Multiplex: What's New | Site Map | Community | News My Multiplex Account | Sign In 
in Search

Know all, forgive all

Last post 11-03-2006, 9:28 PM by adastra. 19 replies.
Page 1 of 2 (20 items)   1 2 Next >
Sort Posts: Previous Next
  •  08-22-2006, 9:35 AM 4944

    Know all, forgive all

    Forgiveness is a spiritual practice in most traditions.  Its usually conditional, dependent  on confession and repentance of the wrong we have done.  There are also approaches, such as that of A Course In Miracles, which centre on unconditional forgiveness.  The  benefits of forgiveness are many, not least the fact that in withholding forgiveness we are trapping ourselves in the past and robbing ourselves of the future.

     

    But forgiveness is tough, isn’t it?   Even minor grudges can be hard to let go of. Real traumas are major life challenges.  I myself only really forgave my deceased parents in recent years for stuff they did way back when I was a kid.  Really forgave:  its an emotional matter, forgiveness.   I can want to forgive, I can think forgiveness, I can meditate it, I can pray it, but unless I deep-down feel it, it’s fake, and I’m still trapped in what was.

     

    Is there any help?   One recommendation often made is to cease attaching to the past.  Another is to separate the person from what they did: hate the sin, love the sinner.   Either of those ways could be promoted by integral:  if I understand the context of the harm done to me, perhaps I’m less likely to blame, more able to let go.  To know all, as someone famously said, is to forgive all…

     

    Makes sense, doesn’t it?  But look closer.  Isn’t there a danger of living in denial here?   Take 9/11.  Should someone who lost a loved one there, and who wanted to forgive, be better able to do so if they deepen their understanding of the terrorists  - their  social background, their psychological make-up, the influence of others, the political context?  I make no apologies for being a little emotive, because forgiveness does have to involve the emotions.  So take another case:  that of the parents of a six year old girl who was stalked, abducted, raped and murdered.  They are truly lost in the past, with their memories of her much-loved happy face as well as the horror of what happened to her.  Yet who would dare to advise them to give up attachment, or to empathise with the criminal in his context?   One reason we wouldn’t dare is that we know that we couldn’t follow our own advice in their situation.  Maybe another is that we suspect that somewhere, somehow, despite AQAL, there is accountability for actions, that to understand all doesn’t mean that there is nothing, ultimately, to forgive.  Yes?  No?

     

    Amazingly, there are some who ARE able to forgive the unforgiveable.  Try the stories at http://www.theforgivenessproject.com/.  What such people tend to say is that forgiveness is not so much an outcome of understanding as a grace, a spiritual gift.  Their forgiveness is unconditional.   If it was conditional, it would never happen, because no amount of regret on the part of those who caused the harm could match the suffering which was caused.  Yet…  I wonder if understanding isn’t needed first before the grace of unconditional forgiveness can be received?  This seems to be what Anne Gallagher, a nurse bereaved in the Northern Ireland troubles, is saying on the Forgiveness Project website: 

     

    To heal the wounds of Northern Ireland I believe you have to see humanity in the face of the enemy. But forgiveness is a journey. Today you can forgive and tomorrow you can feel pain all over again. I’m not a religious person, but for me forgiveness is about grace. To be able to forgive someone who has hurt you is a moment of grace.’

     

    To ‘see humanity in the face of the enemy’ is to begin to see them integrally, as fellow creatures caught up like us in samsara.  Yet, is noone personally accountable?  In choosing to harm others, are we a product of our context, so that there is nothing, ultimately, to forgive?  What do you think of forgiveness as spiritual practice?

     

    Smile [:)]

     

    David

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    'This is all the time you'll ever have'.
    ~ Dr Hannibal Lecter
    • Post Points: 50
    • Report abuse
  •  08-23-2006, 4:52 AM 5040 in reply to 4944

    • wicke is not online. Last active: 19 Sep 2007, 12:08 PM wicke
    • Top 200 Contributor
    • Joined on 06-26-2006
    • Bristol UK
    • Posts 21
    • Points 345

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    A couple of things that i want to question...

    Do you have to understand, or do you have to accept that you don't understand and therefore how can one judge another as being unworthy of forgiveness?

