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I'm Oprah Winfrey. Welcome to Super Soul Conversations, the podcast. I believe that one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself is time taking time to be more fully present, your journey to become more inspired and connected to the deeper world around us. Starts right now. For so many people searching for peace and purpose, the most debilitating source of their pain has been the struggle to forgive.
Having experienced the trauma of childhood abuse and personal betrayals at different points of my life, I have great compassion for anyone facing what might seem like an insurmountable hurdle. The journey to release all grudges, to relinquish the quest for revenge and to let go of the fantasy of what might have been is one of the most difficult spiritual challenges we will ever face. But I promise you, it is also the most rewarding because the other side of forgiveness is freedom.
There was a time when I believed the act of forgiveness meant accepting the offender and by doing so condoning the act, I didn't understand that the true purpose of forgiveness is to stop allowing whatever that person did to affect how I live my life now. I only began to see a different path for myself after an expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Geroge and Polski, shared his definition.
He said. Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could be any different. Those words gave me goosebumps then and now, this was a transcendent moment for me, bigger than any kind of aha.
I love this idea so much. I adopted it as my personal mantra, accepting this principle as spiritual law took me to the next level of living my own best life. And if you watch Super Bowl Sunday, you know that I continue to share it regularly. In return, the life experiences shared with me on Super Bowl Sunday have allowed me to go deeper and expand further into how forgiveness functions. My hope is that you, too, will use the wisdom in this chapter to excavate where you need to forgive.
When best selling author and spiritual teacher Iyanla Vanzant joined me on the show, I told her that I keep the lesson in forgiveness that she shared with me in a little book of quotes I've collected over the years.
You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, she says. But until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex. But eventually it will ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past.
The memories. And make peace with them. This speaks so clearly to me, pushing against the need to forgive is like spreading poison in your veins, surrender to the hurt, loss, resentment and disappointment. Accept the truth. It did happen. And now it's done. Make a decision to meet the pain as it rises within you and allow it to pass right through. Give yourself permission to let go of the past and step out of your history.
Into the now. Forgive. And set yourself free. We start with Karen Armstrong. You've said in our perilously divided world, compassion is in our best interest. Yes, yes.
We can't go on like this. We can't afford to go on treating other peoples in the way we have done for short term goals. It's not working. It's not working. It's not working. And if we want a viable world, it means we have to listen to one another and respect one another. Otherwise, the global world we've created with the weaponry we've created, we can't survive as a species.
So what you talk about in the 12 steps to a compassionate life, ultimately, if we're not able to forgive our enemies and ultimately if we're not able to see others as ourselves, the world as we know it is not viable, is not viable. If I just come back to this point about forgiveness, sometimes we forgive other people, but we often don't understand that we are selves are at fault. It takes two to tango. Bad situations come about in personal life because two people aren't doing the right thing.
Right. And so that it's not just a question of forgiving but loving our enemies. Now, when Jesus said that he did not mean affection or tenderness, we debased the word love in our culture. You know, I love ice cream and you love that movie. I know we use a debased is the right term. And in the ancient world, Leviticus says, love your neighbor. And the word love was used in international treaties to kings who may have been enemies, promised that they would love each other.
And that didn't mean that they would fall into one another's arms and become best friends, but that they would look out for one another's best interests and also understanding their pain. The pain that is lies behind a lot of this anger. It's hardened into rage. Mm hmm. And this is something that no society can safely ignore.
And it's true with countries and communities and it's true in our own lives. Yes. Personally, because what is true here is also true out there. And we cannot not understanding another person's pain. That pain turns into rage.
And we see it all around us in our own families. Yes, in our own families. And we cannot, in all honesty and integrity, expect other so-called enemies to be more tolerant and compassionate. If we ourselves give way to unexamined prejudice or bigotry, we have to work on ourselves first and try being a light to the people we meet every day and make their lives easier. That is our job in life, and we must develop a more global outlook so that we treat respect all others as we would wish to be respected.
