Forgive by Paul Sableman
Forgive by Paul Sableman

Recently, I ran into an Eckhart Tolle video on forgiveness. I’ve not written on the topic in a while, yet it’s a key expression of healing. I wrote a number of articles back in the day, including one where a group of us all posted articles on the same day (including my first podcast). As Eckhart describes in the second video, forgiveness also gets us off the wheel of karma (consequences).

Remember his background, though. It’s not necessary to wait for awakening to heal our traumas. The key is spiritual practices to soften the bindings and step us back from the drama.

Then we can become more conscious of our emotional dynamics and learn to heal and allow.

At first, being conscious may mean learning to name how we’re feeling. Next step is actually feeling. This isn’t something we can think our way through. It means going beyond the labeling mind and being present to our emotions.

Allowing emotions doesn’t mean stepping into a drama, but rather just being with them as they are. If the mind starts to tell a story, notice that too, but don’t buy into it. Then we can fully experience the emotion and resolve it, often in just a few moments.

Without further ado…

On YouTube

On YouTube

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  1. Amit

    I think the basic problem with Eckhart’s teaching is that there is no clear method to regain the “connectedness with Being” that he talks about and no doubt experiences himself. I sometimes wonder how many of those that read or hear him have abiding awakenings of their own. Eckhart has certainly played a huge role in bringing genuinely spirituality into the mainstream, but his very reach seems to dilute the efficacy of his message. When he was engaged in one-to-one counselling his teaching might have actually worked, but all that seems to gets across much of the time now is the banality of “living in the present moment.”

    1. Hi Amit
      Every teaching has its benefits and limitations. Eckhart woke through the collapse of the ego, so you’re right, it’s missing the means. One of his books has a bunch of techniques in the back, but they’re better for culturing presence that is already present.

      Eckhart does make a good introduction for many. As someone awake can be a catalyst, a few seemed to have shifted with him. But for most, they need to find the means and culture presence.

      An effective means is surprisingly rare in the sea of teachers out there. Mindfulness is a common teaching, for example, but again, that needs sufficient presence developed to be effective. Otherwise, it’s just mind noticing itself. A feedback loop not a culturing of source.

      I would not describe living in the present as banal (laughs). But I get the point. I also wouldn’t describe it as the “goal.”

      Different people need to hear the message different ways or they resonate with different flavours of presence. But a serious seeking requires transcending all that and discovering our true nature within. Otherwise, it’s too superficial. Mind may need a good understanding to support the journey but if the path isn’t transcending that, it’s no deeper than going to a movie.

  2. Gina L Westbrook

    So my question remains, What is true forgiveness? Say someone hurts you, and you don’t want to feel the hurt anymore, you just want to ‘forgive’ and get on with your life. So you try to forgive but still feel the hurt, then the day dawns when the hurt is gone and what is left is just a neutral feeling, no more anger or resentment. Has the true forgiveness kicked in and not just the desire to forgive?

    1. Hi Gina!
      OK – there’s a distinction between forgiveness and true forgiveness. Your example is one of forgiveness, when the grievance is resolved and we can remember the incident and no longer feel a charge. (of course, this is not the same as feeling nothing, which indicates repression.)

      A desire to forgive is when we recognize the issue and build the courage to face what we’re holding on to. For this, we have to let go of the blame and see our part in it. We were the one hurt.

      True forgiveness is when we stop taking things personally and surrender any need to play a victim or feel a need to have a grievance. We recognize what is arising is either our karma or their stuff we don’t need to take on. This is similar to the Yama’s of Yoga. For example:
      2:37 “When non-theft is established, all jewels (wealth) rise up.”

      We could say: when non-grievance (forgiveness) is established, love rises up.

      As may be obvious, this goes well beyond simply letting go of a single incident. It is releasing the entire tendency and is directly related to letting go of ego identification. If there is no me to be injured, what is there to have a grievance?

      As the Gita puts it, (2:23): “Weapons cannot cleave him, nor fire burn him; water cannot wet him, nor wind dry him away.” Invincibility, established in pure being. 🙂

    1. Hi Gina
      Yes, it’s a consequence of Self Realization although we’re moving towards that with a spiritual path.

      If the path is not balanced and resolution is not taking place, even Self Realization will struggle to bring it. This is why I speak of the value of healing. We can win the lottery but if we’re on a desert island, it won’t make much difference. 🙂

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