Sunday, December 9, 2007

Forgive and Live

There seem to be many faces to the process of "forgiveness" being worn these days. Many books, lectures and workshops are available to help us contemplate and adopt forgiving behaviors. We are all taught as children that forgiveness of friends and family is an important part of social life. What are YOUR thoughts on forgiveness? How do you make it work for YOU?

William Blake tells us: "In heaven, the only art of living is forgetting and forgiving."

The process that Neville Goddard presents as forgiveness, takes us beyond separation and cause, and requires that we simply see everyone in their highest potential: "What we mean by forgiveness the identification of the other that we would forgive with the ideal that other wants to embody in the world. And so we do to him what we expect or would like the world to do to us. So whatever I myself would like to embody that is the vision that I must hold of every man that I meet in my world; that no man is to be discarded, every man is to be redeemed, and my life is the process whereby that redemption is brought about. And I do it by simply identifying the other with the ideal I want to externalize in my world" and you find yourself then not justifying but forgiving, and you will realize that freedom and forgiveness are indissolubly linked. You cannot be free and not forgive, for the one that you would bind and judge and condemn anchors you by your own judgment of him--for he is in you. And so by identifying him with the ideal you want to really realize you free yourself."

What do YOU think?


kab625 said...

Hi Molly,
That's almost too hard. There are bad elements in the universe that should probably be recycled.

I'm not sure what redeeming qualities can be found in someone who murders, or commits atrocious acts. I cannot identify, therefore how could I justify?

Philip Harris said...

What we believe, is what we see. There are postive and negative forces but they are neither bad, nor good-they just are. Up is not good and down is not bad. When we decide that there are those with no redeeming quality-that is the world we create. We are told to judge not. Judgement means to make a final decision about something. Whatever we make a final decision about, we bring it into reality. Time to end the dogma that makes so many people hate and judge!

Dan Hanosh said...

Wow . . . Forgiveness!
First let me say, I love your blog. Keep tackling those issues warms our hearts . . . Thanks.

Forgiveness . . . I always tell myself, what would you do in their shoes . . . ? Sounds corny, but it's true. And always a piece of me, way down deep tells me to forgive . . . But in truth, you have to believe. In something, a better tomorrow, leaving something better than what met us.

Now I don't believe in the death penalty, because I believe hell is on earth . . . That what makes them act, will also torment them, baggage . . . Dreams are yours to share. Dan

Dreams are yours to share

Derek said...

In Zen, we use the term "acceptance" and zazen (Zen meditation/focus)is the living practice of acceptance and transcending the "separation" of one from another to the ultimate realisation that all is one. Desire is then seen to be a function of separation and as Buddha realised, is the source of suffering. When we play the "blame game" we are unforgiving and fragmenting ourselves from the rest of the universe.

Robin J said...

If you are forgiving then you have already judged to begin with because without the judgement there is nothing to forgive.To me if I am being asked to forgive then I am assuming the other person or myself has erred in someway.If you accept the reality without a judgment speak your truth respect the truth of others and walk through the moment let it go forgiveness becomes unnecessary.

just a different perspective

Anonymous said...

Henry Miller once wrote, 'The world is not to be put in order, the world is in order. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order'. Your group and blog provide forums through which people can put themselves in unison, and that is more than just a virtual service, it is a kindness in a difficult world. There is a starker side to the concept of 'unison' though; a more real and pressing truth that it is easy to rationalize and pass judgment upon others for their perceived weaknesses. But, who among us has the right to look someone in the eye and say 'forgive the enemy who inflicted this genocide upon your people'? Who among us has the right to point a finger at that individual for hating the enemy that destroyed his or her world, reality, community, identity? Forgiveness is the patch that comes after the event that caused the injury. In the hands of those who do not want to accept responsibility for the destruction they have brought upon others, 'forgiveness' is a whip that beats into compliance and silence those who would tell the truth. If we want to bring unison to our world, and truly be conscious, advanced beings, then we should not put individuals, communities and nations in a position where we command them to forgive and let live. We should not create the conditions which made hatred possible in the first place. December 10 is the 60th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights. I wonder how many people can recite the first clause by heart? I need to say that if my words sound vaguely cynical, they are. I was associated with aspects of development for a long time, and I have seen what people can be reduced to not just by war but by self-righteous charity. Will Rogers often quoted a Cherokee saying which I will probably butcher, but whose meaning, I think, will be clear enough. Never judge a man, he said, until you have walked a mile in his shoes.

Timothy Kendrick said...

I must live everyday with a forgiving heart

deb said...

I recognize in myself that efforts at forgiveness are often undermined by the ego. Pierre Tielhard de Chardin said, "The true self grows in inverse proportion to the growth of the ego." If negative feelings are linked to traumatic events, then it stands to reason that forgiveness leads to positive feelings. I've noticed that for myself, but it isn't yet always lasting. It's a beautiful work in progress!

D.H. Pang said...

Forgiveness is ultimately an act of self-love. Holding on to pain and/or judgment on others only hurts you--your mind, soul and body. To forgive we must let go and just love another person, regardless of the acts they committed, and that feeling of love for others is what will take down our path in life.

Derek said...

