A Practical Guide to Forgiveness – 2

Part one of this post which speaks about what Forgiveness is and why it is important is here.

HOW DO WE FORGIVE?

According to DOTU there are three major components of forgiveness –

1) Remember that you are dreaming.
2) Forgive both your projected images and yourself for dreaming them.
3) Trust the Holy Spirit and choose his strength.

ACIM’s formula of forgiveness is summed up into these three points too –
1) the cause shall be identified
2) then let go
3) be replaced.

Below is an example of how forgiveness can be applied to a particular situation.

Situation – You feel the child/spouse/partner/boss is not listening to you. Trying to communicate generates anger, frustration and results in an argument.

Steps:
1) As soon as you realise you are fighting, as soon as you are aware, pause and step out of the room. Take a break. Breathe and check if you willing to let this go.

2) If you are not willing to let this go or the upset/emotions feel strong, do some tapping, H ‘o’ pono pono or any clearing process to release the energy. Only then go on to forgiveness. If the energy is too intense, chances are forgiveness will not work.

3) If you are willing to let this go, look at the situation and check if you can identify the emotion that has got triggered or the judgement at work here.

4) Next, ask for the help from holy spirit. This can be done in the form of a prayer or simply stating an intent. (Prayers are given below). It is useful to say the prayer and address the problem/judgement/etc. If you are not clear about what specific thought, judgement or belief is triggering this, then you could say, “Please help me forgive whatever I think is happening or not happening.

5) Create some forgiveness statements for yourself and the person you have projected this on. Example-

I forgive myself for being impatient with ….
I forgive myself for yelling at …..
I forgive myself for wanting things to go my way all the time…
I forgive myself for being bossy….
I forgive …. for not listening to me
I forgive ….. for raising his/her voice at me….
I forgive myself for wanting to be right all the time…..
I forgive myself for wanting attention….
I forgive myself for believing all this is real…
I forgive myself for wanting this to be real…
I forgive myself for being unable to let go of the past…

Create forgiveness statements for yourself, the person who you are angry with, the situation. It anger is what you are forgiving, it also helps if during this process you create statements for anyone else you may have been angry with at other points of time. Dual-sided forgiveness is when you forgive yourself and the other. GD points out that triple-sided forgiveness is even more powerful.

5) Hand this over to the holy spirit once again. This is a very important step. ACIM reminds us that forgiveness cannot be done by the mind. It is the Holy Spirit/God/Jesus who can actually make forgiveness happen. Once the imaginary problem is handed over, we come to a state of trust and surrender… a state of “Thy will be done.

Do remember

– The situation given above is very simple. But forgiveness works the same for what we think of as a fight with someone or a fight to see the cancer as being unreal.

–  Forgiveness cannot fix the problem. We can only fix our need to see the problem as real.

– It is only when we forgive others (our projections) that we can truly begin to forgive the illusion. The point is also to see the ‘other’ is the same as us.

– Allow the forgiveness statements to emerge organically. There are no right and wrong words. The act of forgiveness takes places due to our connection to God/Jesus/holy spirit. It is not based on what we say as much as our willingness to see the projection and release it.

– Many forgiveness practises do not use forgiveness statements. But explicitly saying that you forgive yourself for …. and forgive others for (whatever you see) is a very powerful way of putting the truth out there. It is like accepting that you are in a dream, being willing to see it and allowing it to be released all at once.

– Using energetic tools like tapping, along with forgiveness statements really helps release the more stubborn, repetitive incidents that keep popping up. Tapping as you say the forgiveness statements can make you feel really light and empty.

– Forgiveness may not result in changing the situation as we see it. Forgiveness works across timelines and you may not see the impact you expect in your life.

– As you begin to pay attention to your mind, you may feel like you spend most waking moments of your day only doing forgiveness. Do not stop during this period. As Gary Renard says so beautifully in DOTU – “Discipline is doing what doesn’t come to us. Eons of habitual reactions and thought patterns are not changed easily. But my recent experiences were telling me that they could be changed.

– While the ultimate goal is to step out the dream, even that is handed to the Holy Spirit/God/Jesus. The point is – Don’t sulk you are in the dream or feel guilt about wanting and desiring things. That is the ego’s goal to keep us stuck! All we need do is practise forgiveness and leave the rest to God.

PRAYERS

1) DOTU – True Forgiveness Thought Process Sample

You are not really there. If you think you are guilty or the cause of the problem, and if I made you up, then imagined guilt and fear must be in me. Since the separation from God never occurred, I forgive “both” of us for what we haven’t really done. Now there is only innocence, and I join with the Holy Spirit in peace.

