A dear friend offered the word amnesty to me as a gift suggesting I grant myself amnesty. I took it on and have found that granting myself personal amnesty goes deep. Often, forgiveness is not enough. We also need that personal freedom from whatever is requiring forgiveness. Amnesty offers both.
Amnesty is a powerful word representing forgiveness as well as freedom. Amnesty is usually a pardon extended by a group of people, a government or governmental leader for a political offense.
So, what does amnesty have to do with spiritual growth?
In some cultures spiritual consciousness is the highest form of politics. When we approach life as a whole person (as body & heart & mind) we approach everything, including our political system (e.g. democracy) from a spiritual (whole) perspective. When we approach anything as a disconnected individual we end up with disconnect in our families, communities, organizations and systems.
We often hide our spirit, being afraid of persecution for expressing our whole self rather than a story we project. To grant oneself amnesty allows one to be whole without fear of repercussions.
So, how do we grant ourselves and each other personal amnesty?
“Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.” C.S. Lewis
Forgiveness is a step towards amnesty. Forgiveness is a choice we make to physically, emotionally and intellectually (spiritually) release any wrongs that weight us down. We can ask for forgiveness for a wrong we committed and we can forgive others for wrongs committed against us. Asking for forgiveness usually includes some type of heart-felt apology. Forgiving can involve an apology but this isn’t required.
In the heat of a moment, it may involve a change in action.
For example, say someone cuts in line in front of you. A person cutting in front of us is taking away power from us (demoting us in position). It is easy to stir up conflict in order to take back one’s position. However, in the moment, we have the choice to change action, step in and ask them to be respectful of everyone who is waiting and go to the back of the line. If the person refuses or we aren’t able to change the course of action, then we practice forgiveness – we pardon the person for their actions. We don’t hold a grudge because we know this will only hurt ourselves more. We also don’t participate in creating more negativity such as talking badly about the person.
Forgiveness is a positive path forward.
Remember one thing you did or that was done to you today or in the past that you have not fully forgiven yourself for or have not forgiven others for. Now, visualize this thing as a bubble and blow the bubble up to the sky. Set the intention to release and forgive. Watch the bubble float off until you can no longer see it. How do you feel?
Sometimes, this does the trick. And, sometimes, we need a touch of something else. Like salt AND pepper.
If this is the case, we take the next step toward amnesty and focus on freedom.
“The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not “the thinker.” The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind. You begin to awaken.” — Eckart Tolle
We claim personal freedom by taking back and building our personal power or mana. We strengthen our core so that we are more aware of when someone is taking our power or we are giving our power away.
Most spiritual traditions have ways to strengthen the core body, the chakras or the dantiens. If you are looking for a starting place, you can try this 10 minute audio recording called Rattle, Body and Light Meditation which walks you through a mana building meditation.
In this way, we enable ourselves to move of our own free will, express our true emotions and not what others say we should express, we allow our mind to be clear and choosing peace, practicing being and feeling free so that we may experience the spirit of life!
Freedom can mean the power to
- realize inner peace in a stressful situation
- shift destructive thoughts to creative thoughts
- find joy in all that crosses your path
- choose love in a moment rather than hate
- experience connection that is not coerced
- see beauty where all others see none
- cut off manipulative energies
- be with the unknown
- feel your existence as exhilarating
- dream a new dream into physical reality
For more on freedom you can read The Discipline of Wild & Free blog entry.
May all beings be free and forgiven. Try on Amnesty for some of your deeper wounds and see if this helps you find answers and healing.
“True freedom is always spiritual. It has something to do with your innermost being, which cannot be chained, handcuffed, or put into a jail.” — Osho