“Forgive those who we perceive as having wronged us,” many spiritual advisers recommend. They tell us to let grievances go because they upset our nervous systems, stomachs, and more. These hurts distract us from focus on what fuels our potential. Forgive in order to set ourselves free.
I bet all you readers have heard the advice to forgive. Let’s look at an even greater perspective.
Recently I heard a spiritual leader of a church community in Texas talk about forgiveness. Yes, when we hold onto a past hurt, we hurt ourselves. Yes, we want to clear ourselves and practice living in this present moment.
Then he went further. We can re-frame the picture with a broad stroke. Let’s soak in the value of seeing our fellow humans and ourselves as innocent, viewing them as if we all were new babies. In that light we know each is doing the best he or she can. True, we can pinch off the flow and act in undesired ways. Experiencing that from one another can feel uncomfortable in varying degrees.
If we get our feelings hurt, we lose contact with knowing we are loved and can slip into believing the discouraging words and actions directed toward us. For an instant we took the other personally.
But in the land of love (and how easy it is to love a baby), in the land where we ARE love and are loved, there is neither judgment nor condemnation.
When we feel whole and know we are loved fully now and forever, there is no need for forgiveness– because there is no judgment. Nothing to forgive, we are clear that we were not harmed.
A Tale of Love and Forgiveness
Karen had been practicing becoming aware of her feelings and thoughts. Meditation helped as did noticing her emotional state, staying alert to what she could appreciate inside and out.
On a summer trip she was visiting family when one member, Lorraine, spoke to her with a very critical tone. K had enjoyed two long fun days packed with activity, and she felt exhausted.
Just before the outburst, Lorraine had shown her art pictures planned for an exhibit. L exclaimed, “You were silent as I scrolled through the slide show! Do you know you do that? You always are quiet! That subject matter may not be your favorite, but your lack of comment felt awful to me. I am never showing you one of my pieces again!”
Karen was stunned and horrified. Actually she admires L’s creative expression. Our heroine had no idea that her fatigue would be interpreted as disinterest that the artist’s feelings would be hurt.
Immediately K apologized but to no avail. Lorraine pushed that away, not softening her offended stance. K engaged a third family member to convey her sincere regrets that evening.
Next morning Karen and Lorraine were able to speak about her pieces. K offered praise and validation, and L seemed able to accept it.
The Journey of Forgiveness and Beyond
In the first day of recovery and for a few weeks after, our heroine felt a pull to review what did not feel good, go over how hurt she felt by being spoken to harshly. She kept writing about the situation in her journal, albeit looking for some relief. In a healing process she reached for wisdom. Inside her she cried, “Wait a minute! I am recounting a time that brings up anger and revenge in me. I don’t want to do this! I hold myself as a dear loving being despite the opinion of the other.”
Months later when K thinks back on this incident, she feels love for all the parties. Those initial criticisms were perceived as an attack triggering old wounds from K’s past, temporarily disconnecting her from goodness and love. K lost touch with feeling good enough and loved in that moment.
As she went deeper into what happened here, K realized that her strength lay in bathing herself in her own self appreciation. When she saw that Lorraine’s words were actually a cry for her respect and love, it was easy to understand L.
Karen could recall plenty of times when she sought validation outside herself. Now it was with an inner freedom that she could get past this incident and bask in the expansive flow of love
K keeps listing appreciations. Those feel good. Many thoughts about things flowing well in her life and plenty of good stuff about her personal attributes. Our star reaches for feeling love and feels it more and more.
Surely there are times many of us feel offended. Our feeling wronged tells us in that instant we are forgetting how loved we are!
I root for the ease and satisfaction of remembering the abundant acceptance more and more.
Sure, clear out grievances and do so from the place of knowing we are, were and have been fine all along. We have been beloved. Nothing is going wrong, All is well.
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