Savannah Hanson: The path to innocence | TheUnion.com

Savannah Hanson: The path to innocence

Savannah Hanson
Columnist

Those on a spiritual path will often hear that there is only love or fear. Yet it seems many are not been fully aware of the role fear's cousin, guilt, plays. As a psychotherapist for almost 25 years, I have the privilege of seeing into many's inner worlds and witnessing the guilt, shame, self rejection, self attack and unworthiness that resides in so many of us, including me.

I have spent decades on the spiritual path and yet only recently am I aware of the vital nature of seeing ourselves, and all whom we meet, as completely innocent.

Every time we judge ourself or another we are caught in the web of guilt. As so much chaos sweeps the planet it is all too easy to put our attention on attack, making this person, corporation, situation wrong.

Yet we cannot attack another without attacking ourselves. It may take great wisdom to see this yet with self inquiry, ultimately we will discover this truth.

In graduate school we learned this simple principle and were trained that the moment we recognize any judgment, we were directed to go into self forgiveness, to recognize we were in fact attacking our self and separating ourselves from the love of God.

Nouk Sanchez has a beautiful short exercise to use anytime guilt arises. "Holy Spirit, please help me to forgive myself for having unknowingly used — (person, pain, sickness, lack, anxiety, self-judgment, anger, etc) — to attack myself, and to separate from your love as my holy self. Amen."

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At first glance, it may be difficult to recognize how judgment is self attack. Yet watch what happens in the body the next time a judgment arises. The body might tighten, stomach churn, heart beat fast. All signs we have forgotten who we are. We can use them as red flags alerting us we are lost in a trance of forgetting, then use self forgiveness to return to peace.

I recently did an interview on KVMR about my upcoming class in April on innocence. For various reasons, it did not go as I had hoped and felt the discomfort of self blame as I drove home.

Yet I did not get the full significance of this until another reflected my self-criticism back to me. Then I woke up to the ways the slightest level of self rejection is indeed self attack.

Currently every time I feel the tiniest judgment about an erratic driver, a belligerent customer, even something I see on the news, I drop into self forgiveness. This practice is reaping rich rewards. My intent is to see myself and all others through the eyes of Christ consciousness.

Ancient grievances with characters in my life have now been transformed into tearful reflections of innocence with commensurate joy and intimacy. The increased sense of peace, calm and connection is so rich and its own reward.

Yes, it takes incredible vigilance and willingness to catch these almost incessant no's in our lives, the belief people and situations should be other that they are. With about 60,000 thoughts a day, 80 percent of them are negative and 90 percent of our thoughts about ourselves are negative.

Yet once we learn to love what arises, the peace and feeling of connection become their own prize beckoning us to ever greater levels of forgiveness and innocence. This is what creates a new earth.

For information on private sessions or classes or to schedule a free 20 minute consultation, contact Savannah Hanson, M.A., MFT #40422 at 530-575-5052 or RisingasLove@gmail.com.

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