"You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things." ~ M.L.Stedman
Resenting is exhausting and so utterly fruitless. To resent means I tell myself all day that something should not be the way it is. Good luck with that. To forgive means that I have not just moved on, but recognized that what happened was exactly what needed to happen. It means that I have decided to look for the gift in whatever it is that seems to have happened.
For forgiveness to have any meaning one axiom is required and that is the rock solid acceptance that nothing has ever gone wrong, that everything that seems to have happened to me or done by me, ultimately has been for the good of All. Without this Knowledge, forgiveness is a hollow gesture leading to the solidification of the victim addiction. No wonder true forgiveness is such a rare experience on the planet.
"Thank God for the things that I do not own." ~ Teresa of Avila
How delightfully precise and sparse; the things ‘I’ do not own, are the only things worth having (being): Love, Forgiveness, Patience, Trust.
"Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding." ~ Kahlil Gibran
There is such fear and pain at the thought of healing and that could be because in healing I will have to withdraw and detox from the range of addictions called feelings. I will learn to see feeling, experience feeling, purely as a guide to the source of the feeling: my mistaken identity. Detoxing can be experienced as very painful as some of you may know first-hand....
“How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism?" ~ Howard Zinn
An interesting perspective...when I see somebody acting insanely, or unconscious of love, condemning them will only further incite feelings of separation or loss of connection. When asked why she hadn’t participated in any anti-war demonstrations, Mother Teresa replied, “...I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
"Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions." ~ Gerald Jampolsky
Brilliant. Forgiveness as correction of misperceptions. If I believe you have harmed me, I am misperceiving. If you believe that I have harmed you, only the Loving Self within you can help you see that is not True. No amount of spoken apologies on my part will have any real effect until you change your mind about being hurt. I cannot be hurt, you cannot be hurt. We have resigned our once treasured membership in the Victim Club (and, if I expect a refund, I still have no idea what forgiveness is).
"If we can forgive what’s been done to us . . .
If we can forgive what we’ve done to others . . . If we can leave all of our stories behind. Our being villains or victims. Only then can we maybe rescue the world." ~ Chuck Palahniuk
Forgiveness is to recognize that whatever I think you did to me or whatever I think I did to you, in Truth had no effect on who you are or who I am. Our essence is unchangeable. No healing can take place as long as that Truth is challenged. No healing can take place as long as the idea of victim still has the slightest appeal.
“The world is like a sheet of paper on which something is typed. The reading and the meaning will vary with the reader, but the paper is the common factor, always present, rarely perceived. When the ribbon is removed, typing leaves no trace on the paper. So is my mind – the impressions keep on coming, but no trace is left.” ~ Nisargadatta
Over and over I am presented with the Truth: there is no ‘I’ to defend, validate, love or despise anymore than that there is a ‘you’ to adore or hate. There is no ‘I’ with which to surrender to this teaching. And, in the mean time, I can pretend and make up stories that I either enjoy or suffer from.
"Forgive but do not forget, or you will be hurt again. Forgiving changes the perspectives. Forgetting loses the lesson." ~ Paulo Coelho
This is becoming a wee bit of a theme. Choose Again sees this quite differently. I teach (and learn over and over) that the hurt was a reaction, a feeling, chosen by a self I made up. The ‘lesson’ is that I made up a self that deserves to be hurt, can be hurt and will be hurt. Once I apply forgiveness to the mistaken identity, a similar event, when it re-occurs, will be experienced very differently. Not only that, but as I transform the self to the Self, even the circumstances leading to the painful experience in the past are not likely to arise again.
"To be wronged is nothing, unless you continue to remember it." ~ Confucius
What a perfect thought on Easter morning. What do I choose to remember? Whatever it is, my carefully selected memory determines my experience. It is my memory I suffer from. The event in which I believe I was wronged is long over. Transform the one remembering, and the planet seems to shift dramatically. Happy Easter!
Diederik Wolsak is program director at Choose Again