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Forgiveness

Last post 11-06-2006, 3:16 PM by timelody. 42 replies.
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  •  11-03-2006, 6:14 AM 13548 in reply to 12937

    Re: Forgiveness

    I think forgiveness is really "give-in-ness", and that meditation training is where we learn to be in a state of "give-in-ness" or openness.  Openness to everything, give in to everything, allow everything, surrender to all that is. 

    When something has happened that cuts really deep, we want to push away or not allow whatever it is to exist.  Quite simpy, we want to remove whatever is causing us distress from our awareness.  That thing or event that has just hurt us so much is asking the question, "how deep is your being?"  Where does your "I" begin and where does it end?  And sometimes we don't get to have our sense of "I" decide how much to allow in and how much to keep out.  Our "I" can't take what is happening so it starts asking questions like, "How can I forgive that person who has just hurt me so much?"  Well, it is quite possible that "I" can never do that.  "I" must be given up as an offering into the pain.  

    This is coming straight from my biggest heart so I feel a little bit challenged by these words even though they are coming out of me.  I don't want to sound cavalier because I know that I myself am coming up against my own I's edges all the time.  Nevertheless, as challenging as it sounds and is, my experience and my heart tell me that complete forgiveness only comes through complete openness, complete allowing, completely feeling whatever it is that we know is going to tear us into a million pieces.  

    As far as the "practice" of forgiveness?  The real practice is to continually open, again and again.  And notice when "I" wants to decide when, how, where, and how much to open and then give that up too.  Again and again.  Be openness.  I think David Deida says, " be open as feeling."  I really think that's the only way because anything else is probably just a way for our small "I" to stay in control.  We can't forgive without being willing to feel pain.  

    Sincerely,

    Jeffrey

      

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  •  11-03-2006, 10:02 AM 13581 in reply to 13546

    Re: Forgiveness

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

    yes of course, those would be levels not versions .. thx vortex

     

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  •  11-03-2006, 11:48 AM 13597 in reply to 13548

    • geomo is not online. Last active: 03-14-2007, 1:33 PM geomo
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    Re: Forgiveness

    ChangchupNyima:

    ...my experience and my heart tell me that complete forgiveness only comes through complete openness, complete allowing, completely feeling whatever it is that we know is going to tear us into a million pieces.  

    As far as the "practice" of forgiveness?  The real practice is to continually open, again and again.  And notice when "I" wants to decide when, how, where, and how much to open and then give that up too.  Again and again.  Be openness.  I think David Deida says, " be open as feeling."  I really think that's the only way because anything else is probably just a way for our small "I" to stay in control.  We can't forgive without being willing to feel pain.  

     


    I agree, or should I say, I accept that version of forgiveness.

    What I have noticed is that forgiveness, surrender, faith, trust, hope, letting go, allowing, accepting, equanimity, etc., can all be seen as the same practice in the context of humility.  An example that I use myself, and really the mainstay of all my practice, is to admit that I don't know the Truth.  Instant forgiveness isn't always easy, but it can be made easier by humbly accepting that none of us really has knowledge of good and evil.  So, for me, to forgive is really about forgiving myself for not knowing why I might be holding a grudge in the first place.  I might be pissed at someone, but I really don't know why.

    To not forgive would be vanity, such as to say, "I know what's best and they should get what's coming!"  Then there is all this energy that gets invested in maintaining some position that can only be held on limited ground, or from a limited perspective.  I find that to be exhausting.

    On the other hand, when I am able to remember that this limited perspective has no idea what motivates the Universe or any of the holons that inhabit it.  It takes away a huge burden of having to justify my beliefs.  This goes further to the concept that there is some opposite to forgiveness.  There's that which I condemn and that which I praise.  Well, what do I know about what I praise as well as what I condemn?  Only my limited perspective.  And I don't really want the burden of  being judge and jury of the world.  I let myself off the hook. I'm not qualified to condemn or to praise.  I don't have the energy to do it.  I don't know anything.

