Sunday, December 16, 2012

Forgiveness

spiritual forgiveness
I had intended to write about the topic of forgiveness solely in regards to spiritual awakening and the embodying of spirituality in the heart, but given current recent events, I wanted to take a few moments to talk about the shootings at the elementary school in Connecticut.

There are no words to fully describe how sad and awful this is. That an individual could be so grossly and dangerously unconscious to choose to act in such violent ways is a reminder of the depth of the insanity that is in this world. But in saying this, the only real thing to be done is to forgive.

Yes, there are already big issues coming up around gun control, mental health, and so forth. They should all be looked at and attended to. Big issues too often are ignored until something really bad happens. Also, there's a big national dialogue that needs to happen about the culture of violence and how it is glorified in the U.S. But more important is forgiving this individual because without forgiveness, people cannot fully grieve and heal. Without healing, hatred and despair grow up and morph and twist into new terrible expressions. If anything, this individual represents all of our represented and hidden insanity and sickness. We cannot rationalize him away. We cannot say that he is an aberration. The path of divine love accepts all as part of us, including this individual.

And let's not forget that all violent murder is terrible. The fact that this happened to young children is a wake up call. It's dramatic, but it's no less tragic than the death going on in Syria or that happens to anyone else at any time in any place. No one deserves such a terrible fate, and I hope many of you remember that because it also helps to de-rationalize ideas like war, which is when we wrap up murder in a whole bunch of layers of rationalization to decide that it is okay to commit violence to others. It isn't.


Forgiving Others and Forgiving Ourselves

The path of forgiveness tend to have two big avenues: forgiving others and forgiving ourselves. Even in the elementary school shootings, administrators, parents, and even the students will have to forgive themselves. They will have to forgive themselves for all the things that they could not do and could not prevent. They will have to forgive themselves for their powerlessness. And of course, they will have to forgive the perpetrator. This is no other way around it. This world is so mired in old wounds and hatred that forgiveness is absolutely urgent. It's one of the ways that we break the cycles of pain. Because if we do not forgive, we sink even more deeply into pain, and then we react to the world from spaces of pain and fear and hatred, which spreads the dis-ease even more.

I never told you that the spiritual path would be easy, and if you are reading this and have been closely touched by the horrible tragedy in Connecticut, you have my deepest and profoundest love and condolences. I could not imagine experiencing it for myself. But with that said, you are at a pivotal place in time and history. With the eyes of the nation and the world on you, you have the amazing opportunity to forgive and show others the power and depth of that forgiveness. You have the power to show people a better way to face extreme emotional pain than to simply lash out at someone else and blame something, which only continues the cycles of pain. I know it is amazingly hard. I know you feel like this is something that should never have happened. Bus it has, and for your own sake, those in your life, and all those around the world, your forgiveness can be a game-changer and the opening of a greater doorway to a better life for us all.


Awakening to Your Emotional Pain

With that, some people will have major spiritual openings and awakenings because of this tragedy. Tragedy has the power to pull us into the present moment. It tears away the many veils of illusions. Suddenly stock market portfolios, soccer schedules, and what to watch on TV become extremely ridiculous concerns. And they are. With tragedy comes a kind of sacred revealing that is also part of the grand unfolding of the universe. With the greater the tragedy, the more difficult it is to deny it, although denial is still an amazing agent. If some people can say that the Holocaust didn't happen, denial is possible with everything. But in the face of tragedy it is much harder to ignore and to deny. That opens our eyes. That opening may lead to many things on the spiritual path including the realization of all the other emotional pain still within you.

In so many ways, we have all been living in constant pain. It's a very humbling thing, and as I warm up to the topic of embodying divine love and awakening in your heart, I once again want to remind you that awakening has not brought the pain. The pain was already there. The awakening has simply brought a flood of light into you to clearly see the pain and to provide you with the extra push to release it. Wherever you resist this impetus to heal, the pain grows worse, and individuals can fall into very deep and dark places depending on the darkness that they are carrying in their own hearts. As I often remind people, you are not meant to suffer in this time of a transition. Instead, there are times to let go, and there times to ask for help. Be sure you stay present for which you need to do to allow this transition


Clearing the Emotional Body: Purging and Grief

As many of my students know, it can get messy on the spiritual path and definitely when working with me. I should probably send out regular reminders to my women students to not wear make-up because of it. There's really no point, and it really turns things into a hot mess visually speaking for sure. But seriously, emotions come up on this path. In connecting with me, I'm kind of like some extra energy to lift up things that have been hiding in the darkness of the heart. It helps to see what is there and release it, and crying is one of the easiest ways to release pain. I often also work with students to create visualizations to release darkness and unconsciousness. Breathwork helps. Drinking lots of water also helps.

