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What could you want that forgiveness cannot give? Do you want peace? Forgiveness offers it. Do you want happiness, a quiet mind, a certainty of purpose, and a sense of worth and beauty that transcends the world? Do you want care and safety, and the warmth of sure protection always? Do you want a quietness that cannot be disturbed, a gentleness that can never be hurt, a deep, abiding comfort, and a rest so perfect it can never be upset? All this forgiveness offers you.
A Course in Miracles
We all have our own personal map of the world. That is the way that we think the world works, how we situate ourselves in the world. If we need to, we can refer to the map to reassure ourselves that we are where we think we are in the world.
Mr Scott Peck in his book The Road Less Travelled suggests that when we want to change our view of the world, it is this map that is up for grabs, that needs to change. When we feel depressed and unable to cope with the world, our maps no longer seem to point in the right direction. It's as though all the reassuring landmarks have been moved so that nothing makes sense any more, we may travel in one direction, sure that it will take us to where we want to go, only to find that the road is blocked by anger, self-sabotage or hopelessness. And although we may consult the map, which up until now has always given us the right directions in life, it no longer works. We are lost.
Forgiveness involves redrawing our map of the world. But it's not just a question of working out some new grid references. When we change our view of the world as radically as forgiveness demands, we are travelling to another country where eventually the new map will make much more sense and the road will be smoother.
If you think of it as going to a new country, without speaking the language, with no money or credit cards and no means of transport, you will get some idea of how scary the journey may be. But pretty soon you will learn the words for ?please? and ?thank you? and ?hello? and ?goodbye? and find the locals are not as frightening as you first thought. You will learn enough to get by on by working hard at your map, and then you will find yourself at the top of a hill with a fantastic view of the countryside you still have to travel through.
Making it happen? resolve to do things differently
You can?t change the way people behave, but you can change the way you react. Resolve to be different, to sort out anything that comes up as you go along. Not to let it fester until it becomes more important and significant than it needs to be. Remember that you are allowed to get it wrong sometimes. No one's perfect. But just as you need to forgive, you have to be prepared to ask forgiveness too.
Learning to deal with forgiveness in your everyday life is just like any new skill. If you have decided to get fit, you know that you have to commit to your decision on a daily basis ? it's that extra walk or run of flight of stairs that is money in your fitness bank account. Forgiveness is just the same: practise it every day and it will become as familiar as brushing your teeth. Some people find that the end of the day is a good time to do a quick run-through of events. Is there anyone you need to forgive for what they did to you today? Or do you need forgiveness? Think how you can put it right tomorrow.
One must put oneself in everyone's position. To understand everything is to forgive everything.
The Ten Golden Rules of Forgiveness
1. Forgive and the whole landscape will change.
2. You are the only one who can change - those who have done you wrong have nothing to do with your forgiveness process.
3. You can only forgive when you are ready - it won't work until you are.
4. When you forgive and let go, you change and then the whole world is different.
5. There will always be someone else to forgive, so the better you get at it, the easier life will be.
6. When you forgive the big stuff, you will always have a scar on your heart: that way you won't forget.
7. Sitting on top of the mountain of being in the right is a very lonely place.
8. Think of people you know who can forgive. Now think of those who bear a grudge - which camp would you rather be in?
9. If you can learn to forgive yourself, you are more than halfway there.
10. It is never too late to forgive.
From The Forgiveness Formula ?2003 by Kathleen Griffin, published by Simon & Schuster.