What would a life be like without blame, guilt, fear and anger? Can we forgive to live a liberated life?
"Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else, you are the one getting burned." - Buddha
How many of us are carrying events from the past that trigger an emotional reaction even today?
Can we learn how to forgive and release the past to liberate our future?
And what does it mean to truly forgive?
Forgiveness is a powerful and profound tool in unlocking our body and mind from past trauma. Without it, trauma lurks under the surface like a dormant volcano waiting to erupt at any moment. If someone says something similar to an event that hurt us or if something happens to us that comes close to the event that hurt us, we can quickly get plunged into those emotions we felt at the moment in happened and now have to re-live them over and over again.
How Do I Forgive?
During a lifetime there are a lot of things that can be hurtful, painful, traumatic and stressful and seemingly that can feel like other people or events cause these emotions. If I point the finger and blame a person or an event for my unhappiness, there is something to focus on that helps me understand my emotional state as I relate it to something outside of myself.
Sooner or later though, whether that takes months, years or decades, event after event can take place where blame is placed on the other until there is no other to blame but still the blame and unhappiness lingers. Then, the only place for the finger can turn to next is right back on to the self. And here is where we see we are in control of our emotions, that no-one else is to blame, no-one is to take credit, no-one else is accountable. It is, and forever will be, myself who is in control of my emotional state.
What a burden! What a relief!
People can add enormous joy to my life, I can find a deeper love than ever before, I can be at true service in the company of others and I can feel surrounded by a beautiful community that nourishes and supports one another. But ultimately it's up to me how I feel about it all.
During my travels I've been to some of the most incredible places and felt lonely. I've been to some of the grimiest places and felt alive. I've been alone but felt more loved than ever before. And I've been surrounded by people in community and never felt more lost.
So, it all comes down to the internal emotional state at the time.
Who Are We Forgiving?
If we see that no-one else is in charge of our emotional well-being, who are we to blame? If there's no-one to blame, who do we forgive?
Once the finger is pointing back at you, there is only one person left to either blame or forgive. It can be quite a shocking cross-roads to face but one that leads to either a letting go, a surrendering, a softening. Or of anger, pain and hardening.
Forgiveness can happen in a moment, and it does. It could years to build up to that moment of forgiveness, but once you’ve had enough of carrying around negative emotions and are ready to let go, it takes just a moment for it happen.
It can happen in a moment. Years and years of blame, hate, rage, despair, anger, fear, jealously, pain, suffering, shame, can all disappear in one single moment. That dark cloud that rained down, caused thunderstorm after thunderstorm can lift at any moment if forgiveness is chosen.
At this cross-roads it becomes clear that I have to forgive myself. Without any buts coming into the equation - but he did this, but she did that, and we have to forgive ourselves for our part in the scenario.
That can be a hard one to swallow sometimes.
But looking at the role we played in a situation can lead to forgiveness and of letting go. However severe the situation might have been, from physical or verbal abuse to any form of trauma that has caused pain and suffering, we have to look at our role in the build up to the event that caused pain and suffering and forgive that self who walked into the painful situation.
Maybe you couldn't leave that relationship even though you knew it was wrong. Maybe you couldn't speak up against your colleague at work. Maybe you had an abusive, alcoholic father. Maybe you were involved in a traumatic car accident.
It can be anything. But the important part is to forgive the self who walked into that situation, seemingly unconsciously and without foreseeing it but little by little, in the build up to that event, came decisions to take that were missed which is where we forgive. We forgive ourselves for not having the courageous to walk out on an abusive relationship, we forgive ourselves for not being strong enough to stand up to our colleague, we forgive our father for holding such rage that the only way he could release was through us, we forgive ourselves for walking around with that rage, sending him hateful energy when what he needed most was love. And we forgive our teachers who were guiding us at the time who didn't know any better either.
We forgive the self for rushing into the car and speeding off, or for not looking the other way. We forgive ourselves for not fixing that brake disc, for not following that intuitive hit that said leave now, it's time to go.
We learn to see our role in each event and forgive. By holding blame for another, we can never forgive. By forgiving ourselves first, blame can no longer exist. Hate cannot be and anger transforms into compassion.
It doesn't excuse the behaviour of the other, it just shifts the blame and sets
Learn how to forgive to liberate yourself from the past. Move into a future full of love and compassion, wisdom and joy. And see what awaits you with a heart open to recieve.