Forgiveness is the ability to compassionately understand ourselves, our desires, and our needs. It’s the ability to realize that no matter how awkwardly I’ve attempted to meet those needs, and no matter how many mistakes I make in the process, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with me. We are well served to be suspicious of any voice, inside or outside, that says there is something wrong with us. For example- it’s possible to realize I have been unkind toward someone and then feel sad about that. It’s not that I’m a bad person who will get into trouble- it’s just that I don’t want to be unkind because it hurts my heart.
Forgiveness is allowing. Allowing ourselves, or another, to confess a mistake, take responsibility for whatever harm may have been created by that mistake and to move on into trusting that something new can happen. Forgiveness is letting go, permitting something to pass, and allowing something in. With true forgiveness we agree to forget the past in order to authorize trust for the future.
If we hold ourselves or others in a place of remembering preceding incidents, emotional outbursts, and former mistakes we are keeping them a prisoner in our mind; they have been judged, sentenced, and jailed. And we will continue living a life of suspicion, doubt, and mistrust of those whose mistakes we find upsetting, shocking, or appalling.
Consider– we cling to mistrust in order to be safe and self-protective.
What if, instead of falling into judgment, we allow in the possibility of a life initiation?
Initiation means making a beginning, opening an investigation, or launching a new possibility. Initiation also implies hard work, striving to learn a new skill, and sufficient motivation to introduce a transformed, difficult, and disciplined response to our accustomed discontented and calamitous emotions. Both those who judge and those who make errors are in need of such an initiation.
The initiation being offered is the knowledge necessary to build an intimate relationship with spirit, the self, and others. Such a relationship is built by reviewing and restating our values, beliefs, and past stories so that they are consistent with our current understanding, goals, and aspirations. Our relationship with self is also fostered by distinguishing the adult-voice from the child-voice, the self-hate voice from beneficial caring advice. It means cultivating and developing genuine emotional intelligence. A mature, adult, spiritual relationship is cultivated through disciplined thought, silent meditation, contemplative prayer, and the counsel of a sagacious spiritual director.
As we practice and create trust all our relationships begin to have an indivisible sense of unity. Each member of our community becomes like a cell in our body. The group needs the me, and I need the group. To be truly human means understanding that we need each other. Only in this way can we express and experience the love and caring for which we long.
Do you trust yourself?
If so, what do you trust yourself to do, say, or give to others?
Can you meet your own needs
or do you expect others to know what you want
and give it to you?
What demonstration do you wish the people around you
to make so you can trust them?
Are you willing to make this demonstration
so that others can trust you?
Do you believe others are well-intentioned
even when they are ungraceful in their behavior or words?