Forgiving the past is easier than forgiving the present...
Forgiveness is a recurring theme in Dr Dyers books. Usually, it's about forgiving the past, and letting go of baggage in order to move forward in a more postive state of mind. He's told the story about how his father's abandoning of his family affected his life, and how he didn't forgive his father until the 70's while standing over his grave. After forgiving his father, he changed his lifestyle and went on to write your erroneous zones. Is it really that easy?
The reason I bring this up is because it seems a lot easier to forgive some past pain that really is not a part of your physical life anymore, than it is to forgive someone or something that causes you difficulties in the present. What if waynes father was still alive in the 70's, and had cursed him out when he visited him? What if he was drunk and broke his nose? I realize there's not much point to hypothetical questions like these, because we really don't know what would have happened. But I'm getting a little fed up with hearing folks talk about forgiving someone that isn't even a part of their lives anymore. Let's talk about forgiving the present. Now there lies a challenge.
I'm in my late 20's and up until about a week ago, had been living peacefully with just my mother. Now my older brother has returned home to live with us due to the ending of a relationship which left him with no place to live (even though he has plenty of money saved to get a place and a decent job, he says he doesn't have time to look for a place). Let me tell you about my brother and me. I am a firm believer in the existence of a god (but not any particular religion), i love to read books by dr dyer, eckhart tolle, as well as buddhist and hindu holy books. I practice meditation and I believe in respecting all people. My brother is a full blown atheist who takes nietzsche and other philosophers way too seriously. He is strongly opinionated and is happy to offer his point of view about your life when you haven't asked for it. It's safe to say that we really don't get along. Now here's the problem. My brother is somewhat of an energy drainer. I know he doesn't do it on purpose, this probably only happens because i let it happen. But when he's around I spend a lot of time trying to deal with my resentments, which leaves me drained. I am forced to read more spiritual books, pray more, and just do whatever I can to remain in a positive frame of mind. He thinks he is smarter than everyone around him and sometimes he talks down to them. I am not the securest person in the world so I take these things very seriously. After he moved out, I was feeling quite a bit relieved. I was less angry and sleeping better. I decided I wanted to go back to college and I enrolled thinking that he was gone. Well, now 3 weeks into my first semester and he's back! And now I'm online looking for advice to help me deal with this, when I could be studying or doing something more productive! I really don't want to let my anger get the best of me.... I want to accept and forgive and love him just as he is. I certainly can't hope to change him. But I feel unable to forgive. I don't want to live the rest of my life blaming him if I drop out of school because I choose to let him get to me, resulting in me getting drained and losing ambition. I want to be tough and move forward. I have tried everything including being compassionate towards him, but it always returns to anger. Can anyone offer advice? I want to forgive him......NOW!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi WJ - hope this helps you in some way. Where Dyer often comes from in his writings about forgiveness is this - from the Course in Miracles - we can only forgive ourselves for the thoughts we hold within our mind. But read on and hopefully you will understand a bit more.
When Wayne "forgave" his father, he was in fact, forgiving himself for how he thought of his father, his judgment against his father, and his anger against his father.
You say "Let's talk about forgiving the present. Now there lies a challenge." Okay, let's talk about the present, because this is where forgiveness is given. We never give it in the past, for that is gone, so now is the only time. And if we give forgiveness now, we won't carry those thoughts around with us and allow them to eat away at us.
You say "He is strongly opinionated and is happy to offer his point of view about your life when you haven't asked for it. It's safe to say that we really don't get along." So you have conflict. Why? No other reason than he is not as you believe he should be, or you are not as he would like to see you be. You are both trying to change each other, instead of accepting where each other is. Acceptance is the first step in forgiveness.
You say "My brother is somewhat of an energy drainer. I know he doesn't do it on purpose, this probably only happens because i let it happen. But when he's around I spend a lot of time trying to deal with my resentments, which leaves me drained. I am forced to read more spiritual books, pray more, and just do whatever I can to remain in a positive frame of mind." Do you realize that no one - NO ONE - can drain you of your energy unless you believe they can? And you say that you let it happen - then you have no place else to look for a problem but you. Perhaps rather than reading more spiritual books, you might remember what you have already read in them? You are not your brother, and he is not you.
