This article got published in the North Shore Magazine of December 2007/January 2008 in a shortened version
In order to illustrate the three steps of forgiveness, let’s start by looking at a fight between a couple (all made up): Rita asked Tom if he could help her with some technical things on the computer. He said yes, and then did it very quickly, and left again to work on his own things. Rita went into his office, upset, and asked him could he please finish the job. Tom raising his shoulders responded that he did what he needed to do, if she could not figure it out that was not his problem. She got even more upset, shouting that he did not care about her, and on and on. He got really angry and tried to push her out of the office, creaming he needed quiet. A full blown shouting match then followed, with Rita pacing through the house, grabbing her stuff to leave the house for the night. And that’s what she did.
She was filled with anger and outrage, feeling that Tom did not care about her, and that he mistreated her. Tom for his part felt that Rita was always asking for help just when he was the most exhausted from work. He felt fully overwhelmed with her request as he still had not finished his own work which was very urgent to complete.
The first step of true forgiveness is to recognize that what people do is not about us. However, what we believe they do is about us, and that’s what needs to be forgiven.
Let’s study forgiveness from Rita’s perspective, as she was the one asking for help. First of all she expressed her anger and outrage to ‘let off steam’. I then helped her see that she believed he did not care about her, it was not a fact; it was her interpretation of the interaction; it was her thinking and therefore came from her, not from him.
In this first step we take back what we thought we saw out there, so Rita turned her belief around and saw that she did not care about herself in this moment, when she tried to get something out of Tom when he obviously could not give more. She also did not care about him with his overwhelm. Moreover, Rita believed she was a victim in this situation. Seeing that she did not care for herself and that Tom did not mean to hurt her helped her see that she was not a victim, she just believed she was one. Also, it helped Rita to consider Tom’s thoughts and feelings in the process, and understand that his shortness was not against her, it was not personal, it was an expression of his own issues.
Step two is to recognize what the ‘real’ problem is.
(I put real into those ”, because nothing is really real…).
The ‘real’ problem was that she forgot that she is love, light and deep peace; that’s the real problem, always, in any situation. Instead she believed that it was personal, that she was a victim who got unfairly treated, and that he did not care about her. When we think with the fear-based part of our mind, we choose unconsciously to perceive situations and interactions in a personally attacking way, so that we can be the victim and the innocent one and better than the other, whereas the other person we make out to be the bad one. It gives us this righteous feeling, this sense of superiority which then justifies our anger and outrage. This is the ego in action; the belief that we are separated from Source and from each other, and that we are individual bodies who need to be protected against the attacks from others. We then attack them in the belief that we are defending ourselves. What we experience with people is our own dream, our daydream so to speak, so how can we blame others for what happens? At night, when we dream and get attacked, we don’t blame others for that, because we know that the dream came from our own mind. In the same way, this daily life here is created by our own mind, and therefore it is absurd to blame others for it. You see, even if you don’t agree that this life is a dream, you may still recognize the fact that we ourselves interpret each event and interaction, we give it the meaning we want, and this meaning comes from our mind, it does not come from out there.
The third step is to forgive ourselves for believing the ego, the fear-based thought-system in our mind, and for forgetting the love that we are. In painful moments we obviously forgot our true nature, which is oneness with the ‘other person’, with all beings and with the great Source of Love, God. The third step is to realize that we forgot it again (and again, and again…) and to not judge ourselves for that. On the contrary, we can look at ourselves with loving and compassionate eyes and admit: yep, we just forgot again that we are love. In this remembrance, there are no problems, there is only the awareness of Love, the knowledge that we are spirit, having a human experience, and that it is not serious.
This is what real forgiveness is. All that remains in the end is love and the awareness of oneness and peace. And is it not this that we are all searching?
1. Recognize you feel bad and unfairly treated in some way.
2. Remember that this is your dream. You chose to believe in the dream instead of remaining with the deep peace within. 3. Forgive yourself for it, and remember we all share the same interests, the same purpose, and we are all love. We all forget ourselves in the dream, flip-flopping between fear and love, and we all long to wake up.
Do you want to use this article on your website or your own ezine? No problem! But here’s what you MUST include:
Marlise Witschi, M.Psych., Alternative Counsellor, is the founder of YourHealingWay, a psycho-spiritual system to heal yourself, your relationships, your business and your life. You may sign up for my free audio healing session at: www.internalfreedom.com.