    The quote of Anne Gallagher brought something to mind...whether pain and forgiveness are separated/separatable - she says today forgive, but tomorrow can feel pain again - i'm not sure that once you have forgiven a person your pain will go. In tonglen one opens up to pain, but does not thus begin to blame. Turned on its head i see this as meaning that forgiveness isn't the selfish drive to make oneself feel better, its the unselfish drive to want all the pain to be transformed in those that cause the pain and in those that suffer from it...we are all one in the same. We are all accountable. Yet we are all a product. On integral naked it is often explained as a paradox which we must transcend and include. Rise above it even though one doesn't understand how (grace as the nearest explainable name). Included surely is the feeling of blame, it cannot be ignored, just accepted. Is not forgiveness transrational? It doesn't have to make sense logically.

    So i guess, in how i see it at present, just to know all doesn't have to mean to forgive all, and to forgive all doesn't have to mean to know all. And to feel pain doesn't mean one hasn't forgiven. Transcend and include.

    Whatdya recon?

    One love


    mornin' sunshine
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  08-23-2006, 8:57 AM 5054 in reply to 5040

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    wicke:
    Do you have to understand, or do you have to accept that you don't understand and therefore how can one judge another as being unworthy of forgiveness?

    Is not forgiveness transrational? It doesn't have to make sense logically.

    You make a great point, Wicke.  You're suggesting, aren't you, that there is only a need to forgive if we have judged someone in the first place?  That is actually the position taken in A Course in Miracles, and to some extent in the New Testament - judge not that ye be not judged.  Certainly unconditional forgiveness makes no kind of logical sense, yet sometimes people are able to give it freely, though they themselves don't know how.

    That strikes me as an ideal.   I want to forgive and to be forgiven, for selfish as well as unselfish reasons!   I find that I have been able to unconditionally forgive on occasions, but not 'deliberately' - the resentment just lifted away with no cause.  More usually, the reality, for me anyway, tends to be that I have to journey through understanding first before I can release judgements and forgive.  Take another story from that excellent website:

    In April 1997, Camilla Carr, 45, and her boyfriend, Jon James, 43, went to Chechnya to set up a rehabilitation centre for traumatised war-children. Three months later they were taken hostage by Chechnyan rebels. Their ordeal lasted 14 months, during which Camilla was repeatedly raped by one of her jailers.

    Camilla Carr

    Rape is a terrible violation of a human being. I will never forgive the act, yet I can forgive the man who raped me; I can feel compassion for him because I understand the desperate place he was coming from.

    That’s not to say I condone what our captors did to us (the physical and psychological abuse was appalling), and if I met them now I’d want to ask all of them, “Did you have any idea how much you were harming us?” But I still understand the desperation that caused them to do the things they did.

    As soon as we were taken hostage we decided to take the line of least resistance, because our four captors were so clearly traumatised by the war. If we’d shown anger or sadness they could have reacted with violence.

    After several weeks in captivity one of them – an ignorant and wounded person who we named Paunch – took the opportunity to rape me. The only way I could get through this horror was by thinking to myself, “You can never touch the essence of me – my body is only part of who I am.”

    He raped me many times, but mostly I was able to cling on to this detached state of being. He always did it when he was alone and I didn’t dare tell the other captors in case it gave them the idea of gang rape. This went on until I got herpes, which gave me the strength to say no. Paunch asked me to explain why. With a dictionary I shakily pointed out, “No sex, no violence”. I couldn’t take any more. He said he just wanted to be my friend! In his own way he was apologising. He stopped raping me and instead he would talk about his dreams.

    We were released in September 1998. Initially I seemed to be doing well. We were basking in the euphoria of freedom and love from our family and friends. Then two months later I collapsed. I couldn’t stop crying and had no energy. This lasted a few weeks, but it wasn’t until 2001, when Jon and I moved to Wales, that I found the space and silence to let go and surrender to weakness and vulnerability. Only this way could my nervous system finally heal.Some of our Chechnyan friends can’t understand how we can forgive. They feel tarnished with the guilt of their community. I tell them that I believe forgiveness begins with understanding, but you have to work through layers to obtain it. First you have to deal with anger, then with tears, and only once you reach the tears are you on the road to finding peace of mind.

    http://www.theforgivenessproject.com/stories/camilla-carr-jon-james

    I take your point, though, Wicke.  Maybe part of the spiritual practice would be to release the tendency to judge in the first place.  Tough beyond belief if you've been raped or abused or terribly harmed in other ways.  But its a destination.

