Forgiveness and Spiral Dynamics Integral
Forgiveness gives us the freedom to stay and the freedom to walk away.
Spiral Dynamics is an approach to understanding how people see the world whether as individuals, organisations or societies. It has to do with how people respond to the other people, their own experiences, the world around them and also how they conceptualise all of these.
Forgiveness, as applied through the method The Four Steps to Forgiveness is also very much concerned with all of these factors at it can have a profound and direct impact on how a person sees themselves how they see other people , and how they see the world.
What follows are some pointers as to ways in which forgiveness maps into Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDI). In particularly we will look at the how the process known as The Four Steps to Forgiveness, as offered by the Global Forgiveness Initiative (GFI), assists the process of integration.
In general terms forgiveness will assist the process of SDI as it helps with the integration of each level of the SDI model. However, there are more specific ways in which The 4 Steps model assists this process.
The Four Steps to Forgiveness could just as easily have been called ‘Four Steps to Integrating Ideals with Gut Feelings’, or ‘The Four Steps to Being your Own Best Friend’, or even ‘The Four Steps to Self Empowerment’, because it does all of these things. It works by bringing together two opposing parts of the person so these can work on a common goal. It helps bring together the idealistic part of a person which “wants’” to forgive and their “gut level” self which is usually the part which has been resisting the forgiveness process. The Four Steps to Forgiveness effectively integrates these two parts and gets them working together on forgiving specific issues.
A vital aspect of The Four Steps to Forgiveness is that it targets the legitimate needs of the parts of a person which are resisting the forgiveness process of forgiving and at the same time giving expression to the parts of the person which or already on-board with the forgiveness process.. In other words, the parts of the person which are resisting the act of forgiving are not only included in the process; they are welcomed as essential elements. This helps the person begin to integrate previously rejected aspects of their character.
We may have previously conceived these parts of ourselves, which resist forgiving, as “bad” (i.e. the primitive logic is ‘Forgiveness is good so any part of me which does not want to forgive must be “bad”). By changing this perspective those rejected aspects can become integrated. In addition, the inner structures defending and maintaining these aspects, and the guilt and shame they engender, can also start to be released.
The Four Steps to Forgiveness is designed to be spiral in nature. The participant cycles through the “fours steps” a number of times. The journey through each complete loop builds on the energy and intention of the previous loop. Each time the person goes through the steps their intention to forgive grows stronger and the inner processes required to forgive become increasingly liberated. Also, the more a person uses the technique the more effective it becomes in resolving additional issues, as the momentum builds with usage.
From being wounded to being wise
When a person is in an unforgiving state about a situation, and feels mostly bitterness – or worse – about the experience, they are unable to integrate it in a life-enhancing way. They have a negative association with that experience which makes the psychological nutritional value of the experience unavailable to them. However, when the person is able to forgive the event they can then begin to see what valuable lessons the experience had to offer them. The previously undigested experiential “nutrients” become available and can be absorbed. This enables the wounds to be converted to wisdom as the insights, growth and learning embedded in the event become available. The person then becomes less reactive and so less likely to create unnecessary pain for themselves in future.
Solving the problems of a specific life situation are like being in a maze and trying to find the best way out. Once a person gets in to the habit of forgiveness practise they gain “altitude”. Previously complex situations become much simpler to solve, because they are able to gain “psychological height” and rise above the maze. Then can then simply and clearly see the way out. Their choices simplify as they are no longer forced into certain directions by the “thorny hedge” of guilt , fear and the need for approval from others. Their choices will increasingly tend to be based on clear-cut principles or ideas, intuitions and inspirations and much less based on maintaining a fragile sense of self.
Some religions teach people that they “should” forgive, but don’t teach them “how” to actually do it. This can build up a layer of guilt and shame in people as they want to forgive (after all, they are promised a better place in heaven, or good karma, if they do), but don’t know how to do it. Once they learn a practical way to forgive they become empowered and can release the self-judgement and self-blame which they had around their supposed ‘inability” to forgive. For some this can extend to the discovery of their natural spirituality free from encumbrances of dogma and superstition.
The above are just some of the ways that forgiveness enables people to accept the previously unacceptable parts of themselves so that they can integrate those parts and be able to gain access to the gifts and abilities those parts offer them.
You can from the above that Forgiveness, via the method The Four Steps to Forgiveness is very closely related to Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDI). The Four Steps to Forgiveness can be a very useful tool, as part of the toolkit, for anyone working in the SDI field, as well as for those generally working in organisational development, counselling, coaching and the like.
You can download the free ebook (no need to even enter your email address) from this page and get started with using The Four Steps to Forgiveness to improve your own life, and the life of others, now.
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Four Steps to Forgiveness
A powerful way to freedom, happiness and success.
William Fergus Martin