“Every failure to cope with a life situation must be laid, in the end to a restriction of consciousness.  Wars and temper tantrums are the makeshift of ignorance, regrets are illuminations come too late”.      Joseph Campbell (Reflections on the Art of Living)   

Shakespeare wrote that there is no prison more confining than the  one we don’t know that we are in. When we hold onto grudges, perceived wrongs, resentments, anger and judgments, we profoundly affect our  Mental, —Emotional, —Physical, —Spiritual health in detrimental ways. Unconsciously inhabiting a prison of our own making.

The brain loves efficiency and doesn’t like to work any harder than it has to. When you repeat a behavior, such as complaining, your neurons branch out to each other to ease the flow of information. This makes it much easier to repeat that behavior in the future—so easy, in fact, that you might not even realize you’re doing it. So when we judge someone or a group of people, hold a grudge, hang onto resentment or anger the neurons in our brains connect making neural pathways similar to a well-worn path in the woods.

“We don’t see things as they are we see things as we are”  (Anin)

You can’t blame your brain. Who’d want to build a temporary bridge every time you need to cross a river? It makes a lot more sense to construct a permanent bridge. So, your neurons grow closer together, and the connections between them become more permanent. Scientists describe this process as, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”

Repeated complaining or any habit of thought rewires your brain to make future complaining or repetitive thoughts and behaviors more likely. Over time, you find it’s easier to be negative than to be positive, regardless of what’s happening around you. Complaining and negativity  becomes your default behavior, which changes how people perceive you. Psychologist Eric Bern found that “we act in ways to make people behave in order to justify how we already feel”. In other words, the outer world mirrors back what is going on in our inner world. Yet we are convinced that it is the outer world that is causing us to feel bad.

What’s worse: along with chronic stress,  complaining and holding grudges damages other areas of your brain as well. Research from Stanford University has shown that stress and negativity,   shrinks the hippocampus; an area of the brain that’s critical to problem solving and intelligent thought. Damage to the hippocampus is serious, especially when you consider how important it is to have full use of our mental faculties to cope with the many challenges we face in our work, family and personal lives. (Travis Bradperry, PhD)

Resentment, complaining and holding grudges  is bad for your health. 

While it’s profoundy helpful to know that negativity, pessimism and chronic stress leads to brain damage, it doesn’t stop there. When you are angry, anxious, fearful, stressed and   complaining, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol shifts you into fight-or-flight mode, directing oxygen, blood, and energy away from everything but the systems that are essential for immediate survival. One effect of cortisol, for example, is to raise your blood pressure and blood sugar so that you’ll be prepared to either escape or defend yourself.

The extra cortisol released by chronic stress, frequent complaining and negativity impairs your immune system and makes you more susceptible to high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and obesity. It even makes the brain more vulnerable to strokes. Digestion and wound healing are also impaired making us more suscuptible to gastointestinal disorders and infectious dieseases.  ( Robert Sapulsky, Phd)

Why Forgive? 

“ You are not here to cry about the miseries of the human condition, but to change them when you find them not to your liking, through the joy, strength and vitality that is within you.” (Unknown)

To start the process of of forgiving:  Look at the real consequences of holding on to upsets. Ask yourself:  

  • What do I get by keeping the upset going?
  • Write down any benefits. Who benefits and how?
  • Is being right more important than being happy?

 Being a Victim

  • How long has my victimization been going on?
  • How long is it okay to let others be in control of my happiness?
  • Am I a possible contributor to the problem and not just the victim?
By being honest with yourself and owning your role or part in the situation, you are more able to forgive.  You may need to start small at first but when you do; if feels like a burden has been lifted from your chest or shoulders,  you will feel lighter and better.  If you don’t forgive; remember holding onto grudges has a link to depression, OCD as well as a decreased immune function.  (Forgiveness Foundation.org)

So when we forgive, we get:  —Mental, —Emotional, —Physical and Spiritual Freedom. (Jim Dincalci PhD)   Our brains work better, we are happier, more creative and able to enjoy life more fully. Forgiving help us connect better to spirit. How can you experience the unconditional love and grace of God if you hold onto resentment, anger, grudges and prejudices yourself?

When will you really be ready to let go of all of your upsets? 

* See Robert Sapulsky’s National Geographic video “The Portrait of a Killer- Stress”.

 

“The Privilege of a Life Time” by Peter Metzner


The privilege of a lifetime is being
who you are.
The goal of the hero trip
down to your jewel point
is to find those levels in the psyche
That open, open, open,
and finally open to the mystery
of your self
being Buddha consciousness,
the Christ.

That’s the journey
(Joseph Campbell) Reflections on the Art of Living – A Joseph Campbell Companion

“Find a place where there is joy and the joy will burn out the pain” .

According to Campbell, Satan is the epitome of the intractable ego. That part of ourselves needing to be right, to defend ourselves, feeling separate, better than or not as good as others depending on our beliefs, dogma and life’s situations. Hell is the concretization of your life experiences, a place where you’re stuck, the wasteland. In hell, we blame others for our condition and are so bound to ourselves that grace cannot enter. What is hellish is being stuck without hope, without relief.*

How we mature, depends on taking responsibility for our choices, no longer blaming others, or expecting rescue from them. And to acknowledge the pain of loneliness however much we are invested in social roles and relationships. (James Hollis) Swamplands of The Soul. The mature person i.e. one who is psychologically free : “is confident in his inner world, responsible for his strengths and weaknesses, consciously able to love himself, and thus, able to love others”…. Marion Woodman

In a simple and poignant description of the human condition, and of growth; Jolande Jacobi, a Jungian analyst writes: “Like a seed growing into a tree, life unfolds stage by stage. Triumphant ascent, collapse, crises, failures, and new beginnings strew the way. It is the path trodden by the great majority of people, as a rule unreflectingly, unconsciously, unsuspectingly, following its labyrinthine windings from birth to death in hope and longing. It is hedged about with struggle and suffering, joy and sorrow, guilt and error, and nowhere is there security from catastrophe. For as soon as a man tries to escape every risk and prefers to experience life only in his head, in the form of ideas and fantasies, as soon as he surrenders to opinions of ‘how it ought to be’ and, in order not to make a false step, imitates others when possible, he forfeits the chance of his own independent development. Only if he treads the path bravely and flings himself into life, fearing no struggle and no exertion and fighting shy of no experience, will he mature his personality more fully than the man who is ever trying to keep to the safe side of the road.”
J. Jacobe, The Way of Individuation

There are two gremlins we face every morning.

Fear: I am too tiny it is too hard… I can’t do it.

Lethargy: – chill out tomorrow is another day…

Each will eat us alive… Fear and lethargy are the enemy they are not out there they are inside
Carl Jung wrote: The spirit of evil is the negation of live force by fear… only boldness can overcome that fear.
If the risk is not taken, the meaning of life is violated”

Our task is to recover our personal authority and discern the meaning of our lives.
Who are we to stand in its way?