How do we forgive when we feel betrayed? The question came up in a workshop recently.
It is easier to forgive when we learn to reflect and not react. Reacting to the behavior of others causes stress and pain.
Forgiveness does not mean we condone the pain or suffering that may have occurred. It is an opportunity to let go. It takes a great deal of courage to let go. When we do, it is one of the most important processes that will bring harmony to life and peace to our soul. We are free to express love in the world.
Dr. Wayne Dyer stated it best, “How do you get world peace? You get world peace through inner peace. If you’ve got a world full of people who have inner peace, then you have a peaceful world.”
I like to think of myself as a positive person. I try to find the highest thought in most situations. I noticed this week as I witnessed some negative energy and anger that my tendency was to run in the opposite direction. I had an insight that there is a powerful healing opportunity if I could just stand still and not flee.
Since our human nature is 98 percent emotional and 2 percent rational, conflict causes a physical feeling of anxiety and an emotional feeling of insecurity. When anxiety is experienced, we have a choice between reacting or reflecting. When we neglect to choose, our default mode is reactive.
Our reactive mode runs the gambit; do we fight or flee, struggle or surrender, attack or withdraw. The need to appease is part of the reactive mode. All too often I find that we often suppress or deny our true feelings in order to appease. We can change this pattern by speaking our truth using ‘I’ statements instead of ‘you’ statements.
There is a lesson in the Course in Miracles that invites us to focus our thoughts: “Peace of mind is clearly an internal matter. It must begin with your own thoughts, and then extend outward. It is from your peace of mind that a peaceful perception of the world arises.” The lesson invites us to notice our fearful, anxiety-producing thoughts and offending personalities or events and repeat a new thought: I could see peace instead of this.
By choosing to see peace, we have an opportunity to observe and relate to the situation at hand in a new way. We may still be troubled by the conflict and still observe it with an intention for clarity. The practice engages our Higher Self and we are guided to a more peaceful solution.
Mother Theresa said, “If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive.” We can learn to forgive when we are willing to reflect and not react. It takes practice and commitment and it is one way we can begin to change our experience of the world.
Very often we think we are listening but our minds are wandering and worrying about what the rest of the day will bring. Multi-tasking keeps us from paying attention. It is rare to have a one-to-one conversation any more!
There are times when we are so reactive to someone’s words that we’re not really listening to what they are saying at all because we’re busy creating our response. We’re cheating the person speaking because we are not hearing what they have to say. We lose sight of the divinity of the other person when we pretend to listen in this way. We miss the opportunity to fully in the moment.
The true gift of listening is when we are fully present and receptive to what another person is saying. We may not fully agree with what they are saying, but we honor and listen to their story.
Words of wisdom from Winston Churchill, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
Have you ever held a grudge against someone? I did and noticed it was keeping me pretty occupied. Avoiding them, trying not to think about them, trying hard to pretend they didn’t hurt me…it was exhausting.
When we don’t forgive, we stay in the struggle. It is a burden we carry on our souls that keep us prisoners to the past. We are in bondage with anger, bitterness and resentment. When we don’t forgive, we find there is a wall that separates us from love and keeps us from moving forward.
Forgiveness is an opportunity to let go. Forgiveness puts an end to the illusion of separation. It takes a great deal of courage to let go. When we do, it is one of the most important processes that will bring harmony to life and peace to our soul. Forgiveness sets us free to express love into the world.
Affirmation: “I see the walls of resentment and separation melting away and I live in the presence of love.” Charles Fillmore
Promises to restore youthful appearance, energy and vitality are abundant in our world today. Millions of dollars are spent on lotions, potions and creams to slow down the aging process and keep us looking and feeling youthful.
If you’ve been on the spiritual journey for a while, you know that the process works from the inside out. It’s the clinging emotions on the inside that clogs our energy and vitality. Resentment, anger, victim-thinking saps our energy and keeps us tired and run-down.
The cleansing process starts on the inside with forgiveness, self-love and acceptance. Have you ever noticed that when a problem is solved or an issue resolved you feel lighter like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders? Freedom started on the inside. It changes how we carry ourselves and how we respond to others.
There is only one secret potion that will restore youth, vitality and vigor. It is Love. We already own it, our work is to allow it to be revealed.
Have you noticed there is an impatient four year old that lives in the mind? Are we there yet? How much longer before we get there? How much time is this going to take?
Time takes forever when we are waiting for an event to happen but disappears when we are living in the moment. Time seems endless when want our goal achieved but vanishes when we have released attachment to the results.
George Leonard shares in his book, Mastery, that in martial arts training, there is a moment when it appears the student is no longer improving. The skill level seems stagnant and stuck. Actually on the inside there is an abundance of activity of the mind, body and soul all coming into alignment. The challenge is not to stop practicing, but to continue regardless of the outside results. Progress is happening on an inner level that we can’t see. Change happens, not always on our time schedule. This is the practice of faith.
Faith isn’t something we turn on or off. It is a seed planted in us. As we nurture and cultivate it, our faith grows deeper, stronger and more profound. Deepening faith doesn’t happen overnight. It takes monitoring our emotions and reprogramming old thoughts into new ones. It takes picking ourselves up when we feel beaten down or finding something to be grateful for in the midst of challenges.
Faith happens when we appreciate each day as a treasure and every experience as a gift. May your days be filled with patience, faith and a sense of peace that you are doing exactly the right task, at the right time, with the perfect outcome