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Forgiveness

Why this talk and why now?

Let’s deal with why now first, it’s easier, spirit told me to … don’t you just love that, it’s the I didn’t mean it of the metaphysical community…but it’s true. I had thought about bringing up during the Annual Meeting, but it just didn’t fit in with what we were doing… in spirit’s way it would have been to narrow then.

Forgiveness is a greater issue now

We are stumbling towards more wretched conflict. People in power are now saying let’s arm everyone, since there are big powers on both sides…no send in Drones, which all translates to… lets have war by proxy. Read a book once, whose theme was a siren went off and pagers went off and individuals just began marching off to death chambers…. The visitor from where I don’t remember said the equivalent of what’s up. They said, oh the world powers decided the waste of all the buildings and devastation of war could all be avoided if we had another way, so we determine through games who has how many casualties, then when the game is over a random number of individuals in each country are beeped and they walk to the chamber…I said that is nuts, I’ve never heard of such a thing, who would ever believe that let alone do it… it wasn’t a best seller.

But I wonder now if we are evolving war by proxy, especially since Americans have gotten real touchy about sending their children off to other countries to die.

But the down side to war by proxy is proxies die, and they have mothers and brothers and lovers. And sometimes their stories get out, and we can’t kid ourselves any more.

Conflict happens as relationships have friction, misunderstandings, unreasonable powers trips, poor judgment and righteous indignation.
It happens everywhere, in Mega Relationships between countries, states; Meta-level relationships between business and labor; churches and their membership; individual relationships between families, friends and acquaintances. (A practicing loving metaphysical person that I know said he had just seen his sister for the first time in 16 years. Wow says I, “what had happened,”? He said, oh there was a misunderstanding and she didn’t call) Sixteen years, what a waste….all those years of memories, challenges without the support of a sibling, or the laughter shared on events from the past, or wonder on the growth of a younger loved one…what a waste. There are consequences for failure to fix things. So why don’t we…..?

Part of the reason is that we are biologically developed to remember how we were hurt, it was to protect us from being hurt again. Who we are now with the resources we have, haven’t been around long enough for us to evolve past the primitive people who needed that protection. Psychology, promoting self-examination 150 years; Printing Press to learn from others, 500 years; an evolutionary blink of an eye. Biology believed that if you created an energized memory of the wrong done, it would stay with you, and it did; and it does. So what does one do when the ruminating sleepless night comes? Sometimes we think of all the stupid things we have done, and sometimes we think of all the terrible things others have done to us. And if we shared the event with others that terrible event becomes a bond, another powerful energy link; the greater the sharing, the greater the bond.

We have lived in the south, and to listen to them talk about the invasion from the North, (known in some other circles as the Civil War,) you would think it happened yesterday, but to many of them, it happened yesterday and might happen tomorrow. Sherman would have had to be in the south for 3 years to have covered all of the places he and President Lincoln are being held personally responsible for pillaging. Everyone had an uncle whose farm was burned.

When we were in Germany for our holiday and they talked to us about the Swedes invading and ruling them in the 1300’s, you thought you should be running to the sea to look for the boats.

We are social animals and we move to a group think very easily. Ever been caught up in the “fervor of the moment” and when you got home, you came to your senses?

So let’s not start with the mega-relationships, let’s learn from the individual relationships. How can our new tools help us to learn to forgive and what is involved in that anyway.

What forgiveness isn’t

  • It isn’t condoning (failing to see the action as wrong)
  • It isn’t excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action)
  • It isn’t pardoning ( official release from consequences by and agreed authority, usually the legal system)
  • It isn’t forgetting (removing remembrance of the offense from your consciousness)
  • It isn’t reconciliation (restoration of a relationship)
  • It is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feeling and attitude regarding the offense.

So why should we bother, some think we should bother because it has been proven scientifically that the person who suffers from the holding of non-forgiveness in their heart is the person who suffers the consequence. Physically, they are much more likely to suffer heart and digestive disease and the longer it persists the larger the range of illness.

Who else thinks we should bother, in preparation for this talk I researched many religions I will spare you most of the details but two that I found most interesting were Judaism and Buddhism. In Judaism a significant practice is Yom Kippur; the Day of Atonement, where you pray to God to forgive you from sins you committed against God; but you must also go to those who you have injured in word or deed and ask their forgiveness and they must give it. If they don’t give it, they shoulder the burden of the deed. 

That gave me pause…if you fail to forgive you shoulder the burden of the deed.
But my personal favorite was Buddhism; forgiveness is seen as a practice to prevent harmful thoughts from causing havoc on one’s mental well being. Buddhism believes that feelings of hatred and ill-will leave a lasting effect on our mind karma. The Buddha also says when you pick up hot coals to throw at a transgressor; you always burn your own hands first.
And a wonderful teacher right here at CCL, shared in one of her presentations, when injured you should examine and understand what happened, but don’t build a tent and stay there endlessly. Examine it, deal with it and move along.

So you have begun to agree, forgiveness is a good goal, but it is difficult. So a committed speaker would have some thoughts about what helps when working on the path of forgiveness. So here we go:

  1. Express yourself: there are several ways for you to do this, you can talk about it with the person involved, it depends on the value and the ongoing potential of the relationship, and frankly the likely hood that both will be able to manage the discussion without it just rekindling the coals of yesterday’s drama. 
    • Part of us always wants the other person to know that they hurt our feelings. Regretfully often people who hurt your feelings, don’t get their feelings hurt often and are suspect of those who do, this is especially true in a business relationship.
    • So there may be risks in talking to the person directly, the longer between the incident and the talk, the more difficult it may be.
    • Another option is talking about it with a trusted friend; my caution here is to set the stage, buy telling the friend that you are working on forgiveness. If you just start the story your friend may think you want support and jump in to bash the “perp”, perhaps delaying the forgiveness.
    • A third option is to journal your goals and feelings, you can acknowledge your feelings but you should also look for options for yourself to move beyond. As we believe that we can still connect with those beyond the veil, you can deal with unresolved forgiveness issues with transitioned individuals using this strategy.
  2. Look for something positive: start keeping a gratitude journal, if you can’t think of anything initially, try being alive. As you train yourself to find the silver lining, you will be able to stand more rain on your parade.
  3. Try and Develop Empathy: Empathy is not sympathy; it is the understanding that there may be negative things occurring that influenced the immediate behavior not related to you. (We always think it’s all about us) It certainly could be that the person felt threatened and brought out the 2x4 when you thought you were discussing a minor issue.
  4. Protect yourself and move on: It’s not only ok to develop self-protection plans it’s vital, especially if there is ongoing exposure.
  5. Be willing to get outside help if needed: Remember we have more tools in our tool box these days; you don’t have to kill the tiger to be safe. Don’t hesitate to look for support outside of your usual community.

Forgiveness is work but for your health, karma and daily joy, it is worth it. And each time one of us does it, there is more forgiveness in the world, one day there may be enough to tip the balance especially if that is our prayer. When we don’t know what will fix the situation that is the most valuable time to pray. I often have to discipline myself and say stop trying to figure it out and ask, ask and ask. I do believe in an intervening God, whatever her name is.

Thank you for sharing this time with me.

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Published: 06 March 2015
Written by Mary Garry
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