There is a key within all of us that can lead to a fulfilling, balanced and productive life. Yet, it’s so simple at face value that it’s easy to ignore, dismiss, or even laugh it off.
According to Doctor Ivan Figueroa-Otero, a former pediatric surgeon turned certified medical acupuncturist, the most important key to healing and balance—beyond the worlds of Eastern and Western medicine—is forgiveness. Forgiveness of others and forgiveness of self.
Dr Figueroa-Otero, who is also a bestselling author, spent 40 years practicing medicine and now specialises in disease prevention and lifestyle modificaton through holistic Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) techniques such as meditation—and teaching people how to really, truly, deeply forgive.
In his newest book, Spirituality 103: The Forgiveness Code-Finding the Light in Our Shadows, Puerto Rico-based Dr Figueroa-Otero tackles the art of forgiveness head-on. It is only in a state of forgiveness, he says, that we can truly move past suffering and find balance and joy.
Can happiness really be that simple? I caught up with Dr Figueroa-Otero to find out more about his work, his beliefs and how we can reach a state of contentment through forgiveness…
What is the “forgiveness code” and how can it eliminate guilt?
The “forgiveness code” is the exercise of self-forgiveness that teaches us to how to liberate the guilt caused by the failures of our past experiences by realizing they happened because of our lack of knowledge. We must understand them as lessons of love that allowed us to grow wiser. The exercise liberates the person from wrongfully self-created prisons within our subconscious minds.
Do people have trouble forgiving? Why?
Yes, because they confuse forgetting the experience with understanding it. Most of us tend to feel that others have the maturity and understanding of others needs and sensitivities, which will leave out the prejudices and selfishness most of us carry on our personalities. Empathy and understanding with those that are still growing up, should be based when we realize we could also have committed some of those mistakes in our lives.
Does forgiveness need to be a drawn-out process, or can we come to it more quickly than we perhaps realize?
Initially it is a slow learning experience, that we get better at as we see the marvelous results on us and others.
How have you seen forgiveness change someone’s health?
Yes, frequently as my patients learn to use the forgiveness code I describe in my book Spirituality 103.
Is it true we need to forgive ourselves, before we can forgive others?
Yes, very true, as we learn to be more compassionate and loving with ourselves and learn to accept our human imperfection. It’s so liberating!
What steps would you suggest someone take if they feel they are truly ready to forgive?
Read my book Spirituality 103, and learn to find the light within our shadows. Get to know yourself with all the defects you were programmed with and know that you can reprogram them all with compassion and patience with yourself and those that passed them to you.
What affirmation would you recommend?
I have been given the power to spread the epidemic of Love in God’s creation. Make sure every day you contaminate someone else.
What else can improve our physical health and our state of mind?
Our state of mind will be in optimal conditions when the mind, body, and spirit achieve a harmonious connection, creating the right balance. The mind, when in emotional stability, is the force that binds the body with its spiritual source of wisdom, which allows the body to manifest its real potential of wellness.
This wellness will occur only by supplying the body with the right quality of alimentary ingredients, such as those found in an unprocessed plant-based diet.
What is the connection between faith, the placebo effect, and healing?
The primary connection is belief, belief, and belief! To understand this, we must first understand what the placebo effect is. The placebo effect is the unexplained effect of any substance or action that produces a curative impact without a scientific, therapeutic basis. The placebo effect seems to be influenced by the previous therapeutic experiences of the patient, the emotional and mental state of the patient, whether spirituality is an essential part of the patient’s beliefs (what I refer to as the real power behind the throne), and the influence of the therapist-patient relationship.
We could summarize that FAITH is the facilitating force that activates the natural healing power of the organism as described by the acronym: Fully Allowing Inner Wisdom to Heal You.
How we can discover our life purpose? Does our relationship to money, education, religion, politics, or drugs make this difficult?
Our life purpose is inherent to our soul-spirit, as it is the relative role assigned to it within the ampler universal scheme. The fulfillment of this purpose will fill the emptiness experienced by the soul within the material existence. The lack of awareness of our primary spiritual origin leads us to try to mitigate the loneliness of the earthly experience with the pleasurable things requested by the ego.
Our life purpose is inherent to our soul-spirit, as it is the relative role assigned to it within the ampler universal scheme.
All the “things” that are available to entice our pleasure are like hallucinatory drugs that temporarily deceive us, only to wear off and let us sink back into the depths of unceasing sadness. When we break the bonds of codependency that chain us to our ego, we can finally remember our spiritual origins and the purpose of our life.
Can you tell me about your new book and what prompted you to write it?
My new book is Spirituality 103, The Forgiveness Code: Finding the Light In Our Shadows. In level 103, I guide students to discover new angles to the three questions presented in level 101 (“Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?”) and discuss techniques that help us to effectively wipe out all the guilt we have allowed into our learning programs.
I compare these alterations to emotional scars in our mind’s mirror that have not yet healed, created by the experience of suffering, while our soul (Warrior of Light) journeyed through the battles in the School of Life. The primary learning and healing experience of this stage is self-forgiveness.
Through your work with children, what advice would you like to give to every parent?
Since children will be influencing the future health of our planet, teaching by example the right preventive mental, spiritual, and alimentary lifestyles will ensure a more joyful experience for our world.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
“The weapons of a true Warrior of the Light are compassion and the patience to wait for the other person to learn what he has already learned.”