*Brian Wilcox. 'a silent welcome'. Flickr
A continuance of dialogues with a sage who did not see himself as a sage, but others did; from Brian K. Wilcox. "Meetings with an Anonymous Sage."
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I'm struggling with forgiving someone. Can you help?
Forgiveness simply means to release, or let go, or let drop. Forgiveness is not pardon. Who is this struggling? This is so simple, who is this making it difficult?
This struggling to forgive arises from you, not from forgiveness. You have said, essentially, "I as a person am trying to forgive, and I as a person am struggling to do that." Is this working?
Doesn't seem so.
Then, take a step back. Remove awareness from attachment to the drama.
From where to where?
From the "I" you said is struggling to forgive and simply observe, witness the pain that is at the root of the effort to forgive, yet put forth no effort to forgive. Simply, effortlessly observe, with no idea or interest in forgiveness, and let go of the sense of I that tries to forgive. Try this now... [Silence]
Now, where was the struggle?
It wasn't there.
When feeling hurt by another, that sense of betrayal, or being wronged, the sense of person holds to this, personalizes this. Stepping back, releasing awareness from the story, the person sense can no longer retain a grasp on the story. Spaciousness arises, pure of this hurt. The hurt cannot enter the True Self; the one Heart cannot be betrayed. In release of identification with the pain, it is no longer being seen as your pain, it is observed as just pain. In release of the struggle to forgive, it is no longer seen as your struggle, the struggle is no more. Yet, as long as the personal "I" is attached to forgiving, there will be struggle in forgiveness. In the release of the self trying to forgive, the Light of Grace is welcomed to enter with its healing potency, exactly as one opens the blinds covering a window, and the sunshine pours in. Forgiveness arises in your not trying to forgive.
This reminds me of the story of Jesus on the cross, when he forgave those who were wronging him.
What is said? The words are, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do?" He did not say, "Father, I forgive them." Jesus, as a man on a cross, shows, in that moment, no need to forgive, for he had no sense of his being the source of forgiveness. If he had forgiven, it would be more natural for him to look down and say, "I forgive you, ..." He did not. So, "Father" represents the Grace I am speaking of. No person has a right to claim the power or grace to forgive, that is usurping the innate right of Life Itself.
Yet, the Catholic Church claims to forgive?
Your understanding of that can be debated. The claim to be a means of the grace of forgiveness is not the same as claiming to be the source of forgiveness. Yet, we are not here to talk about what institutions claim or do not claim. So, let us not escape into those detours. What your heart is saying now, that is of interest to me. That you suffer less is of interest to your heart. Stay with this.
I'll return to the sense of person, and, then, the pain and struggle will return.
Pain and pleasure equally belong in the body form. No human being escapes either. Still, even as you are adorned with the person, you can live detached from it. The ego can be a servant of your Self, rather than your Self being derailed by the drama of person. The true "I" that comes before "I am a person," this "I" is free of being hurt, free of any need to struggle to accomplish forgiveness. The sense of person, being sacred as a relative means of the Sacred, is simply an ornament and means of expression in this realm. And, even as you walk around naturally, not having to attach to your sense of two feet and two legs, you can allow the person to be within life. The person, with its pleasure and pain, arises, let it, no problem. Ego cannot transcend ego. So, remain as the Awareness Itself. Awareness wears person, person does not wear Awareness.
So, what to do about the pain and forgiveness?
You say "what to do," while you cannot do forgiveness, anymore than you can do love, or joy, or respect. No one forgives anyone. No human as a human can say truthfully, "I forgive you." Forgiveness arises into the body from the grace of the Supernal One, from the one Heart of all. Forgiveness is not a transaction between you and another, as though you are doing something for him or her. Such is treating forgiveness like an object to be handed to an object, like, "Look, here, I give you forgiveness." That is absurd thinking. Both the sense of betrayal, the consequent pain, and forgiveness are all occurring within you. You are not doing a favor for the other by forgiving him or her. Forgiveness has no object to receive forgiveness, no human subject to give forgiveness. So, no one can think, "Oh, how wonderful! I gave a blessing, I forgave." And, if the one who betrayed you, for example, desires forgiveness, this can only arise within him or her. You can experience, through forgiveness within beingness within you, a renewal of love for another, but you cannot forgive the other, even as the other cannot forgive himself or herself. Forgiveness is of Grace, and all of Grace arises from Grace within the singular intimacy of Grace Itself. In Grace, timeless It is, there is no separation between the need for forgiveness and forgiveness. The person, in ignorance claims it for himself or herself, but that is deluded thinking.
The pain seems to linger. Will this you speak of end the pain?
As you allow forgiveness to arise, and it does, in the body forgiveness may take time. Hurt within the person, likewise, takes time. Pain is lodged in the body. By continuing to return from the pain, if awareness has been drawn into alliance with it, to simply observe the pain, a compassionate relationship with the pain arises. Literally, love is, then, loving the pain. In the benevolence of this self-less compassion, the hurt receives grace, and the Light of love dissipates it. Yet, as long as one is hugging close the sense of being hurt by someone, the pain is being fed, for thought is in alliance with the pain ~ and let us not underestimate the extent to which ego can relish holding onto resentment and the consequent pain. The refusal to allow forgiveness to occur, within it is the desire to hurt the other, and this blocks the flow of Love. So, examine, "Is there some part of myself that does not want forgiveness to happen? That enjoys the drama of this suffering?" Then, when you are truly prepared, not playing any duplicitous ego-game, shower compassion on the hurt from your true Heart, do not try to push the pain away. Allow Love to love the sense of hurt. Healing arises, do not try to force this, for that of Grace arises naturally through relaxing in trust. In Grace, forgiveness is not a struggle, is graceful.
What if someone as person tries to forgive and forgiveness happens?
He or she did not forgive, but will claim that he or she did. The ego often says to the Divine, "Hands off! This belongs to me!" This is the ignorance of the person. The person cannot dictate his or her own heartbeat, cannot create the air that allows life to flourish within the body, yet likes to play being a god, even playing the God.
I follow a devotional path, can you say this in a way devotional, as to my relationship with God?
All said here, in this sharing, can be summed up in this. Place yourself upon the bosom of the Beloved, along with the struggle to forgive, and the hurt. Say words such as this: "Beloved, I am yours, receive all of me, receive this struggle to forgive, receive this pain I feel. It is your concern, no longer mine. My God, give grace that I leave it here and not return to claim it again." Repeat such an act of surrender as many times as you need, in this, you return from self to Grace, by Grace.
*Brian Wilcox. 'A Beautiful Arrangement'. Flickr
(C)Brian K. Wilcox, 2019
The theme of "Lotus of the Heart" is 'Living in Love beyond Beliefs.' This work is presented by Brian K. Wilcox, of Maine, USA. You can order Brian's book An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, through major online booksellers.