Very few emotions tear our Soul apart more than those of anger, hatred, and loathing and yet it is exactly these instinctual responses to the hurt and pain inflicted upon us by others that we can feel the most justified in expressing.
Yet when you analyse the need for revenge, or some other form of payback for those who have damaged us emotionally or psychologically, it is we, rather than they, who end up being the most acutely disempowered.
If we truly want to heal from our wounds then it is imperative that we learn how to forgive — no matter what the circumstances or the level of pain that we feel.
In her book The Power of Forgiveness Emily Hooks recognises the deep challenges that are involved in practicing forgiveness — for, as she points out in her book, it is not a process that our society readily embraces.
She states "Society expects us not to forgive. It seems the world has fallen into a collective trance that believes if we heal, we are condoning our perpetrator's actions or we are indifferent to justice."
The author also observes that another commonly held belief held within our culture is that forgiveness is a form of weakness when in fact true forgiveness not only brings out our highest qualities but that it also strengthens us in the process.
The question is how should we approach forgiveness? What is the best approach to letting go of hurts and impersonal injustices? Where do we find the inner strength to heal when we are full of anger?
These questions forge what is perhaps one of the greatest of all spiritual and religious conundrums for the answers are neither simple nor obvious.
In her book Hooks examines the core fundamentals of forgiveness in three parts.
In Part I she reflects upon what forgiveness is — or more importantly, what it is not. Here she answers the obvious question of why we should undertake the difficult and challenging process of forgiving others anyway.
Part II of The Power of Forgiveness offers a framework through which the reader can open up to forgiveness and strengthen the skills that are required forgive unconditionally.
In the third part of her book the author discusses several concepts related to forgiveness through which it becomes possible to 'deepen our understanding of this healing practice.'
Hooks believes that ultimately the process of forgiveness is an selfless act of self-empowerment.
In summing she states; "If we forgive the offending party, we reclaim our energy, retrieve our fractured soul fragments, empower ourselves, and enable ourselves to move forwards."
As a result she feels that; "We are empowered when we do not imprison ourselves in our circumstances, but learn to expand beyond them."
Forgiving is a deep transformative process but it seems the rewards are high.
Our Review of The Power of Forgiveness by Emily J. Hooks
Goodness me this is perhaps one of the most challenging books that I have read for some little while for, amongst many other things, it highlights the sheer amount of inner strength that is required to confront some of the most established traditions of our culture.
Hooks narrative is, however, a well-thought out and thoroughly reasoned attack on those cherished values. Throughout the book she reveals the huge resilience, great dedication and a strong determination that she personally engaged with whilst cutting through her own personal grievances. Sharing these trials and tribulations instills confidence in the reader.
Writers displaying this degree of commitment to their chosen subject are few and far between with too many books today being written to a formula. Not so with The Power of Forgiveness which leads its reader by the hand through some exceedingly dark and difficult terrain in a completely natural and supportive way.
The result is, to my mind, a publication that is something of a priceless gem - one in which the author states her case, offers the evidence to support her ideas, and then ties it up in a very authoritative and convincing alternative philosophy.
Any readers who feel themselves to be trapped within a cancerous jail - one formed through many years of hatred and aggression will, I am quite sure, find in The Power of Forgiveness by Emily Hooks the key to resolve their self-inflicted pain. All that is now needed to complete the process is the personal sheer grit to see the work through.
Are you up to the job?