Forgiveness is the most essential and also the most difficult spiritual exercise. Most of us still are vibrating at a fear-based more than a love-based level, which is why humanity is in such turmoil; and we are being told now by beings not in bodies that unless we can raise this planet’s consciousness, human life is on a downward course. That should be reason enough for us to make learning how to forgive a priority! But on a personal level it is important to add that living in forgiveness also makes you happy.
I have blogged several times about radical forgiveness, including here and here. And I have written about self-forgiveness here, but it seems to be time to talk about it again. Aside from questions about the loss of pets – which I get almost daily – the most anguished contacts I receive come from people who have read The Fun of Growing Forever and are stumbling over their need to forgive themselves. For them, in particular, finally forgiving our entire lives forevermore can be the ticket to a much better life!
Forgiving everything in advance is a mind-trick. It works because our minds are not the efficient computers that we imagine them to be, but rather they are:
- Lazy. Our minds generally don’t analyze things. Instead, for the most part they blindly react based on the patterns that we have inadvertently set by reacting to similar stimuli.
- Habit-Driven. If we had to think through opening a door or driving a car or composing a sentence each time we did even basic things we would be spending our days that way and we’d have little mind-space for anything else.
- Highly Adaptable. The habitual links that we have established are only what our minds have found in the past to be the easiest pathways. Think of water flowing in a rocky stream: when we move a few rocks, the water at once flows differently.
In The Fun of Growing Forever and in this blog post I explain the easiest process for retraining your lazy, habitual, adaptable mind. The forgiveness-ball-and-mantra technique really works! It astonishes me to tell you that my life remains full of things that used to bug me, but now that whole reactive emotional overlay that once plagued my days is gone.
But for some people, self-forgiveness is especially difficult. Most of those who contact me about having trouble forgiving themselves will point in anguish at some particular thing they have done that they found unforgivable; and the things mention always seem trivial to me. They should have been addressable when they occurred. But by now, these people have trained their minds to obsess over them, so that stimulus-response pathway has become a thoroughfare. They might try forming forgiveness balls, but they insist that even doing that cannot begin to assuage their overwhelming guilt.
If this feels like a problem that you might share, then I suggest that you energize your forgiveness work! Still form forgiveness balls and say the mantra, yes, but also:
- Remind yourself that this is about just you. If others who were involved are dead, then apologize aloud and at once; but if they are living, it generally is best not to apologize until after you have forgiven yourself.
- Make a point of forgiving your entire childhood. Many of us have developed wrong programming in childhood that tends to make our self-blame worse; so while you are at it, forgive your childhood. Forgive your parents, teachers, siblings, friends, and everything you did that you now regret. The forgiveness-ball technique works best if you use it individually on people and events, so doing this right can take awhile.
- Try to avoid stressors for at least six months. To the extent that you can, avoid people or places that are likely to make you feel worse about yourself, even if that means skipping some family holidays.
- Read and write only peaceful wisdom. Read whatever uplifts your heart. And write! Some people find that it helps to write down whatever is bothering them today, then build the forgiveness ball, say the mantra, and burn that piece of paper. Do whatever you can to get all the poisons that you have spent your whole life building flushed altogether out of your mind!
- Learn how to be good to yourself. Many who carry long-term self-blame will design unnecessarily difficult lives. They will make much of setbacks, deny themselves for others, and in various ways build up resentments that make them feel even worse about themselves. Building forgiveness balls around these obstacles as you notice them can be a help in cleaning out your mind; and even beyond that, insofar as you can, really get to know and like yourself. Try to do more of what makes you happy while it also betters the lives of others. With time and patient work, you can turn it around!
Forgiving yourself is essential, since until you have learned uncritical self-love you cannot really love anyone else. Self-love doesn’t mean having a needy ego, but rather it means feeling so good about yourself that you hardly seem to have an ego at all! Once you have fully forgiven yourself, you will see yourself as you truly are: you are the eternally best-beloved child of the all-powerful Godhead that is all that exists. When you fully grasp the enormity of your own particular preciousness, then peaceful joy will become your mind’s set-point. Forgiving yourself forevermore makes you the happiest that you can be!
(I apologize for my month away from blogging! I’ve been doing a speaking tour and finishing The Fun of Living Together, about which I’ll tell you more next week).