the freedom of forgiveness

 

you-are-not-your-past-final~ Quoted Concepts by Gary Zukav
~ Crone’s POV and other Meddling by
    Susannah Hay

The subject of forgiveness is a complicated one.  The lack of it ruins lives – and often generations of lives – within families and communities.

GZ:  It is not possible for someone to take advantage of your forgiveness. Forgiveness does not have anything to do with other people; it has everything to do with you.

CPOV:  When I read this many years ago, it seemed counterintuitive.  What did he mean, everything to do with me?  The other person was the one whose actions or words left me angry or hurt.  It was their fault, not mine!

The thought that the feelings I was carrying around were indeed prisons of my own making because I was the only one who had the power to let them go, seemed strange to me then.

Why me?  Hey, excuse me, but I was the innocent party here!

GZ:  Forgiveness is letting go of your resentment, disappointment, anger, and hurt. When you do, you are free from these prisons. They no longer captivate your attention. They no longer intrude on your thoughts and your sleep. You are no longer steeped in anger and righteous indignation. You no longer feel the need to convince others that you have been wronged. You give up being a victim and step into a lighter, less restricted consciousness.

forgiveness-2-finalCPOV:  Resentment, anger, righteous indignation, feeling victimized – all of these negative feelings can take root in the heart and psyche.  To finally let them go is to feel free again.

GZ:  Forgiveness is self-healing. Before you forgive, you are fixated on what has not gone the way that you wanted it to go. Not forgiving is holding on to your expectations. Forgiving is releasing them.

CPOV:  Yes, I thought as I considered the words back then.  I’m expecting something from that other person that I may or may not ever receive, because I have no power to control what that other person thinks, or says, or does, and I never will.

The only person I have any control over is me.  This thought alone is incredibly freeing.

GZ:  The feeling of being betrayed by someone you’ve forgiven is not as simple a matter as it appears, but once you understand that your expectations are involved, it becomes much clearer. When you feel that you have been betrayed by someone, it is because you have expectations about that person that he or she did not fulfill. Forgiving means letting go of those expectations. Once you do that, there is nothing for anyone to betray and no way that you can feel betrayed.

CPOV:  Letting go of my own expectations as to how things will go, how people will react, what others will say, frees me to see clearly what is happening, how people are actually reacting, and hear what is being said without any demands for a particular viewpoint or words.

No expectations:  it’s a game-changer.

peace-final-for-post
GZ:  If you say to yourself that you have forgiven someone, but you haven’t let go of your expectations, your forgiveness is not really forgiveness. It is an attempt to manipulate that person into behaving in a way that is acceptable to you. When he or she doesn’t do that, you feel betrayed.

It is really the failure of your attempt to manipulate that hurts. You wanted something to happen, and it didn’t.  

Not forgiving is insisting that another person be the way you want him or her to be.  Forgiving is letting go of that insistence.  It allows you to see clearly, instead of through the filters of your desires.

CPOV:  Giving up our expectations of others is sometimes really, really hard, but if we can manage to do it, then we don’t have to carry around hurt, resentment or even hatred.  We may not choose to become buddies with the other person, but we can live our own life free of the negative feelings about that person that weigh down our heart.

time-to-move-on-finalForgiving is not about forgetting;
it is about letting go.

GZ:  Once you see clearly, you can act appropriately. If that requires that you change your relationships, you can do that with an open heart.

You do not have to resent someone in order to make a change in your life. You can do it because it is appropriate, because you see changes that you want to make, and you make them.

Here is the main point:  if you forgive, but continue to resent, you have not forgiven.  If you forgive, but tell others how happy you are to be done with the ordeal, you have not forgiven.  

CPOV:  In other words, if we don’t feel more lighthearted, our heart has not yet released that load that’s weighing us down.

GZ:  Forgiving is choosing a light and happy heart instead of anger and resentment.  Anger and resentment can seem very attractive and feel like strength, but the reality is, they make you a victim.  And you cannot live with a light and happy heart and be a victim at the same time.

The choice is yours.

CPOV:  A light and loving heart, whatever the outward circumstances of our lives, is truly a gift.  Perhaps it’s even our birthright from the universe.

But it’s a gift that can get bogged down in the hurts and anger and disappointments of our everyday life.  Small wounds and resentments gather, and tighten, and harden around us until they must be gotten rid of before our spirit strangles.

It’s not easy work.  It requires that we be truthful with ourselves.  We must learn to recognize and then to let go of whatever it is that is holding us down, yet again, from being the free and loving souls that our birth gave us the potential to be.

Because you see, it’s not a one-time deal, this shedding of the hard shell.  It requires awareness and conscious choice, again and again, as often as we must throughout our life. Like crabs, we too must periodically rid ourselves of our exoskeletons in order to grow.

But it is this very letting go, this constant shedding, that may well be the path to the selfless love and wisdom that the enlightened ones speak of, available to us in our own lifetime, in this real-life classroom in which we live our everyday lives.

And I believe that’s a birthright worth aiming for.

narrow_bridge_30-small-final

Namaste,
Susannah



gary-zukavGary Zukav
is the author of four consecutive New York Times Bestsellers:

The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics;
The Seat of the Soul; Soul Stories;
and
The Heart of the Soul.

With his partner Linda Francis, he has co-authored the following books:

Emotional Awareness
and
The Mind of the Soul: Responsible Choice.

You can visit their website, The Seat of the Soul Institute, here. 

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8 Comments

  1. I’m having a really hard time forgiving family members for a humongous betrayal, and I suspect part of the problem is not knowing what the relationships will be like if I manage to forgive. I certainly don’t trust these people, so how does forgiveness work in that case? I will look into the books you’ve cited because I need to deal with this issue to get on with my life. I don’t know whether to thank you for posting this or to tear my hair out in huge clumps. : ) I’ll figure it out someday.

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  2. Oh Barb, I know how you feel. I’ve been through the very same issue with family. In my own experience, it was excruciatingly difficult, but knowing that I was doing the right thing made it easier. And it’s so hard not to expect certain responses, but knowing that we have no control over how others will react helps a bit.

    Is it easy? God, no. Not in my experience, anyway. Is it freeing? Oh yes!

    Zukav is a good writer. I’ll be interested to hear what you think. ❤

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  3. Thanks for your so interesting article (subject). It is so nicely said and easy to understand why we should do it. I do have a couple of persons that I will have to forgive completly. I will Save it for sure and reread and try to take time and work on it.

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    1. Thank you, Paula. I appreciate your taking the time to write. I expect all of us have people in our lives who are hard to forgive, don’t you? And forgiveness is a tough one, all right.

      I haven’t read all his books, but Gary Zukav is a thoughtful writer, and if you care to check his website, you may find helpful resources there. Zukav is a Harvard-educated former Green Beret officer who saw time in Vietnam, so I expect he’s been there, done that. No airy-fairy guy, this.

      Wishing you many blessings as you go about the difficult work of shedding a shell!

      S.

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    1. Well, thank you, Rob. I really appreciate your comment! I’m always a bit hesitant…well, shy, I guess, to write about my “spiritual stuff.” It’s been a huge part of my life; it’s just not something I’m all that comfortable advertising on my public soapbox! 🙂

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