Tag Archives: health

Is Forgiveness the Answer to Your Challenge?

attractive young model on chair

by Gregory Toole

As I was searching keywords on my blogs of the past two years, surprisingly I found that I had not written about forgiveness, a topic my first spiritual teacher had at the core of her teaching. Rev. Elouise Oliver would ask students who came to her with any issue, “Who do you need to forgive?” Whether the issue was a health challenge, an off-track relationship, or a financial difficulty, the question was always the same, “Who do you need to forgive?”

Lack of forgiveness manifests itself in a wide variety of ways in our lives. One thing we can be sure of is that it will manifest itself in some unpleasant form, eventually. Essentially, lack of forgiveness is holding onto resentment for a prolonged period of time. It does not mean we never get angry or never feel resentful. These are normal emotions experienced temporarily by healthy people.

There was another minister who told the story of a woman in a wheelchair who showed up to a foundational spiritual class. She told the minister that she wanted to walk again. Upon reflection, he told the woman that they would start their healing work with the practice of forgiveness. Much to the minister’s wonder, the woman said she’d rather stay in a wheelchair than forgive. Apparently there was some deep hurt she was unwilling to let go of. Whether she would have walked again is unknown, but the story points to how much we can become attached to anger and resentment.

Usually when we refuse to forgive it is because we mistakenly believe that forgiveness is for the benefit of the other person. While the other person may derive some benefit from our forgiveness, the primary beneficiary of forgiveness is the one doing the forgiving. It is we who engage in the practice of forgiveness who are freed from the negative effects of holding onto anger and resentment.

Another common misperception about forgiveness is that we are condoning the behaviors that led to the feelings of anger, betrayal, or resentment. This is not true at all. The behavior itself may have been reprehensible. The question is, are we going to hold ourselves in a prison because we believe we are justified in our anger. Holding onto resentment has been compared to drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

We are responsible for keeping our own energy field open and flowing with love. No doubt, people will do things to us, sometimes horrible things, and yet it is up to us in the longer term whether we will allow anything to pollute our energy field. Keeping love flowing in our energy field maintains us in the flow of divine goodness, such as prosperity, health, and loving relationships. Holding onto anger and resentment has the opposite effect, eventually causing blockage in our energy field, and therefore blockage in our connection to source energy.

In short, holding onto anger and resentment for prolonged periods of time will begin to manifest as poor health, shortages in our financial affairs, unfulfilling relationships, or all of these. The master teacher, Jesus, is quoted in Matthew 5:25, “Agree with thine adversary quickly,” which to me is a message of forgiveness. Keeping our energy field clean maintains us in the flow of divine harmony and wholeness.

The choice is clear. Let us begin today to open up the channels of love more fully. Let us forgive easily and enjoy life to its fullest.

Enjoy the journey.

Next week: The Practice of Forgiveness (how to do it)

Health Is Your Natural State

beautiful four years old with watermelon

by Gregory Toole

The human body is quite the work of art, its organs of varying colors and its functions so amazingly calibrated, with billions of cells all working together to orchestrate a healthy body. It is designed to be healthy.

We often treat our bodies more like machines, and while one could certainly relate some aspects of bodily function to being mechanical, its organic self-generating and self-renewing properties make it so much more than that.

The body’s relationship to our spiritual and mental well being is another dimension beyond the physical and mechanical. Ernest Holmes, founder of the Science of Mind philosophy, said “Health and sickness are largely externalizations of our dominant mental and spiritual states.”

It is fascinating how, even as practitioners of metaphysics, we sometimes engage in discussions about germs and viruses, and ‘catching something,’ when we know that there is always something to catch in the atmosphere, but our susceptibility to it is largely dependent on our spiritual and mental state.

New Thought spiritual teaching largely derived from mind-body healing successes. It was the healing of diseases like tuberculosis (which had no known external cure at the time) through spiritual and mental means that laid the foundation for modern metaphysical teachings around healing and manifestation in all areas of life.

