October 09, 2015
Since my schedule has been taking me out of town on Fridays for a few weeks, some of our Spiritual Leaders have been taking the lead. Charlene Wilkinson led last week’s Spiritual Friday group. She is a teacher of Eastern Spiritual Traditions with a primary focus on Hinduism, Buddhism, and the practice of yoga.
During our previous patient-led group on forgiveness, the topic of “letting go” came up very often; the idea that perhaps the reason we block forgiveness is because of our unwillingness to forget. Is that the same reason why it’s difficult to let go? What does it really mean to let go and how do we do it? These are some of the questions the patients asked themselves last Friday.
“No one can force me to forgive. Forgiveness is a choice I make when I am ready to release the burden of anger, pain, and shame. I forgive when I believe there is a better way. I am ready to experience freedom and love without limits.
New experiences await; why do I delay my choice? I begin by forgiving myself for languishing in the old stories. Breaking out of familiar patterns takes great energy. Whether I believe myself bound by my own actions or the actions of others, I have the choice to forgive.
I imagine myself at an open window. Golden light streams over me and I am enveloped in G-d’s healing power. In the spirit of Oneness, I choose to forgive.” – Daily Word
Charlene spoke about the Indian mind technique of Samskara. “Grooves are created in our mind by our habitual thoughts; patterns are set. If we do not embrace forgiveness, bitterness sets in and torment of the mind will be the reward. The hurt, pain, and emotion attached to the harm done will increase and grow. It will obsess the mind. However, if we choose to forgive, the opposite happens; peace replaces turmoil along with the beautiful G-d qualities of love and kindness. When the mind is not continually engaged upon hurt, then love, tenderness, and kindness replace the pain.”
Letting go of what I no longer need makes room for new growth. As we let go of the past we often then fear the future. The past, though so painful, is familiar. We must learn to TRUST the goodness and beauty of the future because this is where our spirituality and relationship with an unconditionally loving Higher Power will carry us to safety, comfort, and peace.
We must let go of the past and who we have been in order to open to the future and who we are becoming.
How do we let go? Some answers included:
- G-d Box (Higher Power Box)
- Forgiveness journal
- Stop thinking about the pain and think about HP/G-d
- Let new growth in, push out the old
In closing, Charlene asked the patients to write down what or who they needed to let go of. She led them in a “letting go” meditation then played her Crystal Healing Bowl. One by one, the patients dropped their papers in the bowl as she played, harmonizing, bringing peace to shame, hatred, guilt, fear, regret, and sadness. A simply beautiful ritual – the patients LOVED this.
Charlene played two absolutely beautiful pieces of music with the message of letting go to really heal, totally heal.
In our small groups, Rabbi Mark led his group in the chant “OM” and the patients felt like it was a release. Mark shared that when you “change your place, you change your destiny.”
In one group, there was discussion of the power of ritual. One of the patients shared, “We are like the bowl. Our thoughts go round and round and then reverberate out into our lives and our experiences.” Another patient brought up a quote from “How It Works”: “…our results were nil until we let go absolutely.”
Another group looked at the payoffs of not letting go: Being in power, being a victim, making another person pay – but what do we REALLY get out of these? More pain.
Forgiving and forgetting does not mean continuing to accept unacceptable behavior. Often, the forgiveness process fosters deeper unity and connection between people. And yes, sometimes it points to an exit sign.
Another meaningful Friday. We are all so blessed by our work -grateful for this way of life.
Reverend Laurie Durgan