Sometimes, we carry scars with us from our past which prevents us from enjoying life fully.
Occasionally, these scars act as a barrier to healing. So, it is necessary to travel back for one last look before we experience freedom from the past. This permits us to live at peace in the present.
Not everyone is interested in the Healing of Memories, many people prefer to leave memories in the past but I have seen some physical illnesses improve greatly when the patient gets help in letting go of the past.
How to forgive?
By reflecting prayerfully on our lives from the earliest memory up to the present time, we can now clearly see what has caused the pain.
his may be stressful, although a healing process, as old wounds of fear, rejection, guilt, anger and lack of forgiveness etc. are opened.
However, it seems to help many people to take courage by forgetting the past, by initially remembering it with a deep sense of forgiveness.
This does not mean that we spend long periods moping or carrying out self analysis, rather it means that we deal with the past by visiting it in the subconscious mind and accepting all its negativity, pain and suffering.
In my opinion and experience, there are three stages;
1. We must forgive people who have hurt us in any way- physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially and spiritually.
2. We must forgive God for anything we may blame him for… think about this, if we are honest, there may be a few issues.
3. We must forgive ourselves for any regrets or guilt we carry with us. Perhaps, we feel we took the wrong path in life at times? But even they can work out well if we put our trust in a loving and forgiving God.
Romans 8:28 ‘We know that God works out everything for those who love him’ is a reassuring reading from St Paul
Deciding to forgive in all three areas is the most difficult, but the most important step. It takes time.
How to make the Journey
1. Talk it out– with a close friend.
2. Write it down– then later, tear it up.
3. Think through it– create a suitable atmosphere to enhance relaxation, i.e. a dim light (perhaps a candle) with restful surroundings and gentle music- all these will assist you to remember the details of your past.
Sit comfortably and closing your eyes, try to remember the details of your past life, from your earliest memory up to the present moment.
Recall especially significant events which may have caused pain in any way.
I like to think of this exercise like a small one roomed cottage you have lived in all your life and it has thousands of photos plastered on all the 4 walls. As you walk through the cottage, you are taking one last look before letting go of the past and exiting out the smalldoor at the far end of the room. Outside waits a beautiful meadow, glorious sunshine and spectaclar scenery. This symboilses the joyful life that waits if you can forgive.
Dividing the years into periods may be helpful
30 up to the present time.
0-10 years: travel back to your earliest memory, perhaps pre-school or play school years. Think of the house in which you lived- picture the rooms and the furnishings, as you remember them…imagine each member of your family…friends….neighbours… etc.
How did u feel then? Loved? Well cared for? Lonely? Misunderstood? Were you sent off to school unprepared for the wrench from your parents? Or were you gently introduced into a new world of independence and looking forward to school? Did you feel frightened or secure?
Think about relationships at this time… were there sisters, brothers or friends that you did not find easy to love or forgive? Prayerfully, reflect on this period and forgive anyone who knowingly or unknowingly hurt you in any way.
Realise that often these people are unaware of your suffering.
10-20 years: were these years happy or traumatic? For most people, the teen years are a difficult time of transition (from childhood to adult life).
This is a time when competitiveness in sport, school or leisure pursuits can be all consuming.
What was first in your life at this time?
How was school? Enjoyable? A strain? Was it difficult to keep up to parents/guardians, teachers expectations? Did u enjoy learning?
Or was it a struggle?
Reflect on relationships at this time… who were your friends? Did u travel down wrong paths in the pursuit of pleasure, experiencing sex, drunks, excessive use of alcohol?
At any time did you turn from God and deny his existence? If you did, be at peace and accept his forgiveness. Forgive yourself for anything you regret and forgive others who have inflicted pain on you during this time in any way.
If you caused unnecessary anxiety and suffering to your parents who may be deceased, apologies to them in your sub-conscious, to relieve yourself of all guilt.
20-30 years: moving into this period in life most people arrive at a general decision as to their direction e.g. marriage, a career such as teaching, nursing, office work etc.
Usually they have started a steady job and perhaps the main goal in life is to make money.
What was your main aim in life at this time?
If married, did you move into a new phase and successfully share your life with your partner?
Did you expand your love to include your children? Or was this a difficult time? Emotionally? Financially?
Reflect on the different homes you have lived … remember each set of friends you made… recall any relationships which caused you in pain… think of the people who have hurt you… and again forgive… others… God… yourself.
Continue in this fashion up to the present moment in your life.
Remember no one has a perfect past!
Reflect on your present life in relationships… in making this journey of forgiveness, you will experience a freedom from the past and a peace of mind and heart which will enable you to live happily in the present.
Try to live at peace with others, forgiving as soon as you are hurt. If at any time a situation reminds you of the pain of the past, do not panic, as this is quite normal.
The twinge in your heart will pass, just relax. Pray a simple prayer if you can, Lord I surrender this to you.
Sometimes, it may be suitable to reach out to others to through the spoken word, an email or letter, a phone call or a visit, to be at complete peace.
Usually, the other person is only too happy to forgive.
So take courage, realise your own worth and remember ‘not to forgive’ could mean heart-ache and further suffering for you both mentally and even physiaclly.