situation you’ve experienced that has shattered the following myths that maintain that suffering is deserving of recognition, reward, or righteous vengeance:

*God is on your side and only your side.
*Justice should be logical and reasonable and always serve your side of the story.
* God follows the code of human law – if you do only good things, bad things will
never happen to you, and, of course, you never do bad things.
*You are entitled to have all things work out in your favor.

We can’t forgive others when these myths fail us, and they do fail us through the relationships and events that make up the tapestry of our lives. Understanding the essence of forgiveness is one of the most deeply healing and liberating gifts you can give to yourself.

From a cosmic perspective your life is far more complex than you can measure by the influence of one or two relationships. There is a higher law that rules the spirit, a mystical law that holds no allegiance to the laws of religion.

Reach deep into your soul and surrender to that which your ego cannot comprehend. The greatest challenge is to forgive those who you could so easily justify retaliating against, for when is your mind so clear of illusions that you truly grasp why events happen as they do?

The mystical truth is that forgiveness has nothing whatsoever to do with the person you are forgiving; it is a self-initiated act of transformation In which you release yourself from a level of consciousness that binds you to the illusion that you are safe and protected in a world of chaos and that your God is the only God of justice and fairness for all humanity.

The fairness of the divine is in the equality of chaos and in our capacity to do evil to each other, as well as in our capacity to release each other from hell. Forgiveness is an act so powerful that a resurrection of the inner self does indeed occur, because you are retrieving your spirit from the dead zone of past traumas and unfinished business.

What you can do:

Pray for the grace to forgive, and be ready to act on that grace. Let it melt through traumatic memories and do your best not to fight the meltdown, because it will happen, and when it does, refer to the power of wisdom of the other laws for support.

Caroline Myss – Freedom of humbleness, Finding your light, Mystical path and Grace

Caroline Myss is a five-time New York Times bestselling author and internationally renowned speaker in the fields of human consciousness, spirituality and mysticism, health, energy medicine, and the science of medical intuition. Caroline established her own educational institute in 2003, CMED (Caroline Myss Education), which offers a diverse array of programs devoted to personal development and draws students from all over the world. In addition to hosting a weekly radio show on the Hay House network, Caroline maintains a rigorous international workshop and lecture schedule.

After completing her Master’s degree, Caroline co-founded Stillpoint Publishing and headed the editorial department, producing an average of ten books a year in the field of human consciousness and holistic health. Simultaneously Caroline refined her skills as a medical intuitive, with the assistance of C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., a Harvard-trained neurosurgeon.
Caroline developed the field of Energy Anatomy, a science that correlates specific emotional/psychological/physical/spiritu­al stress patterns with diseases. Her research proved so accurate that it became the subject matter of a book co-written by Caroline and Norm: THE CREATION OF HEALTH. http://www.myss.com/

Miracles Now: 108 Life-Changing Tools for Less Stress, More Flow, and Finding Your True Purpose by Gabrielle Bernstein (Author)

Let’s be real for a sec. Most of us don’t have time for an hour of yoga or 30 minutes of meditation every day. We’re overwhelmed as it is. Our spiritual practice shouldn’t add to that.

That’s why I’ve handpicked 108 simple techniques to combat our most common problems—stress, burnout, frustration, jealousy, resentment. The stuff we have to deal with on a daily basis. This book is designed so that you can achieve peace and experience miracles now.

Inspired by some of the greatest spiritual teachings, these practical, moment-to-moment tools will help you eliminate blocks and live with more ease. They’re powerful, life-changing meditations and principles, modernized and broken down into easy-to-digest techniques to fit your lifestyle.
Throughout the book, I share principles from both A Course in Miracles and Kundalini yoga and meditation. These tools can help you find your connection to your inner strength. When you practice these techniques, fear will melt away, inspiration will spring up, and a sense of peace will set in.
Gabrielle Bernstein is the New York Times best-selling author Miracles Now, May Cause Miracles, Add More ~ing to Your Life, and Spirit Junkie. She appears regularly as an expert on NBC’s Today show, has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next-generation thought leader, and was named “a new role model” by The New York Times.

Gabrielle was chosen as one of 16 YouTube Next Video Bloggers, she was named one of Mashable’s 11 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Inspiration, and she was featured on the Forbes List of 20 Best Branded Women. Gabrielle has a monthly segment on the Today show and a weekly radio show on Hay House Radio. She has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times Sunday Styles, ELLE, OWN, Kathy Lee & Hoda, Oprah Radio, Anderson Live, Access Hollywood, Marie Claire, Health, SELF, Women’s Health, Glamour, The New York Times Thursday Styles, Sunday Times UK, and many more.

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“Miracles Now” Gabrielle Bernstein at Wanderlust’s Speakeasy

Sometimes it feels very easy to slip into the void of negative thinking. In this Speakeasy for Wanderlust Squaw Valley 2014, Gabrielle Bernstein makes it even easier to right the ship and step back into the light.

Gabby shares some intimate stories from her personal life, from defining childhood traumas to very recent examples of how she can sense it when her thinking enters into the judgmental and separatist mindset. From these experiences, she demonstrates how to pull out of those thoughts, and to choose the light.

“I challenge you as you go from tent to tent here at Wanderlust and you get onto that mat and you say, ‘My practice wasn’t that great this morning,’ or, ‘I shouldn’t have eaten that vegan brownie,’ or, ‘I wish I was as good as that teacher but I’ll never get there.’ I challenge you, when you’re in the separation, to choose again, and to open your eyes to the light that is around you. When you’re having those moments of separation and judgment, I invite you to open up, to choose again, to ask. You’ll be restored, you’ll be rejuvenated, and all that separation will be dissolved by the light.”

You can apply this to even the smallest decisions and moments in your life, or if what you’re seeking is a larger life overhaul, Gabby has the tools for you, too. She gives you three very straightforward steps to take when you want to finally make the changes you know you need to turn your life around. It all starts with four simple words: “I want to change.”

Dive into this Speakeasy with Gabby to learn more about:

• how forgiveness can be used as a tool to move forward in your life,
• why asking for what you need is a practice that you need to incorporate into your daily life,
• how to tune in to witness the miracles all around you,
• to recognize that no matter what your profession, your job is not the spreadsheets or the profits, but your job is to ‘be the light.’

Gabby says it best: “When we dwell in the light and the joy of who we are here to be, all boundaries are removed.”

The First Mystical Law: There is only Now

The First Mystical Law: There is only Now

The heart of so many mystical disciplines is “Stay fully present.” Learn to keep your spirit fully in focus, so that you know where all of you is at all times. Such a profound truth is one that the mind cannot grasp, because the intellect cannot get this place called “now.” Only a soul can travel there. While it may sound easy to say, “Just detach and get on with your life,” there is nothing easy about it. Holding your consciousness in the present time is the equivalent of entering a different but parallel dimension of reality.

The need to settle our unfinished business with the past is far more than just a psychological or emotional healing ritual; it is also a deep need of the soul that affects our ability to heal. Simply put, holding on to the bitter parts of your past – recent or distant is like carrying credit card debt that incurs an every-increasing interest rate.

You can’t heal, because you are still more in the past than in the present; in effect, the past is more emotionally and psychically real to you than the now.

It is not that you forget your past. Being in the present more fully than in your past represents where you position your creative power and your primary identity. A time that has come and gone continues to overshadow the present moment.

