Forgiveness Is the Doorway to Freedom Through the Song of a Loving Heart

forgiveness makes the heart grow wondrousAlthough much has been written and said about forgiveness, when I think of forgiveness, I think of three fundamental qualities; forgiveness as: 1) an attitude, 2) an acceptance, and 3) an action.  Although it does not really matter what order these come in, we might conceive of them as comprising a triangle.

As an attitude, forgiveness means embracing the moment with softness and kindness, and treating life’s current difficulties with the generosity of an open heart.  Forgiveness as an attitude makes you ready and open to when someone commits “a wrong” against you.  It is the willingness to be present and witness a transgression with innocence and understanding.  It is having sufficient faith in the goodness of all things so that painful words and painful actions are seen for what they truly are: cries of a lonely heart.  It is having the clarity to understand that most all offenses come not from the desire to wound, but rather from woundedness, and that the hurtful words or deeds in the long run always point to imbalances held within.

As you take your first steps with this attitude, you will find forgiveness begins with an acceptance or recognition that what you thought occurred most likely wasn’t about you.  It does not mean that you agree with or condone the words or behavior.  It simply means that you can now recognize that source of where they were coming from and are willing to embrace the reality of what happened.  The author, Byron Katie, would say, “Forgiveness is when you realize that what you thought happened, didn’t”.  In other words, the journey you take with forgiveness can eventually lead you to the deeper understanding that the so-called transgression was more about the other person’s pain than it was about you or something you said or did.

This does not mean your pain was any less real or your immediate reaction to the experience did not feel justified.  It does mean, however, that upon closer examination you may find that the only long-term “negative” consequence to the wrongful act was really what you made it mean in your mind.   As you learn to accept the reality of what happened, you may find that the most potent event that took place was probably in your thinking, not in the reality of the words or actions.  Forgiveness is the doorway of clarity that helps heal the confusion of a troubled mind.

Forgiveness as acceptance requires absolute honesty, respect and personal responsibility.  It summons the greatest courage of the heart to be able to clearly see that what you thought was wrong was probably the result of your own mental interpretation.  Forgiveness is about letting go of the control and fear of what should

have happened, and accepting completely what actually did happen.  It is coming to terms with how, by placing the blame outside of yourself, you lose the opportunity for deeper understanding and self-awareness.  It is living from a place of Love to such a degree that you are willing to climb up the most difficult mountain of all: forgiving yourself.  In order to forgive others you must start with forgiving yourself.

In either case, being hurt or hurting others, learning how to forgive yourself first can open up your thinking to see more clearly how you consciously or subconsciously contributed to the event that eventually caused you pain.  You become willing to take an honest inventory of yourself and the words, attitudes and/or actions that set the course of events in motion.  Regardless of what others say or how you compare this action to others, forgiveness means you are willing to take responsibility for what has happened in your reality.  It means you now have enough courage to release the blame and face the imbalance that lives within you.

As such, this attitude of acceptance always leads it to the words or actions that can then release you and others from a repetitive cycle of victimization.  With the realization that perhaps the greatest long-lasting harm is what you thought or made it mean, you are now ready to proclaim and act in truth.  After the initial reaction and perhaps a response that honors your feelings and need for the safety, through the act of forgiveness you are ready to make amends, so to speak, to yourself, to your God and to all those involved.

Forgiveness seizes the opportunity to take action in accordance with divine will.  It rectifies misunderstanding through the bravery of self-responsibility that then becomes grounded through compassionate action.  It’s says, “I see what you have done to me, brother, and I now set you free.  I see how you have only done it to yourself, and that through this experience you were willing to share with me, I can see what needs to be healed within myself”.

In its completion, forgiveness is an act of gratitude and love.  It is the affirmation that you are all deeply connected to each other and struggle for the same self-love and freedom.  It is a divine deliverance to the place where you come to realize that nothing really can ever hurt or separate you from yourself or your goodness.  Forgiveness sets you and your neighbor free through the recognition that we are all doing the very best we can, no matter what has been said or done in the past.

Finally, forgiveness is the quality that alleviates all suffering: the suffering of woundedness, the suffering of disease and injury, and the suffering of separation or death.  Forgiveness is the soothing balm that heals our deepest wound: the belief that we are separate from God.  It is the ongoing discovery that our actions and the actions of others always point in the direction of reclaiming our wholeness and holiness, no matter what the immediate experience or interpretation of that experience may look like.  Put simply, forgiveness is returning to the awareness and knowledge that we are all basically good and live together as a part of the One God.

