Chapters 7 through 13
Chapter 7 - Step 5. Discover and List Preferences for your past Beliefs and Actions
The purpose/benefit of this step can be twofold.
The first outcome of doing this step fully is that you are creating a list of preferred behaviors. This works in a similar manner to the Evening Review and Abilii exercises. Athletes do this kind of thing all the time nowadays as they review past performances and visualize how to improve them in the future. Thus doing this will improve your performance in life situations in the future which may resemble those which turned out less well in the past.
The second possible benefit is that if you have a strong Inner Critic subpersonality, it will tend to emerge here and tell you what you "should" have done. Letting it have full play now can prevent it getting up and acting as if it is the Higher Self later in the process. When you bring in the perspective of the Higher Self later, in Steps Eight, Nine and Ten, you may often feel the gradual shift into a wiser and more compassionate perspective from that you will initially achieve in this step. You will be learning to distinguish between the harsher voice of the Inner Critic and the more loving inner voice of the Soul. Gradually you will be restrain destructure inner voices of self-criticism, and retrain your Inner Critic to function with greater love and wisdom in its task of helping you to meet the basic need for approval. In the early days of working with this process, I found that it could happen from time to time that a person's Inner Critic or Judge subpersonality would impersonate the Higher Self, wrecking the forgiveness process until the forgiver could disidentify from it. Since including Step Five, this has tended to happen only extremely rarely.
Step Five: When the list is complete, GUIDE prompts the FORGIVER to say:-
Into the spaces you left between each item, for EACH of your previous statements insert whatever would have been the preferred most wise, loving, or skilful behavior, carried out with inner strength. Make sure that these statements are positive pictures, free of elements of judgmental criticism. Make sure that your description is of behavior which could be visualized by any one. Make sure that your description describes behavior that could be witnessed by a third person, and that they could know when it had been done. The idea is that if you can provide a description like that it will be making a "movie" in your own mind's eye which is positive and will serve you better in the future.
"Instead of wishing them harm or telling others bad things about them, I would have preferred that I had maintained love and goodwill towards....y...by doing ..z.. by which I mean that I would have wanted the best for them in their careers, looked for the good and the good potential in them, and also honored this by telling other people about the good in them at the meeting",
or: "Instead of believing
I was weak, ugly and worthless, I would have preferred to have believed that I
was a worthwhile person and that there is a source of inner strength, love and
beauty within me. Acting upon this belief I would have not felt personally
attacked by ...x... and the others at the meeting, nor would I have backed down.
I would have been been able to stand my ground there in support of the values
which were important, namely that the full truth be investigated and that we
treat ...y... fairly."
The purpose here is to remind yourself of your intention, to re-set it. As you probably well recognize by now, INTENTION is very important in the forgiveness processes - energy follows your thought and your intent.
EMBODYING THE QUALITIES OF THE HIGHER SELF.
The purpose of this step is to ensure that you separate the transpersonal from the personal perspectives, and continue on from the transpersonal perspective for the next five steps. In my everyday practice, I usually only use the parts that are printed here in bold type or some adaptation of them. The words in normal type are there to add the gist of explanations that were useful to certain people at some time when they were experiencing difficulties. Forgiveness does not, indeed cannot take place at the emotional or even the mental levels of consciousness. It takes place at the transpersonal level, which it is why the forgiver needs to access that level for forgiveness to happen. It also means that doing the forgiveness process enables you to reach the transpersonal, or Higher Self, levels of your consciousness - in my experience it is the fastest way for someone to do this.
Moving from the sitting position to standing behind the chair on which you were sitting and looking down at your "everyday self" imagined to be sitting in the place where you were actually sitting, symbolizes the move from the personal level to the transpersonal level, from personality and subpersonality levels to the level of the Higher Self. It is a curious fact that moving higher physically can have the effect of lifting our consciousness, but it is so and Assagioli, the founder of Psychosynthesis drew attention to this in an article called "Psychological Mountain Climbing". The symbol of going to greater altitude brings with it a wider vision, a broader perspective, more Light and Warmth (it is closer to the Sun). These symbolize more Wisdom and Love.
