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DailyOM: Letting Go with Forgiveness

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  • Ash
    Reprinted from DailyOM - Inspirational thoughts for a happy, healthy and fulfilling day. Register for free at www.dailyom.com. Today s DailyOM brought to you
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15, 2012
      Reprinted from DailyOM - Inspirational thoughts for a happy, healthy and fulfilling day. Register for free at www.dailyom.com.

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      December 15, 2012
      Letting Go with Forgiveness
      From the Letting Go with Forgiveness On-Line Course
      by Ana Holub

      The following is an excerpt from the "Letting Go with Forgiveness" on-line course. If you would like to take the entire course, click here.

      Welcome to Letting Go with Forgiveness

      Forgiveness is a very tender subject. It brings up lots of memories, emotions and desire in most of us. I’m glad you’ve chosen to explore forgiveness as a healing tool in your life, for it is a sacred journey. Forgiveness is the most powerful medicine I’ve found to heal the human heart.

      As your teacher and guide for the next 8 weeks, I’d like to introduce myself. Most people know me as a professional forgiveness counselor, certified Radical Forgiveness coach, mediator and author. I’m also the mother of two unbelievably amazing children (I know I’m biased, but it’s actually true!). I’ve spent over 20 years learning and teaching about human psychology, spirituality, conflict and peace. I work with lots of people in all sorts of places and circumstances, including couples, individuals, corporations, non-profits, some of the inmates at San Quentin Prison and at-risk teens and their families.

      But, of course, there is a lot more to my story than my professional biography. I’m so deeply indebted to the work of forgiveness, and to my mentors in the field, because my sanity literally depends on it. I know I wouldn’t be anywhere near as happy and peaceful as I am now if I hadn’t discovered the miracles that forgiveness brings.

      Many of us go through really hard times. My hardest time was when my mother died, by her own hand, when I was young, pregnant, confused and almost penniless.

      Contact with God was the only thing that kept me sane and whole enough to raise my children well, despite my mother’s mental illness and its effect on me. It helped me learn that I am a lot stronger than anything that shows up in my life, even the shock and pain of my mother’s suicide.

      It took years to receive all of the lessons this experience gave to me. It was, in a sense, very hard work, and even now I would not claim that I am finished. Through forgiveness, I learned that the grace of God offers a more powerful love than what my human mother could give me. It’s a love that never leaves, never gives up, and always heals when we allow it into our hearts. I also learned that my mother's love was perfect as it was, and as it is.

      You probably have a different, painful story that affected your life. Perhaps you have quite a few of them! This course will guide you step-by-step, showing you a way to heal your painful memories by finding the spiritual treasure hidden within each one.

      As I’ll explain shortly, the kind of forgiveness I’m talking about is not the traditional model. As the next 8 weeks unfold, I’ll teach you how to go much further and deeper on your spiritual path. I will share with you my version of ecstatic, radical forgiveness. I know it will help you in some of the same ways it continues to help me.

      What is Forgiveness?

      As I mentioned earlier, forgiveness truly is heart medicine. It involves the healing experience of Divine contact. The Divine has many names, including the Holy Spirit, the Divine Mother, Father God, Great Spirit, Nature, or the “peace that passeth all understanding.” Whenever I mention the word “Divine,” please substitute any name that works for you. The important thing for us to remember is the uniting, creative force of Love. Only this Love is real, and only Love has the power to heal and reunite us with our true nature.

      I sometimes call our forgiveness journey a jump into the River of Love. In this course, you will learn that Life gave us our experiences to show us that NO MATTER WHAT, the River of Love will float us home to a deep sense of inner security and serenity. This experience of forgiveness teaches us to release our sadness, and find gratitude for the lessons we’ve learned. It gives us the joy and freedom of knowing we are never isolated or without a friend. The River of Love shows us that the edges to all things are friendly…if we relax into the safety we share with the Divine.

      In committing to make use of the River of Love on our path of freedom, we need to examine what this forgiveness is, and what it is not.

      In the traditional view of forgiveness, a common element is that a crime occurred. If there was no crime, there’d be no need to forgive! So if you feel that forgiveness is what is next for you, you’ll need to find the crimes in your life story. By crime, I mean any transgression that seemed to cause you pain, sadness, anger, fear, or other emotion that you did not want to feel at the time. It could have been as large as a rape or murder, or as small as a nasty look or icy silence.

      I say “seemed to cause you pain” because it is never the events that cause us to suffer, but rather how we interpret the situation. It is possible for one person to feel great anguish over something that another person wouldn’t mind at all. Even dramatic acts of violence can have different effects on different people, depending upon what the people involved think about what happened.

      We have a choice about how we interpret our surroundings and the intentions of others. We can choose fear or love. If we choose fear, which is how we were programmed at just about every level of society, then we will assume that an attack occurred, and a crime must have taken place.

