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Forgiveness

Last post 11-06-2006, 3:16 PM by timelody. 42 replies.
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  •  10-28-2006, 3:40 PM 12937

    Forgiveness

    Does anyone have any experience with forgiveness as a spiritual practice or know of any particular teachings from any tradtion regarding forgiveness? It seems important to me because until one can forgive one can't respond from one's higher self. Ken once said that his wife Treya's favorite spiritual practice was forgiveness (perhaps in Grace and Grit); does anyone know how she practiced it? Somewhere recently I heard someone speak of "instant forgiveness" in some context, perhaps with regard to a particular state or stage. Wouldn't that be something, having the ability to forgive instantly?
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  •  10-28-2006, 3:49 PM 12938 in reply to 12937

    • Ramsses is not online. Last active: 12-03-2006, 5:28 PM Ramsses
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    Re: Forgiveness

    Excellent question. There is evidence that God himself is slow to forgive. Anandamayi Ma said that souls can suffer for thousands of years for what they have done, and be none the wiser for it.
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  •  10-28-2006, 11:30 PM 12989 in reply to 12937

    Re: Forgiveness

    Hi monkmonk,

    The practice refered to in Grace and Grit is A Course in Miracles, probably one of the fullest practices centered on forgivness. You might want to check out the official website as well where you can actually choose lessons (from the workbook) either daily or at random for a taste. You might even find that one right "insight" you might be looking for just by browsing the site.

    Here is a simple practice that has been very useful to a great number of people I know. Again, Christian centered, but Christianity (and Christ) seems to be the great specializer in forgiveness practices. This one, is particularly a practice in humility I think, and is very similar to tonglen in that blame or whatever it is that is wrong is taken into oneself, while all blessing is given to the other or situation, etc. (So as I see it, the practice is the complete reversal of how we would normally perceive things; perhaps the duality that gives rise to unforgiveness.)

    The Course, goes even much further, "all the way" really, in saying the true realization of forgiveness come in the realization that nothing ever occurred to be forgiven. A practice to be sure!

    And if you haven't read it, Davidd started a thread on forgivness at ISC a while ago.

    Hope this helps some.

    Peace, Tim

    PS-on instant forgiveness, or forgiveness as a Grace you might even wan to try a simple Google search. In fact, let us know what you come up with if you do (even if laden in mythic, so long as the essence is valid).

     

     

     

     


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  10-29-2006, 9:18 PM 13072 in reply to 12989

    Re: Forgiveness

    Thank you for your replies.

    Tim, I read some interesting things in Course in Miracles, and the practice on the link is especially helpful, I think--"Father, have mercy on me and bless them." On the link, the person said that this reminded them of Tonglen, and it does a little bit. What it does, I think, is lift you out of the ego's loop and into something different, into something more soulful. The ego, of course, wants to forever be the victim, engage in blame, revenge perhaps, and it will want to do so ad infinitum. H. W. L. Poonja once said, "Samsara goes on forever and Nirvana goes on forever." I may not be quoting him perfectly, but that's the gist of it. In other words, samsara is never going to turn into Nirvana; one has to step out of it. And I think this practice helps a little bit. Last night while I was trying to read there were some drunks in the apartment next door laughing rather loudly over one thing after another that I felt at the time mustn't be very funny at all--I had to do the practice over and over as they kept laughing and laughing, but it kept me from wallowing in all the anger and irritation. Of course, I may have been just cynical and arrogant; they may have just been expressing a simple sort of joy. But drunk and making noise until 3:30 a.m. . . .

    I also read Davidd's thread on forgiveness from August. A few highlights:

    Davidd--"In withholding forgiveness we are trapping ourselves in the past and robbing ourselves of the future."

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

    Prickliestpear--"I don't see how [expressing] anger ever makes anything better."

    One thing I've found challenging in the past is when the "wrongdoing" is ongoing, every day even, and the person has no wish to stop and isn't amenable to any kind of reasoning. On the contrary, he wants to continue because he sees that it upsets you, and that's what he wants--he's some sort of an energy vampire, and for one reason or another you can't find your way out of the situation quite yet. This requires that you forgive continually or else you'll eat away at yourself.

