Why We Can't Forgive
Not so long ago, if one even mentioned the word forgiveness in victimized company you would see eyes glaze over. Forgiveness was not cool. On the other hand, laying blame and getting even was very cool. This is not surprising since forgiveness has been universally unpopular for eons. It has been seen to be beyond the reach of ordinary folk.
But recently there has been a shift. People are beginning to realize that there is a very high price to be paid for “un-forgiveness”. Research clearly shows that holding onto resentments and old hurts leads to cancer and all sorts of physical illness not to mention depression, addictions and dysfunctional behavior.
This increasing awareness of the need for forgiveness has not made it any easier to achieve. It seems just as difficult as ever. Even those who do the work find that even though they think they have forgiven, as soon as something triggers them, they discover that deep down the pain and hurt is still there. Nothing has really healed. Denial has simply covered it over.
The reason it is so difficult and takes so long to achieve is that there is an inherent conflict in the notion of traditional forgiveness. In trying to forgive the willful perpetrator of what we see as a crime against us, the desire to forgive is in direct opposition to our need to condemn. Add to this the fact that the desire to forgive is an abstraction while the crime is (on the face of it anyway), an indisputable fact, and you will understand why forgiveness seldom prevails.
There is also the question of degree. The more you were hurt or damaged, the more the scales will naturally tip towards the need to condemn. Years of therapy will help of course, but so long as there is any residual regret or pain - true forgiveness will remain elusive no matter how much compassion we bring to the situation and no matter how much we try to “just let it go.”
Forgiveness cannot be willed. We can make a decision to forgive but that's it. It will happen when it happens. We say, “time heals.” This just means that it will happen when we get just plain tired of holding onto the resentment. That can take years, generations, and for some, lifetimes.
How do we know if we have truly forgiven? The best way is to notice how we feel in the gut when we are suddenly reminded of the act committed by the person we were trying to forgive. If there is absolutely no reaction and we feel totally peaceful about it, we might assume we have forgiven. But how can we trust that? How can we be sure? Well, it's a good indication that we haven't forgiven if we get disproportionately upset when we observe something akin to what happened to us occurring elsewhere. The more upset we get, the more it is our pain projected. That tells us we haven't really forgiven and there is more work to do.
If we find the same kind of thing happening to us again with someone else that's a good sign that the basic energy block is still there and we have created another opportunity to heal it once again. That's what we call a recurring pattern and it always indicates a core issue that still needs to be healed...
When I was
working with cancer patients in the early nineties, it was exciting to learn
that one of the root causes of cancer was a lack of forgiveness. Being part of
the problem, it must also be part of the solution, I reasoned. But when I looked
at the research and saw just how difficult forgiveness was and how long it took,
my heart sank.
It was in that moment that RADICAL Forgiveness was born. Though it is a very radical statement, it nevertheless made perfect sense to me in that moment. I knew exactly what he meant. I saw in that moment that as spiritual beings having a human experience we are co-creating our lives with Spirit moment by moment. And every experience we have is divinely planned and orchestrated for our soul's growth. The principal reason for our journey is to heal the dream of separation and to remember who we are. Our Higher Selves attract others into our lives so we can play out the drama of separation for each other.
Forgiveness Is Not Letting Bygones
That's when I understood that, seen from the spiritual perspective, there can be no victims or perpetrators in this dance - and therefore no right or wrong. What we call life is essentially an illusion - a spiritual game designed for our spiritual growth.
(This is not to say that the physical world is not real in the physical sense. Neither am I saying that we are not accountable for our actions in this physical world. We are. We have to be in the human world to the fullest extent even while knowing that beneath the apparent reality of this world, there is a deeper and more profound meaning to life that, right now, we are not fully privy to. Knowing that the Love of the Universe is flowing in every situation gives us the strength and the power to act with purpose and integrity, and to take right action free from the judgment and fear - oriented mindset that ordinarily determines our perception of life. Not only are we always more likely to be flowing with life and in peace, when we allow ourselves to feel the Love, we are also more likely to be effective in this world).
I began to teach this form of forgiveness to the cancer patients who attended our Georgia CancerHelp Program retreats because, unlike traditional forgiveness, RADICAL Forgiveness is very fast. It is virtually instantaneous. It is also extremely easy to do since it involves just doing some very simple worksheets, and requires no special skill or understanding.
