Forgiveness is the best way I can think of to cancel a debt that I may be holding over another person. What are the benefits of marking a matter off The List of Useless Grudges?
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Entrée: Atonement by
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Atonement, if split into syllables, becomes at-one-ment. Most people in the self-development movement today accept that in order to improve the quality of life, a person first of all needs to focus on his/her problems and/or conflicts to resolve them – in other words, to become at one with them. In fact, the more somebody can merge with their difficulty, the more successful they will become at overcoming it.
To look at it from a religious point of view I feel, is not at a lot different to looking at it from a psychological point of view and would indeed, have the same beneficial result.
For example, say somebody was angry and feeling vindictive against another person who had wronged him/her in some way, who is that anger going to hurt?
Well, not the perpetrator of the "wrong-doing", that’s for certain. The person creating the thoughts of vengeance is going to suffer the most. Yet forgiveness (that is really letting go of vengeful thoughts, needs for retribution and/or judgment), will produce real feelings of well-being and freedom and allow the person to move on.
Forgiveness is not something that can be taught, but it’s very easy to do. All that is needed is a willingness to forgive others for what we perceive they have done to us. In fact, I could go a step further than that and say that all that is needed is a willingness to forgive others for anything imagined or not imagined - what is the point of bearing grudges or holding blame? Does it really make it feel better? I know... Some people make it very difficult!
To qualify that last statement... Whether or not somebody else has done something to us is really irrelevant. Whether they have or whether they haven’t it’s us thinking & believing they have done something to us, that hurts us. By thinking this way, we are creating the scenario that we have been wronged and making ourselves into victims. In this way our “enemies” have power over us, whether or not they know it. This is not only becoming controversial, but somewhat complex.
There is another way we can play the victim too. That is, we can blame ourselves for things that go wrong. In this scenario, we are attempting to split ourselves up into perpetrator and victim. We make a mistake and lose out on something. We blame ourselves for our stupidity. Just one question needed here… "Am I willing to forgive our self for what has gone wrong?"
Again just the willingness is enough. Being aware of our mistake is to focus on it, forgive it, release it. The problem that can arise here is that many of us do not wish to focus on our shortcomings and there's a risk that they can be repressed into the subconscious mind to exert force on our subsequent thought processes. Just be aware of that and let it go. There may be many layers of consciousness coming into force here.
And what about becoming a victim of what others are doing to others. How many of use get filled with rage and anger at man's inhumanity to man?
I feel that what we need to realize here is that this form of behaviour is something that is as old as humankind. Blaming and seeking retribution has only brought about more wanton destruction.
What if men and women everywhere just merely contemplated the opportunity to forgive? What if they realized that by forgiving (self or others), that they would find peace and liberation? What if they could read this message and put it into practice? What sort of world would we then live in? I will leave you to answer that.
As mentioned earlier, my idea with this article is not intended to foster any particular religious belief in any way, but I think you will find that if you examine the basics of any religion, forgiveness is the fundamental idea. This is what the original teacher was putting across. And forgiveness was the road to stress-free life where all is at one... (atonement).
About the author:
Derek Ayre of Cardiff, U.K. has been in practice as a registered therapist since 1976 and has helped many people, realize their goals and improve the quality of their life, on a face to face basis, in groups and online. He is a Zen practitioner, loves to write and share his knowledge of all subjects with others. Visit http://www.hypno-ayre.freeserve.co.uk/ for more information.
Main Course: Well Loved -
How To Get Rid Of What You Don't Want by Liz Sumner, M.A.,
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I’m appreciating used things. I got a great gas barbecue on Freecycle; a practically new John Deere lawnmower for $50; a beautiful Le Creuset cast iron shelf from a friend's basement, a lovely leather purse from the thrift shop. They feel like blessings. I get all the joy of something new plus an extra kick of getting it for nothing or practically so. I’m typing this on a computer I bought used that’s sitting on a desk I got at a yard sale. Come to think of it, I also inherited this chair from some previous office and I’m drinking from a water bottle I’ve refilled a bunch of times.
Brand new, pristine, still in the wrapper has its appeal too, of course. But throwing away perfectly good stuff bugs me. I wish it were easier to get something to a good home during that whirlwind of purging that comes upon us. I use all my energy cleaning out the junk room and have nothing left for separating the things for Goodwill from the load for the dump. At that point I want the detritus gone. Now.
