by Gina Lake
A lack of forgiveness keeps us tied to stories about the past. These stories are manufactured by the ego and keep us involved with the egoic mind. They keep us stuck in the past and stuck in a certain image of ourselves (usually a negative one) that corresponds to that story. As long as we are holding onto a particular self image, another truer and more positive self image can’t take its place. To have a truer and more positive self image, it’s necessary to let go of other self images because only one self image can operate at a time.
Stories that we have about the past tend to be charged with emotion, or they wouldn’t linger as they do. This emotion can make letting go of the self image difficult because the emotion attached to it makes the story seem so real and true. Emotion has a way of convincing us that the stories we tell about ourselves and our life are true. Some work may be needed to diffuse the emotion before the self image attached to a story can let go and another more positive one can take its place.
Forgiveness helps you let go of your stories about yourself and others, which keep you stuck in your particular perceptions and self image. For example, people who have a story of victimization often see themselves as victims. They form an identity and self image that includes the experience of victimization, and this identity determines to some extent how they respond to life. These self images often become self-fulfilling prophecies, which draw to us similar experiences. “Victims” are often victimized more than once, and “failures” often fail more than once. Forgiveness allows us to move on from what happened in the past and begin to see ourselves differently.
Your perceptions are just that: your perceptions. They are true to you but only true to you. No story can ever be true because it doesn’t contain enough of the truth. Given that, your particular perceptions are not valuable or useful. They only tell you about your conditioning because your perceptions are determined by your conditioning. Therefore, examining your stories for what they reveal about your conditioning can be useful, but in and of themselves, your particular perception of the past has no value or ultimate truth.
Forgiveness is difficult because it requires humbling. Acknowledging that our perceptions are not the truth and that they actually keep us from all we truly want—happiness, love, peace, and joy—is humbling. We can’t have our stories about the past and be happy. These stories don’t make us happy but are instead the source of unhappiness. We think that events rob us of our happiness, when in fact we rob ourselves of happiness by telling ourselves a story about an event that makes us unhappy and keeps us stuck in negative thoughts and feelings.
Forgiveness frees you from this prison of negativity by giving you a way out of your story. You forgive whatever you or someone else did so that you can be here, now, in this moment rather than in the thoughts and feelings related to some past moment.
Forgiveness begins with a simple statement, or affirmation, to forgive: “I forgive….” This will have to be repeated every time thoughts or feelings arise about the past. When that happens, you immediately replace those thoughts with the affirmation “I forgive….” Doing this will eventually reprogram your thoughts, and the negative emotions connected to those thoughts will eventually dissipate. This sounds simple, but being diligent about this can be difficult when the thoughts and feelings have become very strong.
There is really no other way out of certain painful feelings than doing this work. Calling on nonphysical spiritual forces to help you heal will also help this along, but you really have to make a commitment to doing this for yourself. The alternative is to continue to suffer. If you continue to dwell on your negative (untrue) stories about the past and feed the negative emotions, they will become stronger. The only way out of this is to do the opposite: Don’t give these thoughts and feelings your attention, and put your attention on what is good and beautiful in this moment. Forgiveness gets you out of the trap created by the negative mind, but you have to commit yourself to forgiveness as strongly as you committed yourself to the past.
Copyright © 2007 Gina Lake. All rights reserved.
Excerpted from Getting Free: How to Move Beyond Conditioning and Be Happy by Gina Lake.
Gina Lake has a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology and over twenty years experience supporting people in their spiritual growth as an astrologer and a channel. She is the author of several books on spirituality, including: Radical Happiness, Anatomy of Desire, Return to Essence, Choosing Love, Getting Free, and Living Your Destiny. Gina is available for astrological and channeled phone consultations that support awakening and living a conscious life. For more information or to order any of these books, to read excerpts, or to download Radiance: Experiencing Divine Presence for free, please visit radicalhappiness.com.