If you "grew up on Bible stories", you learned the "eye for an eye" concept. How is that to be put into effect in a spiritual practice that focuses on inner peace, forgiveness, and peaceful interactions with "all our relations"? Can "an eye for an eye" be interpreted in any way other than anger and revenge?
We can get side-tracked by our ego that wants to be right at any price. It doesn't care about lost friendships, or uncomfortable work relations, or families torn apart by pride -- it only cares about being right. How often do we let "being right" step into the way of peace...
Acceptance is a major theme of world religions. In modern life, however, acceptance is tension-filled and problematic. The urge to fix, change, and improve pops up at every turn. Reinhold Neibuhr summed up this tension in his Serenity Prayer, written in 1934: 'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...'
Each moment you cling to trauma or anger after it occurs, you cause the past to generate an entirely new sequence of thoughts, emotions, and actions. Until you can give up your attachment to the past incident, you are cursed to maintain and magnify the pain.
Albert Einstein said, “We can’t solve our problems with the same thinking that we used to create them.” I wonder what he would say today? My guess is that he would be shouting aloud while pointing to the life-threatening problems our old thinking has produced.
Most people can easily determine when a loved one is feeling sad or anxious. This recognition will often trigger the person to offer a comforting gesture or even have a contagious emotional reaction, causing them to also feel sad or anxious, too.
Many adults have a history of childhood abuse. As harmful as these early experiences can be to our psyche, an accompanying form of abuse frequently compounds them. This is the abuse we give ourselves. This form is even more widespread and affects most of us in one way or another.
Most of us have some corner where we cannot forgive ourselves. Our hearts ache for the choices made or denied, and we bury that ache beneath a blanket of guilt or high-minded justifications.
Resistance not only creates physical stress but is also the determining factor in whether a person feels negative emotions. Experiencing anger, sadness, fear, guilt or grief is only possible if you resist something in your past, present or future.
How can you be happy in this moment if you continue to choose to be angry and resentful? Thoughts of bitterness can't create joy. You can never be free of bitterness as long as you continue to think unforgiving thoughts. Forgiving yourself and others will release you from the prison of the past...
In a piece on the television show 60 Minutes, Oprah Winfrey discussed childhood trauma — shining a public spotlight on the lasting effects of abuse and adversity in childhood. Oprah herself is a survivor of childhood abuse.
Years ago, I knew someone who used to say "Love is all there is". This was his "mantra" and he repeated it often to whoever was willing to listen. At the time, I was in my twenties and his statement would aggravate me to no end. After all, how could he say that "love s all there is" when there were wars, famine, murders, crimes of all kinds, etc. etc.
Our spiritual evolution depends heavily upon our recovery from our worst addiction -- our addiction to the victim archetype, which traps us in the past and saps our life energy.
It's so easy for us to look to others to shoulder responsibility for occurrences in our past. We accuse our parents for our lack of self-esteem. We blame teachers or siblings for our unwillingness to express ourselves. Yet, is anyone to blame?
"I like you, do you like me?" Isn't that how children approach one another, with total openness and acceptance? They have this pure, innocent way of expressing themselves, and have a completely disarming attitude like, "Hey, I want you to be my friend."
There are at least 2.6 million stillbirths a year across the world. More than 2,000 families each year suffer the loss of a stillborn baby in Australia, equating to six stillborn babies every day.
Most of us think of blame as the melodramatic pointing of a long, crooked finger towards one who has done scandalous wrong. Yet we're actually into blame just about every waking moment of our days. From weather, to rude drivers, to toothpaste caps, we blame from sunup 'til sundown and never think a thing about it.
We don't always see what we're doing as complaining; in fact, we often think we're simply telling the truth about the world. What constitutes complaining? One dictionary defines it as, 'An expression of pain, dissatisfaction, or resentment.' I would add that it's a statement of...
Rejection can hurt. Perhaps a person can be rejected by a friend, partner, boss, sibling, parent, co-worker, someone you work out with at the gym, or even your grown child. Scientists are discovering that the hurt of rejection can be actually recorded within your body.
