Forgiveness – The Sticky Tape to Love
I am a daily meditator. I’m not bringing this up to brag, but to set the stage for the drama that ensues when our meditation practice is the ‘place’ we have designated to conduct our self-healing. For many, meditation is the place where we can go inside privately to review our behavior, our thoughts, our beliefs and our feelings. Why do we do this? Because we know we are still in recovery. We know we still have to learn and accept new ideas about who we really are, and some of these ideas aren’t particularly pleasant. It would be so much easier to ‘let it ride’, wouldn’t it?
In the course of writing Heavenly Hindsights, I came across a simple quote that read very nicely on the page, was simple and understandable, but put me into a tizzy.
“First stop the judging; this leads to compassion. Compassion leads to forgiveness. Forgiveness opens the door to love.”
Before we can get to authentic love, we have to learn how to forgive. Forgiveness is the last door that opens before we can experience lasting love. And here is where the trouble lies.
When I say, “I forgive you”, what do I mean? Do I mean I’ll apologize because I’m tired of this stupid fight and want to move on? Do I mean I’ll apologize as long as you change your ways and don’t make me unhappy anymore? What do I mean? Do I feel any better when I offer a ‘conditional’ apology? What is the point to forgiveness?
Here’s the point. There is not one person today who exists on this earth who we truly know. We know the ‘persona’ created by that person for this life. We know their job, their financial status, their accomplishments and failures. We might have grown up with them. But do we really know each other? On this world, absolutely not! It is the nature of this particular environment, this three dimensional world that our true selves are hidden behind an earthly cloak of ego and emotion that we have created for ourselves through our beliefs and experiences. We are simply matching a 3D world. Who we really are rests behind these masks and THIS is the person we want to find! Our true selves, without the costumes and face coverings, are so grand and so beautiful! Most of us don’t get to figure this out until we die, but we really don’t have to wait. We have just chosen to do so.
True love is blissful. True love has no time. True love sees only the perfection behind the flaws. We want it, but are we ready to reach for it? If the answer is yes, then choose to forgive. Now that we’ve made that decision, how is this done? Who has to know about it? How do we know it worked?
The best place to start is with ourselves. Even we don’t really know who we are behind our masks. We have lived so long believing certain things about ourselves and others that we are not aware that there may be a much greater truth at large. We need to look elsewhere. So, because we know ourselves better than we know anyone else, here’s where the practice begins. And before we even attempt to forgive others, let’s make sure we have forgiven ourselves. The path to love will begin to nudge closer. Why do we have to start here? Because once we have an idea of who we really are, as the ideal expression of all our gifts, we can confidently ask for what we really want; and it likely won’t be what you think it is. Decisions made without the encumbrances of judgment and righteousness will be elevated decisions indeed! Let’s start here.
The level of love we deliver to others can only be matched by the level of love we have for ourselves. The level of forgiveness we bring can only be matched by how well we have forgiven ourselves. We can’t deliver more than we know. We can always deliver less, but that’s not the point is it? When we can go ‘inside’ and work on the limiting beliefs that have anchored our lives to misery, discover they were false lies created only by our ego, and let them go, can we truly be of use to others. The way we handle situations right now is to be irritated that someone has said or done something to annoy us. This first response is also the very first mistake! We lash out at being treated so rudely and walk away shaking our heads. What should our first response have been? It should have been an instant recognition that the qualities that so disgust us are those we ourselves harbor. These people ARE us. We recognize their rudeness because we are so very familiar with it. We are guilty of the same thing!
When we do the work to clear our limiting beliefs and learn to let go of those negative emotions that hold us there, we will do two things: 1) We will stop attracting those with the same kind of qualities we have just shed, and 2) We would never recognize such an assault as personal because we don’t think like that anymore.
This takes a lot of thinking and a lot more attention and awareness. We need to recognize these negative feelings before they present and make the decision to change when it really counts! Learning how not to be reactive when we experience a negative feeling is definitely a timing issue. Our emotions so overwhelm us at times that not only have we forgotten we are divine beings, we have forgotten how to stop ourselves from reacting? If this is something one works on constantly, the urge to wait before reacting is much more powerful and is do-able! This is HOW we change!! But much practice is required and, hopefully, our private rehearsals of how we plan to react will buy the time one eventually needs to apply in the heat of the moment.
That’s already a lot of things to learn, but let’s add one more. Once we recognize we have entered a dangerous emotional arena for ourselves and we have managed to pull back from that emotion because we had a second to think about it, that’s the time to Let it Go. Surrendering and letting go are probably two of the most difficult activities available to help. What is it exactly we are letting go?
We are NOT letting go of the person. We are NOT letting go of ourselves. We aren’t doing any of that. Instead we are letting go of an emotion . . . just that . . . am emotion. If you strip an emotion away from its context, i.e. the reasons it presented, if you strip an emotion away from the person delivering it, if you look at just the emotion, what will you see?; Nothing but negative energy trying to find a place to land. Emotions, without context, are actually kind of silly. It’s the context that makes them important. So, separate the emotion and put it aside. You might spend a second or two wondering why this had such an impact and realize you don’t really know because, guess what?, the emotion was really caused by some other (similar) event sometime in the past that had nothing to do with you. When you look at emotion in that context, it is pretty harmless. So, detach and surrender! Your response will not only surprise you, it will surprise the other person. It’s so easy to do because emotion is nothing without its driver and we have done short work with the driver because we know the response really had nothing to do with us.
And finally, I don’t believe this act of forgiveness needs to be made public. We are energetic beings. If your forgiveness of another is authentic, they will know. It’s a different atmosphere . . . the feeling and the energy others sense when they know there is love in the air.