Though RADICAL Forgiveness has some distinct similarities to the ideas expressed in A Course in Miracles, I never became a student of that program because for me it seemed so intellectual and difficult to understand. I wanted RADICAL Forgiveness to be really simple, easy to understand and above all very practical - something you could very easily integrate into your everyday life. I wanted it to be something that people could do for themselves and share with others in the course of ordinary conversation without needing to be any kind of 'expert.'
It was for this purpose that my wife, JoAnna, and I created the Institute of Radical Forgiveness Therapy and Coaching; to train people to do just that. Being a RADICAL Forgiveness Coach is not difficult because it is mainly a matter of showing people how to use the tools and supporting them through the process. We have trained many people around the world who not only find it a spiritually satisfying career for themselves but are making an enormous difference to peoples' lives.
I should also point out that RADICAL Forgiveness Therapy is therapy for the soul. This is an important distinction since a major difference between the two forms of forgiveness is that RF requires absolutely no therapy as we normally understand it. There is no need to go digging up the past. (This mattered a lot to the cancer patients because, having spent a lifetime repressing emotions, they had no appetite whatsoever for doing emotional work). Therapy is not required because there is nothing to fix. You are perfect just the way you are and what is occurring for you is exactly what you need and have created.
Remember those recurring patterns I mentioned earlier? Being abandoned over and over, always getting into abusive relationships, getting fired every two or three years and so on. Well, as I said, those repetitive patterns are telling you that something needs healing from way back. Each time it happens, it is your Higher Self giving you another opportunity to heal that original pain and/or toxic belief. It may be from this lifetime or generational pain that resides in your genes. It may even be past life pain. It doesn't matter. You don't need to know what it is. You don't have to go to a hypno-therapist to find out. You don't need a therapist to give you fancy reasons why you are so “screwed up.” All you have to do is open your mind to the possibility that your healer is that person who just the other day did something to you that made you disproportionately upset or angry.
It may have been something quite insignificant but if it triggered you, it was important. He or she was resonating your pain and offering you the opportunity once again to heal it. Now here's what's exciting. To heal that original pain, whatever it was, all you have to do is fill in a simple RADICAL Forgiveness worksheet on that person and event. That will heal everything all the way back to the original issue. I know it sounds ridiculous and far too simple to be true, but I have been doing this work for three years now, teaching workshops worldwide on this technology, and I can tell you - it works. How does it work? I think it works at the subtle energetic levels - just like a homeopathic remedy.
In order to make a homeopathic remedy a tiny amount of the substance that may have made you sick in the first place is put into water. That is then diluted many thousands of times, to the extent that if you took a microscope and tried to find one molecule of the substance in the water, you would find nothing. It would appear to be just water. A skeptic would dismiss it as nothing more. What the skeptic would not realize is that what does exist in the water is the energetic imprint of the original substance and it is that that triggers the healing response.
It's the same with RADICAL Forgiveness. What happens when you do a worksheet is that you put out into the ethers the energetic imprint of forgiveness and acceptance of what - is, as is. In other words you align your energy with that of the Universe - the truth.
Just as a person might be skeptical about the power of a homeopathic remedy to heal, so too would they look at a forgiveness worksheet and have little faith in its ability to heal anybody. I can only tell you that the technology works. I have seen it transform thousands of people's lives and observed it working at the group level too. I can also assure you that it is firmly grounded in quantum theory and modern ways of theorizing about the Holographic Universe and how energy moves. It is consistent too with Rupert Sheldrake's theories of morphic resonance and many other scientific ideas that are helpful in explaining how this works.
Try it for
yourself and see what happens.
A World of
Forgiveness by 2012
Colin and JoAnna Tipping have a mission: to raise the consciousness of the planet through Radical Forgiveness and to create a world of forgiveness by 2012. Having proven beyond doubt that this technology works to heal individuals, they are now out to prove that it can work for communities, races and entire populations.
In 1999, they founded the International Center for Meditation and Reconciliation Through Radical Forgiveness, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corp.
Having written and published in Australia a book entitled, Reconciliation Through Radical Forgiveness, Colin departs, with JoAnna, for Australia in September to help heal the huge rift between aboriginal and white Australians. My prayers certainly go with them - and I would ask for yours, too.
There is a
critical mass of Australians who want reconciliation and are willing to do what
it takes to achieve it. They want to break free from the victim/perpetrator
archetype. Once Colin has demonstrated it successfully in
he will be in a better position to offer it to Americans who are ready to fully
If you would care to express your desire for a world of forgiveness, and for racial reconciliation in America, visit Radicalforgiveness.org and read the 'Spiritual Petition.' Then add your name to the petition. Thanks!
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