    Smile [:)]

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    'This is all the time you'll ever have'.
    ~ Dr Hannibal Lecter
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  08-23-2006, 1:58 PM 5097 in reply to 5054

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    Davidd,

    Thank you for posting that.  That is a very powerful story.


    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
  •  08-25-2006, 9:10 AM 5294 in reply to 4944

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    something that helped me immensely was the understanding that forgiving does NOT mean that it (example the brutal murder of a child) was not wrong

    that is what holds us back from forgiving ... the incorrect assumption that if we forgive, we are implying that what was done was okay

    but forgiveness is something else ... it is letting go of the painful contraction that binds us

     

     

    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  08-25-2006, 11:52 AM 5322 in reply to 5294

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    The art of forgiviness for me, is a way to release onself from pain, anguish, and hatred. It is more of a gift to the self than the one being forgiven. I do not believe that it condones behavior. So basically, in agreement with fairyfaye...from one faye to another ;-).

    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  08-25-2006, 1:05 PM 5329 in reply to 5322

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    Hi both Fayes...and Pear....

    Yes indeed.   The benefits to oneself of forgiving are one big Why.

    What are your experiences of the How?

    To illustrate what I mean, let me ask a (rhetorical) question for you to ponder, if you're in the mood.

    Lifting my foot off the emotiveness gas pedal, imagine the following scenario:  someone whose posts you like and admire comes onto one of the forums here and tells you that you are stupid and ignorant (substitute whatever insult you wish).  Alas, such things do sometimes happen, don't they....

    Do you:

    (1)  Feel scared/mad, confronting or avoiding this person and staying scared/mad?   (Unforgiveness).

    (2)  Explain your feelings and if they apologise, accept their apology and henceforth bear no grudge?(Conditional forgiveness)

    (3) Respond to their insult by expressing your sorrow for upsetting them, genuinely wishing them well and continuing to like and admire their posts?  (Unconditional forgiveness)

    (btw, have I got these alternatives right?)

    If (3), what internal process would lead to this response?  Could it be taught? Will bearing in mind the personal benefits of forgiveness help?  And, to come back to my 'know all, forgive all' question, would forgiveness of either kind be more likely if you were in the integral position of being aware of  the abusive poster's context, including your own contribution to the context - eg they had been offended by something you had written, they were under personal stress, were going through a divorce, whatever?   In other words, does the integral perspective excuse as well as explain bad behaviour?

    Smile [:)]

    ps Sorry about the enlarged font in part of this - not my fault, it won't edit out....

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    'This is all the time you'll ever have'.
    ~ Dr Hannibal Lecter
    • Post Points: 35
    • Report abuse
  •  08-25-2006, 3:52 PM 5350 in reply to 5329

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    If you

    Davidd:

    (1)  Feel scared/mad, confronting or avoiding this person and staying scared/mad?   (Unforgiveness).

    The unforgiveness is toward the person him/herself cause he/she feel it as right

    Don't you believe is the kind of answer the person looked for? Cause it is the first step of a real conversation with oneself and with the other.

    If one doesn't recognize the comment in oneself, he/she doesn't take it for oneself.

    The forgiveness to the other is also a forgiveness to ourself.

    The steps:

    - recognize what is coming from ourself;

    - accept the hard work;

    - transform it in sweet work;

    - forgive

    - and enjoy.  Smile [:)]

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  08-25-2006, 6:38 PM 5377 in reply to 5329

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    well ... i certainly wouldn't admire someone who calls others names ... but mainly i would wonder why they don't have the respect to honor the road rules of these i-i forums

    an interesting thing to do with emotions as they come flooding in is to step back (or rise above .. whatever) and watch how they eventually self-liberate

     

    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
  •  08-26-2006, 8:29 AM 5430 in reply to 5350

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    IAMisHome:

    The unforgiveness is toward the person him/herself cause he/she feel it as right

    Don't you believe is the kind of answer the person looked for? Cause it is the first step of a real conversation with oneself and with the other.

