Comment: Although I note this email as perhaps the most important of the series, it is only possible to utilize this email effectively, especially long-term, if the rest of the program is developed.
MacQuarrie Email Program #24 — Forgiveness (Letting Go)
Welcome. This email is perhaps the most important email of the entire series — forgiveness. It is again longer than usual (three pages instead of two), so as to teach a specific skill.
So what is forgiveness? Often it is misunderstood, because it has almost nothing to do with the other person or the events of the past. Forgiveness is the letting go of the energy so as to be peaceful with the future; alternatively it is letting go of the hope for a different past. We hold on to our resentments, hoping that the other will change — but the major person being hurt is ourselves, not the other (who may not care or even know of our lack of forgiveness). Even if we forgive, we must still protect ourselves from further harm in the future — we simply do not carry unnecessary energy about the issues.
The task of this email is to explore your own issues, and develop processes for forgiveness. The most important questions I (or you) can ask myself in these issues are:
- What is the positive intention of my anger/resentment?
- What do I gain by being angry/resentful?
- What would I lose if I let go of my anger/resentment?
For those issues that you truly want to let go, we can now explore two major processes.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
I first encountered EFT at a workshop in 2002 (?) — it seemed as hokey as anything I had ever encountered. I also did not have much use for it myself — most of my life issues were resolved.
However when I used it on clients (and to a limited extent on myself), I was astounded — it worked! And it soon became my tool of choice when I did not know what else to do. A client would start to discuss an issue, and I would be saying to myself “What the h— am I to do in response to this?” So I would use EFT — and the issue resolved. This could be anything from childhood pain that was 50 years old to a woman struggling with PMS. Amazing!
It also became part of my standard demonstration protocol for my anger weekends. Easily learned, clients would continue to use it at home. Of the clients who only attended the weekend workshop, I am uncertain as to how many continued to use it; but with the ongoing group clients, relief continued. I cannot demonstrate its being used, but I invite you to explore the process. However, there is a detailed free description of the full process at emofree.com. If ineffective, let me know, and we can find another way to explore it.
You could also consider finding a workshop on EFT — the process has become popular, and more regulated. Originally the training was free, and easily accessed; now it is regulated, and costs.
On the end of this, I describe the process in detail. The process involves light tapping on your body at specific locations, for example:
- The Sore Point: gently massage the front-center of your chest (either side) about 1-2” from the midline, just to the side of the sternum (chest bone). Find a point that is slightly tender — this is the Sore Point.
- The Karate Point: the little finger side of the hand.
- The Gamat Point: make a fist, and look at the back of your hand (either side). Notice the knuckles of the little finger and ring finger. About 1” up from the knuckles, touch the soft space between the associated bones — this is the Gamut Point.
- The Collar Bone Point: touch the notch at the top of your sternum, and shift 1” to either side. The boney prominence is the Collar Bone Point.
- When tapping the fingers (Thumb – Little Finger), tap at the side of the nail. You do not need to tap the 3rd finger (ring finger).
The whole process seems a bit weird (or perhaps, a lot weird), but again, I assure you that it became my first approach to issues that were resistant to other approaches, and I was frequently astonished by its effectiveness. So give it a go, and see what happens.
Although not directly a method of forgiveness, I suggest that the process of Laughter Yoga is a powerful tool for creating positive states that contribute to forgiveness.
Although I am no longer active in the field, I was a friend of the founder Madan Kataria, a Mumbai-based cardiologist who was concerned about the stress levels of his patients (and of himself). As part of his explorations, he read the book Laughter Is The Best Medicine, and really took the message to heart — over a few years, he founded an international organization consisting of small groups of people who gathered daily or weekly to engage in spontaneous laughter. There are currently more than 10,000 such clubs around the world.
Early on, he recognized that humor is not necessary for laughter, and that groups can engage in “silly” activities to encourage spontaneity and expression of amusement. The word silly itself originally meant happy or prosperous, but like many words later became critical or disparaging.
So what is laughter? It is a release of tension, and promotes mirth, a very healing experience.
