Only by acceptance of the past can you alter it. – TS Eliot
Forgiveness is central to the process of healing with hypnosis. Forgiveness isn’t saying that what happened was okay, however.
The things that were said or done to hurt us caused us pain. That is definitely not okay. But burying past hurts does not set a person free from the pain. Only true forgiveness can do that.
Forgiveness isn’t in saying that we have forgiven, either.
It isn’t some religious requirement.
It's in our ability to accept the things of our past so that we can move on. When we forgive we are free to heal and move forward with our life. It’s coming to a place of acceptance.
Herein lies the path to freedom and peace.
The secret to authentic forgiveness is in accepting the truth of your feelings. Unfortunately, most of us were never taught how to feel our feelings. Instead, we learned how to stuff our ‘bad’ feelings. We learned to soldier on, bravely forge ahead, oblivious of the consequences of carrying unresolved guilt and resentment.
Unresolved guilt and resentment can generate everything from free-floating anxiety and rage to compulsive behaviours and chronic illness. And when all the unrecognized, unexpressed, uncomfortable feelings are left trapped inside, there’s nowhere for them to go. As a result, they tend to build up over time.
This creates a kind of internal pressure cooker that eventually finds expression through symptoms. What’s inside the pressure cooker? Stress.
Stress is at the root of every problem you might experience. According to Dr. Alexander Lloyd, author of ‘The Healing Code”, physiological stress is what happens when our nervous system is out of balance.
The nervous system has two parts.
Think of them as the gas and brakes on the car. The gas is the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and the brakes are the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS).
One amps things up. The other slows things down. The PNS is in charge of growth, healing, and maintenance. The SNS is in charge of survival.
When we are feeling safe and secure, we feel good, alive, and creativity flows. When we have negative feelings trapped inside we’re stuck in a state of chronic stress. We feel uptight, fatigued, and blocked. That’s because the SNS is stuck in fight or flight.
The SNS works like a fire alarm. When we perceive a threat it gets tripped. And every time we are reminded of alarming things from the past it gets re-triggered. And the ‘bad’ feelings inside the pressure cooker grow stronger.
The brain is capable of processing about five trillion bits of information at any given moment. But consciously, we can only process about ten thousand bits. So the majority of what’s being perceived by-passes conscious awareness. It goes straight into the Subconscious Mind where it is stored for future reference.
You have to admire the efficiency of this system.
Not only does it free up the Conscious Mind from having to manage things like:
- heart rate
- blood pressure
- cell division
- metabolism of fats
- insulin levels, etc.
The system is designed to retain information that might help us to survive similar situations in future. That’s smart. This brilliant systems ensures that in the face of threat we can respond automatically, without thought.
There are drawbacks, however.
When information by-passes the Conscious Mind it gets accepted uncritically. What gets in isn’t vetted for accuracy of truth. For example, if you’re three years old, you’re right at a stage in your development where, everything in your universe is your creation. If you happen to overhear Mommy and Daddy arguing about finances, you’re likely to conclude what’s happening is your fault.
If the people you love are unhappy, you did that! Naturally, that’s going to make you feel bad. This is the logic of the Subconscious Mind. It’s age-specific. And it’s perfectly logical at that time.
If that thought gets reinforced by subsequent events growing up, like Mom and Dad routinely getting drunk and arguing, what might the long-term results be? I’ll tell you, because this is the kind of stuff regression hypnotherapists work with every day.
The long-term results can be any stress-based condition. Anything from free-floating anxiety to chronic conditions that won’t respond to conventional treatment. This can include:
- Weight problems.
- Relationship problems.
- Money problems.
- Motivation problems.
- Sleep problems.
- Performance problems.
- Self-esteem problems.
- And more.
What do all these issues have in common?
Their roots are in feelings from the past. This is why I don’t work with symptoms. Symptoms are simply the end-point of a continuum. If you follow the thread back in time you’ll find a path of constantly reinforced negative perceptions, most of which got started in childhood situations, much like the example given above.
A three-year-old lacks the ability to make reasonable decisions about herself, others, and life. And the problems that clients come to hypnotherapy to resolve are often based in the mis-perceptions of the child they once were.
Whatever decisions the child made under those stressful conditions became a Subconscious Truth. That means every time the person is in a similar situation, it's going to re-stimulate the underlying stress pattern.
This adds to the pressure which is feeding the symptoms.
The solution is to change the underlying perceptions. Then the symptoms no longer serve any purpose.
So, how do you change a perception? Go back to where it got started. Bring consciousness into the past so you can finally release those uncomfortable feelings trapped inside.
The problem isn’t coming from what’s happening now. The cause of the stress isn’t current conditions. It’s a learned response and it’s based in feelings that got trapped in the past.
No one needs to carry the fears, anger, sadness, loneliness, guilt, etc. of childhood for the rest of their life. Releasing the feelings releases the internal pressure.
What happens when you release the feeling?
When you release a feeling, it creates a void. Whatever was there before is replaced with something good. Automatically. A feeling of relief rushes in to fill the void as the mind shifts from survival mode into growth and healing mode. This restores peace.
In a state of peace the mind becomes clear. And the truth becomes obvious – Mommy and Daddy’s financial troubles have nothing to do with the three-year old. There’s nothing wrong with the child. There never was. The truth is – the child was simply there, taking it all in through her lens of perception. She was doing what we are all designed to do – downloading information from her environment.
Out of the 5,000,000,000,000 bits of information flooding into the mind of the child, only 10,000 could be consciously evaluated. And this is important . . . How it was evaluated was based on the knowledge and experience of the child at that time.
New understanding brings new meaning.
A Course in Miracles states that anything we perceive holds the meaning we have given it. We form an internal representation based on what we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. Our decisions about those things become beliefs. And our beliefs decide what we’re going to get in life – good, bad or otherwise.
All it takes to create real and lasting change is to change the decision made by the Child. Sure, the event happened – just not exactly as it was perceived at that time. Mommy and Daddy were fighting – but it wasn’t the child’s fault. No matter how painful it was, we can always find a way to accept what happened.
The fact is – we made it through. No matter how ugly it might have been, we’re still here. We survived. And we’re probably wiser for having been through it. We can choose to switch off the fire alarm, gather up what we learned from those experiences, and move forward in strength and wisdom.
Once the Subconscious Mind understands that ‘that was then, and this is now’, it’s over. Once the energy that was trapped in those events is released, the past is brought into correct perspective.
That’s when forgiveness happens.
Forgiveness isn’t something we do, however. It’s what happens when we come to peace with what happened.
When we truly accept that whatever happened, whatever was said or done to hurt us, is over we can choose to heal.
We can then move forward with our life choosing those things that support growth, health, healing and well-being.