From the broken heart comes a heart that can recognize and identify with the pain of others. A wound such as that must not be wasted or buried in self-pity, but brought into the light and examined, reflected upon, and used as a lens through which the lives others are better understood. Such a choice liberates you from the gravity field of a wounded past, which can hold you hostage to unresolved memories and traumas for decades. The consciousness of present time allows you to keep your memories, but they can no longer hold you hostage, and so they can no longer drain you of your energy, which inevitably drains you of your health.

The need to let others know you feel entitled to attention because of your pain and suffering is very seductive and releasing the entitlement of the suffering self is more a battle with the shadow of your own pride that it is with anyone else. None of this is easy, but neither is living in the past, which is the equivalent of living in a psychic cemetery where you confer with problematic corpses on a regular basis.

Here’s one simple method to help you stay in the present: Change your vocabulary. Specifically, give up the use of the following terms and all that they imply: blame, deserve, guilt, fair, fault. If you cut those five words from your vocabulary, both in your private thoughts and in your communication with others, you will notice almost immediately that it is far more difficult to fall into negative emotional patterns. You will also discover how habitual those patterns had become.

To live in the present, the practice of forgiveness is essential. Without forgiveness, you remain anchored in your past, forever in emotional debt.

~ Caroline

How To Forgive Someone Who Has Hurt You: In 15 Steps

by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer: Even when forgiveness feels impossible…

Forgiving others is essential for spiritual growth. Your experience of someone who has hurt you, while painful, is now nothing more that a thought or feeling that you carry around. These thoughts of resentment, anger, and hatred represent slow, debilitating energies that will dis-empower you if you continue to let these thoughts occupy space in your head. If you could release them, you would know more peace.

Below I share how to forgive someone who has hurt you in 15 steps:
Step 1: Move On to the Next Act

Your past history and all of your hurts are no longer here in your physical reality. Don’t allow them to be here in your mind, muddying your present moments. Your life is like a play with several acts. Some of the characters who enter have short roles to play, others, much larger. Some are villains and others are good guys. But all of them are necessary, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the play.Embrace them all, and move on to the next act.

Step 2: Reconnect to Spirit

Make a new agreement with yourself to always stay connected to Spirit even when it seems to be the most difficult thing to do. If you do this, you will allow whatever degree of perfect harmony that your body was designed for to proliferate. Turn your hurts over to God, and allow Spirit to flow through you.

Your new agreement with reality in which you’ve blended your physical self and your personality with your spiritual God-connected self will begin to radiate a higher energy of love and light. Wherever you go, others will experience the glow of your God consciousness, and disharmony and disorder and all manner of problems simply will not flourish in your presence. Become “an instrument of thy peace,” as St. Francis desires in the first line of his famous prayer.

Step 3: Don’t Go to Sleep Angry

Each night as I drift off to sleep, I adamantly refuse to use this precious time to review anything that I do not want to be reinforced in the hours of being immersed in my subconscious mind. I choose to impress upon my subconscious mind my conception of myself as a Divine creator in alignment with the one mind. I reiterate my I am, which I have placed in my imagination, and I remember that my slumber will be dominated by my last waking concept of myself. I am peaceful, I am content, I am love, and I attract only to myself those who are in alignment with my highest ideals of myself.

This is my nightly ritual, always eschewing any temptation to go over any fear of unpleasantness that my ego might be asking me to review. I assume the feeling in my body of those I am statements already fulfilled, and I know that I’m allowing myself to be programmed while asleep, for the next day I rise knowing that I am a free agent.

In sleep man impresses the subconscious mind with his conception of himself. — Neville Goddard

Step 4: Switch the Focus from Blaming Others to Understanding Yourself

Whenever you’re upset over the conduct of others, take the focus off those you’re holding responsible for your inner distress. Shift your mental energy to allowing yourself to be with whatever you’re feeling — let the experience be as it may, without blaming others for your feelings. Don’t blame yourself either! Just allow the experience to unfold and tell yourself that no one has the power to make you uneasy without your consent, and that you’re unwilling to grant that authority to this person right now.

Tell yourself that you are willing to freely experience your emotions without calling them “wrong” or needing to chase them away. In this way, you’ve made a shift to self-mastery. It’s important to bypass blame, and even to bypass your desire to understand the other person; instead, focus on understanding yourself.
By taking responsibility for how you choose to respond to anything or anyone, you’re aligning yourself with the beautiful dance of life. By changing the way you choose to perceive the power that others have over you and you will see a bright new world of unlimited potential for yourself and you will know instantly how to forgive and let go of anything.

Step 5: Avoid Telling People What to Do

Avoid thoughts and activities that involve telling people who are perfectly capable of making their own choices what to do. In your family, remember that you do not own anyone. The poet Kahlil Gibran reminds you:

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you . . .

This is always true. In fact, disregard any inclination to dominate in all of your relationships. Listen rather than expound. Pay attention to yourself when you’re having judgmental opinions and see where self-attention takes you. When you replace an ownership mentality with one of allowing, you’ll begin to see the true unfolding of the Tao in yourself and other people. From that moment on, you’ll be free of frustration with those who don’t behave according to your ego-dominated expectations.

Step 6: Learn to Let Go and Be Like Water

Rather than attempting to dominate with your forcefulness, be like water: flow everywhere there’s an opening. Soften your hard edges by being more tolerant of contrary opinions. Interfere less, and substitute listening for directing and telling. When someone offers you their viewpoint, try responding with: “I’ve never considered that before—thank you. I’ll give it some thought.”

When you give up interfering, and opt instead to stream like water—gently, softly, and unobtrusively— you become forgiveness itself.

Picture yourself as having the same qualities as water. Allow your soft, weak, yielding, fluid self to enter places where you previously were excluded because of your inclination to be solid and hard. Flow softly into the lives of those with whom you feel conflicted: Picture yourself entering their private inner selves, seeing perhaps for the first time what they’re experiencing. Keep this image of yourself as gently coursing water, and watch how your relationships change.

Step 7: Take Responsibility for Your Part

Removing blame means never assigning responsibility to anyone else for what you’re experiencing. It means that you’re willing to say, “I may not understand why I feel this way, why I have this illness, why I’ve been victimized, or why I had this accident, but I’m willing to say without any guilt or resentment that I own it. I live with, and I am responsible for, having it in my life.”

If you take responsibility for having the experience, then at least you have a chance to also take responsibility for removing it or learning from it. If you’re in some small (perhaps unknown) way responsible for that migraine headache or that depressed feeling, then you can go to work to remove it or discover what its message is for you. If, on the other hand, someone or something else is responsible in your mind, then of course you’ll have to wait until they change for you to get better. And that is unlikely to occur. So you go home with nothing and are left with nothing when peace is really on the other side of the coin.

Step 8: Let Go of Resentment

What causes annoyance and anger after a dispute? The generic response would be a laundry list detailing why the other person was wrong and how illogically and unreasonably they behaved, concluding with something like, “I have a right to be upset when my [daughter, mother-in-law, ex-husband, boss, or whomever you’re thinking of] speaks to me that way!”

