Letting go of grievances and resentment is not only necessary for our own development – it is essential for good health. Let’s look at why.
There’s more to the eye…
Rather like an onion with its many layers, there is far more to a human being than the façade of the physical body. There are deeper layers. If we “peeled back” the physical layer, we would find something like a blueprint of what we see on the outside. This is sometimes called the etheric or vital body and the various meridians and other channels through which chi flows help to form this. If the etheric body goes out of balance, sickness arises in the physical body; if the etheric body is well-balanced, good physical health and well-being are the result.
A little deeper than this is the subtle body through which feelings are experienced, sometimes called the emotional body, and deeper still is the mental body in which thoughts and imagination have their place. Each of these bodies is inter-linked with the others. For example, a negative thought will cause a reaction in the emotional body, so a bad feeling will arise; this in turn affects the balance of energy in the etheric body so our vitality and sense of well-being take a knock. This, if prolonged, can result in sickness or some other manifestation of poor health.
Three healthy reasons why we need to let go of resentment
If we hang onto grievances, or thoughts of guilt in relation to ourselves, knots, stagnation and blocks in the flow of energy will arise in our mental body. These will have an effect on our emotions and these in turn will adversely affect the energy flow within the etheric body. Our vitality will go down and we just won’t feel good. If we could see the aura of someone holding resentment, we might see dark unpleasant patches in it, like black holes, with red flashes when the resentment is aroused. That doesn’t make for a pretty sight and even though the aura may not be seen by most people, it can still be sensed. Resentment and anger are very ugly things. A number of things can happen if we hold onto past wrongs, whether they are our own mistakes or someone else’s:
- We will experience a lack of clarity and our thinking will be distorted. Uncomfortable feelings or emotions, upset energy, a weakening of the immune system and generally feeling out of balance are inevitable. If we hold onto this for a long time, illness is very possible.
- The subtle energy centre of the heart, where warm feelings would normally arise, will be closed off – slightly when the memory of the resentment is dormant and greatly, or even completely, when the memory surfaces.
- The body’s circulation will be affected by constrictions in the etheric body, the nervous system will be agitated and the endocrine system will be adversely affected.
Negative thinking eventually wears the body out as well as ruining our happiness. Resentment literally sucks. It drains the energy right out of us. Letting go of wrongs (or what are perceived as wrongs) is essential for our health and our happiness.
For the world, too
On a wider level, society, too, needs to let go of many wrongs. Holding onto the past is resulting all over the world in warfare, famine and racism, to name but three. But society cannot let go unless the individuals within it let go in their own lives.
So the responsibility for letting go goes beyond what is good for the individual. If we want a better world, we have to learn to forgive. No matter how justified resentment may seem, we have to let it go.
More on this in The Great Little Book of Happiness. This article is an adaptation of an extract from Chapter 2.
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