      For example, crimes usually involve violence of some kind. This could be physical, emotional, verbal, sexual or energetic violence. Perhaps a situation occurred where someone crossed your personal boundary without permission, physically attacking you or giving you an emotional stab. Probably, your first instinct was to defend yourself, retaliate, or withdraw. Each of these instincts stems from a belief that the attack was real, and that you are an individual person with an individual body. This is how you live in the World of Humanity, also known as the world of 3D or the world of duality, where crimes take place every day.

      Once you were convinced that a crime occurred, the people involved automatically fit into pre-arranged roles. We have a group agreement for these roles, which spans all cultures and socio-economic levels around the globe. We call these roles Victims and Perpetrators. Sometimes there is another role, that of the Savior – a third person who swoops in to (temporarily) save the day. For our forgiveness practice, we’ll focus on the Victim and Perpetrator roles, because they take us directly into our emotions, and that is the place to go for deep healing.

      In traditional forgiveness, we keep these roles intact and try to heal. We say to ourselves, “I’ll just let bygones be bygones.” Or, “I’ll let the passage of time heal my aching heart. It doesn’t feel so bad anymore. I’ve forgiven him/her.” Or, “They had such a terrible childhood, they couldn’t help themselves. I feel pity for them. I have forgiven.”

      In this course, you will learn to enlarge and change the definition of forgiveness. Complementing the teachings of A Course in Miracles (ACIM) and Radical Forgiveness, you will utilize a philosophy that ultimately throws out the victim and perpetrator roles altogether. You’ll ask yourself to expand your thinking and feeling to include all beings as equal, eternal and holy. You can then experience a sense of peace that is never possible when we identify ourselves or others as victims and perpetrators. This peace is only available to us when we relax into the World of Divine Truth, where the grace of God envelops us all.

      The catch here is that we can’t gloss over the knots of constriction and pain that we made in our emotional bodies, back when upsetting events in our lives occurred. Especially when we were children, we didn’t have the emotional maturity to separate ourselves from our parents, peers and teachers. We didn’t understand the impact of the pain they were carrying when it was projected upon us. We dutifully took on the legacy of their trauma in an elaborate human dance that has lasted for untold generations. And the thing is, we’ll keep on projecting this mess onto our children and our grandchildren unless we stop the momentum. This is the most important stand we can take in life. We can say, “This pain stops with me.”

      “To transform energies we must experience them totally, working through them and forgiving them, which means seeing the perfection in them.” — Colin Tipping, Radical Forgiveness: Making Room for the Miracle

      Note: Forgiveness is the inner work that we do to increase our experience of freedom. It brings us consciously into the World of Divine Truth. In the World of Humanity, we also need accountability, responsibility for our actions, systems of justice, mediation, reconciliation, treatment programs, jails and prisons. This is the outer work of living together in an unenlightened society. These inner and outer levels are connected, yet distinct.

      Almost all of us have wounds that need to heal. We can’t skip over the work that is needed to release this pain out of our minds, hearts and bodies. This is the blessing of forgiveness and the vital excitement of jumping into the River of Love. It takes us from isolation, fear and pain all the way back home to God. We simply cannot heal without learning to float within it!

      When you do the inner work of forgiveness, remember that you are not trying to fix yourself, another person, or a situation. You are not looking for justice in order to champion injustice. You are not a savior or a victim or a perpetrator. Those are roles that you constructed. You are not bound by them, nor is anyone else.

      What a relief!

      You will learn to simply witness what you are carrying from the past, learn from it, and let it go. You will release the need to blame, shame or revenge upon anyone – including yourself. This release will open up passageways that were blocked, perhaps for your entire life up until now. This means that all of the love and wisdom of the Divine will be available for you…now that you have finished your business of building grievances. The doorways, your inner meridians, will be open. You will begin to live inside miracles themselves, and to come to at-one-ment with our Creator. Life just doesn’t get any better than that.

      “No more fearful dreams will come, now that you rest in God.” — ACIM, WB 193

      What are the benefits of forgiving someone?
      Research results cited here come from the Mayo Clinic. For more information, go to www.mayoclinic.com.

      Researchers have recently become interested in studying the effects of forgiveness. Evidence is mounting that holding on to grudges and bitterness results in long-term health problems. Forgiveness, on the other hand, offers numerous benefits, including:

      * Lower blood pressure
      * Stress reduction
      * Less hostility
      * Better anger management skills
      * Lower heart rate
      * Lower risk of alcohol or substance abuse
      * Fewer depression symptoms
      * Fewer anxiety symptoms
      * Reduction in chronic pain
      * More friendships
      * Healthier relationships
      * Greater religious or spiritual well-being
      * Improved psychological well-being

      Keep in mind that current research studies people engaging in a traditional forgiveness model. In this course, you’ll also be receiving these health benefits, but in a potentially much deeper way because of the radical nature of its philosophy. How deep you go depends on you.

      Contemplate these questions to begin your forgiveness process:

      How do you currently view forgiveness?
      What prompted you to invest in this course?
      What is your commitment to yourself about finishing it? Are you committed?
      What value can you see in learning to forgive?
      What do you want from forgiveness? What will you give to your process?
      Are you waiting to be forgiven? from whom?
      What emotions are rising up in you as you meditate on these questions?

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