A Story To Share, from Phil Gould

Here is an email I just received and want to share with all of you. I’m sure Phil would like to hear from any of you who would like to respond. His email is: Phil Gould


I’m greatly helped by Tom Carpenter’s writing, and would like to share the attached example of doing some forgiveness work. If this is a help and encouragement to someone else I’ll be glad.

Warm regards,

Phil Gould

Phil Gould, Jan 2012, on being told he has prostate cancer
following Colin Tipping’s steps (in his book, “Radical Forgiveness”)

Step 1. The situation in which my peace of mind has been disturbed is:
I’ve just been told I have prostate cancer. Doctors tell me most men of my age have the disease in mild form and die with it not of it. What came as a shock was that mine contains some “aggressive” cancer cells, and rapid treatment is recommended – I’m waiting to hear what kind of treatment.
What’s my reaction? Is it fear? Yes and no. A lot of the time it’s joy. Is there anger or resentment? Not at all. How can this be? I take it as evidence that studying a book for several years called, A Course In Miracles (on which Colin Tipping’s approach is largely based), has profoundly changed my outlook. This book has helped me be receptive to the idea that the essence of who I am is not a physical body at all but spiritual and mental stuff – and that sickness in the body reflects a need for healing in the mind. If this is true my disease is a wake-up call, an invitation to work harder to uncover the dark (unloving) places of the mind and allow light to shine in, and I’m very glad, more than glad – thrilled – to receive it.

Step 2a. What the ego wants to say to the cancer cells:
“Oh, my God. You’re out to get me. I hate you. You’re disgusting. This is a nightmare, a horror movie – except it’s really happening. And there’s nothing I can do to stop you. It’s so unfair. I’m helpless. I’m a victim. Why are you picking on me? I can’t bear it. I’ll scream.”

Step 2b. “Because of what you’re doing to me I FEEL…..”:
terror dread helplessness hatred

Step 3. ACKNOWLEDGING MY OWN HUMANNESS I lovingly recognise and accept these feelings, and judge them no more. I’m entitled to them.
Although at first I strongly resisted these words, I discover saying them brings enormous relief, a kind of inner melting. It’s OK to have human frailties. No need to be ashamed of being scared. Hatred isn’t wickedness. No need to try to pretend to be positive all the time. I can even love my own frailties. They are, after all, only my way of asking for love.

Step 4. I own my feelings. Nothing can make me feel anything. My feelings reflect how I see the situation.
Yes, I get this. If I identify myself with a vulnerable and temporary physical body the world is bound to seem a frightening and threatening place. But do I have to see it this way? Surely there’s much more to me than that – deep down I know there is.

Step 5. Fear is a sign I’m withholding love from myself and my body by judging, holding expectations, wanting the body to change, and seeing it as less than perfect.
I totally accept this, too. What are some of the unquestioned judgements or assumptions I’ve been making? “Getting cancer is a bad thing. I’m a victim of physical forces beyond my control. Dying before 90 would be tragic. It’s unfair. I don’t deserve it. I do deserve it, and should be ashamed.” It’s simply not necessary to fear cancer as a bad thing. In fact, as I now see, it’s necessary, if real healing is to take place, to love it as a good thing.

How many of these judgements and expectations am I making about myself?
For most of my life I’ve felt there’s been something deeply wrong with me, a fatal flaw, not in my body, but in me. I’m bad. I’m in the wrong. I see now it’s this thought – a pervasive feeling of guilt or notOKness – that is toxic and needs healing.

Step 6. I now realise that in order to feel the experience more deeply my soul has encouraged me to create a BIGGER story out of the event or situation than it actually seems to warrant, considering just the facts. This purpose having been served I can now release the energy surrounding my story by separating the facts from the interpretations I have made up about it:
Initially I seized on the cancer diagnosis as evidence of a bigger story I’ve always believed: “I’m a body. I’m subject to the body’s frailties. When the body ceases I’ll die. It’s a terrible thing to die”. Of course, if my MRI scan shows the cancer has spread beyond the prostate I may revert to believing this story.
But maybe not, because I’m now being invited once again to make a choice. It’s between, “You’re a body. The threatening world you perceive around you is real,” and, “You’re pure spirit. This threatening world is a mental construct, a projection from your mind, an illusion. Nothing in it can harm you in any way.”
An inner voice says accusingly, “You poor deluded fool. Next you’ll be saying you can walk on water. You’re going mad with fear but you’re in denial. Wouldn’t it be saner just to admit it?” But another voice says, “That’s the ego speaking. Don’t pay attention. Just be mindful of who you really are and do what brings peace to your mind.”

Ego again: “I’m sick. I’m a victim. Cancer will get me. Prospects are bleak.”

I now realise that my soul encouraged me to form these beliefs in order to magnify my sense of separation so that I could feel it more deeply for my spiritual growth. As I now begin to remember the truth of who I am I give myself permission to let them go, and I now send love and gratitude to myself and the cancer cells for creating this growth experience.
I don’t know about the metaphysical explanation, but yes, I’m willing to say these words whole-heartedly, and it brings peace to my mind.

