Cartea pe Net

GABRIEL GHERASIM

 

THEODOR AND US

 

REFLECTIONS

ON THE GIFTS

WITHIN US

 

LOVE

Chapter IV, partea II-a

 

            How one gets to his destination is also very important. She can follow her journey with enthusiasm and excitement or with resistance, fear and anger. I can do a task out of fear and anger (avoidance) or I can do the same task out of enthusiasm, trust and joy (or by embracing it). How I do it therefore, is as important as the doing of  it.

            In counseling, during self-reflection, the individual is asked before addressing any issues, to choose the rationale behind his actions: does he want to act out of the selfish part of his brain, or out of the selfless part of his brain? It is based on these perspectives, which will make the individual choose one path or another in addressing his issues.

     The selfish part of my brain (reptilian) caters to my survival; it also caters to my pride. If the survival part of this brain insures that I nourish and seek comfort, the prideful aspect of me, seeks simply the validation of my pride. If I choose to serve my pride, I can take actions and order others to act in a way that can actually jeopardize my own survival, which defeats the very original purpose of the reptilian brain.

            It is at this point that the mammalian brain can come into action, because its job is to find solutions to my problems, including when it means disregarding the needs of internal and external validations for my pride. This doesn’t mean that the evolved or mammalian brain has as main function one’s survival; in fact, often it’s quite the opposite. It is self-less, because it can chose one’s own sacrifice as a conscious decision, if that may be a condition to perpetuating the beloved ones’ existence.

             Can I have a better understanding of my thoughts, emotions and actions by having an ‘outside in,’ or an ‘inside out’ perspective? Perhaps both perspectives are complementary, provided that I am aware which ones of one’s mind one is using.

     In many psychiatric wards, patients are counseled in therapy, to distinguish and use carefully the three parts of their mind: the emotional; the rational; and the wise one (from the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy DBT, School of Thought).

The emotional mind is the reactive thinking, coming up during highly emotionally charged circumstances. Logic has no say in it and it’s all about passion. The rational mind is all about calculating the pros and the cons of a situation and selecting the most reasonable outcome. It usually comes during still emotional waters and it’s all about logic. It is similar to the ‘mind’ of a computer, or of a sociopath’s. The wise mind employs both, usually upon reflection and trying to combine harmoniously as much as possible the needs of our enthusiasm with the needs of practical approaches. This is called the wise mind, because, while it reflects logical components in its thinking, it also empathizes with the human heart and as such it’s basically compassionate logic. 

     Based on the wise mind then, we make decisions which may include at some point the need to refrain from exploding and to redirect that energy into a positive avenue, based on changing one’s perceptions from negative to positive ones.

     Refraining is a little bit like a cliff hanger holding on an edge of a cliff, for dear life, as he is suspended in the air. If he refrains from letting go, he’ll survive; if he’ll let go, he’ll fall into the abyss and die. 

     The concept of forgiveness is the prime (if not the primal) example of the wise mind.

            If changing one’s belief, from dysfunctional to functional is the foundation of the edifice we call our character, forgiveness is the solid ground we build that foundation on. For without forgiveness there is hurt and resentment. And no amount of healthy thinking, as strong as a foundation that would be to our character, can be and remain stable if it is built on the sand of negativity and conflict. Therefore, before any re-thinking can be done, the very ground of our foundation needs to be solidly positioned on love and serenity. These only come after abandoning and bringing to closure the conflict within (of ideas and/or between our ideas and the facts that create the paradigms of our lives).

     Generally, when we choose “me, myself and I” only thoughts, feelings and actions, we are well served in covering our physiological, survival and self-protection needs. When we choose “me and the group,” or “me and a cause,” sometimes “me less than the people, groups, causes” I love, we are well served in our seeing ourselves as protectors of others.

            Iconically speaking, the devil’s horns being portrayed in the back, or on the side-ways of his head, represent ego-based decisions. Conversely, the dot on the center of the forehead for Indians, The Ash Wednesday cross on the Catholic and Orthodox Christians’ forehead, the Tefilin box on the forehead of Orthodox Jews and the prostration marks on the forehead of pious Muslims, represent altruistic needs-based decisions (even when they are in direct contradiction of the comfort, or even of the survival of their religious followers).

     Being aware of these perspectives is very important in our healing, because, in order to heal from hurt, we need to let go of our resentment. Resentment emanates from the reptilian brain and is the survival, or proud ego, asking judgmentally, “how could they do this to me?” Letting go of resentment is about living in serenity, in a harmonious state, which can only come by if we forgive the sources of the offenses inflicted upon us over time (including on ourselves by ourselves), not because it’s right, but because it’s healing.

     Resenting is a little bit like drinking poison and expecting that somebody else will die; the only ones who are going to be poisoned are ourselves. Forgiveness looks not at “what’s right or wrong” but at what is needed for someone to live burden free, including being free from the burden of hatred.

            Originally, the word ‘forgiveness’ was written ‘give before,’ as in “Give before the LORD your cares and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22). Once one’s “cares” (including resentment) were dropped, there was no more burden on reliving them (re-living, or living them again). If we liberated ourselves from hatred we could love (ourselves and others). Over the centuries, ‘give before’ became ‘before give,’ ‘fore give’ and this in turn became the word ‘forgive’ of our contemporary acceptation of the term.

     In the precursor of Latin, the Thracian based Daco-Romanian language (Ledwith, Miceal Limba Romana https: //www. youtube. com/watch?v=sjlPGmWalIw), the term pai da-i(“donate to,” or “give away”) was coined and subsequently, various romance languages reflected this as perdonopardonnez and  pardon (as in the English word for a governor’s pardon). They all mean the same thing as the Anglo-Saxon word forgiveness.

     In conflict resolution texts there are various perspectives on why and how to best approach forgiveness in victim/perpetrator dynamics. Among other things, they present the act of forgiveness as:

 1. Forgiving, looked upon as strength, rather than a weak act.

 2. Use forgiveness as a practical or psychological tool rather than just as an abstract or spiritual dogma.

 3. Understanding the value of forgiveness in reshaping the perception of past, present and future experiences.

 4. Understanding the benefits of forgiveness both internally and externally.

 5Concentrating on the good side rather than on the evil side of human beings.

 6. Understanding that survivors are outsiders no more, being active participants in restorative justice measures.

 7. Have a desire to heal broken relationships.

 8. Use past suffering memories as cathartic rather than an immutable reliving of painful experiences.

 9. Understanding the scapegoating mechanism and that the victim was not at fault for going through such suffering.

 10. Offering self-acceptance and praise for enduring unwarranted suffering.

 11. Separate actions from the perpetrators (forgive the perpetrator but not the crime).

 12. Use personal ordeals to work for justice.

 13. Create justice first and then expect reconciliation.

 14. Be an active participant in restorative justice measures.

 15. Receive reparations commensurate with the crimes and seek conviviality but not necessarily communion between victims/perpetrators.

     Forgiveness doesn’t come automatically for the former perpetrators from their victims. In addition to addressing the above appropriate steps for themselves, they’ll also have to: confess fully their crimes, take responsibility for the criminality of these actions, listen to the victims’ harrowing accounts of their suffering, be willing to relinquish their inordinate power in society (if still in power), be received back as an equal (rather than privileged) member of the society and pay reparations commensurate with crimes.

 

 

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