After many years of “helpfully” trying to change other people in order to create a better world that will work for everyone, it at last became clear to me that the only behaviors, thoughts, and feelings I truly have any power to change are my own.
This process takes only a few moments but it is one that literally could save you from getting totally caught up in the drama of what is happening and going to 'Victimland' for an extended stay! Our tendency is to default to victim consciousness whenever our upset...
Probably since I was an older child, I prided myself in all the things I could do, in my illusion of independence. But it didn’t stop with physical things. In my pseudo-independence, I ventured into emotional regions, and declared my lack of need for love.
There are many wishes people make for family and friends at the start of a new year: for health and success, for love and prosperity, for success in their studies or any special endeavour, the list is very long. However, there is one I wish to make for all readers of this...
Cynicism seems to have a lot going for it in the modern world. I know that I didn’t give up cynicism until it utterly failed me as a means of self-protection. As I began to understand the psychological roots of my physical collapse, it became clear that my cynical, stressful attitudes toward life had delivered me into this catastrophic condition.
It being the holiday season, it seems appropriate to review the emotion of love, since that is what the season is supposed to be about.
In a variety of teachings, unconditional love is the heart and soul of the spiritual life and the ultimate aim of the spiritual path – and by love is meant love in action of course (be it meditation or feeding the hungry), not discourses about love.
I have been “cleaning out my karma” for a few decades now. When I first started paying attention to the feelings of the moment, there was a collage of easy to detect feelings.
Usually the events for which we hold grudges are long-time past, yet, deep in our heart is this little hard cold spot where the memory of that event, accompanied with anger and resentment, lives on as if it happened yesterday. That dark negative energy comes up at the strangest moments...
As I felt the benefits of forgiving my ex-husband Werner, I began to look at other grievances and judgments I was holding. Mom was at the top of my list. Could I find my way to forgive her, too? That would require me to mourn the losses of my childhood and let them go. Holding onto my resentment to Mom kept them in place.
One morning, all of us in the group revisited our childhoods to more closely examine those things that still have power over us. We did this in small groups of four persons and, when it was my turn, I revisited some physical violence from my parents. Ever eager to delve deeper, I discovered something I had never seen before.
The heart of Eastern wisdom teaches you to be naturally in the world without rejecting it. Many spiritual paths condemn and judge the world, as if they were enabling one to move beyond desires. But many fail to realize that they are desiring not to desire (a point that the Buddha understood).
Healing the emotional body in the fourth chakra is by far one of the most important things you can do for your health. With years of experience in Ayurvedic lifestyle counseling, I am convinced that heart health is directly linked to our emotional state.
By choosing to let go of the past, we can sweep out all the ashes that weigh us down and subtly affect every aspect of our health, our relationships, and our peace of mind. And the more we practice the art of letting go of all negativity, the better able we...
Friends, children, romantic partners, family members – many of us exchange hugs with others on a regular basis. New research from the United States, published today in PLOS, now shows hugs can help us to cope with conflict in our daily life.
Closing Cycles, Shutting Doors, Ending Chapters – Leave In The Past The Moments Of Life That Have Finished
Of course things don’t always happen they way we wish they would. There are moments in which we feel we are seeking something that is not meant for us, knocking on doors that don’t open, waiting for miracles that don’t manifest themselves. Fortunately that is the way things are – if everything went the way we wanted...
In one of her video lectures, Carolyn Myss reminds each John or Jane Doe in her audience that just as he/she is working on the process of forgiving other people, any one of those 'other people' may be sitting in workshops, writing in journals, or consulting with a therapist, in that very moment, in order to forgive John or Jane Doe...
Each and every person comes into this life as a unique expression of Source consciousness. This means each person comes in with a unique essence, like an energetic signature. We come in with a unique purpose, along with unique thoughts, feelings, desires and needs. All this and our role within the greater universe is embedded in our essence.
We know that comparatively disadvantaged people, even in rich countries, have worse health and shorter life expectancy than others. But what is it exactly about socioeconomic disadvantage and other environmental difficulties that affects our biology? And at what age are we most vulnerable to these effects?