But if you’re interested in living a Tao-filled life, it’s imperative that you reverse this kind of thinking. Resentments don’t come from the conduct of the other party in an altercation—no, they survive and thrive because you’re unwilling to end that altercation with an offering of kindness, love, and authentic forgiveness. As Lao-Tzu says:

Someone must risk returning injury with kindness, or hostility will never turn to goodwill. — Lao-Tzu

So when all of the yelling, screaming, and threatening words have been expressed, the time for calm has arrived. Remember that no storm lasts forever, and that hidden within are always seeds of tranquility. There is a time for hostility and a time for peace.

Step 9: Be Kind Instead of Right

There is a Chinese proverb, If you’re going to pursue revenge, you’d better dig two graves, which is saying to me: your resentments will destroy you.

The world is just the way it is. The people who are behaving “badly” in the world are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. You can process it in any way that you choose. If you’re filled with anger about all of those “problems,” you are one more person who contributes to the pollution of anger. Instead, remember that you have no need to make others wrong or to retaliate when you’ve been wronged.

Imagine if someone says something to you that you find offensive, and rather than opting for resentment, you learn to depersonalize what you’ve just heard and respond with kindness. You are willing to freely send the higher, faster energies of love, peace, joy, forgiveness, and kindness as your response to whatever comes your way. You do this for yourself. You would rather be kind than right.

Step 10: Practice Giving

In the midst of arguments or disagreements, practice giving rather than taking before you exit. Giving involves leaving the ego behind. While it wants to win and show its superiority by being contrary and disrespectful, your Tao nature wants to be at peace and live in harmony. You can reduce your quarreling time to almost zero if you practice this procedure:

Wherever you are, whenever you feel strong emotions stirring in you and you notice yourself feeling the need to “be right,” silently recite the following words from the Prayer of Saint Francis:

Where there is injury, [let me bring] pardon.

Be a giver of forgiveness as he teaches: Bring love to hate, light to darkness, and pardon to injury. Read these words daily, for they’ll help you overcome your ego’s demands and know the fullness of life.

Step 11: Stop Looking for Occasions to Be Offended

When you live at or below ordinary levels of awareness, you spend a great deal of time and energy finding opportunities to be offended. A news report, a rude stranger, someone cursing, a sneeze, a black cloud —just about anything will do if you’re looking for an occasion to be offended. Become a person who refuses to be offended by any one, any thing, or any set of circumstances.

If you have enough faith in your own beliefs, you’ll find that it’s impossible to be offended by the beliefs and conduct of others.

Not being offended is a way of saying, “I have control over how I’m going to feel, and I choose to feel peaceful regardless of what I observe going on. When you feel offended, you’re practicing judgment. You judge someone else to be stupid, insensitive, rude, arrogant, inconsiderate, or foolish, and then you find yourself upset and offended by their conduct. What you may not realize is that when you judge another person, you do not define them. You define yourself as someone who needs to judge others.

Step 12: Don’t Live In the Past – Be Present

When we find it difficult to forgive, often it is because we are not living in the present, and instead, we assign more importance to the past. We assign a good portion of our energy and attention lamenting the good old days that are gone forever as the reason why we can’t be happy and fulfilled today. “Everything has changed,” “No one respects anyone else like they used to…” This is assigning responsibility to the past for why you can’t be happy today.

It’s doubtful that other creatures waste the present moment in thoughts of past and future. A beaver only does beaver, and he does it right in the moment. He doesn’t spend his days ruminating over the fact that his beaver siblings received more attention, or his father beaver ran off with a younger beaver when he was growing up. He’s always in the now. We can learn much from God’s creatures about enjoying the present moment rather than using it up consumed with anger over the past or worry about the future. Practice living in the moment by appreciating the beauty around you now.

Step 13: Embrace Your Dark Times

In a universe that’s an intelligent system with a divine creative force supporting it, there simply can be no accidents. As tough as it is to acknowledge, you had to go through what you went through in order to get to where you are today, and the evidence is that you did. Every spiritual advance that you will make in your life will very likely be preceded by some kind of fall or seeming disaster. Those dark times, accidents, tough episodes, break ups, periods of impoverishment, illnesses, abuses, and broken dreams were all in order. They happened, so you can assume they had to and you can’t unhappen them.

Embrace them from that perspective, and then understand them, accept them, honor them, and finally transform them.

Step 14: Refrain from Judgement

When you stop judging and simply become an observer, you will know inner peace. With that sense of inner peace, you’ll find yourself happier and free of the negative energy of resentment. A bonus is that you’ll find that others are much more attracted to you. A peaceful person attracts peaceful energy.

If I’m to be a being of love living from my highest self, that means that love is all I have inside of me and all that I have to give away. If someone I love chooses to be something other than what my ego would prefer, I must send them the ingredients of my highest self, which is God, and God is love.

My criticism and condemnation of the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of others—regardless of how right and moral my human self convinces me it is—is a step away from God-realization. And it is God-consciousness that allows for my wishes to be fulfilled, as long as they are aligned with my Source of being. I can come up with a long list of reasons why I should be judgmental and condemnatory toward another of God’s children and why, damn it, I am right. Yet if I want to perfect my own world—and I so want to do so—then I must substitute love for these judgments.

Step 15: Send Love

I spent years studying the teachings of Patanjali, and he reminded us several thousand years ago that when we are steadfast—which means that we never slip in our abstention of thoughts of harm directed toward others—then all living creatures cease to feel enmity in our presence.

Now I know that we are all human: you, me, all of us. We do occasionally slip and retreat from our highest self into judgment, criticism, and condemnation, but this is not a rationale for choosing to practice that kind of interaction. I can only tell you that when I finally got it, and I sent only love to another of God’s children whom I had been judging and criticizing, I got the immediate result of inner contentment.

I urge you to send love in place of those judgments and criticisms to others when you feel they impede your joy and happiness, and hold them in that place of love. Notice that if you stay steadfast, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
A Meditation to End on Love

Picture yourself at the termination of a quarrel or major dispute. Rather than reacting with old patterns of residual anger, revenge, and hurt, visualize offering kindness, love, and forgiveness.

Do this right now by sending out these “true virtue” thoughts to any resentments you’re currently carrying. Make this your standard response to any future altercations: I end on love, no matter what!
Source: Dr Wayne Dyer

You Were Not Born To Suffer: Love Yourself Back to Inner Peace, Health, Happiness & Fulfillment by Blake D. Bauer (Author)

Discover why all suffering, illness, and unhappiness are cries from your soul and subconscious mind asking you to fulfill your life’s purpose, realize your greatest potential, and ultimately, love, honor, and value yourself in every moment, situation, and relationship.

Born out of Blake D. Bauer’s personal healing and spiritual journey, as well as his professional counseling, coaching, and healing success with thousands of people internationally, You Were Not Born to Suffer offers a unique combination of deep insight and practical guidance that will empower you to transform your suffering in the present and move forward immediately in creating what you want and need most in your life right now.

Written in heart-centered, easy-to-read language, You Were Not Born to Suffer will guide you through the most challenging obstacles and lessons you’ll face in your quest for healing, purpose, success, and overall freedom. Above all else, this book will enable you to relate to yourself with unconditional love, kindness, and compassion so you can transform the core psychological, emotional, and physical blocks that are sabotaging your health, happiness, and overall wellbeing.

