Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

FORGIVENESS: WHY WE DON’T, BUT NEED TO AND HOW Part 1

Is there someone in your life that you either refuse to forgive or are having a hard time with? I’ve often heard people make statements such as “I’ll never forgive them for what they did!” Or, “Some things should never be forgiven.” Still others feel that some people simple do not deserve exoneration. Why are some reluctant to do so when others believe it is absolutely necessary and must be offered to the offending party? Shouldn’t the choice to extend absolution be a personal one?

Let’s first examine some of the reasons why people withhold this act:

1. People believe that some offenses are too heinous to be worthy of forgiving. Rape, murder, an affair, embezzlement, betrayal and others are considered too serious by nature to move beyond.

2. Some feel that forgiveness opens the door for the offending party to recommit the transgression as it appears to remove all accountability. Holding on to one’s anger and judgment imposes guilt and shame on the offender and therefore offers some reassurance that it will not occur.

3. Holding on to arrogance and judgment makes us feel powerful. It enables us to damage the offender’s reputation and credibility, influence others to rethink the nature of their relationship with the guilty party, and inflict pain and suffering on them, thus offering us some distorted sense of satisfaction and restitution for their crime. (We’re getting even.) Forgiving may make us appear weak. Ghandi said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

4. Smaller wrongdoings are understandable as for the most part we all realize that people are not perfect and will make mistakes. But by a certain age, we feel they should know better. That is, they should know right from wrong, how to treat people, to recognize their own weaknesses and refrain from acting them out. We impose our values and expectations on others (“They should know…, they should do/be…”) and those who fall short are not granted exemption.

5. Those we are less fond of are often judged more harshly than those we care about. We deem them unworthy of forgiveness. They simply don’t deserve it. Yet were that same offense committed by a loved one or someone of greater importance to us, we might be more inclined to extend compassion. Our feelings towards the individual can play a role in who we determine is deserving.

6. The individual continues repeating the same offense or commits additional affronts against us.

7. Those who refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoing, take ownership, apologize, or make amends are often denied absolution.

8. If we forgive we fear it will send one of two messages: either the offense was not as serious as first believed or we are allowing the person exemption from facing the consequences.

However, those who choose to withhold absolution put themselves (and others) at grave risk. One can easily become consumed with anger or rage which can lead to an assortment of physical maladies, interfere with the health of other relationships, and impede one’s ability to be fully happy and enjoy life. It can also become a crutch for hindering one’s successes, such as in the case of a person who was bullied as a child and suffers with self-esteem and trust issues as an adult. The object may hold the other fully accountable and blame them for their continued suffering and failures. Long-term unresolved anger and blame can easily lead to bitterness and self-pity which will ultimately destroy a person’s life.
“Not forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” (unknown)
Although one may not seek a reconciliation with the other party in the moment, holding a grudge will obstruct their chances of ever making amends and possibly reuniting in the future.

While all of the above grounds seem reasonable to a many people, each fails in comparison to the reasons why forgiveness is essential.

1. We need forgiveness because it neutralizes our feelings of anger, judgment, resentment, and thoughts of retaliation. Louis Smedes: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

2. It thwarts any chance of seeking revenge or retaliation, thus preventing both side from further harm.

3. It is the first step towards a possible reconciliation and at the very least enables both parties to part without feelings of animosity or hostility.

4. It restores inner peace. Some say that when you have your health you have everything. I say, if you have inner peace your life is truly blessed beyond measure. You have all you need and need nothing more. You cannot achieve optimum health or happiness if you harbor feelings of hostility towards anyone. “Forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. It prevents it from destroying your heart.”

Choosing to pardon someone from an egregious act in no way condones their behavior nor does it minimize the serious nature of the offense. One must still be held accountable, accept the consequences, and offer restitution whenever possible. Ephesians 4: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Forgiveness is freedom from the past; it heals all wounds and enables the individual to move beyond the incident and fully embrace the present. It’s akin to breaking a bone: in time, the pain subsides as the bone heals. One remembers the incident and the extent of the pain but no longer feels it. Forgiveness does not erase nor diminish the serious nature of what transpired. One remembers but without emotion, for they have been restored to wholeness.

One of our primary goals in life to continually improve the quality of our lives: to become healthier, not sicker; to gain intelligence, not to become more ignorant; to have more fun not less; to be happier, not miserable; to be more loving and less judgmental; to gain courage and relinquish fear; to be more peaceful and tranquil, not more hateful. Therefore, it is only logical that to forgive is a life-affirming method of self-improvement.

Mark 11: 25 “And when you stand praying if you hold anything against anyone forgive them so that your Father in Heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Watch a very powerful video on the importance of forgiveness at www.FromGodWithLove.net.

