Many people come to me and say they cannot enjoy today because of something that happened in the past.
Because they did not do something or do it in a certain way in the past, they cannot live a full life today...
Because they no longer have something they had in the past, they cannot enjoy today...
Because they were hurt in the past, they will not accept love now...
Because something unpleasant happened when they did something once, they are sure it will happen again today...
Because they once did something that they are sorry for, they are sure they are bad people forever...
Because once someone did something to them, it is now all the other person’s fault that their life is not where they want it to be...
Because they became angry over a situation in the past, they will hold on to that self-righteousness...
Because of some very old experience where they were treated badly, they will never forgive and forget...
Because I did not get invited to the high school prom, I cannot enjoy life today.
Because I did poorly at my first audition, I will be terrified of auditions forever.
Because I am no longer married, I cannot live a full life today.
Because I was hurt by a remark once, I will never trust anyone again.
Because I stole something once, I must punish myself forever.
Because I was poor as a child, I will never get anywhere.
What we often refuse to realize is that holding on to the past, no matter what it was or how awful it was, is ONLY HURTING US. They really don’t care. Usually, they are not even aware. We are only hurting ourselves by refusing to live in this moment to the fullest.
The past is over and done and cannot be changed. This is the only moment we can experience. Even when we lament about the past, we are experiencing our memory of it in this moment, and losing the real experience of this moment in the process.
Exercise: Releasing Emotional Attachments
Let us now clean up the past in our minds. Release the emotional attachment to it. Allow the memories to be just memories.
If you think back to what you used to wear in the third grade, usually there is no emotional attachment. It's just a memory.
It can be the same for all of the past events in our lives. As we let go, we become free to use all of our mental power to enjoy this moment and to create a great future.
List all the things you are willing to let go of. How willing are you to do this? Notice your reactions. What will you have to do to let these things go? How willing are you to do so? What is your resistance level?
Forgiveness Releases Us from the Past
Next step, forgiveness. Forgiveness of ourselves and of others releases us from the past. The Course in Miracles says over and over that forgiveness is the answer to almost everything. I know that when we are stuck, it usually means there is some more forgiving to be done.
When we do not flow freely with life in the present moment, it usually means we are holding on to a past moment. It can be regret, sadness, hurt, fear, or guilt, blame, anger, resentment, and sometimes even the desire for revenge. Each one of these states comes from a space of unforgiveness, a refusal to let go and come into the present moment.
Love is always the answer to healing of any sort. And the pathway to love is forgiveness. Forgiveness dissolves resentment. There are several ways in which I approach this.
Exercise: Dissolving Resentment in the Movie of Your Life
There is an old Emmet Fox exercise for dissolving resentment that always works. He recommends that you sit quietly, close your eyes, and allow your mind and body to relax. Then, imagine yourself sitting in a darkened theater, and in front of you is a small stage. On that stage, place the person you resent the most. It could be someone in the past or present, living or dead. When you see this person clearly, visualize good things happening to this person, things that would be meaningful to her. See her smiling and happy.
Hold this image for a few minutes, then let it fade away. I like to add another step. As this person leaves the stage, put yourself up there. See good things happening to you. See yourself smiling and happy. Be aware that the abundance of the Universe is available to all of us.
The above exercise dissolves the dark clouds of resentment most of us carry. For some, it will be very difficult to do. Each time you do it, you may get a different person. Do it once a day for a month, and notice how much lighter you feel.
Exercise: Revenge Before Forgiveness?
Those on the spiritual pathway know the importance of forgiveness. For some of us, there is a step that is necessary before we can totally forgive. Sometimes the little kid in us needs to have revenge before it is free to forgive. For that, this exercise is very helpful.
Close your eyes, sit quietly and peacefully. Think of the people who are hardest to forgive. What would you really like to do to them? What do they need to do to get your forgiveness? Imagine that happening now. Get into the details. How long do you want them to suffer or do penance?