You Were Not Born to Suffer offers a refreshing integration of ancient and timeless wisdom, synthesized from various spiritual and medical traditions, that goes straight to the heart of our deepest wounds, needs, desires, and dreams as human beings. Once there, it inspires unconditional love, respect, acceptance, and forgiveness in the places that are universally the most difficult for us to embrace. At the same time, it also clarifies how to effectively direct your thoughts, words, and actions toward creating the “best” in every aspect of your personal and professional life.

If you are serious about healing yourself, fulfilling your life’s purpose, and awakening spiritually, then this book will support you to take your life, your power, and your destiny back into your own hands so you can live your life to the fullest—without regret.

Blake D. Bauer is an internationally recognized author, spiritual teacher, and alternative medicine practitioner. His pioneering work centers on loving yourself unconditionally as the key to healing yourself, fulfilling your life’s purpose, and realizing your full potential both personally and professionally. Based on his training with spiritual teachers, healers, and masters from all over the world, Blake practices and teaches various forms of meditation, qi gong, qi gong energy medicine, and dao yin (a health and longevity yoga). Blake’s formal education also includes traditional Chinese medicine, five-element Chinese medicine, nutritional medicine, herbal healing, psychology, past life regression therapy-hypnosis, and various other forms of traditional healing and alternative medicine. Bringing together the most effective spiritual practices and holistic approaches to health and wellbeing, Blake’s work and teachings have successfully guided thousands of people internationally toward greater psychological, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual freedom.

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Inner-Views with Dr Leslie and Blake Bauer Author of YOU WERE NOT BORN TO SUFFER
Diane Wilkins


Inner-Views with Dr Leslie and Blake Bauer Author of YOU WERE NOT BORN TO SUFFER

A Path to Personal Forgiveness: Defeat the Three Dragons ~ DEEPAK CHOPRA

All of us, I feel fairly certain, believe that forgiveness is a positive quality. But the fact that religion has been the traditional basis for finding forgiveness has made it seem quite often that there’s something saintly, or at the very least unusually gentle, compassionate, and selfless in those who can forgive. Since the current project is to create a wave of forgiveness with a global reach, I think forgiveness needs to be brought down to earth.

To begin with, forgiveness comes at the end of a process, not at the beginning. In order to forgive yourself or another person, three obstacles must be overcome. Let’s call them the three dragons of judgment, anger, and blame. Each has had powerful effects in everyone’s life. Millions of people feel justified in clinging to their own dragons, and it takes conviction to realize that nothing about judgment, anger, and blame actually serves anyone’s self-interest.

The reason that we cling to our dragons is out of a belief that they somehow serve us. In medicine we call this a secondary benefit, as when a child with tonsillitis gets to stay home from school and eat ice cream after his tonsils are removed — that’s a secondary benefit of being sick. The three dragons also have secondary benefits even though they represent a psychological malady.

Judgment has the benefit of making you feel righteous, justified, morally superior, and on the good side of “us versus them” thinking.

Blame has the secondary benefit of shifting responsibility to someone else, escaping moral scrutiny, and having no need to examine your part in the conflict.

Anger has the benefit of justifying revenge, providing an outlet for hostility and aggression, and keeping you safe from fear, which is a much harder emotion to deal with than anger.

As a practical matter, then, the process of forgiveness is about choosing to renounce these secondary benefits. Why make such a choice? Leaving aside the people who have inculcated forgiveness as a moral or spiritual virtue, someone has to actually experience the advantages of forgiveness. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and fortunately, almost everyone who has walked the path to forgiveness testifies that they feel much better personally without the burdens of judgment, blame, and anger. Second-hand testimony is a helpful motivation, but realistically, it’s a minor factor compared with the personal sensation of defeating your own dragons.

I’d like to encourage anyone who wishes to become a unit of peace in the world to consider walking the path of forgiveness, and so as a practical matter, let me simplify it — in essence, the following things are necessary.

A Path to Forgiveness: 7 Key Steps

Find your own peace through meditation, yoga, or other contemplative practice.

Renounce the illusion that you can change someone else’s morality or worldview.

Know that you can do more to change the world by who you are than by anything you can say or teach.

Take responsibility for nonviolence in your speech and actions.

Address the issues of judgment, blame, and anger in yourself.

Associate with like-minded people who are committed to peace and forgiveness.

Adopt a vision of the highest possibilities for humankind.

If you pay attention to one or more of these steps every day, you will bring the power of self-awareness into play, and self-awareness is the level of the solution. Talking about forgiveness, struggling to overcome your own judgment, blame, and anger, even vowing to have no enemies in the world — these are good intentions that need a level of peace consciousness in order to be truly lasting and effective.

What I’m calling upon here is a merging of spiritual and moral values with psychological realism. A mind filled with judgment, blame, and anger has trained the brain to favor those pathways. Forms of violence become habitual when they are paralleled by pathways in the brain that have turned into the path of least resistance. The more you favor intolerance and prejudice, the easier they become. People who now see reason to abandon blame and judgment have turned those attitudes into default positions that their brains click into. It’s important to take seriously the numerous studies in social psychology that show something we all wish wasn’t true: The more you offer anyone rational reasons for letting go of a harsh prejudice or fixed opinion, the more strongly they cling to those prejudices and opinions.

By the same token, the most effective negotiators are those who enter a situation showing respect for both sides of the dispute — that’s because peace consciousness lowers the other person’s defensiveness. So we have already listed several reasons why forgiveness is personally beneficial:

You feel lighter and more unburdened.

You no longer allow judgment, blame, and anger to be in control of your responses.

You will be more effective in situations where conflicts need to be settled.

You are undertaking a change that will free your brain up from a mindless default setting.

This perspective will help you to consider the path to forgiveness, but the hard reality is that trying to be more peaceful raises a threatening specter. A voice inside warns, “If you forgive the bad guys, they only get stronger, and in the end you lose.” To bolster this warning, there are lots of frightening historical examples, such as the appeasement with Hitler that allowed him to invade helpless countries without fear of reprisal. Everywhere that evil and bad faith must be opposed, from Kosovo to ISIS, from the concentration camps to the Gulag, the power of forgiveness seems not just feeble but immoral.

For this reason, we are all fence-sitters about both peace and forgiveness. We pick and choose when to fight and when to forgive. We blame the people it’s impossible to forgive and make peace mostly with those who already want to make peace. Gandhi faced a tottering British Empire that was ready to make concessions; we have no Gandhis who stopped Attila the Hun. When it comes to fence-sitting, the following points may help to promote more forgiveness.

First, be easy with yourself. Forgive whom you can. Make the right gestures and keep making them, but don’t struggle to forgive someone you simply feel doesn’t deserve it. You aren’t meant to become a saint, only a unit of peace consciousness.

Second, allow yourself to evolve. Forgiveness is a path. The more you walk it, the more your awareness expands, and the possibilities of peace, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness expand at the same time, because these are qualities of consciousness once resistance has been removed.

Third, obey the practicalities without becoming a slave to them. As a practicality, criminals need to be caught, tried, and sometimes imprisoned. But to use this as a justification for revenge, cruelty, fear, and social feuding is to become a slave to wrongdoing. “Love the sinner but hate the sin” is a dictum almost impossible to live up to, but the distinction makes sense.

