A Tale of True Forgiveness

This Christmas, I’d like to share a personal story involving forgiveness. Recently, someone close to me made choices that helped me take on a perspective that caused me to hurt very deeply. Afterward, when they contacted me, I found I could not relate to them openly as I had in the past. I could either be cold toward them, or if I shared how I felt, there was only pain, bitterness, and anger.

This development was surprising to me. I had not realized that so much unprocessed emotion and pain resulted from how I viewed their choices. Once it became evident that I was harboring wounds resulting from an unconscious victim mentality, I spent the next few days processing the pain and anger fueling this perspective.

Processing is not denying or repressing feelings or a perspective; it’s quite the opposite. It fully meets sensation, energy, thought, and emotion and releases them. I feel this process is how to heal humanity’s collective wounds and free ourselves of our’ sins.’ Processing is also not simply expressing one’s feelings or perspective, as a painful viewpoint can often reinforce our identity as victims and, thus, our suffering.

Once I had processed these ‘victim feelings,’ my perspective immediately shifted. Suddenly, I saw my role in what happened, how I had fed into the events, and how I could have handled the situation more skillfully. These insights will allow me to learn from the interaction and hopefully stay more loving toward the ‘other’ if there is a next time. I want to remain loving toward everyone because that reflects my True Nature; when I am not caring, I suffer.

Also, my love for this individual returned once I had processed the emotions. The admiration and care I naturally felt for them shone before my eyes as they had in the past. I saw their beauty and strength instead of their shortcomings.

Forgiveness and gratitude are not just practices you can do but are also diagnostic tools for spiritual development. It’s not that you should feel bad if you cannot forgive or don’t feel grateful; instead, these are indications of a festering emotional wound.

Like a symptom that indicates an underlying illness, an inability to forgive or feel grateful suggests a need to look further into the unconscious to find the underlying beliefs that hold these wounds open and prevent the healing, peace, and joy that gratitude and forgiveness bring. You do this so YOU can heal, not for anyone else.

Just as it is foolish to feel guilty when a doctor says that your symptom indicates a more severe underlying condition, so it is when we can’t forgive or feel grateful. Instead, follow the doctor’s advice so you can heal, or if you choose to ignore the doctor, know your illness will continue and likely get worse. Likewise, if your spiritual condition indicates unhealed trauma or emotional repression, work with a qualified teacher or professional who can help you process and heal these psychoenergetic wounds.

I’ll remind everyone that forgiving doesn’t mean condoning or justifying another’s behavior. We can genuinely forgive and see how an individual or group’s behavior is sub-optimal or requires punishment or retribution. We can also forgive and decide that the healthiest thing for us to do is to distance ourselves from them if the relationship is dysfunctional at its core.

Jesus taught about the power of forgiveness for a good reason. It is one of the most potent spiritual diagnostic tools and practices to enter The Kingdom of Heaven, Nirvana, or the Tao. Spiritually speaking, bringing Heaven to Earth is the true purpose of human life.

Happy Holidays!

-Douglas Johnson E-RYT 500, YACEP, OM, Certified KI Facilitator

Spring Fling - A Bhakti Yoga Retreat

March 29-31