Deep Forgiveness

Takuin and Albert (Urban Monk) decided to post on the subject of Forgiveness on the same day. They invited me and others to do the same. It’s an important subject and a good time of year to consider it.

[podcast version removed]

I’ve spoken here a few times about forgiveness. It is a profound part of the personal journey to wholeness.

But before we understand forgiveness, we need to understand the origins of what we seek to forgive.

True forgiveness is not a concept. It’s not something you do with your mind. In fact, it’s not something you do at all. It’s something you undo, something you release. It is the letting go of what we have long held.

You see, when we have an ego, a sense of being separate from others, we work to feel safe. One of the ways an ego feels safe is by making itself right. And to make oneself right, we have to make other wrong. This is the seed of conflict.

The other aspect of ego is to make it personal – what happens is about ME. It’s happening to ME. When events arise in our life that make ME feel uncomfortable or  threatened, the ego will make it wrong or bad.

The cumulative effect of taking it personally and making it wrong is that we resist life. We push against what shows up in our life, not realizing this resistance is not a prevention. It is a holding on. It keeps what we don’t want with us. Not understanding that like attracts like, we unintentionally amplify what we hate. The world comes to appear as messed up and unsafe. The inner narrative (monkey mind) about this I call the shadow story. This is what keeps it going. The result is what Eckhart Tolle calls the pain body.

The solution to this drama is forgiveness. But to understand forgiveness, we have to see this a little deeper still.

When an experience shows up in our life that we deem “bad”, we’ll find two things happen. We will react emotionally. i.e.: we’ll “get” angry or fearful or similar “negative” emotion. And we’ll resist the experience of it, how it feels. We don’t want to feel bad so we push against the “bad” feelings. This mutes the feeling somewhat but does not actually stop it.

This process feeds on itself. Next time a similar experience comes up, it is deemed bad automatically. And we push against what we’ve always pushed against.

We’ve missed 2 key points. It was our reactivity that caused the emotion in the first place, not the event. And in resisting that feeling we caused, we leave the experience incomplete. Unintentionally, the feeling we didn’t want we carry forward with us, unresolved. Do that many times a day for a few decades and you begin to get an idea of the kind of baggage we carry.

All of that resistance requires a lot of energy to sustain. We’re holding back the dam.

It’s no wonder our emotions are a muddle, we don’t know how we feel, and our intuition doesn’t work so well. We’ve been filling the place with trash and most of our emotional energy is spent avoiding.

The less you feel how you feel, the more you are avoiding feeling. This does not mean you are not feeling, only that you are tuning out how you feel to avoid what you’ve resisted. But in avoiding feeling, you also avoid happiness. Oops.

When we begin to connect with who we are within, we begin to find safety without blame. The ego begins to loose its grip. We begin to be able to allow the experiences and feelings that arise. Rather than resisting and holding them, we let them go. We stop adding to the pile.

This gives us enough insight into the process to begin winding down the old stuff. Finishing off the experiences of yor. This does not mean going back in and reliving our traumas. It means noticing when we’re reacting and noticing the feelings behind that reactivity. We can then allow the experience, the emotions flow over us in a brief wave, and it’s done. The resistance that caused the reactivity is over. Resolved.

Clearly though, if we’ve been adding to the pile for decades, clearing the resistances one by one will take a similar amount of time. This is where forgiveness comes in. Forgiveness allows us to release large batches at once, safely.

The reason forgiveness is potent is the role of other – our resistance is around our blame of other. That mate or parent or friend or boss or whatever that was the cause of my misery. So when we forgive who we have blamed, much of the associated resistance can fall away.

But we cannot make a mood of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a surrender, a release, a letting go. We have to step into that space of surrender. That place where everything is OK and we can feel the relationship from peace and love and let the junk go. But for most of us, that’s not a familiar place. So how do we get there?

This is where I found patience (with myself) and technique were the keys. For technique, you want to culture positivity. Acceptance. Gratitude. Then moments of allowing will arise naturally and spontaneously. In that open space, we simply recall a relationship. Seen from love and compassion, our holding becomes conscious and the pain can be released. After a brief wave of emotion, we’ve forgiven that relationship. It’s done. All that energy is released. As it was our doing in the first place, we don’t need the other persons help. And we don’t need to go into the story of why – that’s just the blame, the excuse.

I found that pretty much every relationship had some resistance with it. A few required a couple of rounds. After doing this a few times, the process became automatic. I could step through every relationship in memory. Major loads were released in a few minutes. And then, at the bottom of all the forgiving was the biggest nut. I needed to forgive myself.