A world in conflict has always been with us. Fear, war, violence, retribution, and “us versus them” thinking have been in place since recorded time. But humankind evolves, and we are unique among all living creatures in holding the power of evolution in our own hands. A forgiveness initiative brings something new to the evolutionary table. For every person who becomes a unit of peace consciousness, the future changes even as the present is uplifted.

This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and “Forgive for Peace,” in conjunction with the UN’s International Day of Peace (Sept. 21, annually). The International Day of Peace is devoted to strengthening the ideals for peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. Forgiveness is the first step on the path toward Peace and therefore the Forgive for Peace Campaign was established. It also marks an annual day of non-violence and calls for a laying down of arms to bring about a 24-hour cease fire on September 21st. To learn more about Forgive for Peace, visit here.

The Fifth Disciple: Choose Again and Find True Happiness by Cynthia Bove (Author)

This book correlates teachings from several profound texts, namely the spiritual philosophy of A Course in Miracles and a rendition of The Gospel of Thomas, a collection of Sayings from the time of Jesus. The hidden keys unearthed from these combined resources will help us delve deeper into the metaphysical meanings of life, and strive to answer universal spiritual questions that have eluded mankind’s awareness for generations. We will endeavor to understand our purpose in life and our reason for being.

Our aim is to methodically decipher how to draw closer to our Source, and to understand how to overcome past obstacles that have prevented that joyous reunion from occurring. As we embark upon the path of forgiveness our perceptions will change as to what we consider real and important. We become joyfully reacquainted with a different Guide than we have traveled with in the past, One who will smooth our way and make straight our path. With these keys in hand, we will gain the knowledge that enables us to see beyond form to the formless, and unite once again with the flawless Vision that sees our True Self as it really is.

Cynthia Bove‘ is a graduate of the City College of New York, with a degree in Sociology and a Minor in Psychology. She lives on Long Island with her family.

Look Inside

Interview with Cynthia Bové, Author of The Fifth Disciple: Choose Again and Find True Happiness

Another book about The Gospel of Thomas! 🙂 I speak to Cynthia Bové, Author of The Fifth Disciple – an excellent book that covers the gist of A Course in Miracles and the links with The Gospel of Thomas.

http://acimexplained.com

In this innovative book, Cynthia Bove has taken the insightful spiritual philosophy of A Course in Miracles and correlated it with a profound collection of Sayings from the time of Jesus. These ancient Sayings had been buried in the desert for over sixteen hundred years before they were rediscovered in 1945.

Now the revelations from these combined resources can help us discover our purpose in life and our reason for being. Once again we will become happily reacquainted with a different Guide than we have traveled with in the past, One who will lovingly smooth our way and make straight our path.

As we studiously embark upon the path of forgiveness that is laid out before us, we will draw closer to our Source and overcome the obstacles that have prevented our joyous reunion from occurring. We will gain the knowledge that enables us to see beyond form to the formless, and unite once again with the flawless Vision that sees our True Self as it really is.

The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace by Jack Kornfield


You hold in your hand an invitation:

To remember the transforming power of forgiveness and lovingkindness. To remember that no matter where you are and what you face, within your heart peace is possible.

In this beautiful and graceful little book, internationally renowned Buddhist teacher and meditation master Jack Kornfield has collected age-old teachings, modern stories, and time-honored practices for bringing healing, peace, and compassion into our daily lives. Just to read these pages offers calm and comfort. The practices contained here offer meditations for you to discover a new way to meet life’s greatest challenges with acceptance, joy, and hope.

Biography
Jack Kornfield, Ph.D. co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, in 1975 and later, the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. His books include After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and the national bestseller A Path with Heart (over 100,000 copies in print).

Look Inside

Jack Kornfield: The Ancient Heart of Forgiveness


The renowned teacher and author shares extraordinary stories of forgiveness–and explains how the next story could be yours.

A Lamp in the Darkness: Illuminating the Path Through Difficult Times by Jack Kornfield PhD (Author)

When the path ahead is dark, how can we keep from stumbling? How do we make our way with courage and dignity? “Inside each of us is an eternal light that I call ‘the One Who Knows,’ writes Jack Kornfield. “Awakening to this wisdom can help us fin dour way through pain and suffering with grace and tenderness.” For anyone seeking answer during a trying time, he offers “A Lamp in the Darkness,” a book-and-CD program filled with spiritual and psychological insights, hope-giving stories, and guided meditations for skillfully navigating life’s inevitable storms.

The practices in this book are not positive thinking, quick fixes, or simplistic self-help strategies. They are powerful tools for doing “the work of the soul” to access our inner knowing and to embrace the fullness of our life experience. With regularly practice these teachings and meditations enable you to transform your difficulties into a guiding light for the journey ahead. Join Jack Kornfeld as your trusted guide as you explore:

· Shared Compassion-a guided practice for planting the seeds of compassion and opening the heart to all that life brings

· The Earth Is My Witness-a meditation to establish firm footing in the midst of darkness, centered by a steady witnessing presence

· The Practice of Forgiveness-what Jack calls “the only medicine that can release us from the past and allow us to truly begin anew.”

· The Temple of Healing-a guided visualization to meet our own inner healer

· Equanimity and Peace-a meditation for maintaining balance and acceptance regardless of the situation

Just as it is certain that each life will include suffering, explains Kornfield, it is also true that in every moment there is the possibility of transcending your difficulties to discover the heart’s eternal freedom. With A Lamp in the Darkness, he offers you a beacon for yourself and others until joy returns again.

Jack Kornfield, Ph.D. co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, in 1975 and later, the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. His books include After the Ecstasy, the Laundry and the national bestseller A Path with Heart (over 100,000 copies in print).

Table of Contents

Foreward by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Introduction: An Invitation to Awaken

1. The Wisdom of Our Difficulties

2. The Earth is My Witness

3. Shared Compassion

4. Awakening the Buddha of Wisdom in Difficulties

5. The Practice of Forgiveness

6. The Temple of Healing

7. The Zen of an Aching Heart

8. Equanimity and Peace

9. Your Highest Intention

10. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness and the Healing Journey

Afterword: The Return of Joy

Excerpt

If you’re reading these words, you’ve probably hit hard times. Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one, or maybe you’ve lost your job, or received a difficult diagnosis, or someone close to you has. Maybe you’re divorcing or you’re in bankruptcy or you’ve been injured, or your life is falling apart in any number of ways. Maybe daily life itself has become too much for you.or not enough. But even in the best of times there’s plenty to worry about: seemingly endless wars and violence, racism, our accelerating environmental destruction. In difficult times, personally or collectively, we often begin to wonder not only how we can get through this difficult patch; we begin to question existence itself.

Look Inside

Jack Kornfield: 12 Principles of Forgiveness

The acclaimed author and teacher explains the principles that are integral to the process of forgiving, according to Buddhist philosophy.

Wake up from Unworthiness: An Interview with Tara Brach by Sam Mowe

“What’s wrong with me?” So many of us regularly experience feelings—such as shame, loneliness, self-hatred, or just a general sense of deficiency—that give rise to this question. For over 35 years, clinical psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach has worked with people to relieve this kind of emotional suffering and guide them toward spiritual awakening.

Brach is the founder of the Insight Meditation Community in Washington, DC, and author of True Refuge and Radical Acceptance. She spoke with S&H about feelings of unworthiness, working with these painful feelings, and healing in relationships.

Tell me about the “trance of unworthiness.”

