Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson

Forgiveness is the Last Resort

Many times in life we have experiences that hurt either physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually or any combination thereof. It could be because we lost something or someone that we did not want to let go, and it hurt because it felt like our heart was broken. Someone may have done something that made us feel betrayed, rejected or abandoned. Sometimes we didn’t accomplish a goal that was really important to us, and we beat ourselves to death over it. We fall into victim consciousness, which are thoughts that something happened to us that wasn’t fair or we didn’t deserve.

The problem isn’t only that something happened that hurt us, we start to look at life with distorted lenses and project the pain into the future. We look backward at the past instead of looking forward to the future. We panic each time we see a mouse turd on the highway of life. Sometimes it rises to the level of post-traumatic stress disorder, or we experience general anxiety disorder.

There are lots of theories and psychological methodologies for dealing with past trauma. I have experienced a lot of them in healing my past traumas. There is EFT (emotional freedom technique), NLP (neurolinguistic programming), EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), and many other methodologies with varying degrees of clinical success. (My radio show on Voice America has interviewed many of these practitioners).

The problem as I see it is the ego. The ego judges and blames and obsesses on the things that we have experienced as the reason for our suffering. The ego is our suffering. The ego is a tool that we were given by evolution, god or the universe to help us deal with our environment. It is the ego that determines our personality and belief systems. It is the ego that determines our thought patterns. It is the ego that gives us confidence or makes us phobic. If we can control the ego (we can’t destroy it any more than we can cut off our leg to heal a broken toe); we can transcend suffering.

The best way to deal with the past is gratitude. Be grateful you were traumatized. Be grateful your heart was broken. Be grateful that you went bankrupt. Be grateful for that cheating so and so that ruined your life. The greatest act of compassion we can experience is to be grateful for our pain. It is also the hardest. It is against human nature to be grateful for each and every experience, and that is because it is divine nature. If we can be grateful for everything, we leave the pain and suffering of this world behind. The Book of Job in the Old Testament is a good example of this.

If you can’t be grateful, you can at least be neutral. Don’t judge what happens as good or bad. Of course if it hurts, it is difficult to not judge the experience as bad. However, sometimes the pain is simply a message to not do that again. Physically we have a huge capacity of healing and regrowth. Emotionally we can change how we feel about something if we have the tools and discipline to do so. Mentally, we can always change our mind. Spiritually, we can just not care and accept all that happens as God’s will.

If you are not evolved enough for these concepts, you probably live in a world of judgment and suffering. The last resort for pain and suffering is forgiveness. Quite frankly I would rather work on gratitude than forgiveness. There are lots of “how to’s” on forgiveness, I like the term “letting go.” You just imagine that the person or event is in a bubble of white light and imagine it floating away. You can write a letter to that person or event and burn it in a forgiveness ceremony. You can send a letter to God or Santa Claus and let them know what happened and ask them to take care of it.

The problem with forgiveness is that you have to forgive yourself and God as well. If your ego has you locked in a prison that believes that something happened to you, then you have to believe that you are a victim and God got it wrong. Of course, neither one of those theories works, but if you are stuck in the creek mud of judgment you have to let it all go. This is why gratitude is so much more powerful than forgiveness and forgiveness is the last resort.