There’s More to Life Than This

Have you experienced the sense that there must be something more to life than this? A feeling that just won’t go away. Yet you find yourself living a busy life with little time to contemplate where you are in life right now, never mind where you are trying to get to. Does it feel like the world is happening around you, that you are living in a daydream of your own life or perhaps living in a zombie like fashion?

Routines that were once comforting, part of an organised life, have become automated responses that occur in a repeated sequence, day after day. Switching on the TV as soon as you arrive home, then when the daily chores are finished you crash-out in front of it until bedtime – calling it ‘me time’.

The responsibilities of life subtly build up as nagging doubts become fears and lead to anxiety. They start to pervade your thoughts and seem to appear quite randomly and uncontrollable.

The attraction of TV, web surfing and social media merge take effect and reality disappears into the background, along with your fears, anxieties and concerns. Life becomes more tolerable. Although sometimes your thoughts are so busy that you have to distract yourself with drinking; just enough wine or beer to reach that state where your cares seem to dissolve.

A temporary solution, repeated, becomes habit. None of the underlying problems are solved. Tomorrow the pattern repeats itself. The inner peace that you desire continues to elude you. Life continues with a sense of quiet dissatisfaction. A sense that something is missing, that there is more to life than this.

You are not alone; this has become an every day existence for millions or people.

In fleeting moments of sanity an inner voice calls “what’s this all for?” and the voice of fear answers; “there’s bills to pay, mouths to feed and jobs to do”. ‘Responsibilities’ is one of the phrases that the world has given you. Along with the many other limiting words and phrases, its impact is collectively known as conditioning. This conditioning prevents you from being your beautiful self and from doing all the things that will bring you joy, peace and prosperity.

The conditioning of the world has effectively created a ‘thought prison’ within you mind. Freedom from the conditioning of others thinking is the only way to free yourself to choose the life that you want.

‘FREE TO CHOOSE THE LIFE THAT YOU WANT has been created to liberate you from the effects of the worlds thinking; to enable you to end living as a visitor in your own life. Liberation will awaken you to the multitude of opportunities available to you right now. At the end of this book you will have taken back control of all aspects of your life and started to build a life of your own choosing. Free to be who you choose to be.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get, what you’ve always got”.

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Forgiving Yourself for the Acts of Others

How to Forgive Without Forgetting

When justice can’t be found yet the pain is real, can we stop the suffering?

Eternal Suffering

When someone has suffered an injustice, sometimes more horrendous than anything most of us are ever going to experience in our lives, then the call for justice and retribution can be as powerful as the original tragedy.

The desire for justice or retribution can create emotions as strong as the feelings experienced at the time of the event. Most people’s moral code does not allow them to seek the revenge that they feel the people responsible may deserve. This process can lock the person in to a ‘victim trap’ – the need for justice to compensate for the suffering experienced. Should the need for revenge escalate, then performing the act of retribution can bring forth even more powerful feelings of guilt which in turn could lead to self-harm.

The person suffering (and I specifically choose not to use the label ‘victim’) can then become trapped by feelings of injustice, revenge and guilt, without any internal resolution. Resolution may be sought through the judicial system – which may satisfy a need for justice ‘to be seen to be done’ – but the results of which may not meet the emotional expectations of the individual.

Freeing a person from victim status, a sense of injustice and all of its associated pain and dissatisfaction can be achieved through a raised awareness of the importance of forgiveness to self-healing.

Bad Things Happen

Tragedy has been described as “not accepting that bad things happen”. Bad things happen all of the time – and can happen to anyone at any time. There are no pre-determined rules governing this. War, poverty, tsunamis, volcanos, earthquakes, famine and economic depression thwart most of the beautiful people of this beautiful planet. Random things happen in this world and do not wait for, nor depend on, human understanding.

A person will normally develop the idea that something wrong has happened, that they have been hurt and that right needs to be done. These feelings of ‘wrong’, ‘hurt’ and ‘right’ can extend the persons experience of pain in to suffering.

