Caught your attention with that headline, didn’t I? Before I explain myself, let me quote directly from, “Spirit Hacking” by Shaman Durek:
It’s scary to rebel against your family programming, and to defy your parents, and to stand alone in your truth. Being the black sheep in my family exacerbated what was already there—a lot of conflict, and a lot of violence, and a lot of abuse. I loved my father, and I loved my stepmother, and I loved my grandparents, but I don’t forgive them. I don’t forgive my father for the horrible things he did, and I don’t forgive my stepmom for the horrible things she did, and I don’t forgive my grandparents for the horrible things they did. I accept what they did. I accept that they did those horrible things to me. And that acceptance is what allows me—and all of us—to be free.
Forgiveness implies that what my family did to me was wrong, or bad, which blocks me from acknowledging that they had their own lessons to learn from those experiences, and blocks all of us from being able to grow from the experiences we shared.
I had a client who was raised by a very abusive, alcoholic mother tell me that she forgave her mother for all the awful things she did to her.
“No, you didn’t,” I said.
At which point, my client doubled down on her nonsense and insisted that yes, she did forgive her mother, because she went through this whole forgiveness process, and wrote down all her resentments, and burned them during a full moon ritual on the solstice.
And I said, “Honey, you didn’t forgive your mother, and you don’t forgive your mother. And the more you keep telling this story that you do, the longer you’re keeping you and your mother in limbo, and dragging out the suffering for both of you. That fact that you’re announcing that you forgave your mother just means you haven’t let it go.”
My client thought about it for a minute, then burst into tears.
“You’re right,” she said. “I can’t let it go.”
People hurt each other, and people do terrible things. That’s how life goes. But this idea that forgiveness is the magical key to our healing is bullshit. Forgiveness binds us, and forgiveness limits us, and forgiveness holds us back. Forgiveness is the worst. The moment we invoke the energy of forgiveness, we activate duality, and we activate hierarchy. Forgiveness is a blame construct that implies that someone is right, and that someone else is wrong, which instantly creates separation, and instantly ensnares both people in a quantum entanglement that traps them in the energy field of the initial conflict. Forgiveness is purgatory, and forgiveness warps a lot of shit in a lot of ways.
So what if my client went through the motions of forgiveness? Why would she forgive her mom for what she did, anyway? Forgiveness is a mental trap that keeps us stuck in energetic limbo. It’s pointless. But if my client could accept what her mother did, then they would both be free. Acceptance sets us free while allowing us to stay engaged, because when we accept, we are relating in the realms of truth. We are not denying, and we are not pretending, and we are not guilting, and we are not blaming, and we are not victimizing, and we are not judging. We are simply acknowledging. This happened. This is an energy or an experience that we shared, and that had an impact on everyone involved, and what they choose to do with those energies and those lessons moving forward is up to them.
It’s way more honest and effective than telling someone: “I forgive you.” No, thank you. I’d really rather you didn’t. Forgiveness is purgatory. Forgiveness is a Chinese finger trap.” – Shaman Durek
Now if you were raised anything like me, when you first read that it probably knocked the wind out of your sails. You had to take a step back. And that is if you, like me, are open to new perspectives, new ways of looking at things and seeing things. If you are closed off you are either not reading these words or you made it a few sentences in and then stormed off, angry, ready to hit something. I mean, the only way to let go of something is to forgive, right? Haven’t I always said that bitterness, holding onto to something painful, is like holding onto to broken glass? The tighter you grip, the more you bleed.
It took me a moment to realize that Shaman Durek is still championing letting go. Just not letting go through forgiveness, and as I thought about it, started to ask questions, I think I understood it a little better. You see if I have to forgive you for something you did to me, what is my stance? Well I am a victim of something done to me. In one move I disempower myself by making myself a victim and I turn you into the victimizer, the one who is bad or has done wrong, and that disempowers you. Do you see it now?
All my life as a Christian I was raised I had to forgive, to turn the other cheek and all that other nonsense. I am pretty sure much of it is taken out of context or not translated correctly, or maybe added into the Bible when they decided how they would put it together years ago, or maybe not even understood correctly. I don’t know. But I thought I had to forgive to let go, and recently I have been wondering, that if this was the way to let go of something, who do I keep bringing it up and thinking about it? Why does the process of forgiveness feel so unnatural and wrong? Remember, I am an empath, so I am sensitive to things, and I can tell you, something has seemed off about this forgiveness thing. Not enough for me to identify, but now, reading this and some thing in ACIM, the light of my awareness is shining on things I had not been consciously aware of before. Speaking of ACIM (A Course In Miracles):
“When you feel guilty, remember that the ego has indeed violated the laws of God, but you have not. Leave the “sins” of the ego to me. That is what the Atonement [the undoing] is for. But until you change your mind about those whom your ego has hurt, the Atonement cannot release you. When you feel guilty your ego is in command, because only the ego can experience guilt. This need not be.” ACIM Chapter 4, Part IV, This Need Not Be
Now I added the bold emphasis, and [the undoing] in brackets. Credit goes to an article I read someone that advised thinking of this Atonement concept in that way. But look closely at that. If guilt is an ego thing, then it follows shame would be, as would any opposite states.
So what is the best process for letting go? Acceptance, which I have said here many times before, and engagement, which I have never referred specifically to. But in the context of feelings, engagement could be thought of as the process of allowing yourself to feel what you feel, instead of disengagement, which would be running away from your feelings, not allowing yourself to feel them. So it seems that engagement with what is is the appropriate, best response to ANY situation. THEN, after you have felt what you needed to feel, when you are ready, you release and let go of those feelings. Or, in the case of someone having done something to you, you let it go, after you have accepted and acknowledged it, after you have engaged with it, when you are truly ready to release what happened and let it go.
My guess is that if this is done correctly, the incident will never come up in your mind again, even if you see the person. But this would have to be tested, and Shaman Durek, as of yet, has not said. He has not described what the terrain looks like once you have really, truly engaged with a thing and let it go.
Understand that suddenly going against familial constraints and deciding you will no longer practice the finger-trap of forgiveness may be difficult. Shaman Durek refers to Fractal Lines, and spirits of beliefs held within a family. You will have to read this book for more. The main thing is you have to stand firm in your commitment, because if you want to be free of things you perceive as having been done to you, that freedom comes for you and any perceived offenders. That is what letting go means. You aren’t holding anything against anyone. That is the only way. But in that freedom you will be acting from your place of power. Holding on, as I have said before, gives any perceived offender power over you, it removes you from your place of power, and it causes you to relive the incident over and over again.
You get to choose… Do you want to be free? Or do you want to remain trapped?