When people start looking more closely at the reasons that they’re having a difficult time feeling close to other people, they often realize that it’s because they are not liking themselves. Over the last few decades, I have found that the deepest expression of suffering that we have—especially in the West—is this sense that “I’m not okay. I’m deficient. I’m falling short in some way.”

A woman once told me about being with her mother while she was dying. Her mother came out of a coma and said, “All my life I thought something was wrong with me,” and then she went back in the coma and died. For this woman, it was the greatest gift to hear that. So many of us spend huge amounts of our lives feeling this way—sometimes it’s a very explicit dramatic sense of being damaged goods, and other times it’s a subtler layering of judging ourselves. We’re not good enough. We’re falling short. We should be doing something better. Whatever level this is happening on, when we are turned against ourselves, we cannot embrace our world with an open heart.

How does this feeling of falling short affect our lives?

It affects everything. It is affecting this conversation right now that you and I are having. There’s some monitoring going on: Am I doing my job? Am I likable? Am I going to make a good impression?

This background doubt in every communication makes it hard for us to do any number of things, such as take a risk at work. It can also drive addictions because we feel anxious about failing and have to soothe ourselves. Most dramatically, we can see it in our relationships. You can’t be intimate with someone else unless you have a capacity to embrace your inner life. Whenever we’re with other people, if we’re not feeling aligned with ourselves, there is some part of us that is always trying to get approval or avoid being judged.

Where do you think these feelings of unworthiness come from?

Each of us grew up with set standards—provided to us by our caregivers and the larger culture—that informed us how to act in order to be loved or respected. I should look a certain way. I should achieve certain things. At work we have these ideas of what it means to be successful, and we’re always rating ourselves and other people. We have ideas about what it means to have a good personality or what it means to look good. The larger culture has very explicit standards on what it means to “make it.”

To the degree we judge ourselves as less than, there’s this gap between the standard and our sense of self that weighs us down, and we can feel it in our body. Some people say, “Well, it’s just a belief,” but the belief we are falling short has a physical correlate—shame and depression show up in our bodies, for example.

The culture is particularly toxic for those who aren’t in the dominant culture, because they most clearly don’t meet the standards. Marginalized people—such as people of color, certain ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender orientations—often have this sense of not being good enough, which runs very, very deep.

Earlier you mentioned that these kinds of feelings manifest most dramatically in our relationships. That makes it sound like feelings of unworthiness are closely related to feelings of loneliness. What advice would you give to somebody who feels lonely?

First, I would like to say that loneliness is a more attuned way of paying attention. When we feel that we’re not measuring up, we feel estranged. Feeling lonely is a deep and painful experience. And, actually, if you can get to even being able to name it, that means you’re pretty far along, because it usually takes some digging.

If you can name it, then you can begin to bring a healing presence to it. That’s the reality. So let’s say you’re stuck with this kind of vague sense that something is wrong with you, and it’s very deep and it’s hard to begin to work with it. If you can say, “Right now I’m feeling loneliness,” then this is where we can begin to bring in really powerful, radical tools of practice. We can lean into the feeling, name it, and open up to it with a real interest. We can ask, “What does lonely feel like? Where is it in my body? Where do I feel it the most? If my face could make the expression of lonely, what would it look like?” If you make the expression with your face, that will then reconnect you even more in a somatic way to the rest of your body.

Then see if you can really go right inside the lonely feeling. If the lonely feeling could say, “Here’s what I most want in this moment,” what would it be? The core question is what does that lonely place most need from you right now?

So we don’t push the lonely feeling—or whatever feeling it is—away. It sounds like a process of accepting the feeling.

Yes. When we’re at war with ourselves—and in some way blaming ourselves for how we are—the true place of transformation is when there’s a rousing quality of self-compassion and self-forgiveness. You can say, “I forgive this loneliness.” You’re not saying this is bad, but that you forgive it. What you’re really saying is, “This is the inner weather system right now, and I forgive it or let go of any resistance to how it is. I remove any blame, or any aversive kind of quality.” It’s a very tender letting be of what is.

When we teach our workshops, the practices of self-forgiveness and self-compassion are right at the center. Because you can’t be mindful of an emotion—let’s say loneliness or fear—if there’s a part of you that is blaming it. So there needs to be a quality of softness in the heart. There needs to be a tender space that makes room for what’s there in order to have a true mindful presence with it.

That’s why I often talk of the two wings of presence: mindful attention and heartfulness. Mindful attention is clarity about what’s happening in the moment, and heartfulness makes room for it with kindness.

But let’s say you’ve done something truly awful. Then aren’t we right to beat ourselves up a little?

Well, there’s a very important difference between wise discrimination and aversive judgment. We all need wise discrimination. We need to be able to move through our lives and look at our own behaviors and others and know what is creating harm and what is moving us toward healing. We need to be able to discriminate and say, “No, when I act like that—when I speak in that tone of voice to my child, for example—that causes shame.” That’s wise discrimination.

To say, “I’m a goddamn asshole. I can’t believe I did that.” That’s aversive judgment. And it does not serve to make war on ourselves for what we feel is harmful. In other words, if I have spoken in a shaming tone of voice to my son, for me to then shame myself does not make me more likely to be respectful in the future. Punishment doesn’t work. We know that. We know it doesn’t inspire our children or show them a way to grow and learn when they’ve behaved in ways that aren’t wise. It doesn’t work with criminals either.

It’s inevitable that we’re going to be imperfect. We all cause harm. We sometimes cause harm in ways that are very, very hard to forgive ourselves for. But it’s not until we can be with ourselves in a forgiving way that we can do the healing that actually inclines us toward being more helpful and healing for others in the future.

There’s a metaphor about this that I often use when I’m teaching. Let’s say you’re going through the woods and you see a dog by a tree and you reach down to pet the little dog, but it leaps at you with its fangs bared to attack you. In that moment you go from being friendly to angry at the dog. But then you see that the dog’s paw is in a trap. Then you shift from being angry to saying, “Oh, you poor thing.”

It’s just like when we’ve caused harm, or when someone’s caused us harm. There’s a leg in a trap. People do not cause suffering unless they’re suffering in some way. Being able to see that doesn’t mean that I then stand there and let the dog attack me. We still do what we need to do to protect ourselves, but it gives us the quality of heart that lets us respond to the situation in a much more compassionate and intelligent way.

How can we begin to have self-compassion in those moments when we are feeling very down on ourselves?

I’ll give you an example. Once I was working with a mother whose daughter was getting into drugs, and her grades were plummeting, and so on. This woman came to me because she was so angry with her daughter, and the angrier she got the more defensive her daughter got. So they were in a really bad standoff. When I started working with her, I asked, “Under that anger, what’s going on?” She went right into a place of shame, saying, “I failed her. This is happening because I’m a bad mother. I’m a terrible person.” She was really down on herself.

So I asked her to tell me how long she had been feeling that sense of failing another person, and she said, “All my life. I feel like I failed my mother. I failed my partner.” Then I asked, “What does it feel like when you feel like you’re failing someone?” She described it as this deep sense of hollowness and ache. Then I asked her what it’s like to know that she has spent so much of her life feeling like a failure. Then she had what I sometimes call this, like, “ouch” moment that’s kind of like a soul sadness. She saw the shape of her incarnation, how many life moments were lost to self-hatred.

