We all need a spiritual mentor, someone to help us monitor our progress, a helper to hold a beacon before us to illuminate the way. This can be someone who is alive and you have access to, or it can be someone from history or sacred texts, whose life and words inspire you to new realms of understanding and experience. Meditate to discover who you are drawn to for your spiritual guidance.
Here are some suggestions to get your wheels turning in that direction:
- A patriarch or noble character from the Bible — one who embodies qualities you admire or would like to emulate.
- If you come from a Christian background, you could choose Jesus, Mother Mary, or one of the apostles. For instance, if you need more faith, you’d choose Peter. For greater experiences of love, you’d choose John.
- Maybe you’re drawn to Moses, and you need to embody greater commitment to an unwavering ideal.
- Or you may choose a spiritual leader, perhaps outside your religious tradition, like the Buddha, Krishna, Sri Yukteswar, Gandhi, Mother Meera, Sai Baba, Joan of Arc, or your own legendary ancestor.
After you decide on the one, meditate on this subject and you’ll know. Ask that the essence of that holy one be with you and guide you in your earthly and spiritual endeavors.
You are not wedded to this sage for all of eternity and may ask for assistance from different ones under a variety of circumstances, such as a woman in childbirth or having female difficulties calling on Mary for guidance and comfort.
Working with our divine helpers needs our attention for a lifetime. Unless we have attained complete spiritual enlightenment (and I know no one who has achieved that), we will still have grievances against others. When we hold a grievance against another person, we have forgotten who we are. In such a situation we play small, and in our role of playacting we take on the role of victim. We falsely believe some other person has done something dastardly toward us. Once again we are making the choice to let the ego rule the mind. Therefore, we are not in our right mind.
Holding a grievance splits us off from our divine self, from our compassion, from our holiness. As difficult as it may seem to be in some situations, forgiveness always has a place in our minds. But if we are to know peace and our troubled mind is to find rest and remember who we are, forgiveness is essential.
When we ask for help from our mentor, we can begin to see clearly, begin to let go and forgive.
This is an excerpt from The Power of Forgiveness by Joan Gattuso, with the permission of Tarcher Perigee, an imprint of Penguin Random House.