In short, the inner world is getting a major clean out during awakening. Even if you are not embodying awakening, you will very likely go through these cycles on your spiritual journey. The difference tends to be that those not in awakening need help to get these cycles moving properly while those in awakening tend to have the cycles happening naturally. For those in awakening, working with me can really make it feel like things are on overdrive, and in truth, many times I'm helping people slow down and stabilize first before dredging up anything new. It really depends on what I am called to do and say, and I never really know until I am in that moment.


Discovering Your Hatred and Anger for Others

It's truly humbling to see what is hiding down in the depths of the heart. Even people who have considered themselves kind people and have worked to be loving and open-hearted throughout their lives will find things hidden inside. Old family ties, old issues, and forgotten karma--all of this stuff can hide out in any of us. Suddenly, deep anger arises, and you want to lash out with words or fists. You may be overwhelmed. Perhaps than you are ashamed. Depending on the issue, there may be things that you need to talk out in a safe space with someone. Through that connection you can offer your forgiveness to whoever for whatever happen. Sometimes that space isn't there, so a letter you never send or recording a video that you never post can be another way to offer forgiveness.

Whatever the issue is, you have to let it go. That's the only way to open your heart wider. Grudges and grievances are chains wrapped around your heart, and they will only constrict you, exhaust you, and keep you locked in cycles of pain. Forgiveness is one of the ways we break free, and in forgiving others, you free them as well.


Discovering Your Self-Loathing

But then we go another layer deeper, and suddenly, you can see all your own hatred for yourself. In so many ways, we often blame ourselves when we are hurt. Even in places where there was no possible way that we could be responsible, we blame ourselves. We get angry that we couldn't control something. We get angry that we couldn't make our spouse or partner love us. We get angry that we couldn't make a business succeed. We get angry that we couldn't make our children be more safe, more successful, or something else. This self-loathing pointed inwards can become the blackest kind of hatred. It has led people to do many violent and unconscious things. That's why your awakening may feel so intense and inssistent to look at this aspect of your heart. Because the true you knows that nothing can be left out and that self-love is the only space from which to truly be at peace and harmony with the world. Any external love we offer to the world must be founded in true self-love, and self-hatred--those places where we despise and reject ourselves--goes counter to that space of love.

Which is why forgiveness is a powerful, powerful tool. There will be many tears, and you will also have to forgive yourself for not knowing all the painful things that you did to yourself. This is part of the destruction of the myth of ignorance is bliss. The more you see the repercussions of the actions and non-actions you've chosen in your life, the more you understand just how massive the pain and suffering has been that you've endured at your own hands through your ignorance.

The Many Tears: A River to Salvation

For many men, crying is not okay in this culture. For many women, they've also adopted this unfortunate idea. That idea must go. Tears can be the clearing rain to wash away the mud. This is not getting lost in emotions, which is a topic for another blog post. This is allowing your emotions to arise and then releasing them through forgiveness. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. And then repeat.

Do it as many times and in as many ways necessary until you feel the unmistakable release within you (If the idea of release is new to you, please read this blog post about releasing pain). Because your heart needs room to open. It needs space to fill itself with the beauty of love, and while love accepts all things, you will find that you do not need to carry any more pain than you absolutely have to. The further you embody your awakened self, the more you will see how much pain is hidden within you. Furthermore, you'll want to get rid of more and more. Relaxing into your divine awarness becomes a sole focus, but not a goal. It is where you intend to rest your consciousness, and from this profound foundation, you can move clearly and lovingly throughout your life.

Forgiveness is a key element along the way to this beautiful space of inner rest and ease. So if there is pain in your heart, turn to forgiveness to release it and to set your heart free.

The photo comes from my friend and reader, Becky Stiller. You can check out her beautiful work on her flickr link.

For more thoughts on this topic, you can check out this video:
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