Category: Forgiveness



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.

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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.


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.


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

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


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

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

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/

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 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

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

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

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.

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.


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.

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