You say "I really don't want to let my anger get the best of me.... I want to accept and forgive and love him just as he is. I certainly can't hope to change him. But I feel unable to forgive. I don't want to live the rest of my life blaming him if I drop out of school because I choose to let him get to me, resulting in me getting drained and losing ambition. I want to be tough and move forward. I have tried everything including being compassionate towards him, but it always returns to anger." This part shows me how aware you are of you! This is good! Now perhaps the first step for you to do is to love you just as you are - to accept yourself just are you see yourself. This is a starting point for you to change how you see you. And look at what you write - the answers are in your own words. You are right - you can't change him, but you can change how you see him, and how you see you. The forgiveness is for you and so is any blame that you might conjure up. And perhaps the biggest problem you must face is this why are you angry with him? What in him do you see in yourself? Is there a jealousy issue hidden somewhere in you? Do you feel that Mom's attention is being diverted from all of you to just some of you? Do you realize that you both have individual lives to lead? And you both are entitiled to your own beliefs in God? Even an atheist believes in God, or else he could not believe in God. The anger is just yours - and as some have said the problem and the solution are the same. There is within you a fear that you have not addressed concerning your brother, and your image of him. Sit with yourself on this issue or even go and get some counseling on it. Do you want to see your brother in the Love you know you are? Then begin to see yourself first in that Love.
Namaste - Ron
Your post moved me to write this to you. Coming from a family where my brother is worshipped and I am the outcast. As a spiritual student and teacher coming from a family who are either agnostic or atheist, I agree it is a difficult situation.
However you are more than your beliefs, much more. Your brother is perhaps holding a mirror for you in which you can see yourself clearly, as it is only when we recognise the shadow side of ourselves that we can be whole.
The ego (which is currently running the world) defines, splits, categorises and labels (through judgement) EVERYTHING. It decides what is "good" and what is "bad", "right" and "wrong", etc. When in fact everything is always an aspect of the perfected whole, the Divine.
I agree that you have chosen a challenging circumstance and that you have done so for the lessons you need to learn. We ALL do, we ALL make the choice before we incarnate into this physicality. Your brother is reflecting a part of yourself which is still lying hidden in your shadow, and the ego is casting him as "wrong" and you as "right" when really this is all an illusion.
Part of the way forward may be for you to expand your heart energy as you raise your level of consciousness, so that you can feel compassion for your brother. Do not enter into discussion as this too only serves to feed the greedy ego. Acceptance that we are ALL an aspect of the Divine can be difficult, but we are ONE.
Some souls have chosen to inhabit various body and personality types in order to fulfil their destiny, and again if the ego has it's way this is judged as either "right" or "wrong". It is a matter of perception and seeing with eyes of the heart alters this perception profoundly.
I hope it helps you to remember that everything is always in perfect order , there are no mistakes, just lessons for the soul.
Forgive yourself, give yourself unconditional love and allow that energy to flow into your relationship with your brother. See yourself in him and be grateful that he is holding this mirror for you.
Living in unconditional love and acceptance does not mean we can deny those "unpleasant" parts of our nature, it means that we must continuously work to integrate them into our selves to become "whole".
It has taken me many years to learn true humility and as I write this to you I am very grateful for the reminder of what it means to unconditionally love and accept others just the way they are.
Be happy in this moment and remember the toughest assignments are only given to the best students.
I truly enjoyed reading your post - good advice. And while your advice is intended for others, perhaps you might want to read your first para
"Coming from a family where my brother is worshipped and I am the outcast. As a spiritual student and teacher coming from a family who are either agnostic or atheist, I agree it is a difficult situation."
You are stating you ARE still an outcast - still a difficult situation. Your advice about forgiveness of oneself is also good for you. Isn't it amazing that what we offer another is no often what we need ourselves? Drop your past - stop being the outcast and stop agreeing it is a difficult situation. It is what you make of it. It is time, perhaps, for you as well to let go.
Namaste - Ron
I appreciate your reply, and thankyou for your comments, although it was not my intention to give advice. I do not regard myself as an outcast, and I love my family dearly, however they still choose to regard me thus. I have just returned from visiting them in the UK and their comments towards me were as follows 'you are still weird" "What you believe in is Sh**" "don't talk to me about God" "what are you smiling about?" "why are you so quiet" . To give just a few examples.
No I do not regard myself as an outcast, and what makes me smile is knowing that for all their comments and judgements of me, the Love is still there.
They constantly tell me (when they have the opportunity) how "unlike" the rest of the family I am, whereas I choose to see similarities and own my shadow, loving myself, warts and all.
Realising that they hold up mirrors for me as I do for them, for that I am very grateful. Yes the past is certainly that and I regard myself as I do every creature on this earth, an aspect of the Divine. we are all here to help each other remember who and what we are. All of us magnificent beings, if we can get our ego out of the way sufficiently to realise this.
I appreciate your comments and as this way of posting stuff is very new (as computers and the internet are generally) to me, realise that it may be more helpful to be clear about what I say.
As part of my work with people is to connect with archetypes and mythology, I have to say that my favourite story is The Ugly Duckling, but you probably guessed that already.
Nice to hear from you isn't it great that like minded souls have a place to connect?
