I started this article on forgiveness yesterday morning, but in the afternoon had the feeling that I needed to wait, there was more to come. I asked inwardly for guidance on how to finish this article.
This morning I had a telling dream. In the dream I had a message on my answering service that I thought was from the man who cuts my grass. (By the way, his name is Mr. Devine, so I interpreted that to mean a message from the Divine.) I couldn’t understand the message clearly, but I did hear another imbedded message from someone asking me to call a number to get the details about how I wasn’t in compliance with my front lawn. I called my lawn man, and he said he had not called. I looked out my front window to see that somehow huge weeds several feet tall had gown up unnoticed by me. I couldn’t understand how that could have happened, since the front lawn is treated and cut regularly.
Upon awakening, I knew this dream was answering my question about writing. There were some things to see more clearly before I could continue. I felt that the weeds in the front lawn might mean something was blocking my inner vision regarding this writing.
So this morning I did an imaginative contemplative technique. To begin, I asked the Holy Spirit to help me understand what the weeds represented and for clarity and direction. In my contemplation, I imagined myself going from weed to weed, pulling them up from the roots, or digging around the roots on difficult ones. My spiritual guide was walking along with me pushing a wheel barrow as I tossed the weeds into it. I knew that when I was finished he would dump the container into the spiritual stream to be removed and cleansed.
After about twenty minutes, I opened my eyes and remembered an important experience from years ago. A friend and I went to a museum exhibit featuring ancient Egyptian artifacts. At the entrance of the exhibit was a statue of an Egyptian scribe from a tomb. I stood transfixed as I experienced the flash of a memory of a lifetime in the role of a scribe. I realized that was at least one of the lifetimes that engendered a love for writing and translating images and thoughts into language. But that or some other lifetime likely didn’t end well, if what I wrote disgruntled the powers in charge. Hence, my hesitation each time I have felt I was being asked to write in this lifetime.
I felt this same resistance as I was being led and guided to enter the field of healing. Old memories of suffering an unpleasant death during the inquisition began to surface. That period of history was not a good time to have a talent in any of the healing arts or practice a more mystical form of spiritual practice.
Very often we don’t know the origins of our anger, fears, or self-loathing. We may only remember details from early in life this time around. We are an inner collection of all we have been before, but at an unconscious level, until life presents us once again with a similar situation and gives us an opportunity to move past previous fears, failures, or mistakes. Life is a continual process of balancing accounts.
This is where forgiveness comes into play–forgiveness of ourself and all others.
Once in the dream state I was in a group discussion on healing. At one point I said: “Forgiveness is the frequency that heals.” When I awoke, I wondered about using the words forgiveness, frequency, and healing.
I knew that treating the body can only provide a measure of relief if issues of the heart remain unresolved. A deep healing of the heart is necessary to clear the way for a greater life of love and freedom. Healing is a change in consciousness. Organs function at a certain frequency when in optimal health. The life choices we make and our beliefs and attitudes affect our vibratory rate.
Our vibrations and state of consciousness can change in a singular dramatic moment, as in cases of out of body and near death experiences, or a spiritual experience in a dream. But the certain way I have found in my own life is the daily spiritual practice, devotion to a spiritual ideal and working toward it.
It has taken years for me to understand that the present state of my own life is an outer reflection of my inner state of being. We carry our history inside us, and our state of consciousness, or how we think and view the world and life, is shaped by everything that has happened to us, and our beliefs and attitudes grow out of our experiences. I learned slowly over time how carrying an unconscious attitude of being a victim in life gradually deteriorated my health and harmed my relationships.
As memories began to surface of past harms, from this lifetime and others, I understood some of the causes of my unhappiness. When we unlock the door to the past, we must also acknowledge the times we inflicted harm on others.
But I learned in my spiritual studies that a change in consciousness can occur through study and contemplation, and that I am always cause in my own life. Life is a study of ourself, and a life change, such as illness or other harsh circumstances, can be the impetus for change and reflection.
So what exactly does it mean to forgive, and how does forgiveness help us heal our body and our life? Carrying old pain, resentments, grief, worry and self-loathing for too long can over burden all of our body systems, lower our vibrations, and impede the flow of life sustaining energy. Many immune and circulatory problems may have their origin in the heart center, where many of our unresolved issues reside.
The origin of the word forgive means to give completely, without reservation. Some believe that it also means to untie, to release others from being bound to us and we to them. In other words, true forgiveness can break the karmic tie and bring spiritual freedom from a person and situation. Forgiveness must start with ourself. We must have the same compassion and understanding for ourself as we have for others.
The renowned theologian Lewis B. Smides once wrote: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and to discover the prisoner is you.”
To forgive means to give up the entitlement to feel injured or justified in holding resentment. Forgiveness and atonement are closely related. True atonement means at-one-ment. When we can lift ourself vibrationally, spiritually, to a higher state where only love resides, we are beyond the illusion that we have been injured. In a state of at-one-ment, we desire only to give, to be, love.
The Bible states that Jesus spoke these words on the cross: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” So to forgive is divine. To forgive also means understanding that we and others, in our limited state of awareness, don’t realize the full implications of our actions and words. Not being fully aware of our spiritual identity and our connection to all others and life itself, we can’t see how our acts reverberate through eons of time, following us like unwelcome guests. The ignorance of our true self, a spark of divinity, leads to our karmic woes.
I find that if I can remember those words, “they know not what they do,” I don’t take things so personally as I interact with others. One night in a dream a man who leads a cetain metaphysical group in town told me that some in the group did not like me. I knew he was trying to get a reaction from me. I said, and meant it, “That’s ok. That doesn’t bother me.” And it really didn’t. Perhaps that was a test to see how much I had learned about allowing others to be themselves without judgement or having it affect my own inner peace.
I asked a friend once what he thought about the process of forgiveness. He said, “If you stay in the present with everyone, there is nothing to forgive.” What wisdom.
To revise past hurts and forgive others or yourself, you can use an imaginative technique similar to the one I described. Simply imagine the situation and see it from a higher viewpoint. Ask inwardly to be shown the whole picture. How did you and the other person lack awareness at the time? You might visualize untying the knot that binds you. This is only one possible scenario. Create one that feels right to you. There is also an ancient mantra, or sacred sound, that raises the vibrations of our physical and inner state of being to a higher, spiritual level. Using it for many years has opened my consciousness to the love and guidance I had always longed for. The sound is HU. (To hear it, visit http://www.HearHU.org.)
This quote is from Stranger by the River, a wonderful, lyrical book on love and spiritual wisdom by Paul Twitchell:
“…All things will gravitate to thee if ye will let love enter thine own hearts without compromise.” p.80
What better definition for forgiveness than this–love without compromise.