The Buddha said, "in a battle, the winners and losers both lose". When we're engaged in conflict with a difficult person, our minds become very narrow and our hearts close. When we feel anger and hatred toward someone else...
You hear people say this all the time: "I have a right to be upset because of the way I've been treated. I have a right to be angry, hurt, depressed, sad, and resentful." Learning to avoid this kind of thinking is one of my top ten secrets for living a life of inner peace, success, and happiness.
Has this ever happened to you? Somebody says something to you that immediately triggers negativity within you. You don't have a clue why you are so upset and you wonder just where that feeling came from.
When you’re experiencing recurring unpleasant feelings or familiar unmet needs and self-defeating thoughts, are you generally kind and gentle with yourself? Do you unconditionally accept all of your emotions, sensations, needs, and thoughts? Do you give yourself the empathy, compassion, warmth, and understanding you’d offer a close friend or family member?
There was a time in my life when if someone asked, Are you angry with me? I replied, No-o-o-o. Because I didn't like taking issue with a difficult situation involving a difficult person, we both missed an opportunity to grow together through the experience.
ALLOWING IS THE KEY. That, in a nutshell, is what I learned is the key to life, to creating your own life. Those four seemingly simple words are the basis of the power we can harness in life to use for our benefit. It took me many years to...
Sometimes our perceptions can get us into trouble. What appears so clearly to be our reality may not be real at all. Or it may be partially correct, but not the whole picture. We humans have a tendency to interpret our partial experiences as the whole truth and ignore other people's partial experiences.
The time came when my life was disrupted by soul longing for wholeness, manifesting as serious depression. Through grace, I found my way to a workshop on healing into wholeness. There I met Linda Star Wolf who taught us how to discover our power animal.
Susan, a woman in her fifties, came to one of my workshops and asked to work with the process called Healing Relations with the Unborn. She related the following story of an abortion she had undergone as a young woman, with lingering painful after-effects.
Is there anything going on in your life that just wears you out? A thankless job, a chronic illness, a troubled relationship? Have you gone over and over this situation or circumstance without finding a solution or a way out?
When the stock market plummeted in 2003 and I lost a third of my savings, I had a very hard time getting over the fact that I didn’t see it coming. Some young part of myself still believed I should be all powerful and all knowing. It’s a form of magical thinking many of us have developed...
Those who recover the best from painful events are those who find something meaningful in the experience. The exercise below helps us see events and circumstances from a different perspective and find meaning in what otherwise might seem to be baffling or meaningless events.
People set themselves up for difficulties through their memories of pain. For instance, in the past, you or someone you know may have lost money, a job, a house, or a relationship. These issues, rife with fear and other negative emotions, establish a deep pattern in memory and...
Forgiveness is radical. Both forgiving and asking for forgiveness go against deeply ingrained psychological and political truths. We fight against it. We reject its premises. We think we want to be -- or at least, want to appear to be -- blameless at all times. By forgiving another...
Reoccurring demands and challenges can be particularly frustrating. Everyone knows what it feels like to go two steps forward and one step back. Your frustrations are actually the key to finding inner freedom. Each one requires surrender and acceptance.
If you think of forgiveness as “letting someone off the hook,” you believe that you are doing someone else a favor by forgiving them. After all, they are really guilty and deserve your judgment and condemnation.
Many people mistakenly think or fear that their choices and behavior will displease others and be the cause of another person's displeasure or unhappiness. It could be their partner, their parents, their children, their friends. The fear is that if you or I do what feels best to us – it might make someone else unhappy.
There are few emotions as uncomfortable as resentment. An old saying sums it up well: "We drink the poison and then wait for the other person to die." Resenting others, we do poison ourselves. When our energy is spent on...
Imagine for a moment all the things you say or don’t say, and all the things you do or don’t do in one day because of what others might say about you. If you wrote out a list, it might take a long time. Do you realize how much power you give to other people’s opinions? What if you could recover that power?
Some activists believe we must be constantly aggrieved to set right the injustices of the world—that good anger corrects bad anger. But an enlightened activism respectfully acknowledges all anger and sorrow while demonstrating the superior strategy of mercy...