2) From GD’s talks – Useful at the start of Forgiveness

Dear Jesus, my forgiveness is not perfect but yours is. Please help me with this forgiveness. All I can say is that my willingness is 100% and your ability is 100%. Together, our forgiveness will be 100%. Amen.

……

You are not really there. If I think you are guilty or the cause of the problem, and if I made you up, then the imagine guilt and the fear must be in me. Since the separation from God never occurred, I forgive “both” of us for what we haven’t really done. Now there is only innocence, and I join with the Holy Spirit in peace.

3) Daily prayer for forgiveness

–  Today I am willing to see past illusions to the truth,
– Today I am willing to become a little child and be taught by the one who knows,
– Today I step back and take my unhealed thoughts to the light, that I might see them for the nothingness they are.
– I am willing to let my projections be undone
I am willing to remember where I am always
Today I am willing to be happy, instead of right.

4) Useful at the end of the forgiveness process –

ACIM Lesson 46 – God is the Love in which I forgive.

God is the Love in which I forgive you, (name)
God is the Love in which I forgive myself.
God is the Love with which I love myself.
God is the Love in which I am blessed.
I cannot be guilty because I am a Son of God.
I have already been forgiven.
No fear is possible in a mind beloved to God.
There is no need to attack because Love has forgiven me.
God is the Love in which I forgive you.   

5) Nouk Sanchez – Useful at the start of the process

Holy Spirit, please help me to forgive myself for having unknowingly used this person/situation/pain/sickness/lack/anger/anxiety, etc. to attack myself, and to separate from your love as my holy self. Amen.

 

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A Practical Guide to Forgiveness – 1

This blog post is the first of a two part series. This first post includes the What and Why. Part Two covers the How.

WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?

“Let me perceive forgiveness as it is.” – Lesson 134 in ‘A Course in Miracles’ (ACIM).

Lesson 134 in the ACIM workbook says, “Forgiveness must be practiced, for the world cannot perceive its meaning, nor provide a guide to teach you its beneficence. There is no thought in all the world that leads to any understanding of the laws it follows, nor the Thought that it reflects. It is as alien to the world as is your own reality. And yet it joins your mind with the reality in you.

Forgiveness is not something that can be explained. Neither can there be a standard guide for its application. But despite being exposed to the word ‘forgiveness’ early on in our lives, few of us truly understand what it means. As a student on the path, we know forgiveness is an invaluable tool to move beyond the confines of the ego-mind. But most people are still unclear, what the practise of forgiveness means or don’t know what it involves. If you want to know, read on.

Most people on earth still believe we live in a “real” world. We experience events and incidents where either we attack someone or are attacked ourselves. This attack can be experienced as anger, jealousy, criticism, fear, anxiety, sadness, greed or a thought of judgement like “I know better, they never understand, he always does this, etc.” Such experiences generate some thoughts in our head or sensations in our body. Then we continue to carry these experiences and their impact on us, believing them all to be true. But what if none of this is true? Most Saadhaks have heard that “none of this is true,” but few have had the experience of this. And that is where Forgiveness comes in. It is a practise that takes you closer to this experience of Truth.

From the perspective of A Course in Miracles (ACIM), forgiveness is a path to Truth. It is not a process as much as a way of life. ACIM tells us that while there are many paths to Truth, forgiveness is the easiest one. According to ACIM, a forgiveness practice thus involves-

1) Seeing experiences, as projections we have created based on our own unconscious thoughts and guilt.
2) Taking responsibility for what we see out there.
3) Bringing it back home and releasing it with God.

ACIM reminds us that ‘all attack is an attack on God.’ We are afraid of God because we believe we are separate for God and are unconsciously afraid God will punish us for it. This guilt keeps us trapped in the mind, which generates experience upon experience to keep us stuck in thoughts and away from God.  And it is this lie that forgiveness exposes.

WHAT SHOULD WE FORGIVE

ACIM says – “Forgive all thoughts which would oppose the truth of your completion, unity and peace.

The world we see is symbolic. We must remember that everything in the world is just a projection of our guilt of separation from God. But since we can’t see that guilt and haven’t acknowledged it, we project that guilt out on to others in multiple different ways, by creating multiple different scenarios. These scenarios involve pain, sorrow, fear, death, destruction, revenge, anger… anything and everything that can keep us away from the Peace of God. What we need to do is – clean up our projections one by one, as and when we see them.

The mind can make this seem like an impossible task. The book Disappearance of the Universe (DOTU) reminds us – “Forgiveness is an attitude. Everything you learn becomes incorporated into that attitude until forgiveness happens automatically. For most people, especially during the first few years, forgiveness requires that you think about it. You become a master by having forgiving thought process.

