Let’s talk about Forgiveness. Now, first of all I must say that forgiveness is essential. When we hold on to bitterness and blame, we suffer, and we also withhold love from the supposed perpetrator. It is a lose lose really. There is a saying. Hate is like drinking a poison and waiting for someone else to die. When we fail to forgive, we hurt nobody more than ourself.
But there is a dark side of forgiveness. Let me share a couple of them. The first one I will call premature forgiveness. To me, this is an innocent attempt to bypass deeper pain and anger or rage, feelings of abuse. I did this myself with my Mother. In my 40s I began to do my inner work, facing deep childhood pain I had buried away. I tried to hurry past my pain, and I sent my Mother loving letters, in flowery language, telling her that all was well, there was nothing to forgive. In one sense, this was true of course, and it was an honorable attempt to make peace. But I was skipping a crucial step, that of grieving and feeling the deep hurt I had buried for nearly 40 years. I found that I had to go through this pain, which has no timetable. It depends on one’s willingness to feel and heal. So premature forgiveness can be one challenge.
The other one is what we might call the arrogance of forgiveness. By this I mean, if we are forgiving someone, we are essentially saying, you were wrong, I was right. Can you see that? My ego might like me saying, “Oh, I am strong and loving, and I forgive you for this or that …” But if we dig deep enough, we see that in a deeper sense, there is some lie here, some arrogance, some need to take the higher road or be holier than thou. Egos love to be right. And of course, this can be combined with the previously mentioned premature forgiveness.
But again, we are all doing our best. Forgiveness, as I said, is crucial. We may take a longer route than necessary, so it is important to keep our eyes and heart open, pay close attention, and see if we can take the most effective route to true forgiveness.
So let me talk about true forgiveness. We can call this radical forgiveness. In truth, it is not radical but practical. With radical forgiveness, we simply let go. We see the truth that sets us free. Forgiveness just happens as we see what is. We see that we create our own reality. We see there is no one else out there, for we are all one, in the true and deepest sense. Radical forgiveness happens when we truly understand the nature of reality, when we see through the distortions and illusions and understand that either consciously or unconsciously, we create our reality and there truly are no victims in the deepest sense.
I know, this is not a popular notion or idea, that there are no victims, only volunteers. In a human sense, of course, there appears to be lots of perpetrators and lots of victims. It takes courage and responsibility to go deeper, to really see.
One more thing …. we are going to get an opportunity to practice radical forgiveness for what will be revealed as perhaps unforgivable. By this I mean, truth and disclosure is coming out, drop by drop, and soon in cascades. Some of what will be revealed will be hideous and shocking, so we will all get a chance to really put our practice into action in real time. Prepare yourself. Open your eyes. Be willing to see the truth that sets us free.
To sum up, yes, forgiveness is crucial. All the great prophets invited us to love one another. But radical forgiveness requires two things, first, the willingness to do the very practical and human thing of feeling fully, not bypassing the feeling in the healing stage. And secondly, doing the deeper spiritual work of clearing our vision, taking full responsibility for all our creations, letting go of victimhood, and letting our understanding dissolve all bitterness.