GUIDE: "Now move; stand up, move physically into the "space" of the Higher Self (gestalt technique), and begin to "lift up your consciousness" and identify with the QUALITIES of the Higher Self - E.G. Patience, courage, acceptance, compassion, wisdom, unconditional love, forgiveness, dignity, peace, deep knowing of what is best for all concerned, ability to see the whole, the sweep of history, the interconnectedness of everything, of all people, of past, present and future ... "
Be aware that there is within each person a source of these qualities - you have seen it in others. Know that it is in you too, and your decision and intention to express these qualities calls them forth from within you, more and more each time you choose to do so. You are building a bridge, or channel, to your Higher Self, which is the source or origin of these qualities within you. Do not be discouraged or criticize yourself if you do not get a "good enough feeling" or even clear visualizations during this exercise. The qualities you invoke will come through you into your life in the next few days if you invite them in and are willing to express them. It can be surprisingly easy and natural.
GUIDE: "Feel these qualities in yourself and with these qualities, look down upon your personal self, living life in the field of learning and experience".
If you are still emotional, upset, critical, judgmental, etc., then you are not fully enough identified with your Higher Self, which is never any of these. If this happens, adopt the following steps:-
(i) You can exaggerate the behavior for a time, until you are really tired of it. Most commonly it is of the self-critical, saboteur, victim, or helpless/confused patterns (see page 87). Then:-
(ii) consciously dis-identify or separate off from that behavior (it's not the real you, only a past conditioning) and move physically back or higher, e.g. onto a chair, then if necessary onto a table, up a storey, on top of the building, onto a hill, mountain, or even up in a helicopter or plane! Get a higher view, a bigger perspective. Again identify with the qualities of the Higher Self which do lie deep within you, as in everyone.
Some people can also do this in imagination just as effectively, or imagine their Higher Self as if on a cloud, and then move up in their imagination to become the Higher Self on the cloud, looking down on their personal self in the arena of experience. This way could be needed for one who could not physically move because of a disability.
Eventually you will find that you can identify with these qualities. Physically moving higher, to symbolize leaving at a lower level the subpersonality or emotional patterns, and reaching higher in your consciousness, works. Call it "psychological mountain climbing" - the air is clearer and you can see further. You can test this out for yourself. You can also include imagining yourself like a person or persons who have these qualities, then more so.
GUIDE: "Now you are able to look down at the personal self, (and the critical part, or other subpersonalities involved, if they are there) and, indeed, at the whole personality and all its history, background, connections, and future possibilities. You can see how life is a learning ground. You were not your wrong or bad past actions, you were a person experiencing lessons in life. Nothing that you did in the past or do in the future can really negate the existence of the love of your Higher Self. Mistakes are but the stepping stones to wisdom".
Eventually you will reach the right physical and psychological "height", and will be able to speak as the Higher Self would speak, with wisdom, compassion, love, and understanding. The flow of such inspiration can often be started by going on now to SF Step Eight - The Act of Forgiveness = Cancellation
In Step Seven you moved up from your chair and standing behind that chair, identified with the Higher Self and its qualities. Now you are "looking down" with all those transpersonal qualities on your everyday self, which is seeking forgiveness - and forgiveness is the cancellation of all the conditions in the mind which have blocked the flow of unconditional love in the past, or continue to do so in the present.
(SPEAKING AS THE HIGHER SELF, WITH
GREAT GENTLENESS, COMPASSION, WISDOM, LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING TO THE "LOWER SELF"
IMAGINED TO BE SEATED IN THE CHAIR)
Open the gates and allow the love through you to the personality, through all its past experiences, from conception or birth if necessary, right through the still hurting experiences of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
Sometimes you will access a stream of compassionate inspiration and know what to say to the personality. There is no need to struggle to think what to say - sometimes there is simply a silent flow of love energy and understanding. The following sentence often helps to establish this flow.
FORGIVER (AS HIGHER SELF):
Always the words spoken by the Higher Self have great simplicity, love, and truth, never sarcasm or judgmental criticism. What is discovered from the Higher Self from now on is often a new and more enlightened way of acting in similar situations in the future.
