Tagged: fear

Forgiveness

forgiveness

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

– Lewis B. Smedes

Sometimes in life we have the experience of being hurt by someone else. This hurt is often the result of perceived dishonesty, betrayal, disappointment, etc. When dealing with strong negative emotions that cause hurt and pain, it can be easy to get wrapped up in them. One powerful way from which we can escape that emotional suffering is through forgiveness.

One of the most important (and sometimes one of the most difficult) ways that we can extend our forgiveness is towards ourselves. We all have had errors in our thinking which have led to mistakes in our actions. Many of us still hold our wrongdoings against ourselves. We feel guilt for our actions and their effects. However, guilt is a wasted emotion. There is never a reason to feel guilty about anything. ANYTHING. Let me explain…

Guilt blocks forgiveness. You cannot forgive yourself and feel guilty at the same time. Just as you cannot hold a loving thought and a fearful thought at the same time.

When you stay stuck in guilt long enough, it can transform into shame. This means that you move from feeling guilty about your actions to shameful about the person you are. If guilt becomes an emotion that defines you, then you may start to believe that you’re no longer a good person that made a mistake. Instead, you have become a bad person who can do nothing right. It only serves your ego to stay stuck in guilt. It does not honor the divine nature of the loving spirit that you really are. Guilt keeps you from fully loving yourself and from being able to truly forgive.

What is important is the acknowledgement of the error. The realization that you may have acted in a way that was not loving is all you need to make a different choice the next time. As we grow, so do the choices that we make. Reflection of our past mistakes can help us understand that we were acting under a more limited consciousness than what we currently have in our present state of awareness. In the moment of our mistake, we acted/reacted as best as our consciousness would allow. Understanding this concept can save us from a lot of self-inflicted guilt and shame.

Just as we should not judge others for their actions, we also should not be so harsh in judgement of ourselves. When we recognize an error in someone’s thinking, we should send that person love. And if it is us who has made the error, we should send love to ourselves.

You may be saying, “But this person intentionally tried to hurt me! How can I forgive him/her? How can I love him/her?” In these situations, I try to always remember the saying, “Hurt people, hurt people.” Only a person that is suffering through a lot of emotional pain could intentionally try and inflict hurt upon another. A person who is full in love would not seriously entertain the thought of trying to  hurt someone else. When you come across a person who is in the midst of such hurt and pain, compassion for them is a helpful and loving response.

Some people also hold the notion that forgiving means that you’re allowing acceptance and approval of the mistake that was made. That’s not at all what forgiveness does. Forgiveness allows you to release the anger/frustration/blame/hurt that you have been holding so that you can return to the peace and love that is of your natural state. A lack of forgiveness does not hurt the trespassers, it only affects the one holding the animosity in their heart. 

I have found that prayer can be effective in fostering forgiveness. I heard Marianne Williamson mention the practice of praying for your enemies for 30 days straight and it is something that I recommend to my friends when they are having difficulty forgiving someone. Embarking on such an honest devotion towards forgiveness can help to create new peaceful circumstances and new loving perceptions. I recommend praying for peace in the relationship, forgiveness in your heart, and well-being for him/her.

When we can allow ourselves to forgive, then we can move into a space of sincere love for the person we felt we were betrayed or hurt by. Forgiveness is a tool that allows us to shift our perception from fear to love. It allows us to see past the human imperfections and see the perfection in each divine soul. And if we all exercised forgiveness and allowed love to guide our perceptions, imagine all the beauty we would see in ourselves, in each other and on our planet.

Love,

Joseph

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Love and Fear

fear-and-love

“Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and prejudices and the acceptance of love back in our hearts. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life. Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us. ”

Marianne Williamson

We live in a world of polarity. This polarity is most often noted by the duality in nature. We have male and female, up and down, left and right, large and small, short and tall, light and dark, night and day, etc.  Although duality seems to be most obvious in our world of physicality, there is often a middle ground which makes our polarized spectrum one that’s more of a trinity than just a simple “this or that”. For example, between hot and cold is warm, and between big and small there’s medium. I think that the fairy tale story of “The Three Bears” and Goldilocks best exemplifies this. Without the complement, we wouldn’t be able to truly know what a thing is. And sometimes the best way to understand something is by realizing what it is not.

For me, one of my biggest revelations was being able to see how all emotions are extensions and expressions of either love or fear. These are the two extremes of the polarized emotional energy spectrum. Love or fear is the motivating force behind everything we think and do. All of the positive emotions that we have like joy, gratitude, peace, happiness, compassion, etc. are expressions of love. The negative emotions and feelings that we have like anger, sadness, jealousy, depression, self-doubt, etc. are all extensions of fear.

The connection of each individualized feeling to its root of love and fear may not be so obvious. But if you reflect on those moments when you have felt one way or the  other, I think it becomes clearer to see how they are the grounding forces behind everything we do. Perhaps you may be asking, “What does being jealous have to do with being fearful?” When we are jealous of what someone else has or has achieved, what is really happening is that at some level, we are not fully seeing our own worth. We fear that we are not good enough to have what it is that we want, and in turn we envy those that do. This fear arises because we have brought into an illusion of lack–which is untrue because we live in an abundant universe–however, we think that if someone else has something, then there is less for us.

Love is the cure for fear. Fear and love cannot coexist in the same thought. You’re either moving in the direction of one or the other. Thankfully, at any moment you can choose  to think another thought. Living with love will open you up to a world full of exciting experiences. On the other hand, fear keeps you trapped from being and fully understanding the love that you are.

As a whole, we have traveled so far from our true nature which is love. We have identified with something that we are not (fear) and in the process have created an understanding of love that is unlike what it really is. When I speak of love, I mean unconditional love. A love that is neither jealous nor controlling. One that requires nothing. A love that gives without any expectation of return.The fear-based reality that has dominated much of the human experience can be changed by choosing to be and express love with every thought, every word,  and every action.

All actions and emotional reactions are a result of beliefs that we hold. When we believe that something is good, we react in a positive way and vice versa. The helpful thing about fear is that it shows you where you hold a belief that is out of alignment with your true self (love). You can use your fear as a guide post for seeing where you can change your beliefs and adjust the way you look at a situation in order to see it through a lens of love.  Once you face your fears and transmute it through loving energy, you can free yourself of the fear that you once held towards that thing. In fact, the thing that you once feared could become one of your greatest pleasures or joys.

When I catch myself thinking a negative thought, I stop and remember LOVE. I don’t beat myself up for it. Instead, I just move onto to a thought that is in the direction of love. By consciously monitoring our thoughts, we can began to live our lives more consistently aligned with our true selves. When I notice a pattern of negative thoughts, I find it helpful to ask myself “What am I afraid of?” This springs honest reflection that allows me to get to the root of the pattern and shift my thinking into thoughts that are more in alignment with love and not fear.

Love is the only thing that is real. It is the truth and it is eternal. Fear is the biggest illusion. Although it seems real, it is not at all. Think of a time when you had to do something that you were terrified to do. Once you did that thing, everything that you feared about it, you probably did not experience. You survived through it and you can see that the fear was all in your head. When we realize that there is really nothing to be afraid of, we can move out into the world and perceive and respond to all events with love. Freedom from consistent fearful thinking will help us to see the loving light within us and to express that in ways that will help others recognize their own light, and ultimately make this world a more loving place for all.

Love,

Joseph