    It's a subtle difference between that kind of forgiveness and a total copout, or a cynical attitude.  I'm certainly no master at the practice.  I am no stranger to feeling sorry for myself and taking on the victim mentality.   But it is getting easier, or at least more natural, even autonomous, to practice this kind of forgiveness.  It's not quite the same as just saying "whatever."  There has to be some sincerity (and to go deeper, how does one even know they are being sincere?) and devotion to Truth that colors the attitude that I don't know.  At least, it seems most fruitful for me to not only say that I don't know, but to also acknowlege that there is Truth even if I don't happen to know it.

    Now, it's pretty much automatic, or at least within seconds of noticing that some mentally or emotionally indignant posture is settling in, that i recognize that I don't know, and particularly don't know what is setting me off.  That totally deflates my ego and the result is that events in my life and in the world just don't set me off like they used to.

    This practice had me in a bit of spiritual crisis recently, because I couldn't get any traction, so to speak.  It was kind of depressing, but, as quoted above, I was willing to live with that pain and surrender it.  The practice of not knowing has sort of led me out of having a problem with not knowing.  So, after not feeling like I could get form any sort of comprehensible statement, I am here today posting nonsense and forgiving myself in the processWink [;)]

    Keith

    Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. -unknown
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  •  11-03-2006, 1:04 PM 13607 in reply to 13597

    Re: Forgiveness

    The essay Taking Care of Our Opposition has some relevance to this topic.

    spirals,

    arthur


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  •  11-03-2006, 1:43 PM 13618 in reply to 12937

    • mstewart is not online. Last active: 11-09-2006, 7:52 PM mstewart
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    Re: Forgiveness


    Forgiveness - To Give as Before

    Once you can "let it go," you truly can give with an open heart as you did before - no hesitation - with open heart.

    Yes, the Course in Miracles - There is nothing to forgive - for it never happened. The other was coming from a place of Fear - therefore it wasn't REAL.

    A matter of perspective. I understand this logically - but oh so difficult to actually put in pratice.

    I needed to come from "Big Heart," not the conceptual mind, nor the "wounded self." Went to Big Heart and asked for forgiveness for myself. For had I not taken it personally - there would be no need to forgive.

    Focus on forgiving and healing yourself.

    B4TheDream

    everything we expect we are helping to bring into being
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  •  11-03-2006, 2:55 PM 13622 in reply to 13607

    Re: Forgiveness

    morning arthur! thanks for the essay I love this Robert Masters....
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  •  11-03-2006, 3:05 PM 13624 in reply to 13618

    Re: Forgiveness

    ACIM is wonderfully deep isnt it?

    My concern at the moment though is : dont try to forgive to early

    dont try to do it because you know you should

    this is the danger when the cognitive line in us is more developed than the rest. The sign of that is the "shoulds" in our selftalk.

    I guess people are alluding to that when they talk about genuine forgiveness or spontaneous forgiveness. I just want to make it more explicit.Having tried to forgive before it was time, myself.That built up a real shadow.

    Another way of putting this is that forgiveness comes after you have built up a strong boundary not before. If you try before than you are feeding a monster of rage in your subconsciousness.Perhaps.

    I guess it parallels enlightenment - build up the ego before letting it go otherwise enlightenment is just an ego defence for  a weak ego.

    So I wonder how do I build up a strong boundary before I forgive? Feel the rage and anger at being violated (put ACIM aside for a bit) Feel the howl of your wounded animal. Your humanness and your relativity. All anger is a sign that you feel your boudnaries have been violated. This emotion helps build them up again.

    That would be the first step to forgiveness. Scream, hate, lose it.

    XX Gita

     

     

     

     

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  •  11-03-2006, 3:18 PM 13626 in reply to 13624

    Re: Forgiveness

    oops I should add I dont mean scream hate lose it in the presence of the person that "violated" you. You need a safe container to do it in. They may be willing to provide that they may not. If they do its wonderful. but if not..

     the pain is yours and I feel inflicting it on them is not the way (cant articulate why at present)....

