Darlings, it is with a full and happy heart that I’m going to write about grievances, those thought patterns we inherit from our society, a legacy so fully accepted that we hardly notice when we are using them. We grow up with grievances, blame, gossip, disapproval and criticism and it’s often very difficult to pull ourselves out of these modes. But when we do, we can recognise that the only thing we truly gain from holding grievances is a foggy miasma through which we can see no light or love. To misquote the misquoted:
‘Grievances are like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.’
Grievances are simply a clever trap that we subconsciously set for ourselves so the ego mind can shun responsibility. They are a habit through which we lose our own power. If life is somebody else’s fault, how can we change it ourselves? If we are waiting to be richer, more rested, more respected and recognised by the external world, we are swimming against the current and blaming the river for flowing.
We must look within, claim responsibility for our lives and free ourselves and others. If I think I know how another person is going to behave in a given situation, I have immediately narrowed the range of possible outcomes. We are engaged in a psychic dance that we have probably rehearsed many times. We know the steps, we know the painful conclusion. But if I can pause for moment, I can clear space and ask, ‘Who are you in this instant? Who are you without my grievances? Who are you without blame? Who am I without blame?’
This is the Holy Instant, as explained in A Course in Miracles. It is that moment when we can reach beyond the ego mind, the personality, with all its heavy baggage. We can set that weight aside for just a moment to be in proper communion with ourselves and the world.
Here is a simple exercise to weed through grievances. As with any of these practices, take your time and be kind to yourself. Know that you are doing your absolute best with the life experiences you’ve had and the same can be said for those around you. You’re going to make yourself and cup of tea and get a nice clear sheet of paper. Now, do some honest writing. You are the only one reading your responses.
I am holding a grievance against…(eg. my boss, my parents, my lover, my children)
What I gain from holding this grievance is…(eg. sense of justice, righteousness, honour, shunning of responsibility)
Am I ready to let go of this grievance?
If no, can I let go of a part of it, just to give myself some more breathing space?
If ‘no’ is still your answer, that’s fine. At least you have asked yourself the question. If you’re stuck, give yourself time. You might find that there are some emotions that need to ‘come up to come out’.
When you’ve finished writing all that you need to, let go of your grievances symbolically by disposing of your paper. You can use any method that feels right to you – I like to use fire.
Doing this kind of clearing work can take a lifetime, chipping away at the mountains we have subconsciously created for ourselves. It is, of course possible for a great, whooshing opening to happen during the process. And then I find that a period of integration is needed to settle ourselves in to a new, lighter reality.