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How Does The Spiritual Person Handle Betrayal?
By Myriam Maytorena
When one chooses to walk upon the spiritual path, one often assumes that all people in the so-called spiritual community are going to act ethically and morally. It can come as a rude awakening when someone we respect as an expression of the divine acts in ways that are hurtful, deceptive or, at the least, thoughtless.
When one has to wander out of the spiritual community into the mundane world, there are also tendencies for a spiritual individual to have a higher trust level which can often leave one more vulnerable. In a world where others may not adhere to the tenets that we choose to abide by, we sometimes are at greater risk to be taken advantage of or be hurt more easily.
How will we act in situations of betrayal or hurtful issues? We will act normally. We will feel violated, used, hurt, saddened, angry and so forth. Just because one is traveling a spiritual path, it does not mean that one does not have these natural reactions to something that is hurtful. Sometimes when we feel angry we will castigate ourselves because we are not being as “good” as we think we should. Even before we can get to the state of forgiving those who have wronged us, we need to first forgive ourselves for being normal or perhaps for not acting as spiritually as we expect of ourselves.
Guilt will not help in any situation when one is seeking to live a spiritual life. While many of us have been brought up in religious communities that promote the use of guilt and fear to maintain the status quo, a truly spiritual person will use negative events or thoughts to prompt positive growth and to evolve on the spiral of spiritual expression. A really wonderful teacher (and I am sorry I cannot remember exactly which one because I have had so many) said to me: “To turn a negative event into a positive expression ask this question: What good can come from this?”
So the first step in forgiving self and forgiving others is to look at an issue from many different sides. Try to get into the mind of the person(s) who perpetuated this issue and ask yourself: What prompted this person to act this way? What was their motivation and how did they see themselves receiving something that they needed by their actions? If you have trouble seeing the possibilities, discuss it with a confidant that you trust to hold your discussions confidentially. Look for feedback that is honest and not just someone telling you what you want to hear.
The most important thing that you need to discover in the healing process of forgiveness is to learn intent. If the individual purposely tried to do what you consider wrong and you know they knew it was wrong or illegal, that is one issue. If they thought that what they were doing were not wrong and they were not trying purposely to hurt you, this is a totally different issue. Just a special note of warning, usually a person that you know has shown you patterns of small hurts or negative behaviors, you need to know if they were setting you up for the big one.
Also, reflect upon your response and dig deep to find what buttons were being pushed by the event or issue that has caused you pain. You might find that why you were hurt because you were to learn a lesson, and I think in all strongly emotional events, both positive and negative, this is a constant factor. Remember, the spiritual individual will grow stronger by learning to think clearly and learn from the events over a lifetime. For me, choosing to allow myself to be vulnerable requires that I develop a greater sense of detachment and observation of my reactions to the world around me. Meditation is probably one's most positive tool in seeking enlightenment. In fact, I think that one of the reasons that I might get angry with myself when I act with normal emotions is that it indicates to me that I have lost my spiritual detachment.
When you have worked your way around how you feel and the whys and so forth of a hurtful event, you are ready to begin the healing process. Sometimes you may think you have it clearly figured out, only to have something deeper pop up from your unconscious or the cosmic mind. Be gentle with YOU! And, be gentle with the other person.
Some people and counselors will suggest that one needs to confront the person who creates pain for self, but I do not necessarily think that is true. I think that we can do it on a spiritual or psychic level and have the same healing effect. Confrontation is usually just a vehicle to perpetuate more angry or hurtful behaviors. The person that you confront is not going to think he or she did anything wrong or if he or she does, it will be normal to become defensive. It will work just as well for you to write out a letter stating what happened, how it made you feel, and that you now release the negativity and transmute it to good. Then burn the letter and release it to the universal mind. You can use this technique to heal old hurts where the person is no longer available or who might have passed over. If this does not work at first, you can do it again and before you burn the letter you can visualize that you are severing the psychic cords or energy threads that have kept you connected to this toxic individual.
In forgiving yourself and in healing yourself, you can use visualization where you feel all of your energy returning to balance. Start at the top of your head and imagine wonderful healing energy entering the top of your head – like from the divine source. Let this energy slowly move through your body feeling it heal and empower you. Then imagine that it is going out through the soles of your feet into the ground and then through the center of the earth and then coming out the other side of the earth and creating a circle from whence it began from the universe. In this visualization you are creating a pure energy link that constantly replenishes from the infinite divine.
All of us will have times of positive and negative events and issues through our lives. However, the sooner we learn to take responsibility for how we respond to events and turn them into positive use of energy, the less we will suffer and the more we will experience times of contentment and joy. And along the way one never knows when what appears to be such a bad experience becomes the event that opens the door to manifest blessings.
Myriam Maytorena, M Ed is a counselor and writer. Her recent book is Spirituality: True Odysseys, co-authored with Zsuzsana Summer.
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