by Dhanpal-Donna Quesada

“You can never get rid of your fears, you can never get rid of your pain, no matter what effort you make, until you have the guts to forgive yourself. Just forgive yourself.” – Yogi Bhajan (1/29/1986)

I came across this quote by our teacher. Because it spoke to me, I saved it, but I found myself wondering…why? Why do we need to forgive ourselves? That analytic hex I’ve got was at it again. In my left-brained delirium, I discovered the connection in the perfectionistic tendency. So, for others who may be similarly afflicted (by the need to know, or by perfectionism), here is my take on the link between personal evolution and self-forgiveness:

– To forgive is most literally, to forth-give. In other words, to go forwards.

– Because the perfectionism that many of us get caught up into creates subconscious road blocks, which manifests as a plethora of psychological hang-ups, as well as physical issues. We perfectionist types literally make ourselves sick over the possibility of failing in some way. Forward-thinking healers in the medical profession who have embraced this phenomenon, refer to the myriad psycho-somatic conditions more euphemistically, as mind-body issues. Letting ourselves, or others, down, is so unbearable, that mind-body issues, such as pain or depression, becomes more acceptable psychologically. So, forgiveness, in this regard, is more about forgiving what we perceive to be failures, so that we can move on.

– The secondary emotions that accompany the perfectionist tendency result in additional unconscious baggage, such as guilt, regret or even anger, which is perhaps the worst of all because of the internal backlash it generates. I like to refer to these emotions as “backpack emotions,” that only perpetuate our issues.

In short, when we let go of harmful emotions, we simultaneously enable ourselves to heal. Those toxic seeds worked as a scapegoat, in effect—a distraction, of sorts, that allowed for an ailment that our minds considered more acceptable than personal disappointment. Letting go enables our personal liberation.


Dhanpal-Donna QuesadaBiography

Dhanpal-Donna Quesada teaches Kundalini Yoga at Yoga West and has also received formal training in the Zen tradition. Dhanpal brings the wisdom from these practices to her classes at Santa Monica College, where she’s been on faculty for 19 years as a professor of eastern spiritual philosophy. She is also a Master Reiki and sound healer, a meditation guide and an author. Her book, “Buddha in the Classroom” was released by Skyhorse Publications, in 2011, and is set for re-release under its new title, “The Inspired Teacher” in 2016. Her CDs of guided meditations and affirmations are widely available. www.donnaquesada.com

One Response Comment

  • Mike  December 7, 2015 at 10:50 am

    This is great. I went through a big change when I found that I was everything that I didn’t want to be. More than anything I was very self centered and selfish. I forgave myself and this changed my future completely. Your point about “forth give” is awesome. This was 30 years ago and I do not understand “how” or “from what space” does one forgive oneself. I’ve always wondered.

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