It is easy to shy away from thinking that dis-ease has a mental or spiritual cause because we want to be compassionate with the patient and don’t want to blame a person for being sick. While it is true that one who is sick is not at fault and should not be blamed or shamed, it is also true what Ernest Holmes said about the role of our mental and spiritual states in health and sickness.

That we are powerful creators of our reality is always both good news and bad news – good news when we are able to manifest something wonderful, and bad news when seemingly negative things show up in our lives and we have to take responsibility (but not blame) for them.

And so it is with our health. Our natural state is wholeness and wellness. If we get out of balance mentally or spiritually we can create dis-ease in the body. However, we are also able to maintain a healthy body by keeping our mental and spiritual states in balance and in harmony with life. And just the same, we are able to restore our bodies from illness to physical wellness by re-aligning with balance, wholeness, and harmony. Of course, we are also served by taking care of the body’s physical needs, such as good nutrition and exercise. These are part of living in balance and harmony with life.

I do want to note that optimum health manifests differently for each person, and it is good to stay out of judgment about others, and rather understand and create what optimum health looks like for ourselves, while supporting others in knowing what it looks like for them.

A votre santé! (To your health!) Let us stay in balance and harmony, even as life has its way of ebbing and flowing. Let’s remain in the flow of life, not resisting, but embracing the current of life that moves us hither and thither, as we remember that we create, but we do not control.

Enjoy the journey.

Conscious Stewardship of Our Environment

0595-salamandre

by Gregory Toole

There are so many ways we can positively impact our environment today. Many of our day-to-day activities have embedded in them the potential to have major, lasting impact on our environment.

Let’s take some examples. Most of us participate as consumers nearly every day of our lives. We buy products online, at local markets, in coffee shops, and through a vast array of merchants. A little conscious awareness can go a long way in these purchases.

Many years ago when I owned a house in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was tending to my yard and garden, and like many people I was using an herbicide to clear weeds. It was an activity I engaged in without much thought. The product was sold in great quantities at the big box home and garden store, so in my mind it had credibility.

Shortly thereafter, I was sitting back, admiring the garden and all the birds and insects it was attracting, and just how alive it all felt. Suddenly, my awareness returned to the herbicide I had used, and now I thought of all those birds and bees ingesting it. That was a very distressing thought as my mind wandered, seeing this poisonous herbicide spread throughout the ecosystem.

That was the end of my use of herbicides. I decided if I didn’t like the weeds, a little extra effort to pull them was a small price for protecting the ecosystem that is the lifeline for not only humans, but all life.

A subject getting much attention in the news and on social media today is laws being considered that either require or do not require labeling of foods with GMOs (genetically modified organisms). One possibility is to support food companies that are self-reporting that their products do not contain GMOs.

Personally, I choose to buy products from companies that self-choose to report, whether required by law or not. This puts the focus on the relationships I have with those from whom I buy food.

Buying organic food products is another opportunity for conscious impact. First, there is the positive impact on our bodies by not ingesting poisonous pesticides. Then there is the bigger picture of keeping these poisonous agents out of the overall ecosystem that sustains life on the planet.

Eating out at restaurants is another opportunity to be conscious. Does the restaurant serve hormone-free meat? Is the produce they use organic? Just asking the proprietor these questions lets them know it’s important to us, another conscious impact.

To me, it really comes down to whether our choices in life reflect our values, and whether we are aware of the impact of our choices. Guilt about our choices doesn’t serve much purpose, but awareness and choices in alignment with our values serve a great purpose in improving our environment.

Whether you share my values or not around environmentalism, the most important takeaway I offer is the opportunity we have, through expanded awareness, to align our day-to-day choices with our values, thus expanding our impact on the world around us.

What is one change you could make this week to align your choices with your values? Are you willing to make that change? Let’s go for it. We are powerful beyond measure. We only need to remember that. Aligning our choices with our values is yet another way we can demonstrate that awesome divine power within us.