     

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  •  11-03-2006, 4:21 PM 13629 in reply to 13626

    Re: Forgiveness

    Hi, Gita-excellent question. I've been wrestling with this myself quite a bit. In fact, Robert Masters himself told me not to forgive too soon. Anger, like grief, runs its own course and can't be rushed. For me, it means holding two seemingly conflicting viewpoints at the same time. Sound familiar? It's quite a koan, this forgiveness.

    I find that I can feel anger at what was done, and righteously at that. But I can also allow myself to feel empathy for that person, for they are trapped in their own version of hell in order to be able to do that to me.

    One of the things that helps is to look back at my life and see similar things that I've done, remembering how it felt at the time. Invariably, I notice how much asleep I seemed to be at the time, and how I'm more awakened now. It's easy to make the leap from there to forgiveness. But that, too, is a process, not a single act. Even when it seems like a sudden thing, the unfolding of that has taken longer, like a building that's be under construction, the roof and siding are what you see, and they go on after the foundation has been laid for some time.

    So some days are much better than others. Confused [8-)]

    With my current struggle, I had a deep spiritual experience of forgiveness only 36 hours or so after the event in question, but I've had months of work after that as well. Both are a part of the same thing. Hm. I guess it's like a peak experience, or a state--and also it's a stage that is taking time to get to.

    Liz

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  •  11-03-2006, 6:08 PM 13650 in reply to 13629

    Re: Forgiveness

    Thank you for all your replies. I think I've really learned some things.

    1) I particularly like ChangchupNyima's reply because it seems to differentiate between translative forgiveness practices and transformative forgiveness practices. As he says, often when we want to forgive, or at least the way forgiveness is most commonly practiced, we are saying we want to stay as exactly the same being only we want to feel better and be in control. I think it was Einstein who said that the issues on one level will only be fully resolved when one moves up to the next level. Maybe, as I think Nyima said, on one level we will never want to forgive something, that on one level there will always be anger and blame and the desire for vengeance perhaps, that this stuff will always rise in our consciousness, and that we have to be open to that, we have to let ourselves feel that whenever it comes up without trying to change it if we want to transcend it. Perhaps it's only by allowing ourselves to feel those things completely and without trying to change them that we can transcend them.

    2) I liked a number of the things R. A. Masters said as well. One of them was the way we inflate ourselves when we feel good and deflate ourselves when we don't feel good. If we identify with that inflation and deflation we couldn't very well respond in an enlightened manner. Also I liked this : "Being nonreactive requires the readily-activated ability and willingness to see and feel whatever opposes us as more than just something oppositional. This means ceasing to submit to -- or feed with attention -- our violent intentions and thoughts regarding our opposition." When he says "more than something oppositional" he seems to be saying that we can use this oppositon and these feelings for our transcendence, that they can actually help us. And I liked the parts about needing sometimes to take bedrock stands against things--we also need to take responsibility for things and build a better future.

    3) Also I liked Gita's and Tamgoddess's comments about forgiving too early. Yes, I think that is, must be, a common side effect of forgiveness practices. Because of guilt or something or an inability to give space for not-so-spiritual thoughts we "forgive," but in doing so we only set the stage for acting out in some angry or controlling way in the future, probably with someone in a weaker position.

    4) Also, with regard to fairyfaye's question about the sort of forgiving that's necessary for smaller things and the kind of forgiveness that's necessary for larger things, like the murder of a child, I think was her example, if our best friends spills a soda in our lap one day, we can forgive, probably fairly quickly, especially if it wasn't because of some habitual carelessness on the part of our friend, but if something really difficult happens, like losing a child, I think that really requires transformation. Onesome level we may never be able to completely expunge that anger and sadness and to try to would only hold us at that level. the only thing to do, or the most important thing, would seem to be to accept those feelings and rise to another level of being and action.

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  •  11-03-2006, 6:13 PM 13652 in reply to 13629

    Re: Forgiveness

    really good point about looking back at similar things that we've done ... it's like the 'cast the first stone' thing .. i find this helps me too

    then there's the whole LARGER scale ... for example, what happens in our hearts when we think of the crisis in dafur ??

