How important is forgiveness with regard to our health and wellbeing?

An excerpt from my book – A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health – Chapter IX/”True Effort”…

“What healthful changes would you like to make in your life? What changes would you like to see in the broader world – changes which would make it a more healthful, safer, and better place overall? The problems which we have as individuals are often reflected to and from the broader world. The means by which each of us can make our world a better place is most often accomplished by promoting healthful change within ourselves; a more and more healthful way-of-life manifests a healthful model for others. Once again, this is our true responsibility, and obviously, it is not an easy thing: It requires true effort to make such changes and sustain them. Ghandi made a striking point which can be applied succinctly to the notion of making such healthful changes: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” His simple statement speaks profoundly .

Some problems can obviously seem overwhelming and may be inherently fixed to our level of maturity – individually and as a species. The great psychoanalyst Carl Jung, spoke eloquently to this point: “The greatest and most important problems of life are all in a certain sense insoluble…they can never be solved, but only outgrown.” Congruently, and according to the traditions of the health and wellness arts which I teach and coach, no serious illness can be cured – the problem of any bad habit, weakness, or tendency cannot be absolutely solved or eliminated. Such can ONLY be healed and/or made unattractive or unnecessary – though it will always be a part of our make-up, even if it is not outwardly viewable or manifested. This ‘outgrowing’ or ‘growing-up’ necessitates true effort toward educating ourselves about the nuances of health and wellness and ever-evolving critical thinking skills. Such ongoing development is what growing-up is all about.

Probably the most painful and arduous aspect of true effort is the notion of true forgiveness. It is inclusive of forgiveness of ourselves and forgiveness of others: In actuality the two often reflect upon one another and/or are one-in-the-same. In learning to witness this issue in a clear and unblemished fashion, we may realize a sense of true compassion – gathering significant insight into the notion that we are all in the same boat: Hence, the ‘same boat theory,’ e.g., the primary fault of mankind is the notion that you are there and I am here.

Our entire outlook on life can quite commonly have a direct connection with the issue of forgiveness. In being faithful to the spirit of truth, we all can obviously look at our experiences and see that each of us has uncountable things for which we can choose to forgive or choose not to forgive in ourselves and others: It is likely we have all made the same mistakes that we see others make. Within each of us, wars and famines of our spirits are reflected back and forth between us and the greater world. For instance, when wronged by others, we have a choice as to how to respond: We can choose to make matters worse by acting in spite, or we can choose a healthful mien through which we can forgive – displaying true (unadulterated) compassion in a spirit of dignity, decency, goodness, and grace – all-the-while making it clear to the wrongdoer that the behavior is wrong and unacceptable.

It is likely that for a majority of us, we have more often than not been unforgiving – in fact we have displayed varying levels of hostility and/or have acted to reflect the wrongdoer’s action back toward them. In the traditions herein, it is said: “true self-defense is self-defense against ourselves and our own bad habits.” This concept is similar to a common saying, e.g., “we are our own worst enemy.” In acting upon this knowledge, we can choose to exercise true effort toward healthful growth, or we can choose an unhealthful ongoing regression toward greater and greater misery which is filled with self-loathing and hatefulness. Having great role models will obviously be helpful toward making healthful decisions; it certainly ‘can’t hurt.’

I am not intentionally promoting religiosity in this writing – I am setting forth notions of a healthful philosophical way-of-life. Even so, I cannot think of a more profoundly powerful, impeccable, and immaculate example of a role model consistent with the notion true effort and true forgiveness: According to Christian teachings, as Christ was being put to death on the cross, he said, “Forgive them…for they know not what they do.” It seems quite clear that this level of true effort and forgiveness would truly be even more than just a glimpse…of heaven.” — Dr. Glen Hepker (Copyright 2011)

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