Without such healing, having healthy relationships can be deeply compromised. Including your relationship with yourself. If you don’t like yourself, how do you expect to find happiness?

Ironically, after all this forgiving, we discover there was never anything to forgive in the first place. We were the only ones holding the grudge. It was all just a shadow story. An illusion.
Davidya

Other concurrent posts you may enjoy:
Takuin: The Wound of Forgiveness

UrbanMonk: Our Innate Innocence – Reflections on Forgiveness

Tom Stine: There Is Nothing to Forgive

Joyful Days: The Gift of Forgiveness

Other links may be added or show in Comments.
Be sure to add a link in Comments if you’ve posted on the subject.


About Davidya

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26 Responses to Deep Forgiveness

  1. Pingback: Our Innate Innocence – Reflections on Forgiveness | Personal Development - UrbanMonk.Net

  2. This is really deep stuff, Davidya. The desire to be right is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome, personally. I think it’s because it shows up not as “I want to be right” (which is easier to catch), but as “I AM right”. It is so deeply ingrained that we can’t even catch it. Thanks for joining, mate, awesome read! ;)

  3. Davidya says:

    It’s interesting how when you do something global, “same day” is a generalization. My neck of the woods seems the last for the sun to go down in. So this is later to the plate. Yet my post date shows the day before because of when I started assembling it. (laughs) Time is indeed relative…

  4. Pingback: The Gift of Forgiveness | Joyful Days

  5. Pingback: The Wound of Forgiveness

  6. Davidya,

    Your post grabbed me from the start, with this sentence: “In fact, it’s not something you do at all. It’s something you undo, something you release.”

    The reference to Eckhart Tolle’s pain body is very useful, I feel. It’s heartwarming that yours, Takuin’s and Tom’s posts all allude to the fact that there is no real wound – it’s a shadow, an illusion. It’s wonderful that you’re spreading this message.

  7. Davidya says:

    Hi Albert
    It can be difficult to catch it at first. But the deeper identity is the one driving the “should” and “need” dynamic. Tom talked about this in a recent post. (as did I) That’s what drives the grasping aspect of it. As this becomes conscious, they too dissolves more easily.

    And thanks Albert. I appreciate your thoughts.

  8. Davidya says:

    Hi Daphne
    Thank you. It is obvious, once you really get under what is to be forgiven. When the story of pain is seen for what it is – a story. Then we don’t take it so seriously and it’s easier to let go of. It’s no longer personal.

    Yes, it’s a important one. All those unhealed wounds add up to suffering. But also often dis-ease. Stress is a major factor or the dominant cause of the majority of illness.

    Thanks again for coming by and offering your thoughts

  9. Davidya,
    Thank you so much for your beautiful, intelligent, helpful words. So much truth in what you have written. Yes, when the letting go happens, ironically we see that there is nothing to forgive.

    I so appreciate your citing my post with audio, and am so glad to have found your site.

    Sending love,
    Gail

  10. Davidya says:

    Gail @ A Flourishing Life wrote Is It Time To Forgive? back in November and includes the process with an audio tool.

    http://aflourishinglife.com/2009/11/is-it-time-to-forgive/

  11. Pingback: Complete Forgiveness « In 2 Deep

  12. Davidya says:

    Thanks, Gail. I appreciate the feedback. I’ve also included a link in a followup post on the subject that just went live.

    All Love,
    David

  13. Pingback: Flow Gratitude « In 2 Deep

  14. Robert says:

    Hello All. Forgiveness is not the ability to forget but rather the willindnes to learn from your self and others. In those difficult and offend struggling times of forgivness learning from deep within, listening to your greater self, and not your primative, self protecting reactions to the situation many new and creative learning experiences can be incorporated to a furthering awarness and where graditute prevales one of further enlightenment as well. For often the obstacles of forgiveness are not what the other did but rather what we did not ask in graditute and humility of ourselves.
    Thanks
    Robert

  15. Good post.

    The trouble with understanding forgiveness–as is the trouble with understanding acceptance, gratitude and surrender–is that the mind tends to look at it as something we do. It’s another accumulation which we think will help us feel better.

    An intuitive realization happened when I started thinking of forgiveness is a something to let go of. It’s not something I do, it’s something I stop doing.

    Thanks, very illuminating.
    k

  16. Davidya says:

    Hi Robert
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  17. Davidya says:

    Hi Kaushik
    Yes, for me it was not a realization so much as an allowing. As this was experienced a few times, what you say became clear. I got out of the way, then the mind caught up… ;-)

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