Forgiveness Brings Healing and Peace of Mind
For health in the future, let go of the past
It seems that every couple of years, new research confirms one of history’s oldest methods of healing: forgiveness. It’s ironic, since forgiveness has been taught by all of mankind’s acknowledged master teachers.
In the only way the Western mind understands, forgiveness has now been shown by scientific research to do exactly what the sages of the ages had always said it would.
Leading researchers from various universities and foundations have published no fewer than 40 studies that demonstrate physical results of the healing power of forgiveness. They detail such benefits as lower blood pressure, better cardiac health, fewer incidents of depression, better overall mental and physical health and many more advantages that come with forgiveness.
Even better news, they have found that like nutrition and exercise, forgiveness can be learned and provides benefit at any age.
“You keep carrying that anger, it’ll eat you up inside.” — from Heart of the Matter by Don Henley
The word forgive comes from two Anglo-Saxon words that in their simplest sense mean “let go of.” It is so deeply connected in connotation with a debt that our attention is focused very much on the action, thing or wrongdoing that we are letting go of. But the most important part is the “letting go, itself. And the “letting go” that is required for true forgiveness is the “letting go” of judgment.
Judgment is a function of the conscious mind, not the subconscious. The conscious mind is the critical, filtering and analytical mind that is always judging. The subconscious accepts without judgment. To forgive is to let go of judgment.
The common idea of forgiveness is mistaken. The way most people look at forgiveness is usually like this: “You did something wrong; you wronged me, but I am going to ‘forgive’ you and say ‘It’s okay, I forgive you.’
That is the misconception of forgiveness. Actual forgiveness sees that no wrongdoing was committed at all. If we are still holding on to a belief that there was a wrong committed, we are not forgiving. Our minds cannot resolve a conflict such as that. If we are thinking a wrong was done, the analytical mind requires that we exact revenge. The conscious mind can think in no other way.
However, if we realize that who we truly are is a spirit that cannot be harmed by the physical acts of another, forgiveness is natural. And healing can occur at once. Form follows thought.
Forgiveness requires only letting go of judgment of the action of another. Often, we become discouraged by thinking that we have to come up with an alternative way to look at someone. We don’t really. We simply have to be willing to let go of what we’re thinking about them. It’s kind of daunting to try to think of someone who really did, say, steal something from you, as a nice person. We don’t have to think them into an angel; that may be a stretch. We only have to be willing not to hold on to the idea that they are bad. Nature fills a vacuum. When we let go of the feelings of anger and judgment, love will enter automatically. That is healing.
The first step is to actively monitor our thoughts. Any thought that is negative about anyone or any event can be considered an attack thought that judges something as wrong for us or a threat to our wellbeing. If we judge something as a threat to our wellbeing, we’re adding our own thought energy to the fray. When we notice that we are thinking a negative thought of any kind we have the first identification of the problem. We can cancel that thought by at least directing our attention elsewhere. We may not always agree with ourselves when we tell ourselves to “stop thinking that thought,” but we can be aware of wanting to change it. By reinforcing our own invulnerability we are remembering who we really are. That is, a spirit using a body, not the other way around. All sickness or harm is really misperception of what the body is for.
A second step could be the development of a discipline that enhances the ability to think less consciously. By training the conscious, intellectual mind to work for us rather than the other way around, we can regain control of our thoughts and emotions. After all, the link between thoughts and emotions and the body is what we’re talking about here. That’s the link the research has noted. Now, what to do with it?
One of the researchers made an interesting observation. When looked at more clearly, it can give us a clue as to the most effective way to use these ideas.
Everett Worthington of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond said, “If someone felt he’d been forgiven in the past for doing as much as the offender, he was more likely to forgive.”
Extrapolating that finding, we can reason that the reverse is true. If someone forgives and sees another as innocent in the present, the forgiver is more likely to see themselves as innocent in the future. When you see yourself as innocent, then healing is yours.
The researchers naturally take the Western approach of designing a methodology or a model of the steps necessary for healing. In a typically analytical way, they try to reduce healing to an exercise, much like filling out a form. That’s a start but hardly the deepest forgiveness one can attain and short of the greatest benefit.
Something we control
Humans learn by observing more than by any other means. Babies watch parents walk and they learn it. It doesn’t take a step-by-step primer.
When we see a human in a particular condition or state, we can’t help but realize on some level that the condition is inherent to our own possibilities. When we see someone truly innocent, we grok that we could be innocent, too.
Each of us has within our power the ability to affect the intrinsic, non-physical condition of any other human being on the planet in only one way. That is, we can make them innocent if we see them as innocent. When we forgive, that is what we are doing and consequently, demonstrating to ourselves that innocence is ours, as well.
Read Our Disclaimer