Do you have any secret hurts? You know what I mean -- that place inside of you that aches for healing but never seems quite able to find it. If you're tracking with me, then you also know what it means to have someone trample all over that hurt, sometimes without even realizing it. And you have probably trampled right back or at least lashed out in some kind of "how-dare-you" kind of reaction.
The truth is that we have all endured hurt in our lives. Some suffer physically in ways unimaginable, while others suffer in less visible but no less hurtful ways. That we each have been hurt in the past is a virtual given. That most of us will endure even more hurt going forward seems highly predictable. That we need to trample back when trampled upon is NOT a given, however.
If you have ever trampled all over someone, either intentionally or unintentionally, and later regretted your actions, then perhaps you understand the value of forgiveness. Perhaps you have longed for the forgiveness of another and found that it wasn't forthcoming. On the other hand, you may have been forgiven but still can't let go of the regret.
If you still live with regret from any of your past actions, what you most need is not the forgiveness others might be able to offer; the only forgiveness that matters in the long run is self-forgiveness. Self-forgiveness stems from the realization that whatever you might have done, or even whatever the other person might have done, has less to do with the action itself, but more with the judgment you have placed against yourself for judging in the first place. Judging anyone, yourself included, is a source of great pain because judging denies the Divinity of both yourself and the other person.
Denying that anyone is Divine creates separation from the one experience we desperately seek, that of our own soul, of our own divinity. Your soul knows it is Divine just as it knows that all souls are Divine. Do Divine beings err? Well, probably not the soul, but as Teilhard de Chardin put it: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience. Part of the human experience is to err.
That deep pain you have experienced in your life, the one that won't seem to let go, is anchored in having forgotten your Divinity and focusing instead on the part of you that has erred. Denial of your true source is easy enough to come by -- it's simply a byproduct of having a human experience in this world and losing sight of the ultimate truth that you are soul having that human experience.
Focusing on what happens in the day-to-day drumbeat of life on the planet makes it easy to lose sight that it is your soul having that human experience. The human side of experience often comes with a great deal of drama and noise, while the soul quietly moves through what happens with the equanimity that comes from knowing its true essence.
Whenever you return to your ultimate truth, to your self as soul, pain dissolves and peace takes its place. The peace that is restored is always with you. However, you may not always be present with your peace. Whenever you remove yourself from the reality of your soul, you step away from your peace. Stepping away automatically brings with it a sense of discomfort; persisting in the separation eventually becomes your source of pain. How could it be otherwise?
If your true essence is Divine and if your soul is naturally at peace, then doesn't it stand to reason that pain is a sign of having placed your focus someplace other than on who you truly are? Even if this seems a bit woo-woo to you, how about at least giving it some consideration the next time you find yourself in pain? After all, what have you got to lose? Other than your pain, that is.
If this makes even a modicum of sense to you, or if you are at least willing to give it a go, may I suggest that you explore the notion of what it means to be a soul having a human experience? If you're looking for a place to start, there are countless ways. You could simply cruise the GPS for the Soul page right here at HuffPost for ideas or try our meditation page.
If you're looking for something more specifically aligned with the kinds of ideas I have been sharing in this Soul-Talk series, you would do well to consider reading this amazing book by Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick, Loyalty to Your Soul. Or you could start with this HuffPost blog of theirs on spiritual evolution.
You could start your spiritual exploration anywhere. The only wrong place to start is to not start at all.
Please do leave a comment here or drop me an email at Russell (at) russellbishop.com.
If you want more information on how you can apply this kind of reframing to your life and to your job, about a few simple steps that may wind up transforming your life, please download a free chapter from my book, Workarounds That Work. You'll be glad you did.
Russell Bishop is an educational psychologist, author, executive coach and management consultant based in Santa Barbara, Calif. You can learn more about my work by visiting my website at www.RussellBishop.com. You can contact me by email at Russell (at) russellbishop.com.
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For more on GPS for the Soul, click here.
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