Elizabeth - glad to be of some help to you - your comment on "Ugly Duckling" brought a smile to my face as well as your comment on "warts." I am sure you know about Wayne's youngest daughter and how she cured herself of warts. A truly amusing and inspirational story. As for "Ugly Duckling" - remember the duckling was only ugly because she was separated from her family - much like we are here in this dream. We think of ourselves as this human body, with this particular shape and sex, and yet deep within us all we know we are so much more than what we see in a mirror. We are the image and likeness of God - perfect in all ways. We just feel like we have strayed from God here, but we are also becoming aware of how to return.
Namaste - Ron
Hello, I decided to explore this mini topic and of course I
have to reply. If you have ever done any deep counseling
work because of traumatic or PTSD issues, you will soon
be advised to be put in touch with the "inner child".
Now a lot of people say that the past is dead and I just
want to deal with the present, but so many times we forget
that there is a historian living deep inside of us, which I
call my inner child. Some people call it memory, or soul,
or the void, but the child works for me. There are things,
bits and pieces and whole chunks of the past that are stored
in the child who watches the placement of these items.
Without getting too " whooo, whooo", and to make this short,
it is important to remember that even as" old" adults, the past
and forgiveness of that past and of yourself in the past allows
us to live happier and healthier lives in the present..
Love to you all
Hi M and thanks for you thought provoking post. My experience with the "inner child" was referring to ego - the hurt child within us that only wants to be loved, but knows nothing of love, only fear.
I don't believe the past is dead, I believe it never existed. We hold thoughts in our mind of what we believe we have done, some of which we attached a bag full of guilt and hold onto that thought. Is that a past? Not really, just a thought. For me, the historian within me is ego - constantly reminding me of what I think I did and what I should do based on what I thought I did. There is no history, there is no past.
As we deal with the "child within" - the "wounded child" we discover that it believes in only fear. It's wounds never heal because they are never looked after. Remember how a mother's kiss on a scraped knee made all the pain go away? This is all the "wounded child" is looking for as well. The wounds are our beliefs in a past that never was - in a past that we believe that we must forgive ourselves for certain deeds we did. Forgiveness of ourselves is the mother's kiss to the wounded child. In forgiveness we acknowledge what we believe we thought and change our thoughts.
And no such thing as an "old" adult. Age is but a fear we were taught when we started counting - we beleive we get older as our age number gets greater. Just because we believe in it, does not make it truth.
The only thing the past helps me in living contented in the present is my letting go of what never was.
Thanks again for your thoughts.
Namaste - Ron
In 1994, I found myself trying to reconcile with my then 22 year old son that I had abandoned when he was 2 and forced him to "grow up" with very little contact with me. I had already gone through those years in a drug haze, in denial to avoid the guilt and ignore the pain that I caused.
In 1991, as I began my healing, I reached a point where I had to get out of denial and FORGIVE MYSELF in order to move forward. However, my son was in his own place with his own pain and rage that caught up in 94.
After some ugly and painful moments, I finally told him, "it doesn't matter if you ever have anything to do with me or not, but you must go inside yourself and FORGIVE YOURSELF if only so that you can move forward in your life and begin your healing". YOU have to DO IT FOR YOU. You don't have to forgive me but there is something that needs to heal in your own heart in order for you the be a whole person.
With love and grace, my son and I then began a journey that after 10 years, we are at peace with each other and he has become a whole and centered person.
Not knowing the details of Wayne's life regarding his father, I think he needed to "forgive" for himself first, to set himself free for his own healing.
The past is a pattern that people can look to and change in the present. An unhealthy pattern can be changed and a healthy pattern can be celebrated.
When I am not in the place where I am receptive to forgiveness of myself and others, I give myself and them to God. If I can't love others because of the mirrors of conflict that they help to pull out of me, if I don't stay in gratitude for that release because my ego is tired of doing the work, I choose in that moment to give it over to God, saying, "Lord, I don't love me/them right now but I know that you do."
This gives me a connection back to source and opens me up further to being able to forgive myself in others as I have surrounded us all with God's love. The love chips away at my ego and hurt. It is not automatic,it is a process that I an work on by reading thoughts of others, by changing my own thoughts about me to loving ones,if I take 2 steps back in my annoyance of others and then take a step forward in spirit,I practice being very gentle to myself as I grow in spirit.
What would happen if you suddenly realized that the past never was nor the future never will be? Where would that leave you? Only in the present without judgment - without an opinion - without regrets - guilt - shame, etc. If one beleives he is doing now what he did in his past, then he is still living in his past, and if his past never was, then he is living in an illusion. Try not to thank God for where you believed you were, but thank God for where you discover yourself now - this moment. And in the moment you are loving yourself as God loves you - unconditionally - and you love others as well in this way. And the forgiveness you speak of is only for you - no one has or will ever do anything to you that you could forgive them for. You can only forgive yourself for the thoughts you hold in your mind which are not of love. And try to see yourself never taking two steps back because you can only go forward - there is nothing to go back to. You are working on changing your thoughts as we all are - herein lies the secret to the peace we seek - a simple change of thought.
Namaste - Ron