Oh, oh — the holidays are upon us! How many of you are grinding your teeth because your least favorite relative or uncle will be in attendance? Relax, it happens to all of us, but by calming your mind you can and will gain the freedom you seek. You probably think you need to forgive them for some slight or even perhaps a terrible thing that they did, but you don’t.
We have been taught to judge everyone and everything since we were about 5 years old. Can you see your 5-year-old self sitting at the judge's bench with a gavel in your small hand and making decision about this one or that one: guilty/dislike or innocent/like? We are taught to judge and “know the score” in order to protect ourselves. It is part of growing up in a dualistic world containing both good and evil.
Let’s face it: some people we like and some we don’t. If we can understand, however, that it is the thought “I like or dislike” in the mind that is causing the problem. You can change it. It is just a thought and is it really true? Be open.
First of all, admit you are unhappy about something. For example: You have a relative who really bugs you — he/she is a loud mouth, controlling, conniving busybody. When you have a few minutes to spare this holiday season, sit down, be still and take a few deep breaths until you feel calmer. Stay focused on that quiet safe place inside. Imagine you are holding the hand of love/spirit/god, whatever compassion and love represents for you. Remain quiet for a while and then tell love, whose hand you are holding, what is on your heart, how do you feel?
Perhaps: “Aunt Julia drives me crazy with her constant badgering questions and I want peace. I’m afraid I may blow up. How can I see her/this differently?” Then wait and look and continue to stay quiet. Watch your thoughts, disregarding the egoic ones. The “new” thought will bring a feeling of release coming from the voice of love and understanding to your self. It may not come immediately but when you least expect it, perhaps the next day or week, but hang tight! The “ah ha” thought that you asked for will come and with it peace. We do not know everything there is to know about one another, even close relatives.
Sometimes this may need to be repeated as the ego can be vicious and is resistant to input that is not of itself. But if we will persist, we will be given the insight to see things differently. The ego is not our friend and will separate us from others and/or project onto them. A projection is a judgment that we project out onto someone and perceive it in them in order not to recognize similar aspects in our self. An example would be to dislike someone who constantly interrupts when we unconsciously do the same thing.
The book "A Course In Miracles" states: “Forgiveness on the other hand is still and quietly does nothing. It merely looks and waits and judges not. He who would not forgive must judge, for he must justify his failure to forgive.” When we quiet our mind by asking the love within for help, we stop judging; we look and we wait for another thought. That is the miracle of forgiveness.
How freeing to have a mind at rest! During this season of love, calm yourself. Go to the quiet place and listen to the love that is you. We have had experiences that seem beyond the forgiveness factor. The question is: How long do you want to hold onto the pain? We have a high tolerance for pain and it serves to keep love away. The pain will last as long as you hold the grievance/judgment. Take yourself off the judge’s bench, be pain-free and forgive everyone for everything!
Sally McKirgan facilitates one of several "A Course In Miracles" study groups in the Rogue Valley. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send 600- to 700-word articles on all aspects of inner peace to her for the Tidings Inner Peace column.