Seeking Peace? The Process of Forgiveness
Some words keep us prisoners: abuse, abandonment, betrayal, blame, dishonesty, disloyalty, resentment, shame, and so many more. In life, we too often carry the burdens of our past within our thoughts. When these powerful words rule the story-line of our lives, they transform into dangerous words: anger, bitterness, hatred, vengeance and violence.
These words are not who we are, but they somehow shape our reality and control our inner dialogue. We never notice the shape-shifting of the words we use. At first, we embed feelings of sorrows and fear within them. Then, we become attached to their meaning. Like the words are bound to projections we have about the people and events that connect to our painful memories. The danger is to let these memories frame our present. When the stories we tell ourselves today are intrinsically born from a past we carry, we encode this information into our genes and our daily lives. Hence;
Our tales are spun, but for the most part, we don’t spin them; they spin us. – Daniel C. Dennett
How can we release these memories?
First, we must become aware of the triggers that drag and trap our thoughts into reliving the past.
Second, we must become conscious of the resistance they build within. It helps us pinpoint these triggers. What we resist, persist.
These triggers are alerting us to distant enemies (memories) returning to pierce our very core. Because we are human, our inherent nature is to protect ourselves, either by being reactive or repress the feelings they engender. But the culprit is no other than the hoarder of all memories — the thinker behind the thoughts.
Let us imagine a life of storing and hoarding junk inside one small room inside our house. Eventually, no matter how many walls embed the space, the door and windows always burst open. We have and will be doing this to ourselves as long as our memories take reign over our thoughts. Being told to forgive is an impossible task when we are trapped by our fears.
Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive. – C.S. Lewis
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is the willingness to move beyond fear — To choose love rather than fear. It’s a shift in attitude about someone or something that creates these ugly words and feelings of victimization we have been carrying around. To move beyond fear is to stare straight into that fear, into the source of the pain, and ask a straightforward question.
What is the lesson?
Don’t ask why or how. Don’t dwell. Your mind will always trick you into believing the story it tells. Ask what have I learned? The only resource you have is FORGIVENESS.
What a shape-shifting word. This is why I will break it into parts.
For – give-ness
For – giver
Ness – having the quality of
Hence within this abstract word, we can decode its source: the act of giving or to be the giver of something. To give what, we ask? To give fully. To entirely give our love or to grant our love. Therefore, forgiveness is not of the mind; it is an active process. A word may be born in our mind, but it must be actualized in the world. It is the reason people endlessly loop inside their head and never entirely release themselves from the “mind-forged manacles” as the poet William Blake would call it.
You can start forgiveness as a conscious thought, but always follow through with an act of giving. That could mean writing a letter, meet face to face, put flowers on a grave, send an email, help others with their acts of forgiveness. There are so many creative ways to be the giver of love. The embryo does not remain in the womb eternally. It must be born into the world. It needs to be materialized (actualized) outside the womb to attain its full potential.
The only memory worthy of being remembered is to fully and completely give and re-give our love to ourselves and others. Once we fully grasp forgiveness, we invite lightness into our lives. Don’t let forgiveness remain just “a lovely idea.”
I now leave you with this quote:
I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. – Sherlock Holmes
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