Many of my readers know that I grew up with a lot of Christian confusion. My mother was raised sort of Mormon, and my father was raised sort of Catholic, and I sort of didn’t know what kind of Christian to be. Now I’m a practicing bodhisattva and mystic, so you can decide if I ever gained clarity. Truth is, the Buddha wasn’t Buddhist, and Christ wasn’t Christian, so there’s a lot of room for ease and comfort with spirituality. Go agency and choice!
I always found it beautiful and inspiring that the 12-Step process of making amends is both Christian and also transcends religiosity entirely. From this viewpoint, the 12 Steps are a mystical process of radical acceptance and love. Who can’t get behind that?
While I myself practice radical acceptance and love, I don’t always execute effectively. I frequently make mistakes. Sometimes, I radically hurt people I love. Sometimes, the people I love radically hurt me. That’s just part of being human. We each have to work on our boundaries… which can be nearly impossible when you love someone.
Listeners of the Waking Up Bipolar podcast are aware that I have been grieving the loss of my dear friend, teacher, mentor, and colleague (Bill) Ian Vincent Scheffel. The trauma of losing such a gentle, kind, and caring soul to the violence of medical mistreatment and abuse has torn my heart to shreds on many occasions since his death.
As I always do, I am choosing to self-disclose my experience of shame and guilt, as well as the acute sense of Complex Grief and PTSD “hypervigilance” regarding the spiritual projection field of others’ unresolved trauma. I’m already bipolar, so this has been a nasty pill to swallow. It’s a good thing I maintain proper mental health support and hygienics. Amends are an opportunity to model appropriate love for others who may be similarly afflicted. Amends elucidate, via a personal anecdote, an invitation to forgive. Psychotherapists might call this “therapeutic self-disclosure.” I myself am only a life coach, but I have learned a great deal from trauma-informed therapists of myriad ilk and training. Please consider finding a “trauma-informed psychotherapist” if you are struggling in any way.
There is nothing under the sun that can’t be forgiven. Love is the root of all spiritual and secular traditions. As they say in 12-step circles, “easy does it.”
In Tibetan spirituality, there is a traditional lojong slogan by the title, “Drive All Blames into One.” Click (here) for a video introduction by Lodro Rinzler.
Due to some recent bouts of extreme PTSD, I caused a lot of harm for those I love most in this world. I combatted their love with my own projections of fear and the terror of abandonment. By driving blame into one, I am not taking on all the sins of the world. Rather, I am energetically synchronizing with the reality that blame is ultimately futile and imaginary. All forgiveness is found in the acknowledgement and resolution of trauma. “Hurt people hurt people.” No human would ever consciously choose to hurt themselves or others. By letting myself off the hook for unconscious recapitulations of intergenerational and early-childhood trauma, I am inviting the recipient of amends to do the same for themselves. This is a radically-reciprocal view of atonement in the cradle of loving-kindness.
Imagine you are the person who you are blaming for your pain. What do they feel? What is their mind doing? What sort of spiritual confusion are they harboring themselves?
Write down what they have to say. Put pen to paper, and just keep moving your hand. The unconscious wisdom of the body will emerge as love. In mysticism, the body is love, and love is the body.
If you have Parkinsons, neuropathy, dementia, or other neurological conditions that prevent fine motor skills, you can use your voice instead of pen and paper. Just record your Self speaking a continuous stream. The voice allows for the same sort of embodiment as writing. This is just a matter of personal preference and different abilities. Welcome the uniqueness of your own location in body diversity.
Going through such painful grief and trauma has caused me to reflect on the cost of war. Please read the tremendous Dharma of the Venerable Rev. angel Kyodo williams on what she calls, “A New America.” I feel ready. Do YOU?