Tune in next week for the “How To’s” of forgiving.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

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EMOTIONAL /SPIRITUAL RECOVERY FROM TRAUMATIC EVENTS

Life can change in a heartbeat. A few weeks ago, a family was stopped at a red light and rear-ended by a drunk driver. Their 10-year old son, Matthew, suffered a severe head trauma and is in a medically induced coma. The prognosis is not good and the family struggles to make sense of what was an act of sheer reckless endangerment. While hopefully many of us will never experience a trauma of this magnitude, we will all face some type of serious emotionally shock that we need to deal with. In some instances, the ordeal can be so severe as to dramatically alter who we are and the course of our lives. One’s life becomes unrecognizable in an instant. Even in those circumstances when we are given time to prepare for the inevitable, such as the death of a loved one suffering with Alzheimer’s or MS, the loss can be significant. In any event, one experiences a wide range of emotions that need to be addressed and healed in order that the individual can minimize any long term damage.

Trauma is defined by the American Psychological Association as the emotional response to an extremely negative event. It can manifest physically as well as emotionally. It is absolutely vital that one acknowledges their feelings rather than deny them. Every feeling has purpose and value and denial of such in no way dissipates them. They reside within causing unimaginable issues on multiple levels until identified and treated, much like termites on wood.

All emotions are the direct result of our thought process. What I think, my internal voice – the words I say to myself – dictates how I feel. Therefore, I choose my feelings. In any given moment, I can change how I feel by changing what I’m thinking. What makes trauma so challenging from our day-to-day emotional state of mind is that we continually replay the powerful event in our minds giving it energy to grow larger and more powerful. An understandable obsession that continually reinforces the horrific event we just experienced keeps it alive in our minds long after it has ceased. There are also neurological changes that occur in the brain after trauma as well.*

Common Emotional Reactions and Spiritual Solutions

Shock occurs when an event is so sudden or unexpected that we experience an extreme state of disbelief. Oftentimes, our belief system has conditioned us that such a terrifying act could not possibly happen to us. We believe we are immune to such a severe type of crisis. Initially, the shock can be so acute as to cause one to shut down emotionally, experiencing a sense of numbness and stoicism.
Slow, deliberate deep breathing enables oxygen to travel to the brain providing much needed nutrients that maintain mental clarity and stimulate our logical thought process. Realizing that no one is immune to tragedy and that God continually provides every resource needed to navigate this dark path gives us hope and strength to continue. That same faith in our loving Father reminds us that on the other side of tragedy is triumph as God heals our pain and restores inner peace and even joy.

Confusion: lacking clarity and direction. When one’s brain succumbs to emotional overload, it can be difficult to think clearly and make rational decisions.
Enlisting the aid of others willing to share their knowledge about what transpired can help you better understand what occurred. Expressing your hopes about what you want to do next and your longer term goals gives others the opportunity to guide you in the right direction and offer valuable resources to assist you. Breaking things down into smaller segments helps make the process more manageable and alleviates anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed.

Denial: one’s unwillingness or inability to accept the reality of what transpired. Extreme disbelief deceives us into believing that there was a horrible mistake or that this is simply a bad dream from which we will awake. Fueled by fear, it keeps us trapped in an alternative reality.
Both logic and faith are the team mates that will help to bring us to victory over the inevitable. With the assistance of facts and the input of those we trust, we can face the truth about said event.”The truth shall set you free” is more than a catchy cliché. It is a powerful belief that reminds us that only when we deal with reality are we really able to take back our lives and move forward. Remember that God has already prepared us to face every challenge that enters our life and with each one our lives are enriched.

Sadness results when life does not cooperate with our plans. We experience disappointment and a sense of loss. One’s marriage was supposed to last forever yet somehow ended in divorce; homelessness is for those in underprivileged neighborhoods, not for the college educated. Sadness is a powerful emotion that robs us of the joy and motivation necessary to fully embrace life.
Prayer, our conversation with God, is a great tool to remove sadness and restore joy. Reminding ourselves of all that God continually blesses us with each day, what still remains in our lives to be grateful for, is the perfect antidote to sadness. One cannot be sad and grateful simultaneously.

Anger is derived from feelings of helplessness or powerlessness and is an outward expression of intense vulnerability and weakness. Extreme anger leads to rage. One experiences anger when their expectations are not forthcoming.
Everything external is beyond my control. I have no authority over anything outside of myself and my thought process. Realizing that life is not intended to conform to my demands and by putting my faith in the One who created and loves me beyond measure, I can relax and allow life to unfold organically. I understand that whatever enters my life has a higher purpose and is meant for my spiritual evolution. I can refocus my energies on how I allow my new circumstances to affect me, strengthen me ,and enrich my life.

