June 20, 2006

To Forgiveness and Beyond

by Dr. Susan Gregg

As so many of us do, I carried wounds from my childhood into my adult life. As a young girl I was molested by some boys. At the time I was devastated. I was sure it was my fault, and when the boys told me not to tell anyone or they would kill me I believed them. Before that I never felt like I fit in, afterwards I felt like a total misfit. I was sure life was a complex game and everybody except me knew how to play.

When I began my journey of self-discovery in my twenties I ran across the concept of forgiveness
and with a great deal of anger and judgment promptly rejected the idea.

Over the years my thoughts on forgiveness have changed drastically. Now I believe forgiveness is one of the most important steps we can take toward achieving self-acceptance, peace of mind, and happiness.

We are taught to think in terms of duality: right and wrong, positive and negative, good and bad, black and white, you and me. Our society is based on the concept of domination -- the society and the individual are seen as separate -- the problem and the solution are two different things. As long as we view the world that way judgment and comparison are very much a part of our thought process.

Forgiveness seems like we are letting them off the hook -- punishment makes much more sense than forgiveness. We aren't taught to believe that everything in life is one. But in truth we are all one, everything and everyone is part of the great mystery of life.

There is another way of viewing life, which I call dominion. Symbolically I think of dominion as a huge sphere, a womb that holds everything lovingly
within it. How we view events in our life depends upon where we are standing on that sphere. I am not separate from anyone hence no one can do anything to me, they just do it.

Viewing life this way makes forgiveness a desirable and understandable component of life. Let me explain. As I embraced the concept of dominion I realized that those boys didn't do anything to me, I just happened to be in the same place they were when they decided to do something. The boys that molested me dealt with their emotional pain by passing it on to me. It was really all about them. What a gift that realization was for me! Not only was I able to forgive them but I was able to forgive myself and really see the experience for what it was, an opportunity to learn how to open my heart and love at a much deeper level.

I strongly believe that if we learn to live in dominion instead of domination the world would be a much more loving and gentle place to live. In dominion, instead of judging things we embrace them. Life, relationships, and everyday events become an opportunity for us to see our filter system, which is composed of all of our assumptions, agreements, and beliefs.

In each moment we have a choice -- will I see this through the eyes of my filter system, the eyes of fear and separation, or will I see through the eyes of my spirit, the eyes of love and oneness? In each moment we can choose to either be in domination or dominion...

Our filter system is composed of our beliefs, the assumptions we've made about life, and the agreements we have made with ourselves and our world. We think we are seeing reality when we are really seeing... our filter system and not the world...

As we move beyond forgiveness and toward acceptance we see the beauty of all of our creations. When we view life from the perspective of dominion we begin to see it as a work of art we create moment by moment. Every event in our life is an opportunity to deepen our connection with ourselves, the people in our lives, and with God, the Great Spirit or whatever you choose to call the Creator of this magnificent universe. After we clearly see the role our filter system plays in our experience of life we often want to release it.

Until then we frequently attempt to control things beyond our control so we can be happy or at least comfortable. We try to change the events in our lives instead of how we see them. When we learn to focus on our filter system instead of what "they did" or "what happened to us" we can learn to be happy no matter what is going on in our lives. We can move beyond forgiveness to a deep sense of acceptance of life just as it is. When we finally realize it has been our filter system that has prevented us from being happy we can change how we think about life.

Changing your mind is a process and it can be an easy and enjoyable one or one that is full of pain and struggle, the choice is ours. To make it a more enjoyable experience create an inner sanctuary for yourself, become your own best friend, talk lovingly to yourself, and gently accept yourself just the way you are. Remember, learning to see life through the eyes of dominion and love is a process...

From an article written by Dr. Susan Gregg, the author of The Toltec Way: A Guide to Personal Transformation, © 2000. Visit her website at www.susangregg.com or reach her at sgregg@aloha.com

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