Beginning in the 1980's Dr. Eileen Borris had been on the frontlines of forgiveness from the personal to the political. As a political psychologist Dr. Borris helps to rebuild war...
A Journey of Forgiveness: Maria’s Story
I grew up in Colombia, South America, a country that has been suffering violence for over 40 years. When I was 13 on the 23rd of December 1986, my dad was kidnapped right in front of my eyes, by one of the guerrilla groups!
I always believed in God and prayed for my dad’s return. It took 3 years before we found out the guerrillas had killed him, and I blamed myself, because I thought my faith hadn’t been strong enough. That is when I started searching for the true meaning of Faith and the higher meaning of life. Nine years ago, I started on my journey of spiritual awakening and since then, I’ve been going through a process of forgiveness, inner transformation, spiritual growth and self-discovery.
At the beginning of my journey, I did not respond with anger or resentment towards the people responsible for my dad’s death directly. Instead, I was angry at life!
After the kidnapping, I also became very afraid. I was traumatized by the experience. If I saw men in military uniform, I would freeze in fear. I also became very negative. I remember that my brother once said to me that he hadn’t met anybody more negative than me. It was also at this time that I started getting bullied at school.
The more negative I was, the more negativity I was attracting.
This is when my mom put on my bathroom mirror a sentence that I couldn’t understand then. It said:
“The person who is in front of you is the ONLY ONE responsible for your happiness or misfortune”
Even though this is so true, it took me quite a long time to understand it. At the beginning, it made me angrier. I just didn’t understand how I could be bringing all this suffering to myself.
One day I got tired of suffering and of being so negative and decided to do something about it. I started thinking about that sentence on my mirror!
I always believed in God, knew He existed but didn’t really know what Faith really was or how it felt. So I started asking what Faith was.
To come out of the pit I had to change my way of thinking. First, I had to realize that all negative feelings like anger, doubt, fear etc, might exist within us but they are not truly part of our essence that is loving and perfect. Knowing that, whenever I prayed and doubts and fears came, I just ignored them and asked God to also ignore them, for they were not mine and I just wanted to have Faith in Him. I also thanked Him for listening to my prayers in advance and for giving me what I had asked him but only if it was in harmony with creation and according to His Will. This new way of praying was and continues to be miraculous in my life.
As I started changing my attitude towards life and my way of thinking, life started changing fully.
Another part of the process that was important was finding a way to express my anger differently. I turned to heavy metal music, a very aggressive music but that provided me with the space to release some of the anger accumulated inside of me.
In all this I must say God was always very present in my Life. Even in the midst of Metal music, I never stopped trusting in Him and praying to Him.
The process of true Forgiveness came much later as I grew spiritually and started asking God about my dad, and if he also had the chance to evolve where he was.
Without God’s grace and what he showed me I could have never come to truly forgive and feel unconditional love for the guerrilla and humanity as a whole.
To Forgive not only our selves but others, especially those who have hurt us, is only possible if we look beyond our limitations and humanity’s limitations and realize that our essence, the essence of every being in creation is Divine and stems from the Most High God. If we truly visualize God in everyone, how can we not feel forgiveness and unconditional love for all people? Through Divine Grace, God showed me in a vision the divine essence of the guerrillas who kidnapped and killed my dad and I realized they too were my brothers and sisters. I saw the great pain they carry and how their souls are screaming out to be released from the illusion we live in. Painful or not, I saw how my dad had to go through that and how I had become who I am because of that experience. For some this statement might be shocking, but this is how I came to forgive and feel great compassion for each one of them.
Last year when I was in Colombia, God gave me the greatest Christmas gift I’ve ever received. During a trip to the countryside I saw, after 20 years, the man who used to work at my farm and who sold my dad to the guerrilla that day.
He knew exactly who I was, looked at me and with an almost shy smile, and greeted me. I could see that life hasn’t been easy for him and that he has suffered a lot. At that moment, I looked at him, gave him my hand and greeted him back. All I could feel for him was love and compassion, so I prayed and visualized Light upon him and his family. It was the physical manifestation of the Forgiveness I had felt on a spiritual level.
I felt such freedom, inner peace and gratitude.
It is my belief that no matter what happens to us in life, it is our choice to take every situation as an opportunity to evolve, learn and become loving, conscious human beings or destroy ourselves. It is up to us! This is the reason we are here.