ASK ABDI: SHOULD I CONTACT MY EXES TO APOLOGIZE?
QUESTION: You nailed it in your book, Shadows on the Path - spiritual work is not for the faint of heart. Had I known what I was getting into when I decided to enter into it, I probably would have run for the hills. Thank God spirit had other plans… it is powerful to know one’s divinity and divine nature. And own up to all of our projections.
One question I have for you is this: how necessary is it to heal past relationships by owning up to the behaviors that were ego and driven by my unconscious patterns of the past that I am now privy to? I guess I’m wondering, karmically, if that’s enough or if I should contact those whom I projected on and treated so terribly in the past, if I should contact them to express my learnings and experience of my own behavior (not theirs at all, but mine, completely mine), offer sincere heartfelt gratitude and a real apology for having not known any better? Am I leaving some sort of unresolved karma by not reaching out?
ANSWER: All true what you say about our divinity. However, one has to be aware that one does not use that information as a mask against the pain that this realm will inevitably throw our way. The pain itself, when approached with consciousness, is what helps us remember our true nature. It helps us put down what is poison and go inside for the remembrance that ultimately is our healing salve. The awakening process to fully live in that truth is a long ass journey for all of us. It is easy to confuse intellectual understanding of it with the truth living through us. To your point, the “I” will never get on the path, since the path reveals the fallacy of the “I”. We/”I” is coaxed along the way by consciousness to once again become conscious of itself.
Now to your point. You have taken responsibility for your past unconscious behavior. That part is always powerful. The part about intending to complete the healing by sharing your newfound understanding with those whom you have hurt in the past is tricky. Healing is a solitary experience. What that means is that we heal the past by bringing understanding to it within our own psyche. These relationship dances are always 50/50. Both parties have signed on the dotted line on an unconscious level to replay old wounding. That is how we heal these wounds: by repeating them until the charge is out of them, and then making different choices. Or we keep repeating them over and over without any form of healing.
Each has to heal that original wounding within their own psyche. It has absolutely nothing to do with the other. We can not do that for anyone but ourselves. Just because you have started to heal it in your own psyche does not mean they have. So here are some questions: how do you know that by sharing or reopening that door you will not trigger more pain for them? Will you be okay if your kind gesture is returned with rage and venom? Can you truly say that it does not matter how they will respond? What are you really looking for? Is it just for sharing gratitude or are you looking for something in return for your newfound awareness? We are always looking for something in return until our center is fully anchored in our Self. And that takes time.
The unconscious is tricky business, one has to tread consciously and sit with these feelings when they come up. Of course, it is a lovely thing to give thanks and apologize. But only when one is absolutely certain that such a transaction will not bring up more pain for the other. Because then it is just another act of unconscious selfishness.
The way I approach this with past intimate (or not intimate) relationships that have ended in pain is: I ground myself and quiet my mind. Then I call on the person on a soul level and ask for permission to share my feelings. I take responsibility for my part and apologize. I feel my body and see if there is still a charge left over anywhere when I do this practice. I feel if there is still some unfinished business and ask for completion. This is all done in silence and on an emotional level without actual contact. This bypasses the personality and allows the healing to continue on a deeper level. All we can do is to own up to our end of the bargain. When there is truly no charge then there is no karma.