This is a valuable reminder since the ego can convince you forgiveness is another “dream activity.” The trick for the Saadhak is to remember that forgiveness is a dream activity, but it is the most valuable one of them all. Since it offers us the opportunity to move out of the dream.

WHY SHOULD WE DO IT?

DOTU says, “we must practise forgiveness on the level where our experience is. Yes, you have to understand the metaphysics of the course in order to understand what you are doing. But forgiveness is done here, which means you should be practical. And respectful of other people and their experiences.

Even as we struggle to see this world as a dream, it is important to remember that this process of seeing begins with small steps. It begins by seeing every judgement, every episode of anger, every incident of sadness, every experience of illness as something that keeps us away from the Truth. The trick is to remember this and forgive ourselves for whatever it is we are experiencing. It is this forgiving that ACIM reminds us trains our mind to eventually see it all as a dream.

DOTU also reminds us that, “to forgive means to give ahead of time. In other words, your attitude is that you are ready to forgive, no matter what it is that comes up on your awareness.” This forgiveness opens us to the peace of God. Slowly and steadily we are lead away from the mind, towards God, towards Oneness.

If like ACIM says “we judge only yourself and forgive only yourself,” in this forgiving we forgive the world and begin to glimpse the dream for what it really is. And this slowly paves the way out for us.

For more on How to Forgive – click here

Whom will you hang out with today?

A couple of days ago, I chanced upon the video of Oprah talking to Adyashanti, on her Super Soul Sunday show. The way Adyashanti was talking about living life connected with me. The word ‘dignity’ popped into my head. I thought about GD and how he lives. I thought about a few more people I know on the path and how they live their lives.

Be it spiritual masters or students on the path, everyone has to participate in daily activities and experience situations that do not fit the ‘spiritual’ tag. But what struck me about them and what I have not yet managed to learn, is how I go about my life. I am still stuck between wanting to live a simpler, ‘less affected by social norms’ life vs having deep attachments to family, clothes, and dark chocolates! And so I am automatically critical about myself. Perfection is a virus that seems to have deeply infected my system and I am extremely critical about “where I assume I am on the path,” pull myself down for not doing enough, and beat myself up for still having desires and attachments.

As I thought about the journey of those who I now admire, I realized everyone has gone through this graph. But the difference between them and me seemed to be the dignity with which they went about their lives. They gave no importance to anything that has happened and did not categorize it as spiritual or un-spiritual. They simply kept learning, putting into practice what they were learning and letting go of anything that came between them and God. When I look at their lives, I see humility, acceptance and compassion towards everyone including themselves. The base of their existence seems to be a silence, an observation of what happens, and a pause before they respond. All this is based not just on their mind or intelligence, but on their connection with the silence, with the Divine.

I thought what my life lacked was dignity. But as I explore this, it is apparent to me that dignity is another ego goal; what I can see in them and what I believe is lacking is serenity. I yearn for serenity. That still space, unaffected by life around it. And this is where my learning lies. I realize not only am I tough on myself and others, but most often I am not even aware of what I am doing. Life seems to be based on judging myself, feeling afraid, rejecting my own thoughts, feeling small and silly, and reacting to all this. And yet I can see, this is normal for most minds. It is the space the mind keeps returning to. When GD reminded me on Sunday that I am obsessed with myself, this is what he had meant. A life spent listening to the mind results in a hurried, stressful life. From the kiddo’s school project to the husband busy at work, everything seems to be a conspiracy against you – a poor helpless soul.

But as a student on the path, I know this much. I have a choice. I know a life with the mind, minus the Divine, is a small, petty, un-glorious life. It seems to be a life spent in self-glorification, protection, defense, confusion or indulgence. On the other hand, a life with the Divine seems to be one of stillness, serenity and peace. And I have experienced many moments of this connection.

So I ask myself today, who do I want to hang out with? My mind ( so that I can beat myself up a bit more) or with God ( unexpected, unknown day but serene).

I know I will choose God. Who will you choose?

 

 

 

 

Discovering who I truly am

I have known for years that the spiritual path leads to the discovery of “Who I am.” Honestly, I had no clue what that really means. My mind has always assumed that the discovery of who-I-am would mean a series of mind-blowing, earth-shaking, soul uplifting experiences. Today as I sat transcribing one of my conversations with GD in which he helped me see how afraid I am of him, it came to me slowly… a tiny nudge on my shoulder, a tap-tapping on my brain, a gentle dawn… that as I acknowledge the games played by my mind, as I willingly let go of thoughts, beliefs, and a carefully constructed personality, I am moving closer towards discovering “who I truly am.”