A past experience is stored in your memory like a video with a separate 'feelings' track, which releases these feelings whenever the memory-box is opened. This feelings track can be re-recorded, replacing the original. To do this, you simply go back to the time the event began and rerun...
Blame is a series of actions and reactions. They all work together to generate the Blame Syndrome. The three parts are: The Blame Attack (the initial criticism — no matter how minor); The Emotional Impact (negative feelings caused by being blamed); The Reactive Response (blame is fired back).
If we don’t grow from suffering, we die from it. Suffering can tether a person to the darker side of life so strongly that it makes passion and the enjoyment of life almost impossible. When you’re drowning in the depths of suffering, creativity and your Soul’s expression are the last things on your mind.
It’s easy to be kind or loving to someone you like. Why should you bother to be loving toward the contemptuous, the hateful, the miserable, or people who are simply annoying?
I know some remarkable people, even some who are considered great human beings, but I have never known anyone whose heart is open all the time. Even the Dalai Lama speaks of anger arising and of saying things that, much to his chagrin, can never be taken back. Forgiveness of oneself and others is...
We all experience everyday annoyances with the people around us. What turns an irksome characteristic, situation, or event into a source of continued frustration? It’s our expectations, our “shoulds” that cause aggravation and annoyance...
Perhaps you have questioned or judged yourself for being too sensitive or not feeling at home in the mainstream. When I ask my seminar audiences, “How many of you believe or have been told that you’re weird?” Almost everyone raises their hand.
Using the analogy of the hologram, the entire hologram now reflects back to me my decision. For example (and I know you will relate to this), I have decided to purchase a Volkswagen. I am now seeing Volkswagens all around me. They weren’t there before, but now I can’t get away from them!
Victor Frankl said, “It’s the last of all human freedoms, the ability to choose.” We can choose to look at whatever we want. So if we choose to hold bad thoughts about someone, simply release them and send love to the people who bother you...
I’ve spent my life hiding my scars. I cope so well that no one, not even my husband knew the extent of what I deal with on a daily basis. Therapy has revealed my deepest hurts, brought them to the surface, and forced me to experience the pain I’ve been hiding so deeply in order to finally release it.
I have been asking myself deep questions about the next stages of my work and my life: how do I teach? How do I live? What, now, is my highest calling, my deepest contribution toward creating a peaceful, kind, compassionate, thriving world that supports and respects all life, human and non-human?
Gossip gets a bad rap. There’s no doubt that the act of gossiping about someone can sometimes be damaging and negative.
We must learn to take care of ourselves, to reconnect with who we are and what we want. By learning to practice some self-compassion, you can begin to treat yourself like a friend and give yourself the time and presence that you would give to someone else.
If you want to sustain yourself for the work ahead, here’s some advice: It doesn’t matter whether the other side “deserves” anger.
As a result of years spent trying to teach people to rewrite their prejudicial stories about themselves and others, I am keenly aware of how prejudice can spread. It can develop into embedded beliefs and cause inordinate amounts of stress.
When news breaks about wrongdoings of our favorite politician, the other side inevitably argues that we have a scandal on our hands.
Is it possible to run out of empathy? That’s the question many are asking in the wake of the U.S. presidential election.
Often in my readings I was simply validating the suspicions, insights, or intuitions that they already had about themselves and the changes they needed to make in their lives. Sometimes these readings ignited an inner physical and spiritual healing process.
There is almost always a cringeworthy public apology to watch. Most recently, it was YouTube star PewDiePie, who had to apologise for alleged anti-semitic content in his video posts.
While feelings are a central component to caring, caring is not an entirely emotional experience. There’s also an intellectual component to caring, a mental stance that one must maintain to create lasting closeness. This stance is that your partner is fully human.
There’s no denying it anymore: Hatred is erupting all over the United States, after having long simmered beneath the social surface. In the face of such upheaval, how can you prepare to protect those who are being threatened—to stand up for the worth and dignity of every person, even when it’s uncomfortable or scary?
