To Forget: to aver from memory
To forget the past pain you enter into an active state of putting aside and allowing the emotional charge to die down, then die. “To Forget means to aver from memory, to refuse to dwell—in other words, to let go, to loosen one’s hold, particularly on memory. This kind of forgetting does not erase memory, it lays the emotion surrounding the memory to rest.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves.
At the core of every issue sits an interpretation of life and reality. Whenever I feel I have been injured, if I give it time and proper attention (vs obsession) and set aside the charged emotions, I find a negative belief I am holding. The situation I need to forgive shows me where I have gathered evidence for my belief. I may have interpreted the situation through my own sense of lack of worth and ability, my faults, actions and ‘unforgivableness’, which issue from my negative belief. I have used the hurtfulness of others (or my self) to support my already established low self worth.
Practicing active forgetfulness gives me a chance to set aside my held belief or interpretation of events to allow another truth to emerge. If I continue to hold my abuser (self or other) in a stuck, emotionally charged image, I will continue to hold my self as victim. Putting aside the one means putting aside the other.
But, you say, it still hurts, I still hurt! I can’t help remembering and feeling the pain. You may want to go back to practicing forbearance, or look to see if you have given yourself sufficient time away (the forego step). Have you practiced leaving it alone? Then again, if you have explored these first two steps and want to move on, even if you still hurt, there is help.
Here is a practical idea from Colin Tipping’s Radical Forgiveness book and training: Write three letters. To the offender, to god, to the universe, your family of origin, your self or whatever. Write with hand on paper. Note: You will not mail these letters!
Tipping teaches this process to enable us to take responsibility for our part, and to adopt a different view to challenge the habit of dwelling in pain or anger. He encourages us to seek a positive viewpoint as a way of actively forgetting our old grievance story.
Look at the situation and invite into mind a new perspective, declaring:
Then, let it go. Forget. Refuse to dwell. Instead, allow the powerful wisdom of nature to deliver, through insight and intuition, the real truth of the situation, the truth that will truly set you free.
I love the letter exercise.
Sometimes my first letter seems to burn itself up!
I have often wondered how I might let go of past hurt. I have let some fester I only realized in recent years. This is a wonderful suggestion, the writing of three letters. I know I have to take responsibility for my part and maybe by writing it down it can evolve into forgivieness.I must pick up Radical Forgiveiness.
Brava! Take the first letter as far as you can, even if it means you won't like yourself for a while because of the "stuff" that you touch into. Better out than in. Radical Forgiveness is available on audio disc, too. Go for it!