FORGIVER (AS HIGHER SELF):
These would be the different guilts, expectations, demands, negative or critical beliefs, vengeful or destructive thoughts, etc. Use the words that fit the situation best. ( Note how negative beliefs or guilts arose at times when our needs were not met. They are only partial truths about the world seen through the filter of our experience at the time. "Enlightenment," however, has been described as "the capacity to no longer confuse a partial truth for the whole truth").
GUIDE, note that Steps 9 and 10 may flow in and out of each other, and you will use your intuition to guide you. Sometimes the focus will be more upon Healing the Inner Child ,or Forgiver as "Earlier You" (Step 9) before the belief systems can be changed. At other times, the emphasis will be simply on changing old beliefs (Step 10).
(if this fits)
NOTE: Where you see ......, you insert the name of the person doing the forgiveness process. By using the name of the forgiver rather than a pronoun ("you", "me" or "I") dis-identification from the pains of earlier traumas and healing of them is more easily facilitated.
GUIDE: "You may want to engage in the Healing the Inner Child Process at this stage. If so, see one of the most important of your memory's pictures of the past, chosen for you now by your Higher Self, as the love of the Higher Self, like a pair of loving hands or a very loving being, reaches into the picture, and draws the child away to one side, away from the scene of pain. The Love of the Higher Self holds the child ...(name)..., perhaps even cradles ....(name).. in those Loving Hands, in just the way ...(name)... needed then. The love of the Higher Self flows into the child and brings all the hurt and bad feelings to peace. The child receives now what was needed then. Take all the time you need. Only when the child signals that he/she is ready, then watch how gently the Higher Self places the child back into the picture, back into the memory, healed and at peace."
"This can be repeated for all the scenes of the Earlier You at any age right up to the present time. Let your Higher Self show you in sequence all the memories that It knows need to be healed in this way. You have all the time you need. Let me know if you need me to give you the instructions each time. or if you prefer me to keep silent."
NOTE ABOUT RECREATING A POSITIVE CHILDHOOD:
Sometimes, if the incident was extremely traumatic, it is wise to invite the Higher Self to take the child away for all the time that is needed to create in some detail in the imagination exactly the kind of events that would have met the Child's needs perfectly. This offers the GUIDE an opportunity to work creatively in partnership with the Higher Consciousness of the FORGIVER, using the symbolism that comes up. Example: "See ...... now being given the kind of day that would have been just right for her. See how the Higher Self takes her off for an interesting and exciting day, and shows her really beautiful and wonderful things, which strengthen her inner beauty and bring it forth. Describe something of this day. Watch how the Higher Self from time to time offers her just the kind of food she really loves and that goes inside and strengthens her in all the places that need strengthening. Find out what kind of refreshments are offered, to cleanse and wash away the old hurt, to refresh, heal and purify....."
Note that the kinds of
sentences used in this phase of the process are non-specific - i.e. in this
respect they are the opposite of the preference statements used elsewhere in the
forgiveness processes, which are to be very specific. Non-specific phrases offer
the FORGIVER maximum opportunity to elaborate functional patterns from the gifts
offered intuitively by the Higher Self.
This section was very challenging to write for the website. In this experiment of trying to pass on the skills of the forgiveness processes over the Internet to people who may have no access to a guide, it is plain that you, the reader, are going to be both Forgiver and Guide.
These are two functions, and although it might be easier to have a guide in the beginning, you will be able to guide yourself if you undertake both functions alternately.
As you might imagine, the paragraphs became rather confusing when I wrote only the word FORGIVER for both functions. In the end I decided to leave it as it was in the Forgiveness Manual that we use in the Forgiveness Seminars, where you would be paired up with someone to guide you when you were learning the process. If you find it difficult to keep referring to these pages, remember that you can make a tape recording and listen to that, pressing the "pause" button whenever you need extra time to process something.
GUIDE: "You may like to choose to bring each of the actions, beliefs and mind-sets for which forgiveness is being sought into the light of the wisdom and compassionate understanding of the Higher Self".
The GUIDE brings each of the items for forgiveness obtained in Step 4 up for the Higher Self to review and offer wisdom, and further improvements over the preferences obtained in Step 5.