At that moment, I asked her to get in touch with that part of her that felt so low and see what that feeling needed. She said, “It needs to feel some kindness.” So I had her put her hand on her heart—and I do this often because it’s so opposite of how we usually relate to ourselves—so that she could relate to herself with tenderness. And I had her offer the words that would be most comforting to her own place of feeling shame and hate. She ended up using a phrase that she had heard from me, which is “I’m sorry, and I love you.” It’s a phrase that I actually heard from a Hawaiian healer who offers it to himself and to everybody else.

That became her practice. Whenever she’d get caught in feeling that sense of failure, she would put her hand on her heart and just say, “I’m sorry, and I love you.” Eventually she’d end up softening, and her sense of identity would shift.

She went from identifying as a bad person and a failure to having a feeling of compassion that’s just holding the pain. That freed her up in a way that allowed her to begin to imagine her daughter’s pain and sense what her daughter was going through. She was sending that message to her daughter until there was actually a visceral thaw and they began to start communicating.

It sounds like we need to work on ourselves before we begin to work on our relationships. But it’s so common to look to our friends, family, and lovers to do something to help us feel better. Is that an unwise approach?

My understanding is that we’re wounded in relationships, and we heal in relationships. The relational field can be very healing. But it can only be healing if we are simultaneously in a relational field with our inner life. So I think both are really intrinsic processes of waking up and becoming free.

So often in spiritual life you hear people saying, “You can’t look toward other people, and you have to be your own guru and healer and holder and lover.” But the truth is that other people matter. It makes a huge difference if there’s someone else in your life who is a mirror of your goodness, who can sense with compassion your vulnerability, and with whom you’ve learned to let love in and learned to express love. That’s an incredibly necessary part of the process.

But none of that is possible unless you’re simultaneously in an engaged relationship with your inner life. By that I mean that if you imagine the thing you think is the very worst about you—let’s say you feel like you’re intrinsically selfish, or you feel like you have an aggressiveness that’s just disgusting to you, or you feel that in some way you’re so insecure that nobody in the world could love you—whatever it is, it’s being able to take what seems to be the worst part of yourself and finding a tenderness and a forgiveness that can hold that. That’s the process of befriending our inner life and it’s absolutely essential.

Of course, being in a relationship with another person who can see the part of ourselves that we hate and still love us no matter what helps us in that process. So it’s very synergistic.

So does all this mean that you personally have an enlightened relationship?

I have a wonderful, rich, and juicy relationship that is in process. One where I am regularly exposed to my neurosis and also regularly reminded of the oneness, the awareness, and love that are our shared belonging.

Do the two of you talk about the nature of your relationship frequently, or does it just sort of unfold without intervention?

Twice a week, we have a check-in where we will sit and meditate for 20 minutes. Then we continue the meditation as a kind of interpersonal sharing where we will look at what’s going on for each of us as individuals. And there’s an inquiry that we phrase like this: “Is there anything between us feeling loving and open and at home with each other right now?” And then we look to see, and we’re really honest with each other. At some points, if there’s something going on and we’re less than honest, then there’s suffering. So we are training ourselves to speak the deepest truths that we can, because the more we name what’s real, the more intimacy there is.

That kind of conversation sounds like it takes a lot of self-awareness and courage.

It takes a lot of courage. What gives that courage, however, is practicing and creating a safe space and having some guidelines. We didn’t just stumble into it. We both have been meditating, offering counseling, and guiding couples and groups in conscious communications for years. But there are some basic intuitive guidelines about creating safe spaces. For instance, when one person speaks, the other person will mirror back what was said to make sure it’s understood before going into their response or reactions.

In that process of mirroring back, there’s space for the person who spoke to be understood in the deepest way. So you get to understand where that person’s leg is in a trap and touch into compassion.

You know, self-awareness is something that seems key to having healthy relationships. And yet, some of my favorite moments in relationships are when other people seem to know me better than I know myself.

Our self-awareness grows in the relational field when there’s mutual attentiveness. If you say something, and I really am listening, then I can have an understanding that I can mirror back that can actually enhance your own experience of who you are. That kind of relational feedback process is so juicy! I mean, that’s what we’re in it for: to become more of who we can be. And people can help us unfold when they both see our goodness and create a safe space that lets us express it.

With all your years’ experience working with couples, what do you think are the most important qualities of a good relationship?

The essential ingredient in a good couple’s relationship is that it provides a fertile field for awakening our hearts. This means there is a mutual willingness and dedication to speaking truth and opening to compassion. There are many qualities to creating that fertile field—respect, self-awareness, love, generosity, humor, and more—but the bottom line is, are we committed to being fully who we are? Are we committed to living from the fullness of our hearts and awareness? Are we committed to bringing out that fullness in each other?

When we come to see our relationships—all of them—as an intrinsic part of our spiritual path, then each day becomes alive with moments of learning, opening, serving, and savoring.

Looking through the Eyes of a Wise and Caring Friend

Bring to mind a relationship where you’ve treated another person in a way that is difficult to accept or forgive. You might start with something that doesn’t trigger full-blown self-hatred, so that you can gradually build your skill in this process.

Now, invoke the presence of a good friend, healer, or teacher—someone who understands and cares about you. Imagine looking through this person’s eyes at yourself: What was the vulnerability—the hurt, fear, or confusion—that might have driven you to the hurtful or unwise behavior? Can you see the life circumstances that contributed to the behavior? While witnessing with this person’s eyes and heart, sense the natural compassion that arises. Now, fully inhabiting your own body and heart, imagine hearing the witnessing person saying with kindness, “It’s not your fault.” Let those words sink in and trust that if you let go of self-hatred and self-blame, you will have more capacity in the future to live true to your heart.

Each time you find yourself trapped in self-recrimination, explore looking through the eyes of a wise and caring friend. By learning to let go of self-blame, you actually will become more able to respond to others in a wise and loving way.

For more guided meditations and talks from Tara, please visit tarabrach.com.

Sam Mowe is the Communications Manager at the Garrison Institute in New York, a nonprofit dedicated to exploring the intersection of contemplation and social action. Tara Brach will be coleading a retreat at the Garrison Institute on December 4–6.

Source: Spirituality & Health Magazine

The Deal: A Guide to Radical and Complete Forgiveness by Richard Smoley (Author)


Here is the greatest “deal” you will ever find: This concise, deeply practical guide shows how to forgive anyone who has ever hurt you and to receive a payback of enormous personal satisfaction and inner peace.

“What I am offering you in this book is the best deal you have ever gotten in your life, or ever will. Even though I know nothing about you, I’m willing to make this claim with complete certainty.”

With elegance and absolute persuasiveness The Deal explains how forgiveness – rather than being a squishy, eat-your-vegetables virtue – is actually the key, perhaps the sole key, to a happy life.

If you perform the one simple but vital forgiveness exercise in The Deal, you will forgive and be forgiven. You will be free. You will enter a new phase of life.

A widely respected spiritual writer and thinker, Richard Smoley doesn’t hand you the standard promise that this book will change your life. When you finish it, he concludes: “It already has changed your life.”

This is the simple, radical truth of The Deal.

One of today’s most highly regarded writers on esoteric topics, Richard Smoley is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Oxford. He was a longtime editor of the venerated spiritual journal Gnosis. Smoley’s books include Inner Christianity. He is editor of Quest: Journal of the Theosophical Society in America and of Quest Books.