    Monk

     

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  •  10-30-2006, 7:52 AM 13085 in reply to 13072

    Re: Forgiveness

    Reading your last night's experience, it remembered one of mine few years ago.  I was in a hotel's room and my neighbours were very noisy, speaking loud and curiously seeming to repeat the same sentence again and again.  It was strange.  I firstly thought ask them to calm down but it was one of this thing in bold in our life.  It seemed to have a resonnance in my own life and I decided to let them.  I slept with their voice in background and I made a dream very significant. 

    I often wondered how to react when this "wrongdoing" is ondoing as you say, every day.  The temptation was often strong to let go.  But if you don't listen that life has to say,  this "energy vampire" will grow again and again.  Maybe I was wrong but I choosed to look into the eyes of the monster.  I express it like a monster cause it was often like that I saw it but in fact the monster is never really very big, it is just in our eyes. 

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  •  10-30-2006, 8:45 AM 13089 in reply to 13085

    Re: Forgiveness

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  •  10-30-2006, 8:49 AM 13090 in reply to 13072

    Re: Forgiveness

    Interesting thoughts, Monk.

    On that thread I started, we mainly talked about forgiving the past.  But you raise the problem of on-going present moment challenges to forgiveness.

    First, I'd say that I find it hard to imagine 'instant forgiveness'.  I only know it as a process, and a difficult one at that.

    Then, I'd say that we must feel what we feel.  If we're angry at someone, there's no value in trying to suppress it or repress it.  Why would we?  Because we don't want to entertain the idea of ourselves as someone who gets angry?  That could be pretty egotistical.  Better to be honest with ourselves.  And, then, the anger could be justifiable.  Anger seems like a perfectly normal emotion.  It might not be sweetly New Age, but so what?  This doesn't mean that we have to react aggressively.  We can stand up for ourselves, make our point, be assertive (rather than aggressive or passive). Otherwise we're teaching the other person that its OK for them to go on annoying or hurting us.  We should teach them by our behaviour that its not OK - non-violently, but assertively and clearly.   None of this means that we can't forgive them.  In fact, isn't it easier to forgive when the matter is out in the open?  If we passively accept what is going on and suppress our feelings, aren't we storing up resentment, which will make forgiveness all the more of a challenge later?

    As Tim mentioned, the perspective of A Course in Miracles is that we should see others as never doing anything which needs forgiveness in the first place.  Whatever they seem to do.  That was Jesus' teaching in the Bible - or one of his teachings.  He also seems to have taught that we should expect people to repent of what they did before we forgive them.....

    Smile [:)]

     


    'This is all the time you'll ever have'.
    ~ Dr Hannibal Lecter
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  •  10-30-2006, 11:48 AM 13109 in reply to 13090

    Re: Forgiveness

    "This doesn't mean that we have to react aggressively.  We can stand up for ourselves, make our point, be assertive (rather than aggressive or passive). Otherwise we're teaching the other person that its OK for them to go on annoying or hurting us.  We should teach them by our behaviour that its not OK - non-violently, but assertively and clearly.   None of this means that we can't forgive them.  In fact, isn't it easier to forgive when the matter is out in the open?  If we passively accept what is going on and suppress our feelings, aren't we storing up resentment, which will make forgiveness all the more of a challenge later?"

     

    This is really helpful, especially the part about being assertive rather than aggresive, being clear, the trouble with a passive approach. This is an issue that comes up for a lot of people, I think. At a recent spiritual talk, a participant asked the speaker, "How do I keep my strength when people are giving me trouble?" Or something to that effect. And this seems to be part of it: responding with equanimitiy and clarity. The moment one falls to their level, everything's lost really--no matter how good a cognition your demonstrating as you berate the person, noone will think you have the upper hand ethically, and the other person will then feel more and more justified to respond with more aggression. And, perhaps most importantly, they won't have seen clarity and equanimity and higher care in action. If it's demonstrated for them, at some level they may recognize it, even if they don't admit it outright.

