Tag Archives: Forgiveness

AWAKENING TO OUR CONTRASTS

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”  Nelson Mandela

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The holidays are a time when we often return to where we grew up or to our parents’ home.  It can be a wonderful and joyous occasion or one where we tread lightly around certain topics, but if we have grown over the years and become our own person, it may be a time when we see clearly the contrast between who we were and who we are now.

We All Change with Time

We all grow in some way as the years pass.  Even those who ferociously resist change and try to force their ways on others change—usually becoming more angry and brittle.  But most of us try to learn from our mistakes and be open to learning new ways of doing things that will benefit us and our families.  Besides, when we don’t think our way is the only way, we can connect more easily with those who are different.

Mandela Is A Model for Forgiveness

This week we have mourned the death of Nelson Mandela and celebrated his extraordinary life.  Living in a country of extreme contrasts, he was able to unite the people by demonstrating that we can choose to forgive our enemies, no matter how horrendous their behavior was, and in doing so, we free ourselves from bitterness and hate.  Certainly his life was full of contrasts.

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Contrast Show Us What We Want and What We Don’t Want

In the Law of Attraction literature, contrast is the word that is used to describe negative events, the things that happen that we don’t want to attract.  It’s true that life is filled with experiences we like and others we don’t, and each contrast is an opportunity to re-examine what we did to create it.  Abraham, channeled by Esther Hicks, states, “When you have lived an experience that helps you understand in an exaggerated way, the very thing you do not want, you also understand in an exaggerated way, what you do want.”

Few of us will ever have the kind of profound influence that Nelson Mandela had on other human beings.  But we each, in our own way, may choose to learn from the contrast in our lives, and accept the choices other people make that are different from ours.  If we can create just a little peace in our own environment, we are contributing to world peace.

As We Grow, Our Past Is Illuminated

Years after leaving the town where I grew up, I returned to visit and was startled by how small the house was.  It seemed spacious to me as a child as I lay on the dining room floor, my books spilling out of the bureau, and read or colored.  The external reality was small, but my internal experience was large as I explored life through literature.

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Books (Photo credit: henry…)

Let Us Embrace Our Differences

This often happens to us.  As our world grows larger, what we used to know seems smaller or more confined.  Until I attended college in the 1960s, I had never attended school with any children who were not white.  Fortunately, I was reared by a mother who believed that all people were equal and deserved equal rights so that when I did met people of other races I was curious.  Despite some initial discomfort, I made a real effort to understand our differences and to relate respectfully.

Over the years, I taught students from many cultures and doing so has enriched my life experience with many contrasts.  As a result, I have learned and grown from these experiences.  My spiritual journey has also been filled with experiences and practices that differ from my family’s traditional spiritual path.  They attend Catholic and Protestant churches, and I attend meetings of a spiritual community that prefers not to be called a “church.”  My path seems strange to them, but it brings me peace and happiness, and their path is very meaningful to them.  We think differently, but we accept our differences.

When I wrote my memoir Awakening to the Dance: A Journey to Wholeness, I traveled back into time as I read through the journals I’d kept for many years and was able to see all the ways I had changed over the years.  Some of it was inspiring and I could feel proud of how I had expanded my thinking, but there were also times when I was appalled by the way I mangled a situation.  Still, the contrasts were steps I had to take on my way to become a more peaceful and caring person.

So this holiday, as we visit with family and old friends, let us appreciate the contrasts that appear and  let us honor the sometimes challenging spiritual path through life that we each travel.

HOLIDAY GIFT SUGGESTION

If you are looking for an inspiring gift for a friend, please consider my memoir Awakening to the Dance:  A Journey to Wholeness.  It is available through Amazon.com, Kindle, Nook, and CreateSpace ID#1002950.

© 2013 Georganne Spruce                                       ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5

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A DANCE OF SPIRITUAL FORGIVENESS

When we have been deeply hurt by someone, especially someone we love, reaching a point where we can truly forgive can be a challenge.  It is easy enough to say we forgive the person, and we often say that because we know that is what good people do.  But to truly feel that forgiveness on an ongoing daily basis, to be unattached to the painful feelings we experienced as a result of another person’s words or actions, we must go much deeper.

Awakening to Detachment as Forgiveness

What often blocks our desire for true forgiveness is the feeling that in order to forgive we must accept the fact that the other person is not to blame for their unkindness.  By saying we forgive them, we feel we are saying that they weren’t responsible for their actions when we know what they chose to do was a free choice.

 Oneness describes those feelings this way: We give “lip service to releasing the blame for a past action.”  It could be ours or someone else’s.  “While in theory this effort appears to be well-directed…it rarely produces the desired result.  The key to completing these patterns is not to forgive the other party their transgression, which keeps the energy polarized, but rather, to release in total detachment, any care one may still be carrying, whatsoever, about the outcome of any drama revolving around that issue.  The gesture then becomes…one of total transcendence of one’s attachment to the outcome.” (Page 62)

Understanding Attachment

So how do we come to this place of harmony and detachment?  I have often found that if I can understand why a person has done what she or he has done and see the situation from his or her point of view, I find it easier to let go of my resentment.  Sometimes that is all I need to know, and I can feel enough compassion to release my anger or hurt.  This may apply when I need to forgive myself as well.  But when the negative energy around an issue is more powerful, releasing my attachment is not so easy.

One of the things we need to remember is that some people come into our lives in order to act as adversaries or “triggers.”  The most infuriating interactions may be the very dramas from which we learn the most significant lessons.  The more powerful these experiences are, the more likely they are to be karmic.  They may be part of the agreements we made prior to coming into this life.  (Oneness, p. 59-61)  These situations are the most challenging to detach.

Being in the Moment Beyond Past and Future Fears

Beyond finding empathy for our adversary’s motivation, we must learn to release the fear that attaches us to the past and the future.  We are often caught up in the fear that what has happened is a repetition of old patterns and we wonder how many more times must we go through this pain.  Or we fear that what has happened is a pattern we cannot break.  As Eckhart Tolle suggests, we are concentrating on the content of the situation.  What will liberate us from our past and future fears and pain is to be in the moment.

When we are truly in the moment, meditating or walking by the shore or through the forest, we are able to experience that beautiful, peaceful energy at our core.  In this place we are beyond the drama and content.  We do not need to label an experience “good” or “bad.”  At this moment, we do not need to understand.  We understand that what is, just is.  When we have practiced this enough, we are able to move back into the situations of our lives without resistance and attachment.  And maybe when the next challenge appears, we will be able to stop, observe what is happening and choose not to lose ourselves in the drama.  As I learned when I studied Science of Mind, forgiveness is not about the person who hurt you, it is about you learning to let go.

What are your greatest challenges with forgiveness?

© 2011 Georganne Spruce

Related Articles:  *Eckhart Tolle-Not Reacting to Content (Video), How to Forgive Yourself, Bouncing Back

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