Disconnecting from the Past
By Alisa Battaglia
When we have surrendered our expectations, softened our hearts and found the gift in our wounding experiences we are ready to activate the heart through forgiveness. Forgiveness may not be easy, but it will make us feel better by freeing our negativity and increasing our self control. The role of forgiveness is essential in our healing passage because it disconnects us from the grippings of the past and gives us confidence to get through other tough situations without harboring resentment, panicking or losing control. Forgiving does not mean that we have to forget what was done to us, or suddenly befriend or approve of someone who has trespassed against us. It does mean that we release our aggressors of any lingering resentments and also to forgive ourselves from mis-takes so that we may finally move forward to be wholly present in our lives.
As we evolve and develop a greater depth of understanding there is a natural willingness to engage in forgiveness. The very act of forgiveness heals, constructs bridges and breaks down barriers in building right relationships in families, groups, communities, nations and humanity—the world of the soul. It is understood that without forgiveness there can be no authentic relationships unless separative and narrow thinking are relinquished.
Forgiveness is not only a charitable act or benevolent gesture that we bestow or withhold at times. True forgiveness is actually an act that we do for ourselves to let go of the burden that hurt brings when we hold on. For example, we first experience a transgression as a loss in peace, happiness and separation that causes us to build defenses to keep a person out of our lives. Holding such a burden usurps our vital energy and we suffer in myriad ways. When we love ourselves we do what we need to do to liberate ourselves from the bondage of feeling separate, otherwise we trap ourselves in the ignorance that we are NOT from the same One Life and Source and we trespass against ourselves. True forgiveness helps to bind the spiritual realms ever closer to humanity. It is the recognition of our Oneness and the remembrance of our True Self as immortal spirit.
Both religious and psychological traditions have long extolled the virtues of forgiveness in the promotion of psychological, relationship and physical health. In fact, research studies conducted through the Stanford Forgiveness Projects have shown forgiveness to reduce anger, hurt, depression and stress, which leads to greater feelings of optimism, hope, compassion and self confidence. Holding onto blame, judgment and expectation keeps our wounds open, while only forgiveness heals.
The four stages of forgiveness found in Clarissa Pinkola-Estes’s book, “Women who Run with the Wolves” is an alchemical recipe that catharts us through the forgiveness process. It provides an actual capacity to disconnect from the object of our attention imbuing universal wisdom.
- to forego- to leave it alone
- to forebear – to abstain from punishing
- to forget – to aver from memory, to refuse to dwell
- to forgive – to abandon the debt
What will you forgive in yourself today?