Accepting that bad things happen is a step towards recovery.

The acts of humans are a description of themselves, their values and beliefs.

One human may consider another not worthy on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, sex, age, physical appearance or any other multitude of seemingly (to them) plausible explanations. Their own values, beliefs, experiences or other condition may cause them to attach negative labels to other humans.

Such labels, no matter how simple, can allow one human to effect terrible acts upon another, and to them, in a justified way (and therefore with perceived authority). These acts are a representation of all their values and beliefs and are 100% owned by them. They are 0% owned by the recipient of such acts. Whatever acts occur they occur because the perpetrator of the act chose to effect them.

To Forgive Does Not Require That You Forget

It is not remembering the event that causes suffering but what we believe to be true about the event, or more specifically, the emotions, feelings and descriptions that we have associated with the event.

A person cannot choose to forget that something happened to them when a sense of hurt and wrong, associated with the event, has lead to a grievance. This may extend to a feeling of self-sacrifice if they are asked to adopt a ‘forgive and forget approach’. Such feelings prevent the event from passing in to memory and the associated pain from subsiding.

Our aim is not to forget that bad things happened but to put such events in a place where they no longer cause pain.

Separating truth from experience

Our emotions, feelings and descriptions create our beliefs about an event. Once we believe something it becomes our truth. And so our experience (a punch perhaps) becomes governed not by the truth (we were punched) but what we believe (we are a victim requiring justice to release us from our legitimate suffering).

Justice is based on polarised beliefs – it is not truth

A call for justice is typically seen as the best way to resolve a perceived injustice. This justice often requires one or more people to agree that ‘X’ caused harm to ‘Y’. Justice may require the perpetrator to confess that they did wrong. However, accepting that the perpetrator acted according to their own beliefs and or values, and that they may feel very righteous about their actions, shows how fraught such a process can be.

Forgiveness requires healing which requires an acceptance of reality

One of the few truths that we can know is that an event happened and that certain things happened as result of the event for example, “I was punched and it hurt”. If we add other information such as “I was innocent” or “they were wrong” we are choosing to believe these statements. The statements become our truth and we have now extended the event in to suffering.

Acknowledging that the perpetrator is 100% responsible for the event, accepting that bad things happen and choosing the extent to which we will continue to suffer after the event brings us closer to healing and so closer to forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not a moral, ethical or religious obligation

To give forgiveness is an act of cleansing ourselves of the hurt and pain that is interfering with our lives today and distracting us from ‘being the best that we can be”, today, with all of our life experiences (the good and the bad).

Above all forgiveness is a choice that we consciously make to help to heal ourselves. To say to ourselves “I am not a victim – I am a beautiful and valuable person”, “I love myself and will not allow myself to suffer another moment”. When these statements become our truth we can let go of notions of revenge and move forward with our lives.

We forgive ourselves before others

Forgiving ourselves comes from the recognition that the acts, of others, we find most abhorrent are indeed the acts that we would struggle to forgive ourselves of, should we commit them.

This approach is about helping people to not let their futures be ruled by past events and choices, and the recognition that it is we who create reality and truth for ourselves.

The person’s focus becomes personal growth and living life as ‘the best that we can be’.

We cannot ask someone to forgive

To ask another to simply forgive will be met by rejection (overtly or covertly) – remembering that others have beliefs that are also their truth about their hurt, suffering and injustice. All we can do is listen and help them along their journey.

Sympathy acts like a chain and ball. Understanding a person’s self perception as a victim is one thing – actively supporting it will lock them in to victim status and perhaps lead them to dependency on ‘injections’ of sympathy and support.

Forgiveness liberates

In reaching high levels of self-awareness we achieve a new understanding of truth, reality and our purpose in life. In doing so we are able to forgive ourselves and others.

This forgiveness liberates us from the suffering associated with being a victim and from injustice and the need for vengeance. It enables us to take full responsibility for our own well-being and not deferring it to another’s apology, lawyers, court rooms, or the sympathy of our family and peers.

