It took the 45th minute on the call with Christy for me to know I had been suffering from some level of bitterness.
We were on the phone talking about friendships, work, family and lessons we had learned so far. Something she mentioned hit me! It was the name of the feeling I couldn’t hold! Bitterness.
It described what I felt for the 330 pound guy who out of the blues hit me at the fuel station months ago.
Despite his apologies, somewhere in my mind I wanted a big rock to squash his car(true story). It described what I had felt about people who I found out had slandered me.
Bitterness was what I felt when I found out that a close friend of mine had a seemingly negative perception of me despite the work I thought I was putting into the friendship.
In his livecast on How To Be Unfuckwithable, Vishen Lakhiani talked about how he got invited by Dave Aspre to experience some form of biohacking. They hooked up his brain to a machine while he meditated. One of the objectives of the experiment was to get the brain to function like monks who had meditated for about 40years with great experience in zen. The core of this experiment was to test the effects of radical forgiveness on brain waves. So for this you have to forgive every friend you knew who wronged you, you had to forgive yourself, you had to forgive that person who hurt you 10 years ago etc.
The idea was to forgive INTO LOVE. A sign you had reached forgiveness was that you must be able to hug these people and feel empathy for what they went through when they hurt you.
Two things indicated the effectiveness of the exercise: the alpha amplitudes(the higher the alpha spikes, the more your brain is to the monks’) and brain resonance(the alpha levels must record on both hemispheres of the brain). The indication was with a beep. What Vishen noticed is that he got the highest beep when he practiced forgiveness for that one person who he recently fired. This person was someone who he once trusted as a staff. He stole thousands of dollars, when he was caught and fired, he disrupted office hours on several occasions. Vishen Lakhiani records that that was like the biggest challenge he had in forgiveness. The sound on the machine was the loudest when he forgave him.
But it’s absolutely challenging letting go of offenses against you. It’s even more challenging practicing forgiveness(even when you think you’ve let go). I’ve noticed that the practice of forgiving often times requires something physical. Sometimes an exchange.
The day before Christie’s call, I was driving towards the Lekki toll gate when some guy in his SUV was intentionally driving his car toward me to ram me into the fence. It seemed really weird at first. I thought he was drunk. I thought he was distracted by a phone call. I thought so many things on his behalf but they all didn’t make sense. Then anger set in. Somehow, I found myself in front of him on the queue. It was time for me to show him who I was. ‘Do you know who I am?’
I could have brought out my hands to gesture a curse. But I suddenly thought to do something different. I thought it would be a better punch if I paid his toll fees instead. That thought switched on the light bulb in my head. The words, ‘Do good to those who despise you’ seemed to make sense.
You see, bitterness doesn’t just JUMP on you. It often starts with anger, then ends it morphs to bitterness and then unforgiveness takes a corner seat where you don’t even notice. Sadly and interestingly, unforgiveness is linked to health and wellbeing. For me, it creates inner displacement of my priorities whether in business, family or friendship.
No wonder!!! No wonder Jesus, as recorded in the sacred book of the Christians, said ‘if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.
In our walk through life, we will offend people and be offended by. It is a HighLifer trait to practice forgiveness. The benefits are incredible to better living.