This is Marianne Williamson. I would say what I say to myself every day, which is OK, who have you not forgiven? Who are you holding the course America says you can have a grievance or a miracle, you cannot have both. So if I'm thinking with an attack thought towards someone, that means my heart is blocked and they're not suffering. I'm suffering because miracles. The idea is that the universe is both self organizing and self-correcting. Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love.
And how do you define a miracle? A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love. So as long as my heart is open and love whatever supposed to, it's like.
But if my heart is shut. Then I'm deflecting the miracle that would otherwise be happening. So when you say, what would I say to people once again, OK, who am I holding a grudge? Where am I holding a grudge? Where am I not giving? Because only what I am not giving can be lacking in any situation. Where am I showing up with an attitude? Where am I showing up with unkindness? Who am I holding something against?
I'm only here to love, I'm only here to forgive. And so what I've learned is what everybody else learns, which is life has presented me with the perfect lessons to hone my muscles.
Now we'll hear from Idea Ashanti.
Everything is there to teach you something about everything you blame. You're stuck with blessed, wish it well, wish it its own freedom. And it will be very powerful way that it will not come back to you if you don't forgive it. If you don't blast it, if you don't wish it well, the energy will just be magnetically drawn back to you because it's looking for a resolution, all negative energy that we've inherited. It's there because it's looking for resolution and so powerful.
Now it Dr. Maya Angelou, it's in one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. Oh, Tregear, forgive everybody. Just forgive it.
I mean, mind you, we ask the creator yes to forgive. Yes, as stupid as actions. Yes, cruel is mean. I did things God forgive me, forgive me, or people will say I'm not perfect. Yeah, that's right.
So then you forgive. And it relieves you, you are relieved of carrying that burden of resentment.
You really are lighter, you feel lighter, you just drop that, drop it, then you're free to do other things, to have some ambition and so good because forgiveness I know you often say love liberates us, but actually forgiveness does also. Yeah. I mean, you can't forgive without loving. Yes. And I don't mean sentimentality. I don't mean much. I mean having enough courage to stand out and say I forgive, I'm finished with it.
I had to get to a place where I could forgive the man. Who had raped me when I was seven years old. I had to get there and that was a matter of incredible mental gymnastics. And then I had to think of what I had done. To other people and see how I had been forgiven. Whatever I've done, I've been forgiven. Oh, and I have to get at least to a place where I can forgive, don't forget, and I will not put myself in a situation where that can be done to me again.
But I understand Oprah's super cell conversations. Presenting partner in Ireland is Oral B, are you using the right tools in your oral care routine? Get that dentist clean feeling at home with an oral B electric toothbrush, three round brush that removes up to 100 percent more plaque than a manual brush, giving you whiter teeth and healthier gums and just 30 days. So it's easy to see why Oral B is the number one dentist recommended brand worldwide. The all the electric toothbrush range is now half price in Ireland in dones and Boutte's until Christmas, the sky sale is now on.
And who doesn't need a pick me up at this time of year. So get award winning Sky TV and our best ever wi fi with ultra fast broadband together from just 50 euros a month for 12 months. Well, that's nice. That's a feel good saving from us. So save big on the sky sale search sky 50 today, new sky customers only availability subject to location, minimum term and further terms applied for more info. See Sky Dorahy for speech.
Mark Nippo, everything that is happening to you is coming into your life, being drawn into your life by you, through you as a means to help you evolve into who you are really meant to be here on Earth, wouldn't you say?
So if you don't get that, then you're always looking outside saying, why me? Why me, why me?
Well, in this raises and we've talked before about paradox, which is essentially how do we hold the the moment when more than one thing is true. And so accountability is always true. People are accountable for what we do to each other.
Yes. And we do hurt each other. And sometimes we don't own that. And that even hurts further and.