© 2003 Jeremy Youst

http://powerofbreath.com/articles/forgiveness-is-the-doorway-to-freedom-through-the-song-of-a-loving-heart/

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3 Ways to Turn Around a Bad Morning

We all have bad mornings from time to time, but here are 3 easy ways anyone can turn it around (and they work any time of day!):
1.  Stop, Drop, Roll —  Our experiences are dictated by our perspective. While we can’t always control what happens to us, we can certainly control our reaction to it: When we’re caught up in a frenetic and/or negative reaction to some event, we can always Stop, Drop, Roll:
Stop — Stop the reaction. No one is responsible for our reaction but us, and so no one can stop it but us. We can simply choose to create that shift at any time.
Drop — Take 10 deep breaths, and drop down into your body. Breathing is the physical act of release and renewal. With every conscious breath, we get out of the noise and drama in our heads and drop into our hearts, where love conquers all, and we know we are limitless beings.
Roll — Roll your attention away from the irritant.  What we resist persists, so as we turn our attention to what we do want, we are making a conscious acknowledgment that something better is available to us. Being open to that possibility is what starts the shift.
2.  Broaden Your Perspective. Ask yourself, “Does this really matter?” If your answer is yes, then ask yourself, “Is there one peaceful and healthy reason why I should hold onto this thought?”  The rules, roles, and expectations we place on ourselves and others are the number one causes of needless stress, anxiety, disappointment, and anger. Let it go and choose to be happy over being right… or righteous.
3.  Count Your Blessings.  Nothing creates a shift in perspective like gratitude.  When something unwanted happens, find something about that very situation you’re grateful for and acknowledge it. Then find another… and another. For instance, “My car won’t start, and it appears I may be late, but I’m so grateful that I have this job, and I’m grateful that I can call a mechanic and have it taken care of in a few days, and I’m so grateful that I have this car, and I’m so grateful that I have a coworker who lives nearby that I can get a ride with, and I’m grateful that there is public transportation if I need it!”  When we stop and appreciate something, we are catapulting our perspective and our vibration out of the negativity and drama and into the land of potential where “All Is Well.”
By Gretchen Kennedy, RScP

The Work (an adapted worksheet on Releasing Negativity)

Adapted from “The Work” by Byron Katie

Shifting relationships is all about shifting YOU. The goal is that YOU feel better. Anger and resentment are like taking poison hoping the other person will suffer. This tool helps us release negativity and move on in a genuine and healthy way.

Instructions: Fill in the blanks below, writing about someone (dead or alive) you haven’t yet forgiven 100 percent. Use short, simple sentences. Don’t censor yourself—try to fully experience the situation as if it were occurring right now. Take this opportunity to express your judgments on paper.

1. What is it that the person you are angry at should or shouldn’t do, be, think, or feel? What advice could you offer?
(Name)___________________ should/shouldn’t ________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Example: Paul should pull his weight. He shouldn’t argue with me.

2. What do they need to do in order for you to be happy?
I need (Name)__________________ to ________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Example: I need Paul to step up in this relationship. I need Paul to respect me.

3. What do you think of them? Make a list.
(Name)_____________________ is ___________________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Example: Paul is unfair, arrogant, lazy, inconsiderate, and unconscious.

The Four Questions
1. Is it true? (The answer is a simple yes or no. There is no, “Well, in this situation…” If it is “no” go to #3)

2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

3. How do you react, what happens, how do you treat others and yourself, when you believe that thought? Can you find a single, stress-free reason to keep that thought?

4. Who or what would you be without the thought?

Turning It Around
Knowing that relationships present a perfect mirror of ourselves, we can fully shift our negativity when we understand how we are triggered by things others do which are the very things we judge most in ourselves.

The Turnaround:
Taking the above judgments, turn the thought around (original thought: Paul doesn’t respect me):

a) To the self (I don’t respect me) – Could that be as true or truer?

b) To the other (I don’t respect Paul) – Could that be as true or truer?

c) To the opposite (Paul does respect me) – Could that be as true or truer?

When dealing with an object/ condition, you can replace the object with “my thinking” or “my thoughts.”

Find 2-3 genuine and specific examples of how each turnaround is true in your life (i.e. Paul not only respects me, he has empowered me to go back and get my degree, and he regularly makes considerable sacrifices so I can do that. And he has really taken over all responsibilities in some important areas, like he has been doing all the cooking lately… healthy cooking, too… and all this eating at home saves us a lot of money).

More About The Work
When You Want to Defend Yourself… Do The Work!

Defense is the first act of war.

