Monday, February 04, 2008
I read this article a friend sent to me; and it transcends all problems; including eating in an unhealthy way. I hope it helps someone besides me :)
10 Stepping Stones to Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Health
by Gerald Jampolsky, M.D. and Diane V. Cirincione, Ph.D.
In business as well as in our personal lives nothing causes more stress and diminished output than relationship problems. It is our fault finding and condemning others as well as ourselves that not only causes us stress but also has the potential of being injurious to our health. The grievances we hold on to someone we feel has wronged us or the grievances that we carry with us from old and new personal relationships can play an significant role in many of the illnesses that we seek medical attention for.
If you saw an advertisement about a new drug that guaranteed to free everyone from anger, grievances, guilt and shame, as well as many of the headaches, backaches, insomnia and other ailments that are frequently caused by our angry emotions and unforgiving thoughts, and if you were told that this remedy had no side effects, that it was impossible to overdose on it, and that it was free, wouldn’t you rush out to buy that drug?
The simple decision to forgive will do that and so much more. Through conscious forgiveness, you will find yourself feeling peaceful, happy, fully alive and with a zest for living that is beyond your imagination. The fact is that holding on to grievances and unforgiving thoughts is like putting toxins into the mind. We would never knowingly ingest poison, yet we continue to keep angry, toxic thoughts in our minds. Our emotions affect our immune system and every organ in the body. Holding on to "attack thoughts" and grudges is like taking poison and expecting someone else to die!
The decision not to forgive is actually a decision to continue suffering. Why then do so many of us find it so difficult to forgive? We believe it is because we do not understand the function and benefits of such a practice. It is essential to realize that to forgive someone is not to condone or approve of a horrendous act. It does not mean that the individual is not responsible for what he or she has done. Forgiveness simply means that we have made the decision to heal our own minds by letting go of the hurtful past, a past that our anger and judgments cannot change.
Zalinda Carusa Ziegler is an example of how toxic thoughts affect the body. Fourteen years ago her nineteen-year-old son was murdered by a casual acquaintance who was convicted of the murder and sentenced to prison. Whenever he was up for parole, Zalinda, with her family and friends, would testify that this man should never be released from prison. She believed that he had committed an unforgivable act and should remain in prison for the rest of his life.
Through the years, Zalinda developed an increasing number of medical problems. Her hair began falling out; her gall bladder acted up; she had gastrointestinal problems; and she frequently felt depressed and agitated. Zalinda realized that revenge had become her primary purpose in life and that stoking the fire of what she considered her justified anger preoccupied most of her thoughts.
It was about this time that she read one of our books, Love is Letting Go of Fear, and decided that rather than anger and revenge, she wanted peace of mind. She began visiting this murderer in prison, and initially shared only her anger and lack of forgiveness with him. After several months, she began to notice a few positive characteristics about this man.
As time went on, she was able to forgive him and even became instrumental in his parole from prison. The day he was released, she was there to drive him away from the prison. Simultaneously, all of her medical problems disappeared. Zalinda continues to work with prisoners, sharing her powerful story of forgiveness and healing.
Several years ago we met a physician who told us how he and his brother had had such a terrible disagreement that they did not speak to each other for over seven years. This physician finally recognized that his angry, unforgiving thoughts toward his brother were simply boomeranging back onto him. He decided that he was not going to hang on to the hurtful past, called his brother, and invited him to have breakfast the next morning. He did not know how his brother would react and there was a long silence before his brother agreed. They shared a two–hour breakfast and all the hostility of the past dissolved and they parted friends. Three days later his brother was killed in an automobile accident.
Forgiveness is the bridge to love, peace, happiness and well being. It allows us to say good-bye to guilt, blame and shame. It purifies the heart and soul and puts us in touch with all that is sacred. Through forgiveness, we connect with that which is greater than ourself and become the person God intended us to be.
The key to forgiveness is the willingness to make the effort. How long it takes depends on your belief system. If you think it can’t be done, it won’t happen. If you believe it will take years, that will be your experience. But if you are willing to believe that it can be done in an instant, that is all it will take.
The Stepping Stones to Forgiveness
1. Be open to the possibility of changing your beliefs about forgiveness. Recognize that forgiveness is an act of strength, not weakness.
2. Be willing to let go of being a victim. Choose to believe that holding on to grievances and unforgiving thoughts is choosing to suffer. Find no value in self-pity.
3. Remind yourself that your anger and judgments can’t change the past or punish someone else, but they can hurt you. The events of the past cannot hurt you now, but your thoughts about the past can cause you immense distress and pain. Recognize that any emotional pain you feel this moment is caused only by your own thoughts.
4. See the value of giving up, not some, but all of your judgments. It is no coincidence that the happiest people are those who choose not to judge and know the value of forgiveness.
5. Recognize that holding on to anger will not bring you what your truly want. Ask yourself this question, "Does holding on to my justified anger really bring me peace of mind?" Anger and peace; judgment and happiness do not occur at the same time.
6. See that there is no value in punishing yourself. Once you truly recognize that your angry, unhappy thoughts about the past are poisoning your life, you will embrace forgiveness and know the meaning of love.
7. Believe that forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past! Accept your past, forgive your past, and embrace the present and future with hope! There is no law forcing you to remain a victim of the past.
8. Choose to be happy rather than right. When we stop trying to control others and focus instead on our own thoughts, we give ourselves the gift of freedom and peace.
9. Believe that you have the power to choose the thoughts you put into your mind. Perhaps the greatest gift we have been given is the power to choose loving thoughts rather than angry ones. Your mind is not a dumpster that will remain unaffected by the trash you put into it. Treat it like a garden and it will blossom.
10. Be willing to make peace of mind your only goal and believe that forgiveness is the key to happiness. Regardless of the chaos around us, we can know peace if that is our single goal. Choose not to let outside circumstances or people decide whether you will be happy. Anger, judgments and unforgiving thoughts make suffer, and releasing them brings us joy. It truly is that simple!