    If one doesn't recognize the comment in oneself, he/she doesn't take it for oneself.

    The forgiveness to the other is also a forgiveness to ourself.

    The steps:

    - recognize what is coming from ourself;

    - accept the hard work;

    - transform it in sweet work;

    - forgive

    - and enjoy.  Smile [:)]

     

    I really like that.   Smile [:)]

    You're saying, ask yourself whether the critical comment is true.  If it is, then there is nothing to forgive.   If it isn't, then why feel hurt? 

    Yes.

    I guess that this may work in some situations, not in others, though.  If someone intends us harm, for whatever reason, are we not entitled to feel angry about it?   A drunk driver who injures us, a bully, an abuser etc.   Is anger not a natural emotion which shouldn't be simply anaesthetised?   We're told that Jesus got angry, for example, over-turning the tables in the Temple and beating the money-changers.  Red meme has its part to play in the Spiral.  And if this is so, its an emotional issue which can't be dealt with by cognitive processes such as reflecting on the validity of the action.....

    Confused [*-)]

     

     

     

     

     


    'This is all the time you'll ever have'.
    ~ Dr Hannibal Lecter
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  08-27-2006, 9:21 AM 5568 in reply to 5430

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    I can easily ignore a person who might be inclined to insult me online. I try to make sure that I am communicating effectively, because at  it is common for people to misinterpret others writen commentary. I have been challenged to forgive in many other serious personal situations, so it would basically mean nothing to me here if someone felt the need to tell me that I am stupid. It is their problem not mine.

    It is natural to feel angry and hurt in the extreme situations that you have listed above. It is a necessary stage of the healing process. Those that do not go through this stage are likely to repress unexpressed anger and cause more harm to themselves. Staying in the anger state( Red?), however is also detrimental, which probably is very obvious. Anger can propels us into action, how else can we faciliate change or improvement if we do not recognize a need for it in the first place?

    Monica
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  08-27-2006, 1:35 PM 5592 in reply to 5568

    Re: Know all, forgive all

     

    Anger is a natural emotion, it's true but what can we do when we don't see answer (or possible action). Maybe there is no answer. In this time, the anesthasie (or the oblivion) is the solution.  I feel you won't be right with that Smile [:)]

    The anger of Jesus makes history.  Beyond that? 

    Living your anger free your mind to go elsewhere but if you know before that this anger is not about anything else than you, why make it?

    In Middle East, we have actions directed by anger and we have actions where the impulse comes from an other place, for exemple with Don Beck.  Would you say it is better to let go our anger?  I understand the anesthesia is not a solution but the times that I use the anger as motor are not the moments I like my image.

    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  08-28-2006, 11:16 AM 5677 in reply to 5592

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    Thanks IAMisHome and Monica, very interesting...

    Anger is viewed very ambivalently, isn't it?  For Buddhism, anger is a no-no, listed as one of the 5 Hindrances.  In the Bible, wrath is one of the deadly sins. Yet, as you both say, its natural to feel angry.  So what do we do?

    As you mention Red meme, Monica, I guess that in integral terms the thing is to transcend-and-include.  I think that its important to do justice to the 'include' part of that formula as well as the 'transcend' part.   In other words, not try to leave the anger behind but to integrate it - as you say, use the energy which it can give us rather than deny it.  The New Testament regards Jesus' anger as 'righteous' anger - a just anger.  If we don't allow the emotion, we're likely to be too weak in the face of oppression, too meek, no?  Perhaps what we're talking about is what is meant by 'channelling' anger and aggression appropriately, controlling or 'managing' it (as in the fashion for 'anger management' with criminals etc) rather than suppressing it. 

    Anger needn't mean violence or even aggression.  It can be appropriate as well as inappropriate.  So: in regard to the process of forgiveness, I'd conclude that we shouldn't try to suppress any just anger we might feel, we must be alive to what we are experiencing, and also that we should try to integrate that feeling into our whole experience of understanding the situation, compassion we might also feel for the other, and also for our own need to express our anger appropriately, which is likely to involve assertiveness rather than aggression....    And all this would be an example of honoring the place of Red meme in our consciousness.   Does any of this ring true?