Also, every experience we have reveals to us a word in the language of our own wisdom that is so darn good I need to write that which we are here to discover and experience at a time, a word every experience reveals to us.
Every experience that we're given reveals to us a word in the language of our own wisdom, which only we can start to learn.
And when we resist that, we can't understand our experience. We can't understand each other. It's interesting. The words suffer literally means to feel keenly, to feel keenly well, to know great joy. You have to feel keenly. Yes. So both ways. Mm hmm. We need to feel keenly, live deeply in our own humanity in order to to know joy and to get through suffering.
Wayne Dyer, I grew up in a series of foster homes and orphanages and so on. As you know, my father walked out on us. Yes. And he just abandoned us. He never paid any support. He just had three boys. My mother had three boys under the age of four before she was 23 years old and she was just left. There was a depression. I was born in 1940. My brothers were born in 38 and 36.
And I carried around deep anger and deep resentment and deep hatred. I dreamt every night rage was a good word because at night I would wake up and I would be sweating and I would meet him in a bar someplace and I would be hitting because he was an alcoholic. But I never was able to find him. I tried to find him, tried to find him. I ended up in Biloxi, Mississippi, at his grave through a series of just the most bizarre circumstances that weren't coincidences.
Yes, exactly. And I was sent I was sent to get rid of this rage inside of me because I knew that I came here to do something great. I knew that I knew that when I was a little boy, I knew I could talk kids out of being upset at what was going on in the orphanage. For example, when everybody would show up, they'd always say, Where's Wayne? Go get them. And I whoever it was, a little girl would be crying.
And I'd say, this is the greatest place in the world. There's no parents. You're going to love this place. And I would just try to take the attention off of their anger and their fear and. Wow. So I always knew this. So I get to my father's grave. I didn't even know he was dead up until just a few months before and his body had been shipped there. And when I went to the grave and I stood there at his grave, I finally said, from this moment on, I send you love.
From this moment on, I will no longer have any resentment or hatred or bitterness towards you at all. I never dreamt about this man again. I feel his presence very, very frequently. From that moment on, I quit drinking. Alcohol was no longer part of my life. I lost the weight that I was. I changed my diet around the right. People began to show up in my life and it was all about forgiveness. Oprah, it was just about Mark Twain said that forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
And I understood it. Finally, I finally got that.
Gabrielle Bernstine. I forgive as often as possible, I think forgiveness is the bedrock of a spiritual practice, and I really believe that if we can tune in with forgiveness, I say we got to practice the F word every given moment. And so through the practice of forgiveness, we return back to that center place where we turn back to love. Don Miguel Ruiz. Forgiveness is the most important thing you can do. But what you're saying is forgive, meaning let it go, you not be tied to the past.
Forgiving does not mean you have to accept that you know that to me. And now it's OK.
No, we don't have that now. Yeah. And you will forgive because you loved yourself so much that you don't want to keep hurting yourself for whatever happened. Whatever happened is done and cannot be changed. Yes. Then we have to accept that and keep going with our life. Tracy Jackson and Paul Williams, we spent so much time defending our mistakes, hiding from our mistakes, making excuses for our mistakes and never just looking at them and going, whoa, this is me, this is me, this is my mistake.
I'm going to clean up my side of the street and we do something which I call the emotional Sherpa. We carry around so much baggage of all the stuff we've done your life and we carry it around and it's heavy and we unloaded on to others, which is completely unfair. And a mistake is our best teacher. And that's if you just take them and go, I'm not a bad person. I made a mistake and I learned a lesson. And that's a good day.
Showcasing core forgiveness is complete that sentence.
Forgiveness is freeing yourself from anger to stand in the way of your growing as a human being.
How are you able to forgive yourself by stepping outside of myself and really seeing the little boy who is born with goodness. And that's been the hardest part of my journey as forgive myself about the murder.
I've never forgive myself about a lot of stuff, but that has been oh, I know you in the book, you write your victim, David Aletter, and you did that for you wanted to say. Yeah, I wanted to say.
