I would like to address a comment I received regarding the ending of my last blog. What do we do if we do not have a parent who truly loves us, and in some cases may have inflicted physical or sexual abuse? For healing to take place, we have to somehow find some aspect of love from our parents or at least a reason to love them even though we cannot feel being loved. Remember love is the only emotion powerful enough to overcome deep inner pain. I believe that if we dig down deep enough we will find some aspect of love from our mother even if it was just a weak and painful connection buried beneath neglect and abandonment. With parents who do not love or who inflict severe damage through abuse, this becomes a very difficult but not impossible journey. In this case we have to find a reason to forgive.
The best visualization for this process I believe comes from modern views on reincarnation. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter. It is the visualization that is important. According to spiritual teachers we are eternal souls who keep coming back to Earth to seek opportunities to grow. Part of that process is the planning session where we plot out our lives so that we can experience certain trials and hurts that do not exist in the eternal world. As part of the plan, we call on souls who are part of our circle of eternal souls that we associate with through various lives. We ask them to take on certain roles so that we can achieve our goals. We count on souls who are mature and close for the difficult roles like abusive fathers and mothers because these roles are very difficult for loving souls to play. These roles are acts of love.
When we enter our present life, all memories of our eternal souls are erased and we have to struggle on through our preplanned trials until we come to a sense of awareness of who we really are, powerful beings filled with beauty and light. During this stage of awareness, we begin to sense the other souls in our life as spiritual beings, not at the physical level, or even conscious level, but as a vibration between our souls. At this point we can forgive and receive the love they have sent us by playing their roles for us. Now, if you have no other reason to love and forgive, I highly recommend this process as a healing of the inner soul, as a healing of the heart.
Of course there is therapy, which I highly recommend. But the therapy cannot just be used to dig into the past; this will accomplish nothing but reinforce the negative neural pathways. It has to somehow connect to love for self and to a reaching out to the abusive parent to reshape the bond so that we can feel some form of love. We will never understand their behavior but we can simply acknowledge it as a painful flaw in their personality, probably as a result of a deep wound they have themselves received physically, psychologically, and neurologically as young children. They may have made really bad choices, but they were probably responding to powerful destructive pathways within their own mind and brain. We have to acknowledge their pain and try to empathize with them, which is the first step to love.
We then forgive and turn to find the love we need within ourselves. We can begin to praise the inner spirit which has survived the abuse, and the courage of our own heart which keeps on caring and searching for love. We have to fill that need for love from our own heart.
Unfortunately, because of the abuse, the heart is wounded and may not be able to do this. This is where the second visualization takes place. It is the higher power that works so well in AA. Whether you believe or not in a god based on traditional religions does not matter; in fact, it may be detrimental as most tend to be male dominated and may be linked to feelings of abuse. You simply have to believe in a power, which spiritual teachers refer to as a universal spirit of life. You have to see the divine design in things and the beauty of life which we can sense when we are quiet and open up our own souls through the powers of awareness and mindfulness. We then join ourselves to this divine presence believing it to be the source of good which we can experience in our pleasure systems, thereby releasing our own opiate, the endorphins. This is the emotional feeling that we refer to as love. We can sense our Self becoming a part of this flow of universal love. We do not have to believe in any god, just open our hearts to sense a presence of peace and beauty.
After we begin to experience this presence we can begin to use the love power within to heal. When the old feelings return and the old images try to occupy our mind we simply take these five steps:
- Acknowledge the feeling, and replace it with your memory pathways of universal love.
- Acknowledge the abuser, but gently inform the image that it no longer has any power of over you.
- Forgive the abuser and thank the abuser for playing the role that has helped set you on the path to becoming a powerful spiritual human being.
- Close the door (you can visualize an actual door) to these memories and open the door to universal love. Walk through it and feel the power of universal love.
- Give yourself a hug.
We have to love ourselves. I could write books on how to go about this process and of course hundreds have already been written. But it is your own book, your own story that matters. Deep within yourself you have the power to do this, and deep within yourself you have the knowledge. Be patient with yourself. Acknowledge your pain but connect it with the positive from within and without. Seek a friend who really cares and share your feelings, and end each session with a hug. Acknowledge, accept, and embrace the truth: you are no longer a victim; you are a powerful, beautiful human being.