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Contemplating on Transforming Our Past Hurts and Injustices

by Michael Ketterhagen

“Let me transform myself,

and let me change my habit of remembering specific [pains and hurts]

about my family, clan, and race

especially in relation to people I have formed a habit of disliking

as well as those who I believe dislike me.“

--Pandit Rajmani Tigunait

This next contemplation in our movement to a deeper spirituality leads us to seriously looking at the injustices that we have experienced in the past so that the present and the future can bring us peace and harmony.

This non-violent practice is very challenging because it not only has personal implications but opposes today’s media publicized societal, political, and national trends. It is also challenging because it is very difficult for the people in power to tell those who have experienced injustice or have lost a big battle to let go of that injustice and defeat. It is like a slap in the face.

I experienced this with some family members who are still hanging onto old hurts. When I said that they should just ignore further injustices or comments in order to preserve the peace, they were justifiably angered further. My comment came from a person who did not feel the pain or the indignity that they felt. I was not sensitive enough to their deep feeling of degradation.

Yet, I know that peace would not happen between the family members without some deep understanding of the pain and then the forgiveness and letting go of that pain. Pandit Rajmani talks about the contemplation that is needed for us to move away from “pondering over the injustices of the past, whether real or imagined.”

“We all are members of the same species. We live on the same planet, consume the same food and water, breathe the same air, and walk in the light of the same sun. We fight over the same things because we all are human and share the same hunger, thirst, and fear. How sad it is that we remember only the wars and other disputes and forget the good things we share and the feelings we have in common.

“It is a tendency for the human mind to keep careful track of negative, destructive, violent activities and spare barely a moment’s thought for the good things. We must reverse this tendency and learn to retain only the good memories and let the trash be swept away.”

How can we “reverse this tendency?” Modern science with its discovery of the “plasticity” of the mind, the Yoga Tradition with its practice of mantra meditation, and even the “Centering Prayer” tradition of Christianity have given us the answer. We need to sit in silence and when those “injustice thoughts” or those “horrible memories of the past fights/wars” enter our minds, we consciously move our mind to another thought, like – “All is love and kindness.” Or “Be still and know that I am God.” Or one of the many helpful Yoga mantras, like the “Maha mritungjaya” or the “Gayatri” mantra.

We are “re-programming” our unconscious mind. Eventually, the mind will “be healed” from the memory of those past hurts.

It is not an easy, quick or simple path, but it works. May more and more of us humans have the courage and strength to practice these non-violent ways. We all have to remember that we are Divine, Infinite and Perfect—pure DIPs.


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