In your ego, you cling to every petty detail of your story. You never let go of any of your wounds. Your mantra is “I hurt, therefore I am.” Therefore, your ego can never wholeheartedly forgive. If it does, the ego’s forgiveness is a tactic, not a sacrament. Your Unique Self forgives freely without giving up your own truth.
From the evolutionary context of your Unique Self, you realize that you have a Unique Gift to give to All-That-Is. You are animated, driven, and drawn by that larger vision and obligation. This allows you to place your wounds in a larger perspective. Your Unique Self is not a victim. It is an audacious player in the Great Story of the evolution of consciousness. This larger perspective allows you to begin to let go of the story of your wounds. As it is replaced by the greater story of your Unique Self, delight and obligation begin to emerge.
From the place of your Unique Self, you are able to intuitively balance your outrage at injustice with an intuition about when to give up being right and move on. Because you are able to give up being right without giving up your core identity, it becomes infinitely easier to forgive.
As Dr. Marc reminds us, life is what we do with our hurt, which means that we can choose to be victims or we can choose to be players in the evolutionary context. In Your Unique Self, Marc writes, “Hurt is not an objective reality that gives you license for cruelty under the cover of ‘I was hurt.’ Hurt is a state, and it is interpreted through your stage or level of consciousness. As you evolve, your relationship to your wounds naturally shifts. More than any other single barometer, what you do with your hurt reveals to you and others your genuine level of consciousness. When you feel hurt, the masks of piety and the guises of liberation from ego are stripped away, and your naked heart is revealed to yourself and those with eyes to see” (426).
When we are feeling lost in the victimhood of a wounded ego, it is much harder to step into the fullness of our Unique story, to align ourselves with the evolutionary impulse that lives in each one of us, which helps us “transform our infinite potentiality to actuality” (Dr. Marc in the Unique Self telecourse). When we align ourselves with this impulse, we become players instead of victims, we step away from egoic consciousness, and we move into Unique Self. Consider the following story, also from Your Unique Self, which points to how we can transcend the state of hurt and move into a wider context:
The Hasidic master Naftali of Rophsitz told his students a tale of great healers being called to help the king. The king’s son was crying desperately. All the wise men of the kingdom, the doctors, the magicians, and shamans (the psychologists of the day) had been to see him, and none could comfort him or stop his crying. Indeed, every attempt at healing seemed to intensify the young prince’s woe.
It happened that an old woman from the hinterland of the kingdom was bringing milk to the palace. She passed the boy as he wandered, sobbing, near the kitchen. She approached him, not realizing he was the king’s son, and whispered a few words in his ear.
Lo and behold, he looked up at her, and his crying began to abate. In just a few minutes, he was not crying at all. And here Naftali ended his tale.
“Please, holy master,” the disciples pleaded with their teacher, “you must tell us. What magic, what amulet, what secret did the old wise woman—who we know must have been the Shekinah herself—what did she say?”
The master smiled. “It was very simple,” he said. “She told the boy, ‘You must not cry more than it hurts’” (428).*
As Dr. Marc explains, “If we learn to live wide open even as we are hurt by love, then the divine wakes up to its own True Nature. To be ﬁrm in your knowing of love, even when you are desperate, and to be strong in your heart of forgiveness even when you are betrayed. This is what it means to be holy” (page 428).
Or, consider an entire exercise in conscious complaining from Karla McLaren’s book The Language of the Emotions. She writes:
Here’s how to complain consciously. You can be grounded or not, inside your strong boundary or not—it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you’re in a foul mood and you have some privacy. You start your complaining with some sort of phrase, like “I’m complaining now!” If you’re inside, you can complain to the walls or furniture, to a mirror, or to whatever strikes your fancy. If you’re outside, you can complain to plants and trees, animals, nature, the sky, the ground, or your god. If you’re a strong complainer like I am, you might want to create a complaining shrine for yourself, with supportive pictures of grumpy cats, bratty kids, barking dogs, political cartoons, and whatever else calls to your complaining nature.
When you’ve found your perfect complaining site, let yourself go, and give a voice to your dejected, hopeless, sarcastic, nasty, bratty self. Bring dark humor out of the shadows and really whine and swear about the frustrations, stupidities, impossibilities, and absurdities of your situation. Complain for as long as you like (you’ll be surprised at how quickly this works), and when you run out of things to say, thank whatever you’ve been whining or yelling at. Thank the furniture, the walls, the ground, the threes, your complaining shrine, or your god for listening, and end your conscious complaining session by bowing, shaking off, and then doing something really fun. That’s it! (page 148)
Still lost in the throes of wounded woe? Consider the practice of turning it around from “the work” teachings developed by Byron Katie. In 2006, Marc Gafni and Byron Katie recorded a dialogue on the non-dual and radically non-dual (acosmic humanist) nature of hurt, discussing how we respond to some of the most outrageous suffering that surrounds us everyday from a place of enlightened consciousness. During the dialogue, they explored her steps in the process of “turning it around.”
To practice turning something around, ask:
Is it true?
Is it really true?
How would it feel for you to give up that thought?
And, who would you be without that thought?
And turn it around… That is, whatever you thought about the other person… and what they are doing to you… turn it around, take back the projection, and see how you are doing it to them.
We invite you to share your views on hurt, discuss how we can evolve our hurt, how we move beyond it into the wider evolutionary context and Unique Self—either in the comment section below or on the CWS Facebook page!
*Crying and mourning of course have value, which is not what the story above is saying. Dr. Marc’s forthcoming The Dance of Tears speaks to the many types of tears we can experience, and the tears in the story are certainly one expression.