Regret: one feels remorseful over what they failed to do or what was done improperly. An intense desire to relive the situation so that one can craft a more desirable outcome is not uncommon.
Recognizing that every experience, good, bad or indifferent, is a necessary part of one’s emotional and spiritual journey brings great comfort. Additionally, choosing to learn from the experience and share that knowledge with others so they may learn as well, adds immense value to a tragedy. Vowing to refrain from repeating the same unfortunate choices builds confidence that future traumas can be averted.

Fear is the antithesis of faith. We worry that the event will reoccur or that we may not survive what we just witnessed. Anxiety also arises from our concerns that we and/or others may not be fine with their new circumstances. Extreme fear can result in panic attacks, creating an immobility that prevents the individual from moving beyond the incident.
On a practical level, one can rely on their inner strength and attitude to overcome fear. Building on prior experiences of overcoming hardships helps to strengthen one’s self-confidence. However, faith in God, trusting in the promises of the Lord, is the true path to overcoming fear. When one truly knows that God would never allow anything to enter our lives that we were ill-prepared to handle, and handle well. His perfect love for us would shield us from that experience if necessary. Therefore, I need not fear the here-and-now nor the future for the same loving God is ever present.

Blame is a self-defeating behavior directed at the one we believe to be rightfully responsible or it can be wrongfully aimed on the self. People may hold themselves accountable for something they had no control over. For example: a parent whose child is diagnosed with a severe disease may feel as though there was something defective within them that they inadvertently passed along to their child, causing their child to become ill. Some blame God. However, our loving Father cannot cause bad things to happen as this violates His very nature. He gave us free will, intellect and choice. Events of the human genre are caused by man’s own actions.
Blame involves judgment which is a defeating action as it devalues the individual. Taking ownership for one’s mistakes while being compassionate of mankind’s imperfections removes shame, self-loathing, and misdirected anger. Forgiveness for their misguided actions and for their weaknesses allows us to move beyond anger and blame and restore the peace God intended for us.

Revenge often follows blame (of others). There is a natural human need to seek justice on those who perpetrated the offense against us. However, vengeance never produces justice as it cannot right a wrong or undo what has happened. One is still left with the residual effects of the event and a healing must still occur. Revenge is often thought of as a learning tool for the offending party as well as a deterrent from committing the atrocity again. However, neither has ever proven effective and only perpetuates suffering onto another.
Vengeance is mine, says the Lord. This in no way implies that God will punish those who committed the offense. On the contrary: Divine Love seeks to teach and heal and that is what God seeks for all His misguided children. Prayer is a powerful deterrent to revenge. Pleading for mercy for the offender heals the one making the request.

Guilt is not an uncommon reaction to a traumatic event particularly when others have suffered more than you, been severely injured or lost their lives. Survivors guilt is a common occurrence when others have passed away.
Understanding that you were in no way responsible for the event occurring, nor could you have prevented it is a good beginning. Many survivors find great comfort in realizing that God has a special plan for them. Realizing this and fulfilling His Will can be very comforting and alleviate residual guilt. It is also important to remember that even for those who have been injured, their experience is just as much a necessary part of their life’s journey as your suffering is for you. This in no way minimizes it but simply helps one to find some sense of peace, though rarely in its entirety. As for death, many view it as an end or a punishment. It is neither. Death is a transition from the temporal physical world back to the existence of eternal spirit which is our ultimate goal. One can find great comfort in knowing the other party has achieved a state of permanent salvation.

Never allow your life or who you become to be defined by your trauma. You are not your ordeal. It was a life experience that has a higher purpose. Your knowledge of and reliance on God will enable you to better navigate your way through a devastating event to a more empowered and meaningful life.

Acceptance of what is or what must be for our higher spiritual awareness allows us to find peace in our new circumstance.

Order The Secret Side of Anger, Second Edition or The Great Truth @ http://www.pfeifferpowerseminars.com/pps1-products.html

Listen to past shows on iHeart Radio @ http://ow.ly/OADTf
Listen to my newest iHeart Radio show, BETWEEN YOU AND GOD, @ http://ow.ly/OADJK
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*https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2015/09/16/the-science-behind-ptsd-symptoms-how-trauma-changes-the-brain/

January Jones-Meet Shaman Bart Smyth

 

Bart Smyth

Bart Smyth is a Master Practitioner of 30 years in various Eastern and Indigenous philosophies, cultures and spirit ways as well as the popular Yuen Method. He was solely responsible for bringing this entire body of work to Europe for Dr. Yuen, where Bart trained over 400 therapists. He is also a Grand Master of Tai Chi and holds certificates in Thai and Hansa Shiatsu, Massage and Neuromuscular/Sports therapy.
After serious injuries from a car accident, Bart’s life shifted from owning a successful architectural design/contracting company in San Francisco to working internationally as a transformational teacher and healer. As many healers have serious crisis situations in their lives, that is what happened for Bart. A car accident was the turning point for his life.