Rev. Danielle Hewitt is publisher of Radiance Magazine and a practitioner at The School of Multidimensional Healing Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 949-244-1960.
Years ago, in a business law college class, we were instructed to write a paper on “Business Ethics.” As I did my research, I came across an opinion that posed the question: Does using ethics and corporate business together created an oxymoron?
An oxymoron occurs when two words are placed together that contradict each other. It can be used in jest like “honest attorney” or “government intelligence.”
Consider the phrase “joyful life.” Does that feel like an oxymoron to you? Do you think of life and joy as two separate things that cannot possibly coexist?
Joy is elusive for many of us. Would you describe your life, even at times, as jubilant, euphoric, delightful, triumphant, filled with exultation, rejoicing, ecstasy-like, rapturous or exuberant?
I know a hypnotherapist who practiced reaching levels of this every day. When I asked him, “How are you?” he would consistently answer, “Exceedingly well.” His voice and expression would consistently match the words. I would sometimes wonder, “Is he for real?” Is it truly possible to be that darn happy every day?
Years ago, I looked into the mirror of my soul and assessed that I was anything but joyous. In fact, I was angry, resentful, hurt and frustrated as my everyday way of being. That is not to say there weren’t happy aspects or moments of my life, but I realized, more often than not, that my daily default was something other than deliriously happy.
I embarked on what would be a decade-plus journey of learning, instead, to exist in a default state of joy. Having joy as my default doesn’t mean I don’t get upset, sad or angry from time to time. It means I‘ve managed to create a shift in my default mode.
We are, at our core, a collection of millions of beliefs that form our personal paradigm. We need to understand and realign the particular beliefs that cause pain and suffering by getting to the original cause and breaking the process down into four simple steps. Here’s how:
Step One: Forgiveness
Step Two: Detachment
Step Three: Compassion
Step Four: Reprogram
The steps outlined here are geared toward looking at the people in our lives rather than singular events or large-scale occurrences. The point is if someone taught us to feel powerless, then we’ll tend to blame others rather than act in an empowered way.
For instance, if you’re deeply unhappy with the current political climate and you feel our government is less than optimal, somewhere along the line, someone taught you to feel powerless to do anything about it. It’s the powerlessness, not the event or circumstance, that robs you, and all of us, of joy. Getting to the origin of who taught you that and turning it around isn’t going to give you a new president, congress, judiciary committee or governor, but it would give you the feeling of the ability to do something about it.
The first step is to forgive the person who wronged, harmed or imposed upon you in a manner that has now resulted in residual anger and unhappiness. This might seem obvious and over-simplified. Many believe that, by offering forgiveness to someone who caused them pain, they are condoning the action or letting the person off the hook.
This is not true. Forgiving a thief who stole something from you doesn’t mean you overlook that theft is wrong and disregard the crime. It means you release the pain and suffering from your own energy. The forgiveness is for you, not for them. You don’t even have to verbalize it to them personally; it’s something you do inside.
The easiest way to get to a place of forgiveness is to remember no deed or act goes unseen by the forces of the Universe. Even though a person who has wronged you has seemingly escaped justice on this plane, their karma will be balanced somewhere, sometime, in some life. We do not need to be their judge. And, holding a grudge against them affects our karma. Let it go and complete Step One.
Step Two takes some faith and a strong connection to your Divine Creator or Life Force. The person who wronged you is, at his or her core, a Divine Being of Light, just like you and me. They’re on a journey of learning and growing. It’s not for us to decide how, when, where and at what speed.
We do not know their past, present or future karma. We do not know why we intersected with them in this lifetime. But we can decide to embrace the concept that everything happens for a reason and there is a great plan in which we are not vouchsafed the wisdom. If we decide to trust this great plan that we are all on a journey of growth, then we can move on to Step Two, Detachment.
Here we decide that we live in a safe universe and the person who wronged us has, in the much larger picture, done nothing wrong but simply played a role and presented a challenge in which every being has an opportunity to learn, grow and become stronger.
Step Two is a BIG step: we decide our persecutor has done nothing wrong and has nothing to be forgiven for, and we no longer identify ourselves as a victim. The person is simply reflecting a lesson we need to learn. The Universe is in charge of the plan and has it all under control. Detach from judgment and complete Step Two.
Step Three, compassion, can be the most challenging. This is where we decide to go beyond detachment and turn to unconditional love.