If Paul says, “You’re wrong!” and you react with, “How can you possibly say that?” or, “I can prove that I’m right, and here’s why,” or, No, you are wrong, and I think you’re rude”—and even if you don’t say it out loud, maybe you think it, that is also stressful—and that’s the moment you’ve started the war, even if it’s a silent war festering inside of you.

When you want to defend yourself, it’s time to do The Work.

The Work allows us to consider other possibilities than our own judgmental thoughts. It shows the mind what is as true or truer than the original thought. People usually find that the Turnaround is as true or truer than the stressful thought they began with.
In doing The Work, it’s not about having others change for you, it’s about you taking responsibility and staying in your own business.

Stay focused on the changes you can create! When you take away the negative thoughts and judgments, you open yourself to being altogether different…. and meeting this person from there, full of possibility.

Find free worksheets and other tools at http://www.thework.com.

Quotes from Byron Katie

Byron Katie Quotes

“I’m a lover of reality. When I argue with What Is, I lose… but only 100% of the time.”

“Anything you want to ask a teacher, ask yourself, and wait for the answer in silence.”

“The teacher you need is the person you’re living with.”

“It’s not your job to like me – it’s mine.”

“I am the perpetrator of my suffering… all of it.”

“Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.”

“The mind’s job is to validate what it thinks.”

“Placing the blame or judgment on someone else leaves you powerless to change your experience. Taking responsibility for your beliefs and judgments gives you the power to change them… and your life.”

“The voice within is what I’m married to. All marriage is a metaphor for that marriage.
My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes and no come from.
That’s my true partner. It’s always there.
And to tell you yes when my integrity says no is to divorce that partner.”

“An uncomfortable feeling is not an enemy. It’s a gift that says, “Get honest; inquire.”
We reach out for alcohol, or television, or credit cards, so we can focus out there and not have to look at the feeling. And that’s just as it should be, because in our innocence we haven’t known how.
So now what we can do is reach out for a paper and a pencil, write thought down, and investigate.”

“Nothing can cost you someone you love.
The only thing that can cost you your husband is if you believe a thought.
That’s how you move away from him.
That’s how the marriage ends.
You are One with your husband until you believe the thought that he should look a certain way, he should give you something, he should be something other than what he is.
That’s how you divorce him.
Right then and there you have lost your marriage.”

“So, how do you get back to heaven?
To begin with, just notice the thoughts that take you away from it.
You don’t have to believe everything your thoughts tell you.
Just become familiar with the particular thoughts you use to deprive yourself of happiness.
It may seem strange at first to get to know yourself in this way, but becoming familiar with your stressful thoughts
will show you the way home to everything you need.”

“The Work always leaves you with less of a story.
Who would you be without your story?
You never know until you inquire.
There is no story that is you or that leads to you.
Every story leads away from you.
Turn it around; undo it.
You are what exists before all stories.
You are what remains when the story is understood.”

“You move totally away from reality when you believe that there is a legitimate reason to suffer.”

“You don’t get to vote on what is. Have you noticed?”

“The world is nothing but my perception of it. I see only through myself. I hear only through the filter of my story.”
“The world is perfect.
As you question your mind, this becomes more and more obvious.
Mind changes, and as a result, the world changes.
A clear mind heals everything that needs to be healed.
It can never be fooled into believing that there is one speck out of order.”

“Thoughts are just what is. They appear. They’re innocent. They’re not personal.
They’re like the breeze or the leaves on the trees or the raindrops falling.
Thoughts arise like that, and we can make friends with them.
Would you argue with a raindrop?”

“I’ve heard people say that they cling to their painful thoughts
because they’re afraid that without them they wouldn’t be activists for peace.
“If I feel peaceful,” they say, “why would I bother taking action at all?”
My answer is “Because that’s what Love does.”
To think that we need sadness or outrage to motivate us to do what’s right is insane, as if the clearer and happier you get, the less kind you become, as if when someone finds freedom, she just sits around all day with drool running down her chin.
My experience is the opposite.”

“Love is action.”

“Personalities don’t love. They want something.”

“Would you rather be right or free?”

“The only time we suffer is when we believe a thought that argues with what is.
When the mind is perfectly clear, what is is what we want.”
“The end of suffering happens in this very moment, whether you’re watching a terrorist attack or doing the dishes.
And compassion begins at home.
Because I don’t believe my thoughts, sadness can’t exist.
That’s how I can go to the depths of anyone’s suffering, if they invite me, and take them by the hand and walk them out of it into the sunlight of reality.
I’ve taken that walk myself.”

“All sadness is a tantrum.”

Byron Katie is the author of “Loving What Is,” and The Work. For free tools and more information, visit http://www.thework.com.