• October 13, 2018

    I sometimes find it very difficult to forgive others when their actions have offended me. How can I work on this block in myself?

    This question uncovers a number of issues related to work on self. Your assumption seems to be that you should be able to forgive. That it is expected of you.

    The common conception of forgiveness is that it is an act of generosity on the part of the one who forgives, that it is a sign of being non-judgmental, that it signals virtue. From the point of view of our work, this is nonsense. The real question is why you were offended in the first place. Can you observe your reactions objectively and, over time, come to see impartially that your being offended is indefensible, unnecessary and even foolish. Without this, your forgiveness is likely imaginary, an affirmation of a positive quality you are expected to have or an ongoing suppression under the cover of “it’s ok, it doesn’t matter.” If it is real, to forgive is to forget.

    The one who seeks forgiveness has an even greater work opportunity. Please understand this. To receive forgiveness I must feel I have earned it. Real forgiveness is a transformative action that encompasses forgiver and forgiven and therefore includes my forgiveness of myself. The one who is forgiven must participate in the action by agreeing to be forgiven. At first, I do not agree, I feel humiliated, unworthy. I who seek the action of forgiveness sense remorse, activating conscience. These are the signs of contrition. The transgression must be confessed, at least to myself, without blaming others or defending myself. I must be willing to make amends and do so if possible.

    To be forgiven is not to forget.

    The one who seeks forgiveness is really in a sacred struggle to preserve conscience and an awakened heart. This struggle is more valuable than the relief that comes with being forgiven.

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