- Humor — the quality that something seem amusing [unexpectedly].
- Laughter — the spontaneous act of expressing amusement (tension release).
- Mirth — the continuing physiologic joyfulness of laughter.
Think of how you feel after a good joke. Do you have any interest in being angry? What happens to your resentments, at least temporarily. Question: Are you willing to risk feeling better?
Although most people only access laughter through humor, it is very easy to access if you are willing to be silly, to engage as if being a small child delighted with events. I invite you to watch a particular video, Bodhisattva In Metro, as a sampler. I watch it daily — I seldom tire of it.
And I know its effectiveness. As part of my PhD research, I studied the nature of discipline. The graph shows the results of the monitoring of my sense of personal well-being over a period of several months: every day, I gave myself a score of how I was feeling over-all (-10 to +10). In the upper left (A), I did a daily prayer of 15 minutes — minimal effect. Daily laughter (upper right, B) for 21 days: gradual increase to +8. Vipassana meditation (lower left, C) for 10 days: gradual return to base line. Laughter resumed: rapid increase to +9. Alternating Prayer-Laughter-Vipassana (D): persistence of +10. I was astounded! And now it is simply part of my daily routines.
Like all disciplines, I let it go from time to time, but when I resume, I get the same outcome. I feel better, the way I want to feel! It is a choice. I also suspect it to offer two additional benefits: it is the basis of forgiveness and it is the basis of play (to be considered shortly). Enjoy!
Coming next: Managing Yourself While Angry
Emotional Freedom Technique (see www.emofree.com)
The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.
EFT IN A NUTSHELL
Memorize The Basic Recipe. Use it on any emotional or physical problem by customizing it with an appropriate Setup affirmation and Reminder Phrase. Be specific where possible, and aim EFT at the specific emotional events in one’s life that may underlie the problem. Where necessary, be persistent until all aspects of the problem have vanished; fractionate the problem as needed.
Try it on everything!! Until you are comfortable with the process, I suggest that you do not use it on issues that you think you should release — for learning purposes, use it on issues that you truly want to release.
THE BASIC RECIPE
- Identify issue in 3-4 words (this is the reminder phrase, RP). Associate fully into the experience, and assign a subjective units of distress (SUDS, 0-10).
- The Setup . . . Repeat this affirmation of the RP 3 times, while continuously rubbing the Sore Spot (chest), or tapping the Karate Chop point:
Even though I have this (RP), I deeply and completely accept myself.
- The Sequence . . . Tap about 7 times on each of the following energy points while repeating the Reminder Phrase at each point.
EB, SE, BE, BN, Ch, CB, BA, BN, Th, IF, MF, BF, KC
EB: Eyebrow SE: Side eye BE: Below eye BN: Below nose Ch: Chin
CB: Collarbone BA: Below armpit BN: Below nipple Th: Thumb IF: Index finger
MF: Middle finger BF: Baby finger (Note: skip of 3rd finger) KC: Karate chop area.
- The 9 Gamut Procedure . . . Continuously tap on the Gamut Point (back of hand near and between 3rd and 4th knuckles) while performing each of these 9 actions:
(I) Eyes closed (2) Eyes open (3) Eyes look down hard right
(4) Eyes look down hard left (5) Roll eyes in circle (6) Roll eyes in other direction
(7) Hum 4 seconds of a song (8) Count to 5 (9) Hum 4 seconds of a song.
- The Sequence (again) . . . Tap about 7 times on each of the following energy points while repeating the Reminder Phrase at each point.
EB, SE, BE, DN, Ch, CB, BA, BN, Th, IF, MF, BF, KC
Use the Basic Recipe up to ten (10) times on the issue, until the SUDs comes to zero (Ø) on two consecutive occasions.
If two Øs are not achieved, check your need to hold onto the issue. If appropriate, fractionate the issue into smaller chunks, and eliminate these until resolution.
Note: In subsequent sessions, the Setup affirmation and the Reminder Phrase are adjusted to reflect the fact that you are addressing the remaining problem.