what’s your number? (lessons in forgiveness part 1)
A few days ago I watched a documentary called ‘The Cure Is…’. The basic premise was that modern medicine is not curing people of disease, it either masks the disease with symptom-alleviating drugs or provides expensive treatment plans that have little evidence to support claims that they actually heal people (I’m looking at you, chemotherapy and radiation therapy).
The filmmaker of this documentary wanted to explore other options we have of reversing diseases, particularly diseases that are commonly thought to be terminal. The filmmaker also went one step further by exploring the options we have for preventing disease in the first place. Now hang in there with me for a minute, because some of this can sound a bit woo woo. But hopefully the bit that I am focusing on will resonate.
With evidence from a former stem cell researcher, Brian Lipton PhD, the documentary presents a case for our genetics not being predetermined to the extent it is thought in mainstream science. In fact, it is possible that 80 or 90 percent of our genetics are determined by environmental and lifestyle factors. These factors include chemical exposure, the food we eat and how active or inactive we are. However one of the most important factors is largely overlooked by modern medicine. That factor is our thoughts, particularly those in our subconscious mind. They have overwhelming power to make us sick or healthy, to heal us or to kill us.
The thoughts in our subconscious mind are made up of habitual thoughts from our conscious mind. Habitual thoughts come from our perception of ourselves and the self-talk we use, the family and social environment we grew up in as children, how stressed we are and so on. Luckily, we have the power to change our subconscious thoughts and thereby facilitate greater health in ourselves through the use of meditation, affirmations and letting go of past anger and resentment.
This last point, letting go of past anger and resentment, was where I stopped short. Part of me has known for a long time that holding onto bitterness does me far more harm than the person I am angry towards. In fact, just before I had seen the documentary, two of my close friends had told me as such within the space of 24 hours. But my thought process up until now has been that some of the things that I am angry about were so morally (and legally) abhorrent and so damaging to me, that forgiveness is not possible. Therefore, the best I thought I could do, was to push what happened out of my mind and try to move on with my life.
But at some point in the last year, it all became too much. There were so many people that I was suppressing anger towards that triggers for anxiety and panic were coming at me daily. Meditation and yoga is helpful, and more recently I have started using affirmations daily, however I know that isn’t enough. I need to forgive those who have done wrong by me. As one of my dear friends told me, forgiveness is for ourselves much more than it is for the person who harmed us. And, most importantly, she told me that forgiveness does not mean that we condone what the person has done.
With that encouragement, over the last 3 days I have been compiling a list of people I need to forgive. At last count, my list had 19 people on it, including myself. 19 people! I count myself very lucky if 19 friends to turn up to a gathering or if 19 people attend an environmental campaign meeting I’ve organised. Another way of looking at it is that I have one person to forgive for every year and a quarter of my life! No wonder I have been so physically unwell. That is a helluva lot of baggage I’ve been carrying around.
So now I actually have to forgive these people. I haven’t quite worked out how to do that yet. This is the point at which a life manual would be really useful. I could just go to the index, find that forgiveness is on page 6478 and look it up to find the answer. I think what I’ll do is write letters to two of the people, tell one person face to face and the rest (including myself) I’ll meditate on. I have heard that Louise Hay’s book ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ is brilliant on the topic of forgiveness. I’ve ordered it online, so hopefully it will provide more guidance on this process.
Does forgiveness help you heal? What do you do to forgive people?
A personal warning: I found parts of ‘The Cure Is…’ to be overly dramatised (read: Americanised). The bits I found particularly cringy were the summaries of Bob Proctor, a motivational speaker, and the uplifting I-am-an-eagle-soaring-in-the-sunset-sky music that accompanied excerpts about the miracles of nature. If you do watch the documentary, please look past that and try to listen to the substance of the message, because I think it makes a lot of sense.