Don't Even Think Of Forgiving
When the wounds (or the deaths) are really raw (close to the event) then I believe that nobody should even think of forgiveness. If you are a supporter of anyone dealing with tragedy, then at this stage, don't even mention forgiveness. The process of hatred and anger and thoughts of revenge are natural and I believe healthy in the early stages of grieving.
When the victim of a tragedy (the survivor) is feeling extreme bitterness, hatred, unbearable ongoing hurt, anger, revenge, then do not even think about forgiveness. Every time you do (think about forgiveness) you will only feel more upset and hurt yourself. There has been enough hurt - you don't need any more. I say to express your rage! Vent your spleen, as much as you can, on the perpetrator, society, circumstances ... whatever you need to do to release your anger and hurt. In your mind this will help, because by doing this, you will be preserving the love for your departed one(s), you will not condone the actions of violence, you will not help the perpetrator, right now this is a way of reassuring yourself that you are being loyal to your loved ones.
Forgiveness is a choice. Only when you can bear to find out its meaning will you be able to investigate the purpose of forgiveness.
Handling The Trauma And Some Questions
Before I start on my explanation I want to pose a situation that too many people confront. Six months on, or even twelve months (and more) after a tragedy in which you have lost a loved one, every time you think of the event, or the lost loved one, or the perpetrator, then you are hurt. This hurt upsets you and you may become angry or you may show other emotions. This has perhaps become a habit. I know of a number of situations that by doing this it has affected relationships - one partner wants to move on and the other stays stuck in grief - a form of loyalty to the lost loved one.
To continue, another way the loss may be handled is not to think about the event. Every time you think about it, you are hurt and emotional. And as you don't want to do this to yourself, so you attempt to banish the thoughts from your mind. I know of a situation whereby the parents of a lost loved one did not allow even the mentioning of that child's name in the house. So for a while you feel you can cope with life. Can you ever forget? No! Never! Your subconscious mind, your deep inner mind has always got the memory (and the habits). This is the same mind that is your dream mind, but you don't have control over it. So what happens? Hot sweats, nightmares, unexplained anger, irrational actions! Familiar? This is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by not fully processing the tragedy. Today we have counsellors who help to do this. It is always extremely important to talk and talk and talk ... do not bury your thoughts.
Let me ask a question. How does your lost loved one want to be remembered? I'll bet that they wouldn't want you to be hurt or emotional every time you think of them! I think they would say something like "Hey Mum, remember the time when .... and we laughed and laughed ...."? Only happy memories would be their answer. Ask them ... see if you get an answer inside of you! You are the master of what you do to yourself.
Here are another series of questions to ask yourself when you are ready. How are you handling your loved one's murder or death? Does it hurt? Is it painful? Do you get angry? And now the big questions ... Is this making you feel better, or worse? Is this helping or hindering you to handle life? And lastly, the questions ... Who has power over this? Is there an alternative
What is the Purpose of Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is for yourself only. It is to help you to move on. It does not condone any crime. It does not give the perpetrator a signal to go out and do it again. It is, I believe, a spiritual act and God is involved. If we agree with God being omnipotent and omnipresent then we are not separated from God. God is within each one of us. We therefore, in the process of forgiveness of the perpetrator, we can do what is within our power. What does the perpetrator do with your forgiveness? That's up to them. The perpetrator may make peace with God, may be remorseful, may understand how many lives they have severely affected, and may ask for forgiveness from God. Whatever they do is not your responsibility. You are primarily responsible for yourself only.
One way of forgiving can be done in meditation. Why do I recommend this way? Because it is a test of whether you really mean it or not. Whether you have released the bitterness, anger, hatred, resentment, etc... It may be easy for some to say out loud "I forgive you" and not mean it at all. When you do this in meditation and you don't really mean it, then you will choke on the words. You won't be able to say it in meditation if you don't mean it. What do you do then? Work more on releasing anger, acceptance, letting go, and unconditional love.
So, please only forgive when you are ready and always, yes always, remember the good events. Flood any negative memories with those good events by visualising them taking place again inside your mind. I encourage you to practise forgiveness in every day life and observe how you feel - only when you are ready.
How are you? This is RH I did your course when you came to Melbourne. Sorry it has been six months to write and let you know how I'm going. Firstly I have to tell you that doing your seminar was one of the best things I have ever learnt and really appreciate what you did for me. Peaceful Place is a part of my life every day even if its for 1 to 3 minutes and I do your Relaxation and Meditation CDs most days. It is and always will be a part of my life as it helps me so much in how I feel and daily stress. I have moved to Perth 3 weeks ago to be with my father and my sister and brother. So nice to be home with family. I am feeling well and look after my health just starting to get back into a routine. I am still doing alternative things and still choose not to do chemo and full surgery for breast cancer. I feel a lot better having my family here to support me. I hope all is going well for you Sandy and your family and I always think of you when I listen to your calming and caring voice on the CD. I hope in the future we can meet again. Take care and all the best. R.H. Vic
Our family is going on an overseas trip from the 20th November to Jan 13th, so unfortunately we won't be in Australia in time to attend the first CHI seminar. My husband and I attended your Port Macquarie seminar some months ago and I would like to thank you for helping me in overcoming some anxieties I had about travelling overseas. On one hand I have been excited about travelling through many different countries and spending much quality time with my husband and three children, and on the other hand I felt I was being held back by my fear about plane travelling and our safety while we are away. I listened very closely to your calming, inspiring words and purchased one of your meditation CDs to take home (Overcoming Fear). Each and every day since then, I have scheduled time into my day to meditate, guided by your CD, and within a very short time I noticed a calmness with in myself and a decrease in my anxiety about travelling. I look forward to my mediation time each day and have noticed a considerable difference in how I feel in general. Being anxious and fearful is so debilitating and consuming, I now feel so much lighter and freer to think about other more positive things. Thank you ?so much, I am so thrilled with you program that whenever the opportunity presents itself, I spread the word. Our world needs more people like you. Have an enjoyable, peaceful Christmas. I look forward to catching up with you again at another one of your wonderful seminars in the future. I.S. NSW