Newsletter: Letting Go of the Past

When I was working with a fashion design company in the 1980's the CEO explained to me that though the Chief Operating Officer was very effective at his work, he had alienated the rest of the team. He often falsely accused people of sabotaging his operation and other similar things. His job was on the line and the CEO asked me if I could work with him.

When I first met him he was on his best behavior and I could see this sweet and loving man behind a mask of sorrow and fear. I asked him about his family and he described each in a loving manner with a twinkle in his eyes. I continued to ask questions that built rapport between us, and as he shared one lovely story, I would ask questions that would lead to another. As I listened to him he seemed to light up. I could clearly see his inner genius of loving kindness and I told him how his stories touched me. He was so natural and flowing in the way he dealt with his family in the moments he described to me.

Then I started asking him questions about his team mates and his state of mind darkened. His paranoia began to intensify as he explained how people were trying to get him. It was hard to see the loving, easy-going man that I had first seen. His stories seemed to make sense and so I listened and took note, but I never lost sight of the warm loving man I had seen as he described his family. In working with the rest of the team I found that many of his stories about his team mates were unfounded or highly exaggerated. One of his team mates said to me, "Did you know his entire family was killed in the holocaust in death camps?"

The next time I met with him I first connected with his deep loving state and then asked him about his experience during World War II. He explained that he was the only survivor and that in order to survive he had to escape at the age of 14, and in the process, had to kill two guards. He went on to tell me a little about his mother and father and a few other family members who were murdered in the gas chambers. I could hardly hold back my tears and in sharing this moment our connection deepened.

He went on to explain that he had met a Russian solder as he made his way east and that soldier had saved his life by putting him on the Trans Siberian Railroad, which eventually lead to a refugee camp in China. He spent five years in this camp and found his way to New York City. He worked hard and had climbed to the top of one of the best fashion design and production companies in the city. Now he was concerned that he might lose his job.

It became clear to me that the suspicion he held for his peers was connected to his terrible life experiences. I told him that it was a miracle that he had succeeded, and that given his life experience, I understood how he might have a low level of trust for others.

Over time I helped him see that he was no longer in danger and that the feelings he still held onto from his past were influencing his behavior in the present. I can't remember exactly what I said to him but suddenly he understood. As insight came to him I carefully explained how the CEO and his peers valued him. The only problem was his lack of trust for them which he displayed with his anger. If he could only let go of this and understand that he and his family are safe here and now he would be a success. I then shared how I could see the loving spirit within him and we both had a moment.

His anger gradually went away and his loving spirit often showed on his face. His business activities became two or three times more effective because he had the support of the team. About a month later as I was working with someone else his assistant came in and said that his wife was in the conference room and she would like to talk to me. I was concerned, but when I arrived she thanked me for bringing her husband back to her. She said that his loving spirit is what she fell in love with and that it had been hidden for years. She hugged me and left me in the conference room. I realized in that moment that my connection with his loving spirit, which is his genius, was what allowed him to let go of the beliefs from the past.

Since then I have learned that all people have some special genius that is often covered. Seeing through the mask created by their thoughts from the past and connecting with their genius is the key to helping people let go. Even more important, when people let go of their thoughts from the past, their genius appears naturally. There is nothing to do but recognize your thoughts are not real. It is the default setting.

Later this man used his wealth to find that Russian soldier and brought him to New York City with much gratitude and fanfare. He was very successful and for years my wife received beautiful dresses with special notes from this great man. His genius was waiting behind the veil of sorrow and fear from the past, which he realized in a moment of integrative presence, was not real.

 
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