    ~ David

     


    'This is all the time you'll ever have'.
    ~ Dr Hannibal Lecter
    • Post Points: 50
    • Report abuse
  •  08-28-2006, 9:37 PM 5747 in reply to 5677

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    Davidd:

    Anger needn't mean violence or even aggression.  It can be appropriate as well as inappropriate.  So: in regard to the process of forgiveness, I'd conclude that we shouldn't try to suppress any just anger we might feel, we must be alive to what we are experiencing, and also that we should try to integrate that feeling into our whole experience of understanding the situation, compassion we might also feel for the other, and also for our own need to express our anger appropriately, which is likely to involve assertiveness rather than aggression....    And all this would be an example of honoring the place of Red meme in our consciousness.   Does any of this ring true?

    ~ David

    I am loving this thread; thanks to all thoughtful contributors.

    I am still new at meme analysis and integration.  My intuition suggests to me that anger is not ipso facto red meme emotion.  Thoughts?

    Colin


    To be nobody-but-yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. - E.E.Cummings
    • Post Points: 20
    • Report abuse
  •  08-29-2006, 2:20 AM 5765 in reply to 5677

    Re: Know all, forgive all

    David: "The New Testament regards Jesus' anger as 'righteous' anger - a just anger."

    This is a good point.  On the one hand, we have to distinguish between feeling anger (which arises without our willing it, and so is justified in that sense), and acting out of anger (which may be justified according to the New Testament, but we still have to ask if this is really so).

    Secondly, we also have to distinguish between the question of whether or not acting out of anger can be morally justified, and the question of whether or not it is ever the wisest course of action.  This distinction is important because an action cannot be wise if it is not also moral, but an action can be moral without being wise.  Wisdom, we might say, transcends and includes morality.

    So we might suppose that acting out of anger might, in some cases, be justified.  This would be consistent with the implicit claims of the New Testament.  But even if this is so, the question remains: is it ever wise?

    To this question I would answer, "no."  Jesus's demonstration in the Temple may have been justified, but it also got him killed.  Could he not have spread the message more widely if he had remained alive?  His anger might have turned off some people who otherwise might have been persuaded.

    Finally, a personal story: people used to marvel at how my ex-girlfriend and I, after we had been together for several years, disagreed about almost everything and yet never had a single fight.  The explanation, I said, was that we both loved to talk, and we were both very patient listeners.  So if one of us felt anger towards the other (which is inevitable in a long-term relationship), we would talk it out, and really pay attention to what the other had to say.  Then, one day, when we were both tired and stressed out with school, we did have a fight.  Some very angry, hurtful things were said on both sides.  And we broke up.  A couple of years went by, we both moved on.  She got engaged to another guy.  And we talked, for the first time, about how our relationship ended.  And there was a very awkward moment when we discovered that we had actually broken up over a misunderstanding.  If we had taken a few minutes to hear each other out as we had always done, we would have avoided that fight, and would not have broken up -- not over that, anyway.

    And I realised that a lot of angry actions are caused by a simple lack of patience, frustration, a failure to see another person's perspective, etc.  All of these can be overcome if we apply ourselves.  So the question is, given that this is a possibility, is there ever a good reason not to do it?  I don't think so.  I don't see how anger ever makes anything better.  It may be true that anger can motivate people to do good, but if something is really worth doing, it's possible to find motivation elsewhere.  And anger often escalates conflict, it rarely (probably never) diminishes it.

    One final comment, about the New Testament: I must point out that the vitriolic statements Jesus levels against the Pharisees in the gospels have to be understood in their proper context.  That is, the gospels were written during a period of intense conflict between the Pharisees and the nascent Christian community, and some scholars believe the anger demonstrated by Jesus towards the Pharisees was likely exaggerated by the early church.  This is particularly true in the Gospel of John, where Jesus's anger is directed towards "the Jews."  It is not likely that this dialogue could have been written prior to the separation of Christianity and Judaism, which occurred several decades after Jesus's death.


    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.
    • Post Points: 5
    • Report abuse
Page 1 of 2 (20 items)   1 2 Next >
View as RSS news feed in XML
 © Integral Institute, 2006. all rights reserved - powered by enlight™ email this page del.icio.us | terms of service | privacy policy | suggestion box | help