Saturday, 23 May 2015

It is not easy to forgive!

What makes me feel better when I am feeling rotten? A glass of wine, I hear you all say.

 Yes, most of us will try to distract ourselves by spending hours on a screen, by going on a binge or by taking off for some retail therapy. Some of us will call a friend and rant about all that went wrong during the day or worse still, we will make ourselves feel good by off loading our venomous opinion about the person or situation, we believe responsible for our agitated state of mind.

It seems it doesn't matter. Rationalizing and trying to summon logic to tell ourselves that this ranting and raving is not helping our blood pressure or for that matter our coronaries, usually has very little effect on how we feel.

To understand why logical reasoning doesn't help at such times we need to know about the four layers of our personality, as described in the self help text I have been reading.

Our innermost core is the pure, unadulterated shining light within us, a consciousness which is present in each of us, which remains unchanged and does not need anybody or anything to be pure and happy. Believe me, that is what our true nature is. How we have become the venom spouting person drowning our woes in wine, is what we will soon find out.

Sadly our inner core is covered by a cloud of ignorance, which doesn't allow us to be in touch with our true nature. This unconscious layer (which according to Hindu philosophy carries over from past births) is really the delusion (maya), which when shattered would allow us to recognize our true selves. This layer contains our vices and negative tendencies. I am guessing this is where we start believing in the multiple identities assigned to us, the numerous parts we play on the world stage, which like Shakespeare implied, is after all an illusion. The attachment to the letters in front of my name, the ego attached to being a twosome, the disproportionate swelling of chest on a child's success...

Over this unconscious layer is the sub conscious layer, our mind, intellect, memory and ego. This is the layer which carries our fears, our insecurities, the anger, the pride, the sadness but also has immense power to transform our lives. This is the layer being referred to in Joseph Murphy's "The Power of the Subconscious mind". Our subconscious, as has been explained in the book, works on "Faith". It is faith in the healers which heals, just as the placebo effect of similar coloured pills devoid of any active ingredients, does too. Without faith, healing of mental and physical ailments becomes more difficult. We know we learn a subject much better if we like and respect the teacher, have faith in his or her competence. Hypnotism is known to work on this layer of our personality to rid us of old hurts and deep scars. Faith has been known to transform lives.

Finally what we tangibly are able to experience in ourselves and others is the outermost conscious layer. This is what interacts with the outside world. Hence this layer allows us to change our behaviour by logical thinking. Even if you want to throw something at your boss, you smile and say "Yes, Sure". The anger remains at the subconscious level and if it remains unprocessed it can give rise to mental and physical ill health. 

This is what is wrong with today's world. It deals with the immediate and the tangible. We attend numerous communication skills and risk management workshops where we are taught about what to say and how to say it, the words, the mannerisms, the legal loopholes etc etc. Everything is right and logical but if it is entrenched in an environment of mistrust, vested interest and competition, it is unlikely to succeed in bringing about the transformation we desire. Unless our subconscious is in tune with our actions, unless we feel the compassion we are being asked to portray, our words will not have the effect we desire. We could also be asked to do things which are in conflict with our values, beliefs and convictions. We could be rejecting the ways of the world in our heads while being asked to function in it.

Holding on to a hurt or anger or non acceptance of people and situations can manifest in many ways. It may make us want to pull somebody down like crabs in a bucket tend to do to each other or may make us feel we are superior to the rest of the world or may make us generally unhappy about where we are in our lives.

On the other hand, being able to forgive people and situations makes us stop progressing in our negative thoughts and intents of comparing ourselves to others while realizing we are mere spectators of the drama of life unfolding before us and that instantly makes us peaceful and tranquil. We tend to sleep better, it helps unlock our potential and creativity. It allows us to work on ourselves and makes us endeavour to get in touch with our true selves.

But to be able to accept people, situations and to be able to forgive and forget, it is the subconscious layer of our personality, we need to work on. Forgiveness is not an action or emotion, it is something deeper. All of us remember being told to shake hands with a friend or sibling we had a stinking row with. We remember too how angry, unforgiving and indignant we felt. We shook hands but that action did nothing until we actually forgot all about it the next day. 

Forgiveness is a state of being, when I don't react. I respond, I respond without any anger, hatred or malice.  Sometimes we keep away from a person or situation in response, at other times we do what needs to be done. This may be perceived as an action against the person we are trying to forgive but the action is taken on principle of doing the right thing for the future or for the organisation but not as a personal vendetta against that person. Something like a punishment meted out to a child by the mother for wrong doing. The punishment is never to cause pain but is mother's conviction that it is the best thing for the child. 

Let go of the hurt and feel free!


anurag shukla said...

Very prrceptive and very educative. The capability of a brain to understand the mind is so proscribed by its multi lateral moorings and unshakable attachments. This really helped me a lot in understanding the changes I have been observing in myself overtime. How different the world would be though if these insights came earlier in life! But then Gods would have felt threatened by the competition. Fantastic article.

namrata biswas said...

Not easy , is it? Letting go or even forgiving ourselves? But we can keep trying