I see that desire to be rid of the unwanted in my clients, and in myself. We want to be different, better, changed. And we want it now. A new job, a new body, a new relationship, a new way of living. I want what I don’t have, and what I have I don’t want.
There is no shortage of experts to tell us how to change. As a coach I probably fall into that category. But I don’t have a whizbang new approach—the Seven Steps to a whole new you. I believe you’re pretty darned fabulous exactly as you are and that all meaningful transformation starts with acceptance.
Accept yourself. Recycled advice? Yes. When you’re dissatisfied and stuck it can sound pretty useless. “Get me out of here!” You’d rather be any place else. But here and now is all there is. Loving and forgiving what is has got to be the first step.
Take a deep breath and bear with me for a moment here. You’re changing a state of mind.
Here's how to do it:
What's really true? What's not working? What is? What part do you want to make sure you keep in the future? What assumptions have you made that aren’t checked out? Whose definition of valuable are you using? What are the immediate challenges and which are more long term?
Suspend disbelief for a moment and pretend that the aspect you want to change is actually serving you in some twisted way. For example, the a**hole boss is creating the impetus for you to leave a job you should have left years ago; the health emergency is a wake up call; the break up is a clear decision when you were ambivalent. Put aside the unpleasant feelings for a moment and imagine a new way of looking at the same set of circumstances—a way in which you benefit instead of being a victim.
This can be a tough one, but it’s the most powerful. I’ve found that if I start where I am (unpleasant state—hurt, angry, etc) I can take baby steps that get me to real acceptance. Here's a possible progression: I forgive you for being a stupid jerk. I forgive you for saying such an insensitive thing. I forgive you for hurting my feelings. I forgive you for not realizing that I was expecting you. I forgive you for not reading my mind. I forgive myself for expecting you to. I forgive myself for overreacting. I forgive myself for not saying what I want. I forgive myself for not seeing my responsibility here.
It’s the acceptance, the ownership that gives you permission to let it go—whether we’re talking about anger or extra weight or a snakeskin vinyl raincoat. It’s not a question of judgment—keep the good and get rid of the bad. We’re a spectrum—a combination of choices that sometimes looks like a masterpiece and sometimes like mud. It’s not that red has no value. It just may not belong in your picture right now.
Maybe someone else can use it. That’s why we have consignment stores and Ebay.
About the author:
Liz Sumner of Find Your Way Coaching specializes in mid-life reassessment. Are you happy with your direction? Do you feel good about yourself? Are you fearless? Joyful? Energized? You could be. Visit FindYourWayCoaching.com or call 603-876-3956 for more information.
Helping: Forgiving Others Benefits Us by Peter and Helen
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Most of us have experienced a kind of non-local connection demonstration by Bell's Theorem, which is essentially that everything in the universe is connected. For instance, after thinking about a loved one, the phone rings and, guess who it is? Or we get the warm, fuzzy feeling of connection and smile a lot about it.
Most of us tend to do an unconscious "moral surgery" and acknowledge these laws only for the warm, fuzzy moments. Yet, if these laws work in one situation they must work in all situations. What do you suppose is happening when you think of a person you hate? Or when you think they should "get paid back" for the wrong they did? Well, maybe the phone isn't ringing (they don't like you either), but you're making a connection just the same.
The energy we put out there to another just loops back on ourselves. We've all seen people who hold grudges, are constantly frustrated with others; they look withered, empty, sapped of life force. They are sapping themselves through their thoughts of vengeance and hate. Medieval literature speaks about the "worm that eateth from within". Pretty good metaphor, for a grudge is a drain on us, on our life, on our vitality.
These 'negative' connections are what forgiveness is about. We're not letting the "bad guys" off the hook, we're letting ourselves off the hook.
We hear people acknowledging this connection when they say, "Just thinking about them makes me feel wonderful", or conversely, "Just thinking about them makes me sick." They don't realize they're doing it to themselves. Their own thoughts are creating their feelings of wellness or sickness.
What sort of thoughts do you suppose someone is thinking about "someone who makes me feel sick"? We also ask, "Is there anyone you'd like to forgive today?" You don't have to "bless them with kindness". You don't have to put on the holy disguise of virtue or superiority; for pity or insincerity can loop back too. Just choosing to "forget about them" will give you new pep and vitality... better than vitamins!
About the author:
This husband and wife team - freelance writers and speakers - teach a philosophical approach to conservatism, and are scheduled speakers at Blogging Man www.bloggingman.org/ . They are also real estate agents in the Washington, DC area. Learn more about them at http://peterandhelenevans.com
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