Hi Robin J,

yes, it is true that we have all judged, and to judge means that we are not living in the present moment. Zazen (or whatever meditation discipline is used), is a way to recognise that we judge, but that judgement is a complete illusion, because it is derived from the past. There is only now (the instant) :-)

Forgiveness is just an illusory "tool" that we can focus on to unravel our illusory ego-mind, so that we can realise our True Nature or, as a Zen Master would say, our Buddha nature. :-)

Total acceptance of what is (forgiveness), is the function of zazen. And yes, as Henry Miller said, "the world is already in order". A Zen master would say, "we are already enlightened, we just need to realise it. There is nothing to find out. Nothing to forgive.." Our earthly life is the function of finding this Ultimate Truth, by exposing fear and blame that we have created along with the ego. But we should not believe this until we recognised it experientially.

Pablothehat said...

Forgiveness can be a hard road to follow.

My friend was gang raped by a work colleague, her husband and several other men after being out for a Christmas party. The woman drugged her and took her back to be used, blackmailed and threatened. They then went on to threaten us by email and IM.

These people have no remorse and no regard for the amount of damage they have done. They are just pleased that they are protected by the police in the area.

As forgiveness is a symbolic decision to overlook a wrong, it needs by both parties to agree that there was a wrong in the first place.

Forgiveness needs an act of contrition.

If there is no act of remorse, they are just sorry that they got caught, not for what they have done.

Contemplating the act of forgiveness is a useful mental exercise, living the act of forgivness is somewhat harder.

Anonymous said...

Forgiveness according to Emmett Fox: Setting others free means setting yourself free, because resentment is really a form of attachment. It is a Cosmic Truth that it takes two to make a prisoner; the prisoner--and a gaoler. There is no such thing as being a prisoner on one's own account. Every prisoner must have a gaoler, and the gaoler is as much a prisoner as his charge. When you hold resentment against anyone, you are bound to that person by a cosmic link, a real, though mental chain. You are tied by a cosmic tie to the thing that you hate. The one person perhaps in the whole world whom you most dislike is the very one to whom you are attaching yourself by a hook that is stronger than steel. Is this what you wish? Is this the condition in which you desire to go on living? Remember, you belong to the thing with which you are linked in thought, and at some time or other, if that tie endures, the object of your resentment will be drawn again into your life, perhaps to work further havoc. Do you think that you can afford this? Of course, no one can afford such a thing; and so the way is clear. You must cut all such ties, by a clear and spiritual act of forgiveness. You must loose him and let him go. By forgiveness you set yourself free; you save your soul. And because the law of love works alike for one and all, you help to save his soul too, making it just so much easier for him to become what he ought to be.

But how, in the name of all that is wise and good, is the magic act of forgiveness to be accomplished, when we have been so deeply injured that, though we have long wished with all our hearts that we could forgive, we have nevertheless found it impossible; when we have tried and tried to forgive, but have found the task beyond us.

The technique of forgiveness is simple enough, and not very difficult to manage when you understand how. The only thing that is essential is willingness to forgive. Provided you desire to forgive the offender, the greater part of the work is already done. People have always made such a bogey of forgiveness because they have been under the erroneous impression that to forgive a person means that you have to compel yourself to like him. Happily this is by no means the case--we are not called upon to like anyone whom we do not find ourselves liking spontaneously, and, indeed it is quite impossible to like people to order. You can no more like to order than you can hold the winds in your fist, and if you endeavor to coerce yourself into doing so, you will finish by disliking or hating the offender more than ever. People used to think that when someone had hurt them very much, it was their duty, as good Christians, to pump up, as it were, a feeling of liking for him; and since such a thing is utterly impossible, they suffered a great deal of distress, and ended, necessarily, with failure, and a resulting sense of sinfulness. We are not obliged to like anyone; but we are under a binding obligation to love everyone, love, or charity as the Bible calls it, meaning a vivid sense of impersonal good will. This has nothing directly to do with the feelings, though it is always followed, sooner or later, by a wonderful feeling of peace and happiness.

The method of forgiving is this: Get by yourself and become quiet. Repeat any prayer or treatment that appeals to you, or read a chapter of the Bible. Then quietly say, "I fully and freely forgive X (mentioning the name of the offender); I loose him and let him go. I completely forgive the whole business in question. As far as I am concerned, it is finished forever. I cast the burden of resentment upon the Christ within me. He is free now, and I am free too. I wish him well in every phase of his life. That incident is finished. The Christ Truth has set us both free. I thank God." Then get up and go about your business. On no account repeat this act of forgiveness, because you have done it once and for all, and to do it a second time would be tacitly to repudiate your own work. Afterward, whenever the memory of the offender or the offense happens to come into your mind, bless the delinquent briefly and dismiss the thought. Do this, however many times the thought may come back. After a few days it will return less and less often, until you forget it altogether. Then, perhaps after an interval, shorter or longer, the old trouble may come back to memory once more, but you will find that now all bitterness and resentment have disappeared, and you are both free with the perfect freedom of the children of God. Your forgiveness is complete. You will experience a wonderful joy in the realization of the demonstration.

Anonymous said...

I think we have to understand why we hang on to our resentments before we can deal with them effectively. When you train for a particular sporting event and you have developed a winning workout, you will continue to use the same system because it serves you. It provides you with the desired result time after time.

The same thing happens with our resentments. We feed of it. It provides us with power to continue the fight. In Hawkins book "Power vs Force" it is clearly explained. Resentment and hatred are stonger emotions than self pity. It therefore explains our attachment to resentment - it makes us strong and we will continiously revert to that thing that gives us power.

When we understand that all the power in the universe is from GOD and that we have access to that power, we will find the source of the power within. We will no longer be conditioned response machines but will embrace this magnificent life and all that is in it. We will discover gratitude and once we have discovered gratitude our lives will change. Gratitude for all that is as it is opens the heart and mind and we become more connected to our true being.

Love and Peace