Saturday, June 20, 2009


Forgiveness is very hard to do, it is right up there with I'm sorry. In fact I think it may be harder to forgive than to apologize, but it can be done. It has to be learned if we do not want to go through life with a heart full of bitterness and anger. It does not mean that we forget totally. The open wound does heal and become a scar. The scar is always there but it no longer hurts. Many things wound us over the years, and we must learn to let those wounds heal, for our own benefit if not for others.

Again, meditation can be of great benefit when we are clearing out the old pains and angers. In order to be healthy, we have to be aware of our emotions and work through the negative ones, replacing them with understanding and forgiveness.

Below is an article that I saved some time ago which I believe is useful..

Why Should I Forgive?

Think of forgiveness as a gift that you give to yourself. It is not something you do for the person who hurt you. It is a gift to yourself because it enables you to stop feeling painful feelings and pushing others away. Forgiveness frees you from anger and allows you to restore your ability to have close and satisfying relationships with others.

Anger is a poisonous emotion that comes from being hurt. When you are consumed with anger and bitterness, it hurts you at least as much as it hurts the person who has harmed you. It is as if you are filled with poison. If these feelings are not resolved, they can begin to eat you up inside. You have two choices: to stay connected to the person who hurt you by keeping these poisonous feelings alive, or to let the feelings go and forgive the person who harmed you. When you withhold forgiveness, think about who is actually being hurt. It is more than likely that the person who is filled with anger and anxiety is you, not the other person.

What Forgiveness Is Not

Forgiving another does not mean you will never again feel the pain or remember the thing that hurt you. The hurtful experience will be in your memory forever. By forgiving, you are not pretending the hurtful behavior never happened. It did happen. The important thing is to learn from it while letting go of the painful feelings.

Forgiveness is not about right or wrong. It doesn’t mean that the person’s behavior was okay. You are not excusing their behavior or giving permission for the behavior to be repeated or continued.

When you forgive another, it does not mean you wish to continue your relationship with them. This is a separate decision. You can forgive a person and live your life apart from them.
Forgiveness can only take place because we have the ability to make choices. This ability is a gift that we can use it whenever we wish. We have the choice to forgive or not to forgive. No other person can force us to do either

Forgiveness (response)

This was written in February 2008 in response to a question about how and why one should forgive.

When we have been deeply hurt, we don't tend to ever forget, but we can forgive those who have harmed us. In fact, for our own benefit we must find a way. This forgiveness does not come easily.

When we can look beyond the pain they have caused us and see that they deserve pity more than anger, we can move on knowing that they have harmed themselves more than us. We will also come to the realization that our anger is hurting us more than the original wound. The wound can heal, but the aggravation caused by the constant blaming and anger are keeping the wound open and even causing an infection that could well destroy any hope for our happiness in this life time. It is impossible to move on while clinging to the hurts of the past.

An in depth analysis of why you are hurt and angry can give you a starting place to begin the healing process. These need to be "I feel" statements, not "you made me" statements. If you find yourself becoming defensive, you can be sure you have not forgiven. The blame game was invented to protect us from taking responsibility for our own actions. Unfortunately it also protects us from healing and moving on in life. Nothing happens in a vacuum. We need to accept that it takes two to make or break a relationship and if it is broken we must accept some of the responsibility, even if it is only that we failed to read the signs until it was too late.

When we get to a point that we can look at the person who hurt us with compassion and not blame or resentment, we are in danger of internalizing the blame and in effect, absolving the other person...with statements like "I should have seen it coming. I should have tried harder. I should never have trusted." and so on. Notice that these are "I" messages, but they are negative messages. Try "I did the best I could. I should learn from the experience and take that knowledge with me into any new relationship." Since we are human we all make mistakes, we just need to try to not make the same ones over again. In order to do this, it is necessary to reach beyond the ego and forgive it as a parent would a child.

When dealing with the emotions of the ego, meditation is a way of going beyond the ego and seeing ourselves as the spiritual beings we are. When trying to understand and rise above some negative emotions the problem can be taken into meditation and a solution is often found there. You might try a "Why am I ...." meditation in which you could start by asking yourself why you are angry and waiting patiently for an answer to form in your mind. When it is done, it will probably not be the true root of the problem right away. If you know this to be true, you can dismiss the answer you have found and again ask yourself why you are .... whatever the first answer was. This method can scare up some surprising answers and help us farther along our path. You might even try free association with pencil and paper. Again, much can be learned from keeping an honest journal. It need not be written in every day, but record the circumstances when an event or emotion arises.

So much of what we learn is intuitive and not easily translated into words. It would be wonderful to sit down over coffee and engage in true one on one conversation, but c'est la vie. It would also help if we could develop a shared vocabulary between man and woman in order to share our feelings and be met with understanding. We will try to work on that one.

More on Rotten Potato, in response to a comment

I know this is a very large problem in our society, and there are far too few solutions. All I can really comment on is my own experiences and those that I saw.

One thing that made a difference for me was the fact I had major responsibilities and had to continue as if I were still alive. When we pretend something is so for long enough, it becomes so and after quite a long while, I found myself coming to life again.

