With forgiveness, pain is transformed and ceases, while love grows and matures

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There is a saying that you choose your friends, but that you don't choose your family.

The implication is that friends are better because you choose the best and can discard the ones you get tired of, or who simply don't work out, and that family is where you get ‘stuck’ for a lifetime with a bunch of folks you ended up with by chance and happenstance.

That simply isn't true. The family is the holy communion of spiritual energy, the intertwining of souls for the purpose of expressing Spirit. The family is the highest form of cooperative effort.

You chose your parents, your extended family, your history and social position. You chose it all for very specific purposes.

You chose a family from a lower economic group to experiment with scarcity. You chose a family with money to learn stewardship. You choose your weaknesses, your strengths, your talents and your bad habits.

You choose whatever and whomever you choose for the lessons you wish to learn from them and they to learn from you.

On the earth plane you forget how it all works. You forget that all is love, all is God, all is experience learned and cataloged. On the earth plane, when someone treats you badly you forget that they are fulfilling a request you made of them.

Yes, you met with your obnoxious older brother in spirit, before entering the world as a new being, and asked him to please remember that you two are working on the lessons of forgiveness together and it is only going to work if he teases you unmercifully as a young boy. You in turn agree to get really angry and blame him for all your problems.

If everyone has done their job right, you now have a perfect scenario to practice life long forgiveness. Your brother has loved you enough to put aside his experience of harmony and grace to join with you in a learning experience.

In spirit you know that the illusion of separation only serves to make the spiritual reunion that much sweeter. When you return to spirit at this life's end you will thank your brother for such a fine job of tormenting you, just as you asked him to.

Does this seem ridiculous to you? Take a moment and think about your most difficult relationships. Now imagine yourself as spirit, as you were planning this lifetime before you were born. You were excited, filled with enthusiasm. You went to each of your favorite souls and requested that they play with you in this game of life. Together you set up mutual experiences, roles that you would play in one another's lives. Now imagine yourself approaching your best loved souls, those dearest and closest to you in every way. These beloved ones you asked to fulfill the most difficult roles, for you knew that even as your human eyes perceived unpleasantness, your soul would know you were well blessed in the hands of those who's love you most shared.

Think of one family member with whom you have the greatest difficulty. What role did you ask them to play for you? Why? What lesson are you learning from their lovingly carrying out your request? Imagine yourself meeting with them before your birth. What are you asking them to do for you? What request do they have for you? What is your mutual goal? Think about this carefully. It will always be a mutual goal of the highest and greatest good. Ultimately it will be the experience of love and oneness, but in what way will this show up for you?

Now that you know that that seemingly difficult person - be they parent, child or spouse - is a thorn in your side for one reason only, because you requested it of them, can you now begin to forgive? Can you begin to envision them as their spiritual self, their higher self? Can you envision thanking them for a job well done? See if you can discover what lesson you have set for yourself. Once this lesson is discovered, you can begin to move swiftly to a place of shared understanding and joyous learning, rather than learning through pain and unhappiness.

Remember, you always have the choice to learn your lessons through joy and grace. Learning through pain will garner you no extra "points" on the path to enlightenment. Poverty, humility and deprivation are in no way spiritually preferable to abundance, self confidence and joyful indulgence. Those ideas are merely ego trying to work things out.

Unfortunately, ego does not have access to the big picture. Ego is trapped at the level of physical experience. Ego prefers the fear it can see and touch and smell, to the radiant bliss that comes beyond the physical senses. Ego holds on tight, because it knows that to transcend fear you must release the ego all together. In the letting go you are transformed and ego ceases to be.

So it is that in the release of forgiveness the experience of pain is transformed and ceases, while the experience of love grows, expands, and matures into an experience of personal divinity and universal oneness.

Forgiveness is not excusing unpleasant behavior, but remembering that you requested this particular unpleasantness for a purpose and can now accept responsibility for your request. By acknowledging the inherent lesson and committing yourself to it's assimilation within your heart, you release the other person from their commitment to you. In discovering what you have to offer them, you take the final step and release yourself from your commitment to them as well. Forgiveness is transcending what is apparent on the earth plane and remembering that every soul with who you interact is, on the spiritual plane, your dearest friend, your most beloved companion. Forgiveness unlocks the secret key within your heart that will allow you to love that person unconditionally here on the earth plane as you do in your spiritual home.

Through release and forgiveness you do not give yourself away. You lose no part of yourself. No one takes anything from you. Rather through release, through forgiveness, you discover the hidden spiritual depths within yourself which were invisible to you. You gain parts of yourself you never knew existed. And you discover that the world is peopled with your soul mates in disguise.

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