When you feel complete, condense time and let it be over forever. Usually at this point you feel lighter, and it is easier to think about forgiveness. To indulge in this every day would not be good for you. To do it once as a closing exercise can be freeing.
Exercise: Forgiveness Process Once a Week
Now we are ready to forgive. Do this exercise with a partner if you can, or do it out loud if you are alone.
Again, sit quietly with your eyes closed and say, “The person I need to forgive is ___________ and I forgive you for ___________.”
Do this over and over. You will have many things to forgive some for and only one or two to forgive others for. If you have a partner, let him say to you, “Thank you, I set you free now.” If you do not, then imagine the person you are forgiving saying it to you. Do this for at least five or ten minutes. Search your heart for the injustices you still carry. Then let them go.
When you have cleared as much as you can for now, turn your attention to yourself. Say out loud to yourself, “I forgive myself for ___________.” Do this for another five minutes or so. These are powerful exercises and good to do at least once a week to clear out any remaining rubbish. Some experiences are easy to let go and some we have to chip away at, until suddenly one day they let go and dissolve.
Exercise: Visualization for the Children You and Your Parents Were
Another good exercise. Have someone read this one to you if you can, or put it on tape and listen to it.
Begin to visualize yourself as a little child of five or six. Look deeply into this little child's eyes. See the longing that is there and realize that there is only one thing this little child wants from you, and that is love. So reach out your arms and embrace this child. Hold it with love and tenderness. Tell it how much you love it, how much you care. Admire everything about this child and say that it’s okay to make mistakes while learning. Promise that you will always be there no matter what.
Now let this little child get very small, until it is just the size to fit into your heart. Put it there so whenever you look down, you can see this little face looking up at you, and you can give it lots of love.
Now visualize your mother as a little girl of four or five, frightened and looking for love and not knowing where to find it. Reach out your arms and hold this little girl and let her know how much you love her, how much you care. Let her know she can rely on you to always be there, no matter what. When she quiets down and begins to feel safe, let her get very small, just the size to fit into your heart. Put her there with your own little child. Let them give each other lots of love.
Now imagine your father as a little boy of three or four, frightened, crying, and looking for love. See the tears rolling down his little face when he doesn’t know where to turn. You have become good at comforting frightened little children, so reach out your arms and hold his trembling little body. Comfort him. Croon to him. Let him feel how much you love him. Let him feel that you will always be there for him.
When his tears are dry, and you feel the love and peace in his little body, let him get very small, just the size to fit into your heart. Put him there so those three little children can give each other lots of love and you can love them all.
There is so much love in your heart that you could heal the entire planet. But just for now let us use this love to heal you. Feel a warmth beginning to glow in your heart center, a softness, a gentleness. Let this feeling begin to change the way you think and talk about yourself.
In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete.
Change is the natural law of my life. I
welcome change. I am willing to change.
I choose to change my thinking. I choose to change the words I use.
I move from the old to the new with ease and with joy.
It is easier for me to forgive than I thought. Forgiving makes me feel free and light.
It is with joy that I learn to love myself more and more.
The more resentment I release, the more love I have to express.
Changing my thoughts makes me feel good.
I am learning to choose to make today a pleasure to experience. All is well in my world.
Published by Hay House, P.O. Box 5100, Carlsbad, CA 92018.
800-654-5126. Visit their website at www.hayhouse.com
You Can Heal Your Life (illustrated gift edition)
by Louise L. Hay.
Louise L. Hay, internationally renowned author and lecturer, brings you the beautiful gift edition of her landmark bestseller. Louise's key message is: "If we are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed." She explains how limiting beliefs and ideas are often the cause of illness, and shows how you can change your thinking - and improve the quality of your life!
About the Author
LOUISE L. HAY (October 8, 1926 – August 30, 2017) was a metaphysical lecturer and teacher and the best selling author of numerous books, including You Can Heal Your Life and Empowering Women. Her works have been translated into 26 different languages in 35 countries throughout the world. Louise was the founder and chairman of Hay House, Inc., a publishing company that disseminates books, audios, and videos that contribute to the healing of the planet.