     

     

     

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  •  11-03-2006, 6:31 PM 13656 in reply to 13652

    Re: Forgiveness

    Exactly. I often find myself ready to 'cast the first stone', but then suddenly remember I live in a glass house too.

    Darfur....I don't know if I could, or would, forgive those responsible. That's the honest answer.

    -V
    In a black and white picture....there's a lot of grey junk
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  •  11-03-2006, 7:05 PM 13663 in reply to 13656

    • FireAngel is not online. Last active: 10-23-2007, 5:07 PM FireAngel
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    Re: Forgiveness

    Isn't forgivness a feeling?   Either you forgive or you don't  No amount of thought will create the truth that is inside of you........otherwise you are just shoulding all over yourself


    Now that I know I'm no wiser than anyone else, does this wisdom make me wiser? Hugh Prather
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  •  11-03-2006, 9:22 PM 13675 in reply to 13663

    Re: Forgiveness

    A feeling?

    I dunno. You can have a feeling of forgiveness because someone forgave you, and you can have a feeling because you forgave someone, but is forgiveness actually a feeling, or an act based upon feelings?

    I think I'd probably classify it as more than just a "feeling".

    Some classify it as an "act". (i.e., In an act of forgiveness, she...)

    When I forgive someone, I usually am making a conscious descision to do so, after thinking on the matter based on whatever barometer I am using.
    In a black and white picture....there's a lot of grey junk
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  •  11-03-2006, 9:27 PM 13677 in reply to 12937

    Re: Forgiveness

    Here is a relevant essay by Robert Augustus Masters - “Forgiveness: Sacred Closure,” from his book Divine Dynamite: Entering Awakening's Heartland, posted here with his permission.

    Fun fact: I wrote the index for the new edition of Divine Dynamite, which will be out shortly. Index writing is a new line of work I'm exploring lately; in 2007 I will be doing the index for a new edition of Darkness Shining Wild (also by Robert), and in the near future I'll be working on the index of a book for Integral Books. I'm looking for additional assignments; I prefer payment in money but I am willing to work for trade in some cases.



    FORGIVENESS: SACRED CLOSURE


    Forgiveness is the greatest weapon.

    — Neem Karoli Baba

    Forgiveness is the heart’s pardon. Sacred closure.

    To forgive doesn’t mean to excuse or condone, but rather to cease dehumanizing and excluding from our heart our offending other or others.

    When we forgive, we neither bypass nor gloss over injury, but instead embrace and embody a perspective in which injury is not given the power to obscure or diminish our compassion.

    Although forgiveness might seem to some to be an act of acquiescence or weakness, it is actually an act of great power, for it not only retrieves us from the past, where we’re emotionally bound to those whom we won’t forgive, but also from the future — where we’re similarly bound — thereby bringing us present, undividedly and wholeheartedly present.

    Forgiveness is a radical act of love not only for the offending other, but also for oneself. In forgiving someone, we are, in so many words, telling that person, “I no longer am interested or invested in having anything damaging happen to you. No longer am I going to turn the hurt you have done me into an excuse to dehumanize or violate you. Although I may never again have or make contact with you, no longer will I keep you out of my heart, however difficult that might be.”

    Thus do we disconnect in order to connect at a deeper level.

    We then stop feeding our resentment, realizing as we do so that it was actually feeding on us, consuming our energy and attention. Our appetite for vengeance naturally shrinks, like any other shadow, in the light of our forgiveness. Then the courtrooms of our mind are not so readily populated by us — wanting to be right no longer so easily recruits and centers us. We may still get angry, but will be far less likely to infuse it with ill-will or hatred, or let it transmute into aggression. Caring for the other becomes more important than getting even, regardless of the consequences that may be deemed fitting for whatever harm may have been done.