You have a constant stream of thoughts running through your mind, and we use the term “inner critics” to describe the thoughts that criticize you or tell you that you should be ashamed or feel guilty if you do what you want to do.
In 1960, I was fourteen years old and my mother was the first civil rights activist that I knew. She did not march the streets. She lived her beliefs. She had Blacks, Muslims, Gays and other minorities over to our house for dinner almost every Sunday.
Like strangers, and every person in our path, we encounter acquaintances and friends for a reason. More accurately, we attract them. Sometimes the reasons appear obvious, and at other times the reasons are not obvious at all and may take months or years to dawn.
My heart aches for the division and anguish revealed in our November election. The fabric of our society is indeed torn and I wonder, can we find a way back together?
Throughout primary school, I became accustomed to being in the crossfire of two opposing camps. When a French friend would insult my English friend, I would raise my hand, step forward, and launch into my own variation of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech...
For many women, people of color, LGBTQ people, Muslims and immigrants, the victory of Donald Trump seems to have endorsed discrimination against them.
What we’re being called to do as a species before we either destroy ourselves or most of life on our planet is to meet ourselves fully. We must have the courage to meet our own prejudices and encounter every single place within us that would rather resort to blame than to face the collective human pain body.
A few years ago, I discovered that a friend was cheating on their partner. This immediately blackened my perception of my friend. Then I remembered that I had done something quite similar some years earlier.
Social media is a wonderful way to connect with others, share experiences and opinions and express ideas. But it can have a dark side for body image, which requires a critical and thoughtful approach to counteract.
Guilt is a difficult burden to carry around with you. And guilt perpetuates what you are guilty about; how does it do that? Guilt is a very negative, destructive energy. It is different from remorse, the feeling we get when we know we have done something wrong and we’re dreadfully sorry. In the case of remorse...
As long as people are determined to cling to their preconceived opinions, mistaking them for Truth and refusing to consider dispassionately the positions of others, they can neither escape hostility nor arrive at blessedness.
Reading this will help you to identify the two voices that make you human: your ego with its chatty, self-serving endless quirkiness, and what I’m calling the wise Observer that is patient, non-judgmental and loving. While they appear to be completely different...
I saw a documentary that introduced Jawara women who wear the bones of their dead husbands around their necks. In some cases, the widow totes the man’s skull. In our culture many of us also wear the skulls, bones, or remnants of dead husbands, lovers, family members, business partners, or friends around our necks—not physically, but energetically. We hang past memories, resentments, and upsets...
A friend told of a family situation that you may relate to. For many years, she’d been estranged from her sister, who now lived across the country. Growing up, they’d been very close, and my friend could hardly recall why they’d stopped talking. Year followed year, and my friend could never bring herself to call.
If you're waiting for a change and frustrated it's not happening, maybe it would be beneficial to give up all hope! Sounds strange? "Hope" is a double-edged word. Hope in its best sense is something that keeps you going in difficult times. But "hope" can also be...
Thousands of case studies proved beyond any reasonable doubt that cancer can be cured by a change in one’s thinking! In the patients who were able to resolve the conflict through recognizing their innocence and mistaken self-blame and guilt, not only did the pattern in the scan resolve itself (disappear), but so did the cancer.
The tragic mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando has sparked renewed interest in the causes of homophobia.
It’s necessary to be conscious of the way we store events in the body and how they create layers of similar emotions—grief with grief, joy with joy, anger with anger, and love with love. These layers are like the strata in rocks, building great cliffs of emotions that are touched each time another similar emotion is experienced.
Everyone has experienced an event that they’re sure was terrible. Then, when you think about it ten years later, you realize that if that hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t be here right now enjoying life. So how could that have been...
The pain from the past that people experience often follows them to their deaths. I had been visiting Vince weekly for five months, and every week he began by telling me about his distaste for his brother, whom he hadn’t spoken to in twenty years. His animosity had to do with a...
One morning Rose began our session by saying it was time for me to take a very important journey. “It’s a journey we all must take within this lifetime. It’s the journey that takes us from being a child to becoming an adult. And what you need to make this journey are the powers of love and forgiveness.”