That I'm sorry I did that and I I made that decision and I wanted to say to myself, right, that I made that decision and he didn't make you make that decision to make that decision that I myself was responsible.
Redemption is being given a second chance to prove who you are authentically as humans. We're all capable of making a poor decision, but we're fully capable. Of moving beyond all the seasons and doing something meaningful with our lives despite that and not being held hostage by, you know, I think about there were often when I encountered obstacles and I've all I ever wanted was a fair chance to just be a human. And to me, that's what redemption represents, just like just give me a fair chance to be a human.
Bryan Stevenson. How has the lives of your clients informed your own humanity? It's taught me that mercy is not something we give to people because they deserve it. Compassion is not something we offer to people because they're old. It's what we do because it's the way we find mercy for ourselves. You can't get mercy unless you give it. You can't receive compassion unless you give it. And it's made me want to be merciful and compassionate, maybe want to understand the people who are unhappy with me, who are hostile to me, who sometimes act as if they hate me.
I used to get death threats and bomb threats, and it's made me not want to believe that the people behind those threats are just enemies or haters or bigots. It's made me recognize that they're like my clients. They need someone to kind of get past what's created, this burden, this fear, this anger. This it's really fear. It really is fear. Absolutely.
And when you're afraid you'll do things that you wouldn't do that are just and. Right. Yeah. And it's easy to, you know, be in church and talk about forgiveness and listen, sit under your trees, meditate and talk about forgiveness. It's a it's a lot harder when you have to actively engage with somebody who you feel is not like you. Exactly. And find that thread. That's right. Is redemption, though, possible for everybody you think?
I do. I think we have to believe that every person can get to a better place. I have some clients about whom I can say this person will likely never be able to get released. They've been compromised in ways that that's not going to be an option. But I still believe that redemption is possible. I've never met anybody about whom I could say this person is beyond hope, beyond redemption. And I've seen it. I've created moments, sometimes small moments with people who have been really terribly treated that feel like hope, that feel like life, that even feel like love.
And that makes me think that we should accept that redemption is something we have to seek for everyone.
How would you define mercy? Mercy is mercy is like a mirror. I think mercy is what you give to others with the hope that it'll come back to you. It's what you give to people who don't deserve it. It's what you give to people who have asked for it. It's what you give.
Oh, that's an aha. You give it to people who don't deserve it.
That's why it's mercy.
Yes, yes. Yes. That's why we say Lord have mercy. Absolutely. On me.
That's right. Yeah, absolutely. Michael Singer, my prayer for the past couple of years, even before I entered the Oprah show, was a closer walk with God was a God now. I think when I was praying that prayer, I thought that I was going to be walking through the lilies of the field, there would be lots of roses going through the garden, you know, because you think that that's what it's going to be and. Sometimes it's not you must die to be reborn, right?
You must die to be reborn.
It means you must be willing to let go of your personal self, of your psychological self, of the complaining voice, your identity and all that, your image, your blah, blah, blah, all that.
In order to be who you are, you must be one to let go of who you think you are. That's what's meant by you must die to be reborn and as you let that go and he will help pull it out, right. And so use it spiritually and you will see that will help you more than any meditation or anything.
You meditate so that you have the center so you can let go of what life is doing. The real growth is letting go.
I'm Oprah Winfrey and you've been listening to Super Soul Conversations, the podcast. You can follow Super Soul on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't yet, go to Apple podcast and subscribe rate and review this podcast. Join me next week for another super soul conversation. Thank you for listening. The sky sale is now on, and who doesn't need a pick me up at this time of year? So get award winning Sky TV and our best ever Wi-Fi with ultra fast broadband together from just 50 euro a month for 12 months.
Well, that's nice. That's a feel good saving from us. So save big on the sky sale search sky 50 today, new sky customers only availability subject to location, minimum term and further terms. Apply for more info. See Skydeck reports. Love Speech.