It has been proven that holding onto resentment, anger, shame and a feeling of being a victim can have detrimental affects on health. Forgiveness, when done properly, not only affects our physical and mental health, but also our spiritual health. In fact, it is our spiritual health that I would like to focus on.
Why most people find it so hard to forgive
Most people see forgiveness as a choice. If only they could find it in their heart then all would be well. But, from a spiritual perspective, this is a mistake. The moment we act like we can force forgiveness onto a situation, we create a subtle ego identity around it. We say "If only I could control my feelings about the situation", thus we fight with our reality.
So, we try to convince ourselves with the mind that "they didn't mean it", or "it couldn't have been any other way". Thus we simply plaster ego on top of ego. If you're persuading yourself of the reasons why you or they need to be forgiven then you've already lost.
If you're making forgiveness the goal, or intending to forgive someone, then you're shooting yourself in the foot.
Because you're attempting to override deeply ingrained programming which is the result of previous trauma. At some point in your life you've reacted to a situation not going how you would like it. You've felt deeply hurt by something that someone has said or done, or even something that you yourself have done. You've become so identified with it that it's become a part of how you define yourself.
And without looking into that, there's no way that forgiveness can be possible.
If you're making forgiveness the goal, or intending to forgive someone then you've already shot yourself in the foot.
Forgiveness is a natural product of healing trauma and self-realizing through it
It took a gradual but powerful unravelling of all the pain, the trauma, that caused my resentment. I had to confront the pain I was feeling and allow it to come through. By doing this I slowly realized that I was not my pain or my experience. I was and am something much greater than that. A pure presence, essence, soul, which experiences itself in relation to others, and yet transcends all experience at the same time.
And in this process, a funny thing happened - I dropped the need to forgive!
I began to simply focus on my healing journey, taking responsibility my wounds and the unraveling of a higher self beyond these wounds. I felt expansion of consciousness with each step in the process, an inner sense of completion.
It was only then that I realized, there was nothing to forgive!
Forgiveness beyond ego
However, when we focus on healing the wound and becoming whole in ourselves, we open ourselves up to self-realization (identification with our essence, beyond physical experience). The very concept of forgiveness becomes unnecessary.
However, in order to drop it completely, there are a number of realizations that need to take place:
The first is that we only ever create the circumstances in our lives which reflect our inner pain or attachments. 99% of the time when someone does something to trigger us, they simply reflect a pain that is already there. Either that, or a painful situation is created which shows us what we are identified with - perhaps a relationship, or way of life. They show us where we made our happiness dependent on a situation or person being a certain way.
This gives us the opportunity to take full ownership and responsibility for our pain and our process. It's one of the most empowering things we can do for ourselves.
The second realization is that we are all connected. The pain they may have caused you is in direct relationship to the affect you (and life) also had on them. Over time, we begin to see that there is no separation between you and those who have hurt you, but rather a wider process that takes place. It's a process that, when approached consciously, can lead to greater self-awareness and empowerment for all people involved.
Lasting, absolute forgiveness
When we regress into the pain that we feel as a result of what other's our we ourselves did, we can begin to heal on a holistic level.
To find absolute lasting forgiveness which is fully integrated in us and beyond ego, we have to become completely accepting of the situation and the pain it caused us. We have to take responsibility for our process and see the gift of self-realization and empowerment that are also available to us.
Finally, when we find a place of inner completion in the process, taking back full empowerment, we can let any energetic ties to the situation go. It has served its purpose. We can be grateful for the opportunity for self-development.
From this place, forgiveness happens naturally without having to intend it or make an effort. It is simply a part of your being.
If you would like help and support in the forgiveness and healing process, please get in contact.