Is Forgiveness Far Enough For You?
Learning to forgive is one thing, but it’s just a small step toward an even bigger spiritual principle: We are all one, and there is really nothing to forgive.
When Joshua Becker posted a couple of weeks ago about forgiveness, I immediately had two very strong reactions. First, I was glad to see a spiritual message on a blog related to simpler living. Second, I was somewhat uneasy about the message.
Forgiveness, I immediately thought, is for beginners. Perhaps that sounds arrogant or pompous, but I can’t think of a better way to say it.
Joshua’s post, The Life-Freeing Nature of Forgiveness, is beautifully written. And he’s right. You can’t have a “light, easy and free” life if you are weighed down by spiritual and emotional baggage.
But forgiving fades into uselessness as you grow in spiritual understanding.
In fact, I left a comment on Joshua’s post trying to state my position, but I didn’t do very well. Here’s what I said:
Forgiveness is powerful, but it’s only a first step.
If we really believe we are all one – parts of a whole – then there is nothing to forgive. Does your foot owe your nose an apology? One part of humanity doesn’t owe anything to another.
If we can reach a point where we realize we are all one spirit having human experiences, the need for forgiveness goes away. Until then, forgiveness does feel good, though.
A few other people commented about the post after I left that response, but no one bothered to agree or disagree with my assertion. Apparently, I didn’t make my point very well.
But how can I say it better?
We are all parts of a whole. You can call it one consciousness in different manifestations — or perhaps we’re all little pieces of one thing who offer back interesting experiences to a God that has no other way to have experiences. However you look at it, we are all one.
When you step in a pothole and hurt your ankle, does your leg deserve blame for very literally letting you down? When your wrist is sore from too much typing — as mine is now — does you brain owe your wrist an apology for creating more than your wrist can express?
Wrists, brains and ankles are each parts of one whole — a body. While momentary weakness (or overbearing) by one part causes damage to another, forgivess doesn’t enter the picture.
Maybe my examples fail me, but I’ve done the best I can.
I’ll put it another way: Forgiveness is giving up resentment or claim against someone else, but who do you resent or have a claim against once you realize we are all one?
When we understand that we’re all one thing — one spirit, one consciousness, one fully-divine being — forgiveness starts looking rather silly.
Requiring forgiveness of someone else or needing to forgive someone else for spiritual cleansing becomes impossible when we realize there is no one else. We are, as I keep saying, all one.
I had some very unpleasant experiences in my childhood and early adult life, and I was treated in ways that some people might have to work to forgive. (I grew up as the only openly gay kid in a small Texas town, so you can accurately guess the details of that experience.)
No one owes me any apologies, however, and I have neither forgiven anyone nor do I still hold hostility toward anyone. I’ve grown into a better person than I once was, and because of my growth, the whole of which I am a part is better, too.
The damage inflicted on me by my past still comes with me, but it doesn’t possess me. I hope your past damage doesn’t hold you hostage either.
If separating yourself from the wrongdoers of your past and forgiving them helps you, do it.
Consider, however, that there’s another way: When you accept that we’re all one, you have to accept that there is nothing to forgive.