As an example:-
GUIDE: "...(name of forgiver)... came to believe s/he was unworthy. What is the Soul's perspective on this?"
FORGIVER (as Higher Self to Personal Self) say or write:
"I cancel your belief that you are not a worthy person, which was the decision you came to because of this incident. I offer you the truth - which is that you are a unique, capable, loving, and lovable human being."
GUIDE: "...(name of forgiver).. came to make a death wish upon herself".
FORGIVER (as Higher Self to Personal Self) say or write:
"I cancel your guilt about harboring a death wish on....., and I offer you the capacity to forgive and love without conditions, to see their unmet needs, their cry for help and for love, to see the good in them and yourself, and want the best for them and the relationship. The Truth is that you are capable of doing this and can learn to do it".
The personal self may need to hear the Higher Self's forgiveness (cancellation) and perspective on each of the issues raised in Step 4. You have a record of these. It usually takes the form of a great flow of love, and words such as (and the GUIDE might help to prompt the flow by offering the following phrases which have all worked well in the past).
FORGIVER (as Higher Self to
Personal Self) say or write, completing the sentences as appropriate:
The GUIDE and the FORGIVER will have to choose or adapt to find what is appropriate. The wiser perspectives of the Higher Self become known through such sentences. Throughout, the FORGIVER as Higher Self transmits compassionate wisdom to the younger self.
HINTS TO GUIDE
1. RECORD VALUABLE INSIGHTS, AND ANY UPGRADES OF THE PREFERENCES FOR WISER BEHAVIORS AND BELIEFS THAT WERE OBTAINED IN STEP 5.
2. FROM TIME TO TIME CHECK FOR RECEPTIVITY:
To do this you can ask the FORGIVER, who is now identified with the Higher Self looking down on the personal self: "AS YOU LOOK DOWN ON ...... Does he/she have the willingness and openness to accept the love and forgiveness? ........(waits for response)..........
If not , can you offer guidance as to how that resistance can be overcome?".
During this stage the
FORGIVER often comes to realize deeply that what we have called "the errors in
the mind which block love" have simply been times when goals and mind-sets were
allowed to be set in the mind by the lower levels of consciousness - by
subpersonalities that were hurting, or by emotional reactions at times when
needs were not being met. Now the FORGIVER is realigning goals with those of the
highest level of consciousness, the Higher, Transpersonal Self, or Soul.
GUIDE: "Continue to send that love and compassion to the personal self and/or child that you were. Feel it flowing through you as the Higher Self to your personal self".
"Does the Higher Self have a gift for ......? This can be a scene, a symbol, a word, or just a flow of the quality into the forgiver which will convey that love, - or other quality needed in the forgiver's life situation at this time . (e.g. courage, clarity, confidence, faith, gratitude, unconditional love, trust, hope........... etc.)
"Does the Higher Self have any further ideas to be offered to the personal self. Is there anything else that he/she needs to know and hear at this time?"
You may well be quite surprised at the increased flow of loving wisdom which the forgiver seems able to access at this time. At times, words and symbols are received of incredible love, beauty, simplicity and relevance, which form the seeds for inspiration and meditations for many years to come. One might expect this, since they carry the energy "signature" of the Higher Self or Soul. I have often been amazed at the increased level of wisdom which flows - for example, the upgrades to negative patterns offered by the Higher Self can be significantly better than those offered by the linear concrete mind in the preferences Step Five. This experience can be a very valuable one for the forgiver (and guide), as it strengthens their belief and faith in the existence of the Higher Self, the source of wisdom within people.
GUIDE, RECORD ALL THIS FOR THE FORGIVER TO REVIEW LATER.
Are you complete for this stage and ready to go on?
FORGIVER (AS HIGHER SELF) say, or
Note carefully the "response" from the personal self aspect as this is spoken.
Is s/he willing to take full responsibility from now on? Usually s/he is. If not, what needs to happen? The Higher Self will often come up with an idea that will find a way round this obstacle.
Are you ready to go on?
Continue to next section: Part III - Self-Forgiveness - Self 4
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