The Road to Spiritual Recovery: Giving Up Resentment and Hostility
Resentment is the stimulus that stimulates the body to grow in an animal way.
Resentment stimulates anger or fear, and we all know the harmful long term effect of these emotions. Anger leads to frustration and depression. Fear leads to suppression.
Remember that a master stimulus can elicit a cascade of responses that eventually reach each individual cell. Because resentment is denial and hate, it is a master stimulus that brings about activities in the body that reflect denial and hate.
It inhibits love, solidarity with others, light heartedness, and hope. It inhibits warmth. It stimulates compensatory reactions and growth. The animal grows as the human wanes. The resentful person becomes more intellectual, more cunning, and tense: on edge for flight or fight.
Amazingly and terribly, it also stimulates susceptibility and sensitivity both to that which is resented and to the environment in general.
And this susceptibility then, in turn, stimulates changes in the body. The resentful person becomes a total victim, who can only survive by victimizing others to keep from wasting away.
Our body was not created just to be used for pleasure-taking or for harboring resentment and hatred. It was made for a much higher purpose.
The body has a structure, and each part of the body and each molecule have a molecular structure, carefully sequenced and carefully arranged.
The basic functions of these structures is to serve the soul or governing entity, providing the ability to locomote, observe the environment, and to adapt to temperature changes and so on.
For the young person, in addition to serving as a way of discovering and learning about the world, there is also a growth factor.
For the adult, the structures serve the person to observe, build and perform useful services for the good of all.
For the regenerating, spiritual person, the body provides a mechanism for observing and realizing, learning about the Creator, His love, His requirements, and His creative genius.
God gives the soul a body for getting around in the world and discovering increasingly sublime things. And God gives us time, so that we might have the space to discover what we need to know to make the next step in our personal evolution. From child to young adult, to mature adult, to increasing wisdom and spirituality.
Along the way, we need protection. We make mistakes and get ourselves into some tight situations. But for the person who has salvation in his future, God provides an out. He even permits us to make mistakes, so that we might learn a lesson. And he sometimes leaves us seemingly alone, so that we might discover our need for Him.
The body performs its work of seeing, hearing, locomotion, and sensing almost effortlessly. Freeing up our awareness to discover and ponder.
While on the subject of the body, let me mention an analogy to spiritual well being. Health and nutrition programs that deal with recovery from serious illness always talk about detox. When the body starts to get better, it begins to eliminate the toxic materials that have accumulated. The toxic substances actually prevent or greatly curtail healing. When the body--because it has been given the space or the missing ingredient to recover, or because harmful practice(s) have been abandoned--begins to heal, the elimination of the toxic substances begins to take place. As they are eliminated, healing is improved also.
Now let's direct our attention back to the well being of your inner person. Just what is it that makes us emotionally and spiritually sick? Isn’t it toxic emotions and toxic memories that we can’t seem to shake? Could it be that these toxic emotions and memories have hindered healing?
Just what practice is it that when given up opens the way for emotional catharsis and healthy spiritual detox from toxic emotions and memories? It is making judgments and harboring resent that we must give up. As long as resentment remains, the toxic emotions and memories associated with each resentment cannot be eliminated.
And what is it that the resentment and toxic emotions are "protecting" and keeping alive? It is a hateful self with wrong attitude: one of pride, judgment, and ambition. Ambition, for example, leads to selfishness—always being on the lookout for some advantage. And selfishness leads to inevitable frustration. Pride is defensive, and leads to resentment when our wrong is exposed. Resentment is the stimulus to hurt feelings, bitterness and so on. And with each hurt feeling or bitterness, there is a memory associated with it.
Can you see how the wrong attitude with its accompanying wrong emotion (resentment) prevents the release of toxic memories and emotions? It turns out that these block healing.
Ultimately there is only one first step toward true healing, and that is a change of attitude.
When we become willing to see and admit our wrongs, even willing to see something wrong with our attitude, it begins the process of repentance. It is a process of seeing our wrong, being sorry, mourning, realizing forgiveness, letting go of baggage, and being grateful for being forgiven.
When a person is willing to forgive, often because they have been willing to see their own wrong, then their attitude changes. And with a humble polarity, the soul is no longer compatible with or in need of angry bitter memories to hang onto. These memories that came about in moments of resentment and judgment now no longer serve any purpose.
By our willingness to forgive others, our Heavenly Father is also willing to forgive us. And when He does, we find it easier to turn around and forgive others. Most of us have never known forgiveness. All we’re experienced is blame. Most of us have never experienced love. All we’ve known is consoling comfort and distraction or the sympathy of other lost sheep.
But once we respond to God’s (at first chastising) love with repentance and joy, we then become aware of His forgiveness. Once we know that love exists and we experience it first hand, it is easier for us to stop hating and judging others.
In God’s Light of Truth, we see the wrong of hating others, judging them and holding a grudge against them. From that point on, whenever we see a memory where we resented someone or judged them, we realize the error and let go of the sustaining resentment. Soon the memory is also gone.
Most of us have spent our lives responding to the ego challenges and teases of the world with excitement and resentment. We resisted and resented anything that made us feel wrong, and we compensated to prove our rightness and goodness.
Now you must respond to the wordless Truth which makes you to know that pride is wrong and that responding emotionally to challenges is error.
Before you took your growth stimuli and pattern of development from those tempting challenges. Now you must learn how to stand back and observe the teases without responding to them.
Your meditation exercise and newfound rapport with truth will teach you how to stand back and observe without reacting. This is called the discipline of patient nonresponse. (If you haven’t already done so, may we suggest you look at our meditation materials and introductory version available for free on our website)
Do you see it? Your response of joy and belief to the inner wordless Word renders you impervious and not responsive the tempting morsels of aggravation and the challenges to your ego.
Henceforth you won’t grow in the old ego animal compensatory way. Now your inner character will grow and flower in the light of the Spiritual Sun. Just as a plant takes in the sunbeams and incorporates something of the light into itself, so the soul, now living in God’s Light, will incorporate the pattern and purpose of that Light into realizations, character and growth. The essence of the Light will give purpose and direction, and the warmth will bring peace, assurance, and life itself to the humble receptive soul.