BROWSE HERE

The Power of Forgiveness: Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio The Interview starts at 15.05mins.

Published on Feb 10, 2015
Become a patron of Aeon Byte: http://www.patreon.com/aeonbyte Forgiveness is a widely known concept that seems to fall short in a brittle modern culture. A new book offers practical solutions and rituals to make forgiveness a tool of true personal liberation, distilling the best aspects of the esoteric traditions. It also takes the reader on a journey of how ancient mystics utilized forgiveness, from Christianity to Hinduism, granting a spanning perspective of how letting go of pain caused by others and the world is more important to embrace than ever. Is forgiveness part of any Gnosis? Find out.

Astral Guest: Richard Smoley, author of The Deal

Richard Smoley: Why Forgive?

Published on Apr 17, 2015
Forgiveness is praised more than it’s practiced. Why should we forgive? When? Are there times when it’s not right to forgive? How can you tell forgiving from condoning? Richard Smoley, editor of “Quest magazine,” offers some insights from his new book “The Deal: A Guide to Radical and Complete Forgiveness.” 2015.

Enlightenment Made Simple: A Practical Guide to what Psychologists, Scientists, and Spiritual Masters say about the Nature of Reality by David Bognar (Author)


Enlightenment Made Simple is a concise and slightly irreverent synthesis of the basics of ancient spiritual wisdom and modern psycho-spirituality. An expert researcher has summarized the prominent literature pertaining to the “big questions of life,” revealing the “secret” of enlightenment. Enlightenment Made Simple provides people with an understanding of their true nature, their power to create, and how, ultimately, there is nothing to fear.

Enlightenment Made Simple is the culmination of a lifelong research project into the “big questions” of life. Greek philosophers called this knowledge “theosophia” or “divine wisdom.” It has been referred to as “the perennial philosophy”, “the great tradition’, and “the wisdom of the ages.” Enlightenment Made Simple, explains this ancient wisdom, and the mechanics of emotions essential to spiritual and emotional well being. It includes critical psychological information missing from books like The Power of Now and The Secret needed to make those techniques work. Most importantly, Enlightenment Made Simple reveals the “secret” of enlightenment capable of providing release from fear, pain and suffering.

David Bognar is a researcher/writer who researched, wrote and produced the award winning documentary Cancer: Increasing Your Odds for Survival hosted by Walter Cronkite where he first presented leading edge research on mind/body medicine and spirituality. Enlightenment reports on the culmination of his life long quest and 40 years of research into the big questions of life, death and the nature of reality.

|Chapter One
Life is funny.
Quirky funny.

All this talk about reality being an illusion never made sense to me, until lately.

There’s a Buddhist version of the story of Adam and Eve about a man in an empty room—empty, except for an incredibly beautiful piece of sculpture. He spends all his free time in the room because the sculpture gives him profound pleasure and joy. One day, he thinks maybe if he had another sculpture he’d be even happier. So he buys another beautiful piece of sculpture and puts it in the room and it does make him happier…for awhile. So, he gets another one, thinking it will make him at least as happy as he was before. That worked too—for awhile. To make a long parable short, the room eventually became so crowded with exquisite and beautiful art that the man couldn’t experience the beauty of any one piece due to the distraction and clutter of the others. Eventually, he throws out all but the original and lives happily ever after.

This is a story about the universe and the creation of physical reality. Supposedly, once upon a time, before time, we were all one blissed-out energy field when some wise guy got the idea that maybe there’s something better and bingo: poverty, pollution, and politicians. It’s kind of like the human race got caught up in a bad dream and forgot it was dreaming. We keep coming back, lifetime after lifetime, trying to figure it out. We seem to know there’s something or someplace else and some of us are trying to get back there, or here, or wherever it is.
When I was a kid, everything was love. I mean everything. It was as if there was no boundary between the love in me and around me. Life was a wonderful flow of love, curiosity, playing, and learning. Then something happened. I’m not sure what, but that experience of profound love faded with time and eventually disappeared.

I wanted that experience of love again. It seemed natural, the way it was supposed to be. Somehow it was clear to me that the love I had felt was always there even if I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t explain it, but I knew that the experience was somewhere inside me and available to all of us. Somehow I knew, without a doubt, that love was the only thing that really mattered. I decided I was going to have that love in my life. I decided I would find out how, and when I did I would share it with everyone who was willing to listen.

I studied psychology mostly. I started noticing remarkable correlations between science, eastern religions, physics, and parapsychology. After decades of reading, studying, workshops, seminars, psychics, mediums, egomaniacs, quacks, worse than quacks (quacks with followings), diets, vitamins, pyramids, ghosts, garlic, juices, ginseng, ions, isolation tanks, running, jumping, hanging upside down, breathing in strange and unusual ways, innumerable meditations, psychotherapies and spiritual schools, I finally reached my goal. I understood what the hell was going on. The basics, anyway. No big deal really. Turns out wiser guys then me had figured it out long ago. Anyone can if they want to. All the information is there. It may not all be in one place, but it’s there.

Crazy? Maybe, but I don’t think so. In fact, I think I’m going sane.

I want to share with you the essence of what I’ve learned. It’s pretty simple, really. The truth usually is. The only problem is that a lot of people have a hard time accepting the truth. Our brains like to complicate things, and sometimes things are not as they appear to be. That’s why most spiritual masters seldomly come right out and tell you the plain truth. No one would believe them. We’d laugh in their faces. “What do you mean physical reality is an illusion? I asked you about the nature of reality and you tell me it’s a holographic dream? Are you trying to be funny?”

It’s not hard to imagine why gurus became cryptic with their, “You figure it out” kind of answers.

The concept of god as a suped-up Santa with a white beard who knows when you’ve been bad and good never made sense to me. Logic, plus my unpleasant catholic associations with god as a cosmic-thought policeman ready to pulverize me for every adolescent male fantasy, created a negative knee-jerk reaction to the word “god.” The idea of hell—a place where you fry like bacon for eternity for a few measly sins (some of which were about as natural as breathing) didn’t appeal to me either. It didn’t fit the idea of an all-loving all-forgiving, omnipotent type guy.

Having decided god did not exist, I was determined to find out what did, if anything. Evolving from fish and monkeys seemed plausible. But what of all these inexplicable phenomenon: the Bermuda triangle, ESP, PSI, pyramids, precognitive dreams, astral projection, near death experiences, Edgar Cayce, and tofu hotdogs? What had caused those? Some seemed to have reasonable explanations while others did not. I hadn’t believed all of what I had read but some evidence was hard to deny. There were too many inexplicable events reported by rational people, including reputable scientists and researchers. There was so much evidence that a rational person couldn’t deny that something extraordinary was going on, something that traditional science cannot explain.

Like I said, life is funny.

BROWSE HERE

Enlightenment Made Simple – Intro

Enlightenment Made Simple is a revolutionary and useful understanding of our true nature and the worlds we live in. It combines quantum mechanics with a fundamental missing ingredient — the psychology of spirituality. It reveals how to make popular spiritual techniques work and provides relief from fear and suffering. Enlightenment Made Simple is a truly remarkable field guide to emotional well-being and spiritual enlightenment.

Big Questions Part 1

Big Questions Part 2

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