As several parts of the world are back in lockdown with another wave of COVID-19, in the northern hemisphere the days are increasingly short and dark. Even while Nature is introverted, the skies are dim and we are in isolation, we can discover a light that never ceases for renewed hope and energy. We are always connected, held within the wise and compassionate fabric of life.
This week, as we consider how happiness arises from interconnection, let’s continue the exploration of our capacity to forgive. Here are three practical ways to put the power of interconnection into practice for greater health, peace and joy.
1. Reconnect with the moment. Our experiences colour our perspective. And because our perspective is limited, in turn it colours our experiences. When feeling hurt and called to forgive, we need to pause and consider that we may not be seeing the full picture.
Without realizing it, we tend to engage in an ongoing struggle with the present moment. Most of us feel that it is somehow against us or failing to meet our needs. This is a painful way to live. It counters our essence and the natural flow of life. Living this way is what I call being in the impossibilities. We feel disconnected from love, from ourselves, and from the world around us. Inevitably, we suffer and cause suffering to others.
The wise remind us that happiness is a choice. We can choose where we place our attention and how we relate to what is before us. When we choose to relate to life not from a perspective of struggle but of supportive connection, we experience greater happiness, fulfillment and peacefulness. This interconnected state is what I call the positive possibilities.
Living in the positive possibilities is like turning on an inner light switch that lights up your inner and outer world. You have the power to do this, because you have the ability to choose how you perceive the moment. When you step into the positive possibilities, you tap into the abundance of life, regardless of circumstance. You are present for the moment exactly as it is, because you know that beyond your likes and dislikes, there is a universal wisdom guiding you now towards greater wholeness. Life in the positive possibilities is like a never-expiring gift. All you need to do to receive it is open and say “yes!” to life itself. In the positive possibilities you know that you and this moment are enough in every way. You know that the universe vibrates at the frequency of your deepest joy, supports you in ways you often cannot see, and has never let you down.
How does reconnecting with the moment help you with forgiveness? By shifting your perspective and tapping into the positive possibilities, you empower yourself. You can see a fuller picture to what was going on in a painful situation than you had yet realized. You choose to let go of any false notion that life is happening to you, and you relish knowing that the universe always has your back.
In this moment, try adjusting your perspective and look at a hurtful situation with fresh eyes. When you experience it through the lens of the positive possibilities, what do you see? Likely, there is enough missed information to disarm all hostility and awaken greater understanding for yourself and others.
2. Recognize what you and the other have in common. Take a few deep breaths now and consider that we all have a tendency, to some extent or other, to antagonize or alienate those we feel have hurt us. You can likely think of a few examples in your own life or in the world around you.
Now think of how everyone shares the same basic needs for food, water and shelter. We also share the need for love and connection. When we look deeper, we see that we even share the fear that we will not get these things. Now consider the person who hurt you in that light. Can you see that you have these hopes and fears in common? Then consider this: if someone throws a punch or says hurtful words, they are not in presence and joy, but in pain. Someone who cheats on their partner or lies to their friend is not in a place of love for self or other, but in suffering.
You and the person who hurt you both wish for love. You are both in pain, and you both wish not to be. Perhaps the ways you or they have acted on that wish are not ideal and led to greater suffering. That is a choice. But in your pain and fundamental needs, you and they are on the same page. See if you can focus, not on your differences, but on your similarities and more deeply, on your shared humanity. Notice the freedom that comes with this practice and how it moves you naturally towards forgiveness.
3. Realign with the fabric of life. Everything you are in mind, body and spirit, and everything around you, is interconnected with all of existence. This is your nature, which you can momentarily forget but can never lose. Wisdom, balance and compassion may seem challenging to find, especially when you have been hurt. Yet they are the very fabric of life, of which you are an integral part. As such, they are your destiny. Returning to them heals you and eases the pain of our world.
In the first practice, we looked at how much power you gained in shifting your perspective into the positive possibilities to cultivate greater understanding. In the second, you witnessed the ways we are all more similar than different. In this third practice in the light of interconnection, allow your heart to open to the situation. Soften your grip that is holding onto the pain. Watch pain become fertilizer for the seeds of compassion to flower in your heart. By understanding the pain’s source and its tendency to perpetuate, you are giving yourself the opportunity to experience healing. See if you can go there now. Consider how forgiveness is ultimately the conscious re-direction of your understanding toward your natural state of oneness and interconnection, and the compassionate wish for everyone to experience the same.
With these three practices, you have practical tools to find the freedom you have longed to experience and that you so deeply deserve. This week, use them as often as you can. Intentionally sit in the morning or evening and work through them. Write in a journal. Sit in meditation and contemplation. Or rest into a visualization with them. Allow the light of forgiveness to dawn in your mind, heart and spirit. To honour your most natural self, do so in a way that feels rooted, vital, and expansive. With cool minds and warm hearts, we save the world.
From my heart to yours,