Like most people the thought of “discover who you truly are” left me with esoteric goals of seeing light bodies and other dimensions. While those are probably part of the learning, I never realized how these conversations with GD were resulting in a deeper connect with my real self.

The ways of the mind are not pleasant to acknowledge and accept. Initially, every time I saw something that needs to be released, it would send me into a tizzy with even more stories so that I could avoid the truth that had just been revealed to me. But I can see now, that knowing “who I am” has to do with learning to consistently choose truth, honesty, clarity and integrity. However hard it may seem. I have realized that the sooner I accept and work on what is being revealed, the lighter I feel. Trying to escape only leads to chaos, guilt and pain. It is far more sensible, if you truly are a student on the path, to work on clearing these from your system.

Our beliefs, fears, thoughts and habits are not meant to be carried on and on for years. It is in their undoing, in the undoing of the mind, ego and personality, that lies the discovery of who we truly are.  If I remember this, then the time spent in being a victim throwing pity parties for myself, denial, anger and confusion, gets shorter and shorter as I progress on the path.

I have invested years in building my personality, intelligence and knowledge. It had left me with a void, with not knowing what I truly wanted, what made me happy or who I was. With GD, as I shed one thought, one belief, one fear after the other, I know I am walking closer to knowing the truth.

The less of the world there is on me, the more space I am opening up to God. The more I shed my mind, the lighter I feel. The more silence inside, the higher the possibility of hearing God. I am discovering that knowing “who-you-truly-are” is not really spiritual. It is not just another experience. It is not just another event. It really is the journey itself.

The quest for perfection

For a few days now, I have been restless about judging my dad for something. Spirituality brings with it the awareness that judgements we have about others is usually something we judge ourselves for. But it is never easy to look at the things that make you uncomfortable, and so, for a few days now I have been avoiding doing some clearing work on this.

But as I prayed today morning, I felt ready to release this judgement. I am learning to honour guidance and started tapping. I usually use a combination of EFT, Clearing questions and forgiveness when I work on something. I find it works really well for me.

Aware that I needed to be honest and non-judgemental, I acknowledged all the judgements I had about my dad. It was tough to vocalize or say what I really feel, but as I tapped, I was able to release all these judgements. Remembering that these were just thoughts in the head and to not engage in guilt, made it easier to be honest.

As I tapped it the thoughts turned from the judgements about dad to judgements about other family members. Events and incidents of the past came up and led to memories of feeling judged when I was younger. As I tapped, I was also able to acknowledge hidden anger at him and others.

Interestingly, as it was ending it led to the quest for perfection, competing with God (who I believe is perfect), guilt for choosing separation from God and living as a “I”, and mostly about never really feeling perfect, good enough, or worthy. I ended it by doing forgiveness. Forgiving my dad, forgiving family, asking for forgiveness for judging them, forgiveness for indulging in this useless quest for perfection, and for believing in something called perfection.

All my life I have seen people around me struggle with their thoughts and beliefs about perfection. I have seen my mom live a life which would receive the approval of all and I in turn grew up believing that I had to be perfect too. I had to cook perfectly, be the perfect mom, daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, friend, acquaintance. As I tapped today, I experienced immense anger at how I have been believing in the wrong word and its wrong meaning all my life.

I want my dad to be a perfect dad, family wanted me to behave in a way they felt perfect, others in turn had the same expectation from those family members. It turns out the whole world is trying to live up to either their notion or someone’s notion of being perfect! This led me to question – if everyone wanted perfection, then is the meaning of perfect the same for everyone? No! For someone being perfect could mean giving more importance to helping others than cleaning their home, for others being perfect could mean choosing family over helping neighbours… And yet, we spend lifetimes in this quest for perfection.

As I tapped, it became clear to me that in my eyes God is perfect. That it is only God whom I can associate the word perfect with. But that didn’t meant that God had a standardized behavior. Because each of us has our own unique relationship with God. Then what does perfect mean!

If God meant perfection, it means perfection is allowance. Perfection is being accepting of differences, perfection is being flexible, perfection is being forgiving. Perfection means allowing others to be fragile, foolish, fearful. But most of all perfection is forgiving.

As I ended the clearing, I felt lighter because I had my own flexible definition of perfection. We all need to find our own definitions sometimes, because when we attribute inflexible meanings to words, we are limiting ourselves and others. And what I still need to remember is this is still not about finding the right meaning. There is no right and no wrong. Just remembering that allows me to be human as I look for the Divine.