    One trouble with the passive approach is they could just take you for being a sucker or interpret it as weakness. They have to become convinced, deeply, that they are doing something wrong and that they must change. Something has to awaken more conscience in them. Honest reflection and dignity may help; there's nothing dignified about giving in to your lowest, angry impulses and letting that be who you are. And it's not effective; it probably just convinces them that they are superior in someway. A demonstration of dignity can be very powerful, I think. I'm not trying teach or anything. I'm just sort of thinking out loud . . .

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  •  10-30-2006, 5:05 PM 13133 in reply to 13109

    Re: Forgiveness

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  •  10-30-2006, 8:03 PM 13148 in reply to 13133

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    Re: Forgiveness

    I was introduced to a process of forgiveness called H'onopono (or something spelled similar to that)  It is the mantra of saying "I'm sorry, I love you" the prayer works for specific personal issues and also works for non personal issues.

    The premise is that within each of us is the "problem" of the other.  You could mantra to the people in Darfur or to your mother or to President Bush.  It is about taking the ownership of what is outside of oneself is also within.

    or to quote Dustin Hoffman in I heard Huckabees, "we are all part of the blanket"


    Now that I know I'm no wiser than anyone else, does this wisdom make me wiser? Hugh Prather
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  •  10-31-2006, 7:57 AM 13171 in reply to 13148

    Re: Forgiveness

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  •  10-31-2006, 8:22 AM 13175 in reply to 13109

    Re: Forgiveness

    monkmonk:

    This is really helpful, especially the part about being assertive rather than aggresive, being clear, the trouble with a passive approach. This is an issue that comes up for a lot of people, I think. At a recent spiritual talk, a participant asked the speaker, "How do I keep my strength when people are giving me trouble?" Or something to that effect. And this seems to be part of it: responding with equanimitiy and clarity. The moment one falls to their level, everything's lost really--no matter how good a cognition your demonstrating as you berate the person, noone will think you have the upper hand ethically, and the other person will then feel more and more justified to respond with more aggression. And, perhaps most importantly, they won't have seen clarity and equanimity and higher care in action. If it's demonstrated for them, at some level they may recognize it, even if they don't admit it outright.

    One trouble with the passive approach is they could just take you for being a sucker or interpret it as weakness. They have to become convinced, deeply, that they are doing something wrong and that they must change. Something has to awaken more conscience in them. Honest reflection and dignity may help; there's nothing dignified about giving in to your lowest, angry impulses and letting that be who you are. And it's not effective; it probably just convinces them that they are superior in someway. A demonstration of dignity can be very powerful, I think. I'm not trying teach or anything. I'm just sort of thinking out loud . . .

    Yes, I think you're right, Monk.  Its about responding rather than reacting, isn't it?   By taking time to respond, we can do as Ken suggests and try to come from our highest self rather than impulsively lashing out (or backing down, for that matter).    Forgiveness is tough enough without making it even more difficult by storing up feelings we should have expressed at the time....

    ~D


    'This is all the time you'll ever have'.
    ~ Dr Hannibal Lecter
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  •  10-31-2006, 4:53 PM 13216 in reply to 13175

    Re: Forgiveness

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  •  11-02-2006, 5:20 PM 13487 in reply to 12937

    Re: Forgiveness

    i wonder if "forgiveness" is almost like "spirituality" in that we might have to define which version we are talking about ??

    for wouldn't forgiving someone for hurting your feelings be a different kind of forgiveness than forgiving someone for killing your child ?? or how about mass murder ??

    would the discussion be the same in each case i wonder ??

    (ultimate reality aside of course; a discussion regarding relative reality)

     

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  •  11-03-2006, 5:50 AM 13546 in reply to 13487

    Re: Forgiveness

    fairyfaye, I believe those would be different levels of forgiveness, not different versions.

    We seen on the news many times where people forgive murderers. The most recently example I can think of would be the Amish school shootings. Not only did the Amish publically forgive the murderer, they gave his family some of the money that was donated to them, to help cover the murderers funeral.


    In a black and white picture....there's a lot of grey junk
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