A few years ago I watched Eva Kor’s U Tube video where she talked about forgiving a Nazi who was in command of the concentration camp where she was imprisoned and experimented on with her identical twin. I have to admit I couldn’t at the time work out why she would even want to do this forgiving, or how.
It is easy to hold on to a grudge and be unforgiving. We can justify hanging on to anger and pain because we feel it protects us and makes us strong. However, holding on to the past makes us feel stuck. Forgiveness is necessary in order to move forward, not only for the people involved but for how we feel about ourselves.
By holding on to pain and anger it quite literally weighs us down. It takes a huge amount of energy to keep these negative emotions alive. The energy in them is at a much lower frequency then any positive emotions we carry. We all experience feeling lighter and more energized when we are in a good mood, than when we feel low. By carrying a heavy weight within us we carry it everywhere, perceive life through it, and share it with everyone. This means letting the people that we are angry with still have power over us.
By understanding where this unforgiving takes us it starts to become very clear that it doesn’t do ourselves or anyone around us any favours. Therefore we should try asking if there is something positive to find in the situation that occurred. We might be upset by how others have acted, but how could we start to change our own reactions to it, rather then want the situation or person to change? Could we appreciate that they have a completely different perspective on what transpired based on their own experiences in life?
Maybe there is a lesson for us to learn from the situation. By appreciating the experience from a bigger more spiritual picture, it is possible to see things more objectively. I know this worked for me. I had to forgive my parents for what I had perceived to be a difficult childhood. I allowed myself to remove my sceptical views about universal energy and I began to see things from a soul’s perspective. I have come to believe that the soul incarnates in order to have a human experience. In order to incarnate, the high energy vibrations of the soul have to become much lower. It is up to us as humans to learn, grow, and gain enlightenment, thereby raising our vibrations. By looking at it this way, perhaps an experience which has hurt us is the exact path that our soul intended for us, because we have a lot we can learn from it. We can of course choose not to learn anything. Then we remain in low vibration mode carrying it with us, and feeling like a victim. Our life will keep giving us chances to learn from similar situations and it is up to us if we want to reinforce the victim mentality, or become empowered and move on.
As for the people who we feel are hurting us, everyone has a different perspective or story to tell. They have their own journey from which to learn. Maybe they are not ready to learn anything and only want to stick to what they already know. Maybe they are too frightened to try and see things differently. The point is that we can only change our thoughts and feelings, nobody else’s. The other person will only do that when and if they are ready to. Here then is the lesson of finding acceptance, patience and compassion for others.
The other way to look at it is that by not forgiving we are actually holding on to a means to punish someone and feel as if we have power over them. In truth, they are the ones who still having power over us. Do we really want to use not forgiving as a weapon? Do we really want it defining us? If we don’t, then we must choose to be compassionate and to forgive both ourselves and others.
By understanding what forgiveness has to teach us and then allowing ourselves to let go of pain, we gain freedom, empowerment and wisdom. The freedom is from letting go of the low vibration emotions. The empowerment is by knowing that we can make different choices as to how we feel and react to something, rather than seeing ourselves as a victim having something done to us. The wisdom comes from seeing what we have learnt and how we have grown from doing this, and responding differently to future situations.
The benefits of learning forgiveness help with future scenarios. There are always going to be people and circumstances that have potential to upset us. Yes it’s ok to be angry at them. But it’s also worth trying to pause and see the bigger picture (at times I agree that this is very hard to do). By detaching a little and asking ourselves if there is something we can learn here, we can look at it both objectively and with compassion, instead of needing to protect ourselves. Then we are able to move on more quickly from it.
Now I understand Eva Kor – she shows compassion and acceptance both for what she went through and for herself. She has the wisdom to know that she doesn’t have to carry the burden of Auschwitz with her anymore. She’d survived Auschwitz and now she wants the rest of her life free of it. In Eva’s words “I was no longer a prisoner of Auschwitz, nor was I a prisoner of my tragic past.”
Eva Kor – Survivor of the Holocaust and Nazi Experiments on Twins