Inherently, we understand that forgiveness is powerful technique for freedom, but through lack of experience or understanding, we often don't understand how.
What are the ways in which forgiveness frees you?
Emotion is a physiological experience
In her book, Molecules of Emotion, author and molecular biologist, Candace Pert, explains beautifully how we experience emotion through the physiological mechanisms within our physical bodies.
To put Pert in context, her original research was into the opiate receptor site and resulted in the medication that they give to heroin addicts, that makes them unable to get high.
In a nutshell, what Pert explains is that every emotion or feeling or urge you feel in your body is caused by a specific combination of neuropeptides chemicals released by your brain.
This chemical cocktail rapidly enters your bloodstream, with each little 'unit' of the neuropeptide acting like a key that unlocks specific receptor sites on your cells. This then causes a reaction in the cell that you register as a feeling or emotion.
Each neuropeptide 'key' can only unlock specific receptor sites on each cell, and every time the cell multiplies, the new cell has more receptor sites for any emotion or feeling you have been bombarding your body with. Over time therefore you need a greater amount of the chemical in order to feel the same 'rush', because you have more cell receptor sites available for that chemical trigger.
However you only have a limited amount of space for receptor sites on the surface of each cell, so what the cell does is it starts using up the receptor site spaces for elements you use less frequently – nutrients, vitamins and minerals for example.
This is why it takes time for you to develop a new, or break an old, habit, attitude or way of being. Your capacity to experience the new reality literally grows as you increase the amount of receptor sites on your cells that can process that combination of chemicals when they are released from your brain.
You also have to allow time to elapse for receptor sites for the old way of being to fall away. It's also why it gets 'easier' to do something when you've been doing it for a while – the reason it feels like stuff has 'suddenly' clicked into place is because your actual physical cells have caught up with the changes that your mind has been making and you are now able to 'feel' them in your body.
All that you have experienced up until this point is the new neural pathways being forged, as well as a lack as the cells in your body look for their 'fix' of the old chemical cocktail. It didn't actually happen overnight ☺
For a clearer understanding of this process, watch the movie What the Bleep Do We Know?, which has a number of really nice visual animation aids to help you understand this better. http://www.whatthebleep.com/
So I suppose that long lead in has to go somewhere… how does this all relate to forgiveness and how it frees you?
You have more space to be happy
If you've ever watched a horror movie – and caught yourself with sweaty hands or jumping at a sound – you'll have firsthand experience of the fact that your mind does not know the difference between what is real out there and what is imagined in here.
Your mind just cannot tell that the movie is not your reality.
When you are repeatedly remembering people who have wronged you or hurt you, you are reliving those experiences over and over again, bombarding your cells with the chemical combinations of pain, trauma, hurt, shame, shock, anger, rage and so much more.
This means your cells are exposed to a non-stop bombardment of those chemicals, so when they replicate they produce more receptor sites for that combination of feelings – and less for happiness and the positive stuff YOU WANT to feel.
This is also why it seems like time heals all wounds… over time you get used to that combination of chemicals in your body, and an increase in receptor sites means that you don't feel the chemical releases as intensely.
This allows you to think that the importance of the issue is waning in your mind. This isn't true – your body has literally just gotten used to that particular chemical cocktail of pain, and accepted it as okay and normal.
This is exactly how we come to accept situations like bullying and abuse as normal. If it escalates slowly enough it will feel normal to us.
You can stop thinking about it
What happens to you when you have a pain or injury somewhere?
You think about it all the time, you skirt carefully around it and you find that you and other people often bump it – causing white-hot surges of flashing new pain to further traumatize and scare your system.
Emotional pain is no different.
Your body's mechanism of a nervous system tells you that nature has deemed it important for us to know when and where we are hurting – because that tells us that something is injuring us and we must prevent that.
When you have a deep emotional hurt or baggage that you're carrying around, it festers inside you like infected pus, forming emotional boils and sores in places, and in many cases eventually resulting in a physical illness or injury.
Your body wants to prevent taking it to that level of illness or injury to release, so it keeps bringing it to your conscious awareness so that you can release it now.
You however see this as reliving the past, so you don't focus on it – often because you don't want to face the pain.
But that doesn't work as a strategy, because you relive all the pain in all the time you try and force yourself not to think about it, because you're already thinking about it.
So those memories surfacing in snippets keep sending repeated doses of the neuropeptide chemical cocktail to your cells, gradually bringing you further and further down, until you are completely 'back in' that feeling again.
If you'd faced it and dealt with it once-off, you'd have had one dose of the poisonous emotional cocktail – your avoidance meant you were repeatedly exposed over a period of a number of days.
A fresh start
Once you forgive an issue and you stop thinking about and reliving it repeatedly, you get an opportunity for a fresh start.
You can stop making decisions based around fears you had of the previous events or people.
You can bet that if something is eating away at your mind repeatedly it is going to affect your decision making on some level. Kind of like how when you're worried about money you're always counting every cent? Same thing. When an issue is ever present, it tends to step into every aspect of your decision-making.
Because you release the issue, you release the fears around the issue, and so you stop attracting those kinds of people and situations in your life.
Everyone comes to show you something about yourself – and sometimes that message is that you need to forgive someone or something.
When you've forgiven an issue, all the lessons to do with that issue will fall away. So forgiving your abusive ex means you can stop attracting abusive men into your life.
Lastly you get a chance to welcome new and fresh starts.
The single greatest fear that most people have is fear of change – when you're carrying the burden of unnecessary mental and emotional trauma, the fear of change and allowing anything new into your life will go through the roof, and with fair reason: why should you allow anything new into your life when you don't know if that new element will cause you a repeat of that same pain again?
The moment you really forgive the other party, you no longer throw that issue into the mix when you are making decisions and meeting new people – the only reason it's an issue now is because you are still experiencing the pain of it presently.
Take that away as an issue altogether by forgiving it, and you take away the energy of the situation and all the need the universe has to pull it into your reality.
It's basic manifesting really.
If you are scared of it, thinking about it, focusing on it, putting emotional experience and reaction into it, and giving it power, you are attracting it into your life.
Forgive it and you will have loads of space, time and energy to create the life and reality you REALLY want.
Once you start working with healing tools, it can get addictive quickly - especially as you begin to see results, and changes in the way you think and feel.
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