Water as an entity

A few days ago, a river in New Zealand was granted the status of a person. Soon, Ganga and Yamuna were granted the status of people. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/21/ganges-and-yamuna-rivers-granted-same-legal-rights-as-human-beings

While it remains to be seen what this decision will mean in terms of protecting the rivers, it feels like a step in the right direction. But what I am going to say here, is completely against so called social thought.

A few days ago, while I was washing dishes and felt guilty about the running tap, I felt the water ask me what I was guilty about. What it told me was not what I was ready to hear. Since forever the relationship between water and human beings has been an existential one. Human beings simply cannot survive without water. But we have evolved in a way that rather than treating water , air and everything that we need for our survival , as a sacred and precious resource, we use everything as though it has been created just for us.

While there are fabulous people, conscious of how indebted we are to nature, working to save, protect it from destruction, there is something we have all overlooked. As I washed the dishes that day, I felt the water ask me why it was dammed. Why was it wrong for it to flow to the ocean? That it was as necessary for the birds and animals in the oceans and earth to have this fresh influx of water every year and that water belong to all and not just humans. I felt the water ask me to speak about this and write about this. I didn’t. Not till now, a year later.

I was disturbed by what I heard. For much part of my life, I have been saving water, protecting water, conserving water, talking to family and others about using less water. Use buckets, don’t shower, don’t waste water, soon we won’t have water. Everything that was used in popular environmental discourse was part of my vocabulary. Till I realized that there were things I didn’t understand. When I looked it was all scientific and confusing. But from the little I understood, it is as intricate as the connection between life and water. Increasing salinity in ocean water, global warming and meting icecaps which reduce salinity in some parts of the ocean, climate change, temperature, … there are so many facets to this. What really happens when there is an increase or decrease of fresh water into the oceans? Have you thought about that?

Humans need water to survive. But rivers and rain don’t exist solely for mankind. The creation of large dams is not just about displacing humans, it is about believing that water is just a resource for humans, and not meant for earth and all its inhabitants. We can drink water and store it but we can’t damm water, one way or the other. The issue of conserve water because we humans need it is not the right mindset.

Before someone gets this wrong, this is not about leaving taps open and letting water run. This is about looking at water pollution, this is about looking at water conservation in a way that begins to understand that every river is an entity, with her right to go where she wants and help whom she wants, without us dumping our crap on her, without us damming her. And, we shouldn’t have had to wait for courts to tell us that.

 …..
For those interested in deepening their connection to water, a simple thing would be to say the H’o’ ponopono . You simply say, ” I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. I thank you. ” Do this before you drink water. Before you bathe. While you do dishes. When you water plants.

For work on how water affects our internal energies look up Masaru Emoto’s work.

The ways of grace

In what has been a tough year, the shower of grace has been both unexpected and welcome. The body has been battered and yet there has been enough grace to see that even in the lowest moments, there has been the support of some remarkable individuals I am privileged to know. What I thought was gone, returned with the fresh promise of newness; what is painful struck like a tornado, but is taking away lifetimes of debris in its wake.

Isn’t it grace that gifts you a live master who is ever so patient and compassionate. There is nothing that GD has not taught me, because at the core of it the most important lessons are the simplest ones. And yet he devotes the time and energy to keep re-explaining and reminding me of the same things. He patiently guides me back again and again to remembering the our true nature, even as I whine about people, health and God.

And then there is my Sai, our Sai Baba. Kind, compassionate and patient. He has been guiding me since childhood, watching over me, protecting me all the time. Even as I have walked past him without a glance on my good days, even as I chose to sob in front of his picture while I was in pain. And yet he smiles, frowns, scolds and laughs as I fumble on and feel overwhelmed with my new-found connection with him. He has everything to give, I am trying my hardest to make sure I receive.

So what is grace? Is it the ability to have miracles in your life? No. It is the blessing to stay courageous and believe, no matter what. GD reminded me even a couple of days ago, life is hard and it foolish to hope otherwise. Grace, I have learnt, is to allow what is happening to happen, resist nothing and know you are taken care of. And in that trust, peace arrives. Grace is not a guarantee for everlasting joy, happiness and prosperity. Grace is a movement to understanding that nothing matters but the presence of God in your heart. Grace is life allowing you to pray for others, asking for God to take care of your loved ones and watch him do it. Grace is being open to the lessons that arrive when you need them and recognizing them when they come. Grace is staying humble in the knowledge that you are not special, but you are special to God ( a valuable reminder to me from Baba).

My wish is for everyone to recognize this grace when it arrives in your life. Being open to the little moments of tranquility and stillness that are present between the chaos. I once that we could also lose Grace. Now, I believe that the only thing we lose is our ability to witness it. Because Grace is ever present, every ready to shower you with its gifts. The question is are you ready to receive it. If yes, be aware of its presence.