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Enlarge Your Future

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A recent Oprah quote of the day from Paul Boese: "Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future."

But just how does forgiveness enlarge the future?

The answer is by redeeming the past.

That is, what happened in the past proves to be the very makings of our future.

There's a tendency for humans to view behavior that's less than our best as a mistake we must not just forgive and move on from but also feel remorse for and deeply regret.

That's not just too simplistic, it's also quite negative. It fails to see a purpose in the ways we mess up.

We tend to look at what happened as something that shouldn't have happened. However, there's something much more fundamental going on.

We aren't creatures with the ability to simply choose and an imperative to choose rightly. We don't automatically grow up fully equipped to make wise decisions.

We are creatures with the potential to make smart choices, but who only learn to do so in the school of hard knocks.

Our mistakes are part of our learning. They are how we evolve. In this sense they are essential to our development.

But what about when we make the same mistake again and again? Then we haven't yet awakened to a dimension of ourselves that's capable of choosing differently.

Waking up to our essence, our potential, means cutting through a whole lot of cultural, social, and family programming.

It means shedding a lot of habitual behavior, which actually involves changing our brain patterns (as Lee Gerdes shows in the Namaste Publishing book Limitless You-The Infinite Possibilities of A Balanced Brain).

To feel guilt over our past is utterly unproductive-indeed, crippling of our potential. Guilt is a totally unhelpful emotion spawned by what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain-body.

When someone commits a crime, what the court wants to see is remorse. When politicians or televangelists mess up, what the public wants is remorse. But remorse isn't empowering.

It's as if we knew better and could and should have done better. Yet the evidence shows we didn't and couldn't.

What's needed is for us to awaken to how the behavior we are engaging in isn't really us at all. It's a learned pattern, not representative of our true being.

When we wake up to the real nature of our essence and recognize our potential, we are empowered. This is what changes the way we behave in the present and thus enlarges our future.

Society's preoccupation with guilt and remorse has nothing to do with real change. It's just majoring in the pain-body.

The Greeks had a perfectly good word for authentic change: metanoia. It literally means changing one's mind. The focus is on realizing our potential, not on regretting the past.

How sad that this incredibly transformative Greek concept is often translated as "repentance," with all its connotations of penitence and remorse-a state of mind that's drenched in the pain-body instead of in our wonderful true nature.

Everything that's happened in our past was something we needed to go through in order to awaken us.

Waking up to our true being is what enlarges our future as we begin to make choices that unleash our potential.
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