Imagine where you would be spiritually if, instead of deeming certain individuals the worst possible examples of a human being, you sat in meditation and realized what they need more than anything else is unconditional love and then compassion for the difficult journey they are on. I imagine you would be closer to joy. As hard as it may be to see, they’re in your life for a reason. It’s all for you.
Imagine the ones whose conduct we judge as the worst need love sent to them the most. That could also be considered an oxymoron. Except for the fact that, according to the laws of the Universe, they are simply reflecting something we need to see and adjust in ourselves. When we make the shift on the inside, things in our environment usually shift at a surprising clip.
For example, I’ve sat in prayer for people who, within minutes or hours, behaved differently upon being the recipient of pure love-based energy.
Granted, it’s conditioned human nature to condemn, judge and shame what we consider the worst behaviors. We all only need to look at our incarceration system to know punishment does not rehabilitate. Yes, those who are a danger to others might need to be isolated, but not just left there to become worse versions of themselves. It doesn’t mean we condone their chaotic or controlling actions or engage with them in unsafe behaviors.
It means we see the soul beyond the actions and send their soul love so it can emerge and take the lead for the troubled person. Compassion is the most powerful of the four steps because it affirms that we have risen above judgment, fear and victimhood. Imagine if we all sent love and compassion to every person in jail daily? Give love and compassion and attain Step Three.
Step Four, the final process of reprogramming, can be very easy. The only thing tricky about Step Four is the lack of knowledge and information about its necessity.
Step Four asks us to go into our mental paradigm, our belief systems, and rewrite them to align with the first three steps.
To complete Step Four, put in writing the deal you’ve just agreed to in the previous three steps with someone you feel has wronged you, i.e., to see them with unconditional love without condoning negativity. Putting it in writing tightens it up and sets it, so to speak, in stone.
After achieving Step Three—where compassion is the first place we go when we observe what we consider undesirable or destructive behavior—we can now access all of our unhelpful beliefs and start rewriting them.
In other words, if you can gain compassion for a thief, then you can gain compassion for someone who consistently behaves selfishly or violently. You start applying the compassion rule to all areas and your behavior shifts to one in which you’re no longer caught up in those unhelpful behaviors. You step outside them completely. This is key to an expansive paradigm shift, not just for you but for all of humankind.
You can now step into a default state of joy. Again, it doesn’t mean we condone, accept or arrogantly put ourselves above these behaviors. Nor do we put ourselves within harm’s reach of someone who’s exhibiting these behaviors. It means, from a safe distance, we’re learning to automatically pray for each situation where we see behaviors in people who are suffering.
I recently met with a woman in a session who had been raped by a family friend when she was very young. As a teenager, she was raped again. She experienced years of pain, suffering, low self-esteem, disempowerment and anger.
In her mid-30s, she spent a long time with a counselor who helped her find her voice, express her anger and gain the courage to bring all of her feelings to the surface. Her counselor asked her to journal all of her thoughts and grievances about those who had harmed her that had resulted in feelings of despair and unhappiness.
Feeling satisfied she had expressed everything she felt, the counselor asked her to burn the journal in her backyard and release the pain to the Universe. She forgave those who had harmed her.
But now, 10 years later, she was suffering from a debilitating physical illness. As a medical intuitive, I scanned her body. Even though she’d forgiven the past, she still held beliefs and feelings that she and others could be harmed.
She had completed Step One, Forgiveness, but hadn’t moved to Step Two, Detachment. She was still in fear mode and didn’t believe she lived in a safe universe. As a result, she spoke loudly, proudly and with passion for “the truth.” She was fighting to ensure neither she nor anyone else would lose their voice.
This fear-based warrior energy was wearing out her body. She isn’t done with her work. I shared the three remaining steps for her to complete. I asked her if she would like her belief system to be restored to that of someone who had never been raped. It doesn’t mean she suddenly has amnesia. It means she’s not governed by the past. It means those events or people don’t control her ability to lead a joyous life. Although she is happily married with children, she doesn’t live in a place of joy as her default.
As I move through the Four Steps, whenever I’m in a state other than joy, I can’t help but pause and be grateful for knowing I have the ability to adjust that. The steps can take minutes once you have the hang of them. For something with larger ramifications, it could take months. Even though my human condition often forgets, I take comfort even with the larger obstacles because I know joy is my birthright and now I have the simple steps to get there.