Step 9. I recognise that my Spiritual Intelligence has created stories in the past that are similar in circumstances and feeling to this one in order to magnify the emotional experience of separation that my soul wanted. I’m seeing evidence that, even though I don’t know why or how, my soul has created this particular situation too, in order that I learn and grow. List similar stories and feeling experiences and note the common elements:
From time to time in my life I’ve had a fleeting Buddha-like glimpse of what might be described as remembering who I truly am – a sense of knowing I’m totally OK. It’s been a peak experience.
Ten years ago I became vaguely interested in the idea of healing, thinking, if other people can do it why shouldn’t I? So understanding nothing about it I read books by healers. Some of them mentioned A Course in Miracles as a major source of inspiration. I got a copy and felt immediately profoundly at home. But I still didn’t really “get” what healing was all about.
Recently (last couple of years) thinking that ACIM seemed to have changed my outlook in a big way I felt it would be good to put it to the test. That’s what I think this cancer experience is, and that’s part of why it’s such a joyful experience.

Step 10. I now realise I get upset only when something resonates in me those part of me I have disowned, denied, repressed and then projected on to them. I see the truth of the adage, “If you spot it, you’ve got it!” It’s me in the mirror!
So, “You’re attacking me”, translates as, “It’s me who’s doing the attacking”. Whatever the cancer cells are up to they’re just innocent bystanders. They’re not attacking. Attacking is what I’ve been doing all my life with my thoughts. I know this because I’m becoming sensitive to losing my peace of mind, which I do whenever I slip into attack thoughts – which I do often.

Step 11. Cancer cells are reflecting what I need to love and accept in myself. Thank you cancer cells for this gift. I’m now willing to take back the projection and own it as a part of my shadow. I love and accept this part of me.
Saying I love and accept (i.e., forgive) the attack thoughts in my own mind isn’t easy, but as I say it I feel warmth and healing taking place. Certainly in the mind – could it also be in the body? Why not?

Step 12. Even though I may not understand it all, I now realise that you and I have both been receiving exactly what we each had subconsciously chosen and were doing a dance with each other to bring us to a state of awakened consciousness.
It does seem a bit far fetched talking like this to cancer cells. But of course this is all about perception, the way my mind sees things. It’s the cancer cells in my mind I’m talking to. And in my mind I’m free to talk to whoever I want and anything can happen – it’s up to me.

Step 13. I now realise that nothing you, cancer cells, have done is either right or wrong. I’m able now to release the need to blame you or anything else. I’m WILLING to see the perfection in the situation just the way it is.
Yes, I do see that it’s perfect and I wouldn’t wish it otherwise.

Step 14. I’m willing to see that, for whatever reason, my mission or ‘soul contract’ included having experiences like this and that you and I may have agreed to do this dance with and for each other in this lifetime. If it is for the highest good for both of us, I now release you and me from that contract.
Again, I’m not sure I sign up to all the metaphysics here. But no matter – the attitude the words express brings a strong sense of release and peace, which means to me that whether they’re taken metaphorically or literally, either way they’re the truth.

Step 15. I release from my consciousness all feelings of:
terror, dread, helplessness, hatred, guilt. Yes I do, and it strengthens the realisation that how I feel always is and always has been my choice.

This is how I now see the cancer diagnosis: It’s a reminder to me that the mind not only needs but also is able to receive healing. This gentle but clear message couldn’t be better or more timely. I receive it with gratitude and joy.

Step 17. I completely forgive myself and accept myself as a loving, generous and creative being. I release all need to hold on to emotions and ideas of lack and limitation connected to the past. I withdraw my energy from the past and release all barriers against the love and abundance I know I have in this moment. I create my life and am empowered to be myself again, to unconditionally love and support myself, just the way I am, in all my power and magnificence.
These affirmations are enormous. The level of commitment in them takes my breath away. I sense some fear and resistance here – for which I completely forgive myself. I’m willing.

Step 18. I now surrender to the Higher Power I think of as (I’m reluctant to give it a name. For me the word, “God”, is overused and degraded. Whatever it is is totally beyond any name I can come up with.) and trust in the knowledge that this situation will continue to unfold perfectly and in accordance with Divine guidance and spiritual law. I acknowledge my Oneness and feel myself totally connected with my Source. I am restored to my true nature, which is LOVE, and now restore love to the cancer cells. I close my eyes in order to feel the LOVE that flows in my life and to feel the joy that comes when love is felt and expressed.
My response to these good words is the same as to step 17. I feel over-awed by them and can only say, “I’m willing”.

Step 19. A note of appreciation and gratitude to You (no name).
Thank You for this lesson – I’m full of gratitude. Thank you Colin for this method, which has helped me engage more fully then ever before with the process of forgiveness.
I completely forgive you, cancer cells, for I now see that you have done nothing wrong and everything is in Divine order. I bless you for being willing to play a part in my awakening – thank you – and honour myself for being willing to play a part in your awakening. I acknowledge and accept you just the way you are.
Yes I do, even though the idea of playing a part in the spiritual awakening of a cancer cell is a bit weird. If course, if I can do it for a cancer cell I can do it for anything or anyone. It reminds me of one of the central tenets of ACIM: “there’s no order of difficulty in miracles”.

Step 20. I recognise I’m a spiritual being having a spiritual experience in a human body, and I love and support myself in every aspect of my humanness.
Yes, I recognise I’m a spiritual being. But I don’t think I’m “in” a body, because as spirit I’m not fixed in time and space as the body is. Rather, as I see more clearly now than ever before, it’s the other way round – the body’s “in” the mind. And the mind is all powerful. Driven by fear it will project its sickness on to the body. But a mind healed and full of thoughts of love has no need to use the body this way.
The last word goes to Tom Carpenter (The Miracle of True Forgiveness): “Forgiveness is the process of helping us find the places in our mind where sickness (i.e., guilt and fear) still hides. Aside from the mind’s healing, the body needs no healing of its own for it portrays only a physical image of what the mind believes is true about itself.”

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