Hello world!

Harmony

I discovered the meaning of life yesterday. Well I didn’t, I discovered it some time ago – its just taking me a long time to accept it as the truth. I mean the real truth. Deep down truth. A truth that defines my actions and behaviour. Its still a truth like knowing the moon waxes and wanes. Its there but I don’t do anything with the knowledge.

I guess its also a little difficult telling people something like this. They all think you’re a bit crazy. Well, why wouldn’t they.

The meaning of life is – LIFE. Just in case you might have missed it I put it in bold. That’s right. Its that experience we have, for differing lengths, between birth and death. Now stop and read that again. It becomes obvious but not profound, right. Let’s deal with that profound bit then.

Life only has the meaning that we give it.

OK it also has all those meanings that we have been taught to believe in. Our religion (and its beliefs), our nation (and its values) our parents (and what they believed was/is true about this world we inhabit), the books we read and the TV we watch, the newspapers we read, our teachers, our friends and….. well actually quite a loft of influences all vying to shape our truth. If you are reading this in the Western world you are very likely to believe that life is about possessions, money, power or fame, or all.

You may well be living a roller coaster of a life experiencing the ups of achievement and the downs of developing new needs and desires to be satisfied. Satisfaction and dissatisfaction all flowing in an endless cycle. Your meaning in life has become to satisfy those needs and desires whilst retaining your own values and beliefs. For example you may want to be rich beyond your dreams, however, if you also believe that we should not exploit other people then your path is going to be different to somebody who believes in being ‘no. 1’ at all costs.

Your life only has the meaning that you give it.

Here’s the rub – the meaning life has, for you, today is the one which you continue to hold on to. The one created by a combination of the above factors. Most of it created unwittingly (society / advertising / parents) and most of it created during your childhood years (trust me on this one until you’ve read my blog about that). The meaning you have for your life – which until now, you may not have realised – you actually have a choice about.

If that now seems perfectly obvious – try this. “You can choose the meaning of your life for yourself”. I’m not suggesting to be delusional e.g. ‘my purpose is to be God’ or ‘run a mile in under 1 minute’. But that still leaves a lot of scope to shape your life to be meaningful to you. In fact lets go a step further. For you to have a  life that has purpose/s that are chosen by you for you.

If you could do anything with your life – what would you do? Play with that for a while.

When you’re finished consider another truth. Whatever has happened up until now is already history. It cannot be changed, we can change our meaning for it. But it has gone never to return. The future has not yet arrived. Our experiences will have taught us, if we have listened to them, that whatever we fear about the future, it rarely turns out so badly. So with both of those things in mind the only thing we can truly do something about is the here and now.

Here’s a third and final piece. How we experience life’s events (the responses we are choosing) have until now been pretty much automatic. We had not realised that we can choose our responses to the events in our life – the emotions, the time spent on those emotions and our subsequent actions. These things seem to happen on autopilot. And that’s because they are – its all part of the influences that shaped us.

What we may not have realised is that it is those responses to events in our lives that shape our life.

The successful people in life learned along their journey that to make progress you have to take risks, and therefore, failure is part of the growing process, its part of learning about what works and what doesn’t. Talk to any successful person and they will be able to tell you about the obstacles they had to overcome, the times their ideas were rejected or failed (watch the video in the sidebar for some great examples).

They will also say that there were times they doubted themselves when they were worried that it may all be a bad idea. But they kept on, why?

What they learned in life was how to ‘bounce back’ how to be resilient, how to accept that in life bad things will happen and things will go wrong.

What drove them on was not the idea of money and success but their idea, their dream. The dream that became their purpose, that gave meaning to their life. They had learned the skills of resilience, of focus and self belief  from some very influential people, particularly during childhood.

The rest of us will have not had those influential people around and so didn’t get to learn those skills – very learnable skills. Learnable at any age.

Have you found the meaning to your life?