With that, I realized I did not want to pass on the pain and dysfunction to my children and began to attempt my own recovery.

The journey back begins with forgiveness, or at leas the attempt at it. We need to keep trying until we get it right. I did not find any benefit in self help groups because it felt more like a "complain and be vindicated" session. Recognition of the problem seemed to come with permission for any behavior I chose to exhibit. There was recognition but no road map to get back to normalcy.

Another thing that helps to recreate one's self is to be of service to others. When we try to help others, we are suddenly outside ourselves, able to move past the pain and numbness to offer simple human acceptance to another. The very act of helping others helps us as well. We are all teachers, we are all students. When we get outside ourselves we realize we are not the only one who feels a particular way, and seeing our emotions mirrored back to us allows us to begin working through them. I think this was the original purpose of self help groups, but few of them accomplish this goal.

I have previously written on forgiveness and will repost here. I would also like to post this response on the body of my blog as you raise real issues that are also experienced by many others.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Rotten Potato

None of us grow up totally unscarred by events of our childhood. Most of us adjust our world view to allow us to shed these events and become fairly well adjusted adults. If painful events carry on into young adulthood, it is harder to become or stay well adjusted, but it is still possible to overcome the negativity, take charge of ourselves, and proceed to build a satisfying life. The secret seems to be to take control of our selves and how we relate to the world around us. We are not able to control all the circumstances or events in our lives, but we can control our own role, how we act, react and view life. The old saw of "Life is what you make it" is true but I would add "Life is how you see it."

Sometimes events are so traumatic that the person shows the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and needs help to get beyond it. The help can be very effective but there are too many instances where the help is misdirected. Although self help groups are often successful, I have seen many instances where all that is accomplished is to lead the person to blame their own behavior on past injuries, emotional or physical. This traps the person in a situation where there is no responsibility for their actions or their place in life. Instead of growing into a realization that they can control their way of being in the world, they learn that it is always someone else’s fault. They opt out, and pay a heavy price for this. As time goes by, the pack of anger, resentment and helplessness grows bigger, often to the point that there are no happy times in their life at all.

Even when they wish to recover and move on, it is not easy. The first step in moving on is to let go of the anger, resentment and helplessness in order to claim themselves and their lives. Being master of self is true power. In order to do so, it is necessary to bring closure, usually by forgiveness. Forgiveness is not given for the benefit of those who have wronged us, it is for our own benefit. Finding out what forgiveness is can be incredibly daunting and may require a long and intense search. Then it is necessary to determine how to bring it about. One can understand mentally all that is involved in forgiveness, and still not feel in their heart how to make it happen.

With time and effort, all may fall into place and create the “aha” moment, that moment when we realize that we no longer harbor ill will toward those who have hurt us and who we have made a career of hating. I have heard the experience described as having the sensation of a scab falling off... the flesh underneath being finally healed enough to fend for itself… Natures band aid. All the struggling suddenly feeling unnecessary … it happened when it was “time”. Actually the understanding was the result of the entire struggle that went before. It now becomes possible to root out that rotten potato that was poisoning the whole life and actually feel so light that one has the sensation of floating just above the ground when walking in the world.

I wrote Earthbound many years ago, when I had to learn to forgive in order to allow my own life to go on and to continue growing. I have been on this path all my life and it has not been easy. Sometimes I felt it was impossible but I found a way. For me, understanding came while I was watching a sunbeam dancing on a dew covered spider web. The struggle to be free showed me that I had to free myself or end up stuck in that spider web for life, never learning, never growing, never continuing on my path in this life.

The one tool that was the most helpful for me was meditation. It allowed me to get in touch with my inner strength and find solace when I felt my life was at it’s lowest ebb. I am not sure I would have had the strength without it.

A man once said “Come fly with me.”
And though I wanted honestly
To join him in the sky and soar,
I was earthbound by the pack I wore.
I could not leave my pack behind
For it contained this past of mine,
Remnants kept for security,
And I must plod through eternity.
Strewn along my plodding way
Other packs I found each day
‘Till yesterday, I heaved a sigh,
Shrugged off mine, and began to fly.

Personal Power

"Be careful not to convince yourself that you are doing something against your will. Such a thing is impossible."

I am master of my own life. That is my personal power. I choose what I do, how I act or react to circumstances, what I choose to think or feel, whether I am optimistic or pessimistic. Not all my choices are good, sometimes I have to choose the least negative of my options. But the choice is mine.

Lack of understanding of this law causes people to do things they would not normally do. What comes to mind immediately is the hold some people seem to hold over others. Because a person believes they are at the mercy of another persons' will, they will allow themselves to do as the other wants.

When we understand that we are responsible for our own actions and for what we allow to influence us, such things as black magic and voodoo loose their power over us. Even minor influences are negated. We can not be made to do anything against our will. We can even conquer fear. That is true power! We truly become a master, we have gained mastery over ourselves. It is ultimately the only power and the only mastery that counts.

There is a small experiment to see how easily we can let others affect us when we do not know that we are in control. We give away that control on the subconscious level without even knowing it. If you tell someone that they are looking a little ill, and reinforce it a few times, that person can actually convince themselves they are ill. If that person knows they are in control, your comments will not affect them.