Letters to Nico – Forgiveness
by eli soto
I keep a leather-bound journal that I intend to fill with wisdom I want to pass to my son. When he is 18, this will be a multi-year gift that I hope he takes with him on his own journey through life. Hopefully, in the time between now and then I can plant the seeds of these truths into his heart and mind, and water them often.
There are a few things that hold you back from living inside your true self. In my lifetime, I’ve found them all to be habits of the ego. My big habits include attachments, judgement, and an unforgiving heart. The common thread in all of these is fear. Feelings or thoughts stemming from fear can create enough resistance to allow the ego can take over one’s life. Today, I’d like to talk to you about forgiveness, as it was something I struggled with for 40 years.
Why would anyone just “let go” once someone has hurt them so deeply? Forgiveness unblocks a flow of energy that enhances life. Forgiveness positively affects your health, happiness, success, abundance, love, and most of all being present. Forgiveness takes away the influence of fear, because it is an act of love. Forgiveness brings understanding, compassion, and the wisdom to negotiate a situation. Lastly, there are dark consequences when we don’t forgive.
There’s an old saying that says when we don’t forgive somebody it’s like drinking a cup of poison,expecting the other to suffer. That’s what happened to me. When I’ve been wronged in the past, I let the anger fester. Sometimes I acted on it, and other times I just let it eat me from the inside out. Neither option lead to happiness, and I suffered while letting great opportunities pass me by. Choosing not to forgive only gives the one who hurt you the power to shape your reality. Ironic, huh? We walk into the very trap the ego would rather set for the other person.
One day I just had enough. I felt kicked to the dirt so many times that I was finally going to stand my ground. Instead of coming back swinging, I did something that took a little more courage. I turned the other cheek. On the surface, the non-reactive spiritual teachings always seemed spineless to me. But one day I finally understood how empowering forgiveness is. When you decide not to be angry, you find the power to shape your reality. It takes a conscious effort to do this, but it’s like pulling the plug on the ego. Recall that the ego is made of fear, and anger is just another face of fear. Cut off the fuel from the ego and you’ll become fearless.
I learned that miracles are all around us, and they’re just waiting to get inside our lives. WE are the ones that block them from coming in. Let me explain: When I was your age I noticed something strange. If there was something I saw or thought of that I liked, I seemed to notice it over and over again everywhere I went. Did I create these coincidences with my mind? No. I simply allowed myself to become more aware of them.
Now imagine that there are things that you would like to have, do, or see. Intention and awareness are all it takes to seed that desire into life. You’ll start to notice the opportunities available all around you to make that desire a reality. Beware, however, of an addictive drug able to block awareness: Unforgiveness. By holding on to the thoughts and emotions that come when you don’t forgive someone, your attention is distracted, creativity stifled, and there is a drag on your motivation to create the life you want. This is how miracles are blocked from entering your life.
The ego inside you won’t let things go. It is unconscious, it can’t. You will need consciousness to understand and let go of hurt and anger. I know this now, but bridging that gap was difficult. If someone would apologize and ask me forgiveness, I would say “It’s okay.” I was conditioned over time to associate forgiveness by acknowledging that the hurtful event was “okay.” Wrong! What happened was not “okay”, and sometimes behavior does need to be corrected.
Justice can still be served (if needed) as long as anger isn’t involved. Whenever I have received a ticket for speeding, the officer calmly explained why I was being pulled over and gave me the fine so I could correct my behavior. The intention was to correct, but not to punish. We can lose sight of that when we have anger mixed with justice. Most cases simply require those involved to have a calm and clear communication to correct what happened.
The other saying I would hear is that we need to “forgive and forget.” This is also misunderstood. “Forgive the person, and forget the anger,” is a better statement. You can remember a situation without anger. In fact it’s vital that you do remember in case you ever find yourself in the same situation again. That’s how we learn. Forgiveness is simply being able to remember the event WITHOUT the anger. Do this because anger will block you from miracles.
Don’t take it personally
This was a tough lesson for me to grasp. Why? The ego takes everything personally. Understand this – when someone does something hurtful to you, it’s a reflection of something going on inside them. It’s personal to THEM. In this light, you’ll begin to understand that we’re all screwed up on some level because we mostly live life through our egos. People will constantly make mistakes. Sometimes it’s with intention towards you, and other times it’s by accident. In either case, you’re experiencing an event that is revealing something going on inside someone else. If you understand this, then you’ll realize how you have also done the same things to others. You’ll see that at the time you were really dealing with the grip of your own ego. Said many different ways over the ages: Often what we don’t like in others is a reflection of what we don’t like in ourselves.
My encouragement, Son is to go beyond the ego. Being present is awareness without being entrenched in thought. The ego has a problem with that. The ego would rather dwell in the past and drum up memories to suck you into negativity (especially with unforgiveness). Consciousness is the key to transcending those petty thoughts that keep your life feeling stuck. The ego has many tricks. I’m still working on allowing my soul to rise above the ego. Hopefully in the case of forgiveness, you can discover a glimpse of the love inside of you so that you can recognize the love that resides inside all of us. Everything else is just another facet of ego. Experience the freedom of forgiveness every time you have the opportunity.
I love you son,