    Love your enemies.” This may be the most practical (and marginalized) of all of the teachings of Jesus. Rooted as it is in our capacity to forgive, it cuts through the rigidly dualistic “I” versus “you” or “us” versus “them” mentality that so easily infects and aberrates us. Loving — not necessarily liking, but loving — our enemies is a kind of radical sanity, for in loving them, in wholeheartedly wishing for their freedom from delusion, we are not only ceasing to demonize them, but are also aligning ourselves with their healing. Their healing — our healing.

    If our enemies were to find and embody their innate happiness, if they were freed from their suffering, if they were to heal, then they would no longer be motivated or driven to harm us. Is there a more potent and user-friendly catalyst for disarmament than forgiveness?

    Implicit in the practice of forgiveness is the willingness to place ourselves — and not just intellectually! — in our offending others’ shoes and skin, to the point where they are no longer “other,” but rather only us in our less appealing facets.

    Forgiveness does not depend upon what the offending other does.

    That is, we don’t have to wait for that person to make amends. (And, at the same time, it is essential to realize that we do not have to forgive until we are truly ready to do so — to forgive prematurely is of no more use than putting off the forgiveness of which we are capable.) Sometimes we may be so righteously caught up in waiting for and expecting our offending others to make amends or to say that they’re sorry, that we don’t notice we are being held hostage by our expectations of them.

    If I refuse to forgive you until you “deserve” it, then I am simply punishing you, keeping myself negatively bound to you, or to the storyline with which I associate you.

    If I won’t forgive you until you have “earned” it, then I am keeping myself, however subtly, a victim of what you’ve done to me. And, if I am getting something out of staying in my “wounded” role — such as having a “valid” reason for not taking more responsibility for where I’m at in my life — I am likely going to continue to postpone forgiving you.

    In the process of forgiving, we may have to, at least some of the time, reframe the harm-doing we have suffered. Perhaps the pain inflicted on us by our offending others has actually been of genuine benefit to us; perhaps we needed to be hurt, disappointed, betrayed, or left; perhaps we needed to learn something that could not be learned without being treated as we were treated by our offending others. This, of course, does not mean that their actions should therefore be condoned or praised, but that they be viewed from a perspective that’s not rooted in an eye-for-an-eye morality.

    Then we can clearly recognize such harm-doing as part of us. What I condemn in you also exists in me (and in everyone else), and there’s no way that it’s going to be healed if I persist in treating it as something alien to me.

    None of this is to say that forgiveness is an easy practice. For example, the path to forgiveness may initially be — and may need to be — paved with hatred. We may need to feel and fully express our hate for another before we can even approach forgiving that person (as is often the case with those who have been raped). This, however, doesn’t mean that we have to literally act out, or even share, such dark feeling with our offending other or others. If we can give our hate sufficiently free rein and voice, and just the space to be, in a safe environment — like that of good psychotherapy — we’re not only going to feel, through our rage-releasing, a much needed sense of empowerment, but we’re also bound to get to what underlies our hate, so that we can fully feel our hurt and thereby move through it.

    And at the heart of that hurt is not more hurt, but a love that cannot help but forgive.

    This love is self-radiant, effortlessly ego-transcending, simultaneously innocent and wise. It forgives us our trespasses, our forgettings of the Sacred, our stupidities large and small, and it does so instantaneously. It does not make a problem out of our mistakes. When we allow ourselves to house — and ultimately to be — such love, we do not see errors, but only incarnation’s fleshdance in sacred transparency. Which is but the shortest of steps to remembering with our whole being What-Matters-Most.

    Sometimes the process of forgiveness may seem to break our heart, but it is only the armoring around our heart that breaks. Or melts. Forgiveness brings us in out of the cold, potently reminding us of who we really are.

    When we choose to forgive, we are entering the morality of the Divine. In choosing to forgive, we deepen our intimacy with the Beloved.

    Forgiveness is not only the essence of true kindness, but also an act of genuine power.

    May we all embody it.


    I am seeking meaningful work.

    bio: http://aqalicious.gaia.com/

    I spend most of my "forum time" these days on The Integral Pod: http://pods.gaia.com/ii/

    "You've never seen everything." - Bruce Cockburn
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