Thursday, 15 March 2012

The Alchemy of Forgiveness

Within my Tarot and Spiritual Counseling sessions I often encounter clients who misunderstand the concept of forgiveness.  I regularly hear spiritual teachers and mentors suggest forgiveness is a key ingredient in the emotional aspect of healing - when it’s accepted that the emotional state has an important relationship with our physical well-being as well as having a strong influence on the reality we create for ourselves, it’s important to get a clear understanding of what’s required so that the healing process is as swift and effective as it can possibly be.

How many times have you been advised to ‘forgive yourself’? For many, the idea can seem perplexing and a professional should never offer this kind of advice to a client without proper explanation - the process of forgiveness is just the beginning in the alchemical flow of transformation. It must be properly followed through to completion to avoid the individual slipping back into the old, unhelpful ways of being.

At the deepest level, we need to recognize the damaging patterns of negative emotions related to a sense of guilt or shame, not being ‘good enough’ or failure associated with low self-worth. The behaviours these emotions create and the projections they offer to others can be thought of as a form of punishment we repeatedly inflict upon ourselves as our external world mirrors our internal state of being.

Once these deep patterns have been recognized, we can more clearly see the mask of self-punishment we wear - it causes us to constantly turn on ourselves and results in a lack of security sad sense of disappointment in life. The process of self-forgiveness is very much about removing this mask - both energetically and through clear insight - so that the root causes of our problems can be exposed.

The root causes vary between individuals, but they are almost always negative resonances deeply ingrained in the psyche, energetic blueprint and DNA. They can stem from past lives, ancestral or inherited issues, pre-conceptual patterns related to the ‘soul contract’, pre-birth or birth trauma, childhood problems or dramatic life events. It takes gut and determination to heal these kinds of issues on every level and the results can vary according to our individual receptiveness to change as well as the skill and sensitivity of the practitioners we choose to work with.

Forgiving others is a slightly different story. It’s another common misconception that this kind of forgiveness involves compromising the self to let go of anger towards or disappointment in the other person in order to create a situation whereby it feels acceptable to remain entwined in a relationship with them. These kinds of relationships often involve some kind of co-dependency or dysfunction whereby each party perpetuates the problematic patterns within the other.

Lovers from the Soulscapes Tarot by Jade Ashcroft © 2012
On a conscious or subconscious level, an addictive connection or sense of need is developed between the parties that can seem almost impossible to break. The patterns behind the behaviour that trigger the anger or disappointment are then simply repeated and we become stuck in an emotional ‘groundhog day’ whereby the need for forgiveness arises again and again.

This is the story behind bad marriages, unpleasant family dynamics and unhappy working relationships. We can recognise this sorry state of affairs in most of the situations that we feel we simply have to put up with because we believe other factors make it necessary for us to connect with those people whose actions trigger the anger, disappointment or sadness that holds us back.

The first concept to be aware of when dealing with this kind of challenge is to recognise that continuing to place oneself in the problematic relationship is most likely to be a result of the low self-worth that requires the process of self-forgiveness I’ve already discussed.

When the root causes of low self-worth are identified and tackled, the anger or disappointment in the other person is often also exposed as being connected to those very same issues and the individual realises the dependency or co-dependency that’s been trapping them is an illusion they can easily transcend. 
Of course, we can work on ourselves, but can never force the other person to make what we perceive to be desperately needed changes. Even if we can persuade them to look at what needs transforming, they have their own inner work to do, and whether they do it is a matter of choice. In many cases, it is necessary to hand back the burdens we have on some level agreed to carry for the other person in the situation and assert our own boundaries when it comes to accepting responsibility.

So what’s the outcome of forgiveness when another person is involved? Sometimes our own process can transform the relationship and both parties can make the shift into a healthier connection. On other occasions, we realise the relationship is no longer needed, since the lessons it had to offer us have been processed and learned; we become empowered with freedom and find the strength to step away. This is very different from running away - since the patterns we create will remain prevalent until dealt with, so it’s never enough to extract ourselves from a relationship or situation without dealing with what’s truly going on beneath the surface.

In my view of existence, since we are the One currently enjoying an experience of separation in the form of human incarnation, the situations around us and people we’re connected with are our own creation. They are simply aspects of ourselves that we have chosen to experience in order to learn the lessons we have contracted to explore. They demand transformation so that we can expand and grow, eventually reaching the point where we realise that we are One again, and we see the dance of life from a totally different perspective.
Forgiveness is deep inner work. It requires self-responsibility, a sense of empowerment and the recognition of our own choice and Free Will. All these concepts are beautiful things that are an integral part of the healing process of the soul’s journey and the flow of awakening consciousness as we shift from duality to Oneness. Now’s the time to use forgiveness to explore freedom as we lift the limitations on our personal potential.

When we know how, it’s simple to move from sadness into joy.

Rhian Kivits – Crystal Priestess
Rhian is a Spiritual Teacher, Crystal & Energy Healing Expert, Writer, TV Presenter, Shamanic Seer, Crystal Skull Guardian & Priestess of the Sacred Feminine based in Glastonbury, UK. She is also co-author of the book ‘Crystal Skulls – a Journey of Wisdom, Experiences and the Divine’ which is due to be published in the Spring. Her website is www.templeofthegoldenheart.com