“So, why is forgiveness so important?” you may ask. The reason is this: Forgiveness is the pathway to peace of mind and when your mind is at peace, the world is a beautiful place to be. We all want that! The kind of forgiveness that we are talking about is not the kind that involves seeing someone as guilty and then pardoning them out of the goodness of your heart. This superficial form of forgiveness actually maintains guilt and will not empty the mind of the thoughts and beliefs that cause grievances and hurt. You can tell if you haven’t truly forgiven because those same emotions and attack thoughts can be triggered again and come bubbling back up to the surface to play out in yet another form.

True forgiveness is to release the belief that someone or something outside of myself can make me feel the way that I do. The great thing about accepting responsibility for our state of mind is that we begin to realize that perception (the way we see things) and the emotions that we feel, come from our interpretation. This is where true power, certainty, and peace of mind come in. Imagine making a firm decision to no longer see the world in terms of right and wrong, good and bad.

All hurts and grievances and problems are in the mind, which means they are being remembered and held on to; experienced now as if they were really going on in this moment. To experience hurt “from the past” is a present decision. To really see that I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts, and that it is my decision to hold on to thoughts that cause me pain, may seem too easy and simple to accept, particularly for a mind that is convinced that struggles and difficulties are part of normal life. Gods will for us is perfect happiness, and when we are lined up with His will we experience Grace, and life is an intuitive flow of synchronicities and joy. Ideas such as, “You have to take the good with the bad” and “You have to experience hard times to appreciate the good ones” make no sense at all and are laughable when we are in an experience of true joy!
As in A Course In Miracles, we are going to look at removing the obstacles to the awareness of Love's presence. This is true forgiveness. We have often heard that love is our natural state, that all we are is love, and that we need not work to understand who we are, but how many of us actually experience this on a consistent basis? It is not enough to say these words, or to try to affirm the truth, and so we must be very humble, and be very honest about how we are feeling in each and every moment. Are we in an experience of complete joy or complete peace? If not, then there is something to look at, there is a block to love’s awareness that can be addressed right now. It is looking, without fear, upon these blocks, that automatically propels us into an experience of Who we are. It is literally the Spirit that does this for us.

Often times there is fear associated with looking at specifics or looking at egoic (fear-based) thoughts. This is because the ego counsels, “Don’t go on a witch hunt, this is a waste of time. Don’t analyze. You are thinking too much”. Instead, it counsels, “Go for gratitude” and “Accentuate the positives”. These statements can be helpful pointers that there is something more, but in this case they are being used as defenses to avoid looking within. The mind is afraid to look within because there is a fear that something very dark and threatening will be found there. But it is the very willingness to look within that recognizes that these thoughts are really nothing. The willingness itself automatically releases an experience of Who we really are. This is bringing all of our misconceptions, misperceptions and false ideas of enlightenment to a real, practical experience of living in the moment. This is freedom. This is non-achievement. This is being content with Who we are.

Taking responsibility for our emotions and the cause of our upsets is an essential first step in healing. This helps in bringing the power back to ourselves and away from the world and other people, eliminating the idea that we can be a victim at the mercy of the world. This is often referred to as, “If you spot it, you got it”. The next essential step in healing is to recognize that nothing in the world, including myself is to blame, for anything. The Spirit (Who I am) can not be blamed. We truly are innocent in every way. This is our experience when we recognize that even what seemed to be our own judgment was impossible. The greatest gift you can give to anyone is the recognition of Who you are.

One common ego statement is, “Be quiet, there’s no need for words”. What is underlying this kind of statement is an aversion or repulsion to words or sounds. Yes, as a stepping stone it can be helpful to go to a quiet place to learn to meditate, however at some point it must be realized that a repulsion to words is still a misunderstanding of what true quietness is. The reason this is important to understand is that there are many instances where we are called to speak and yet a fear arises about what this will do to someone else. Underneath is the belief that someone else can be hurt. This immediately places the two of us apart from one another, when in fact speaking will lead to a recognition of our connectedness. When we have the courage to speak up, it means that, at some level, we understand that we are all in this together. This cuts through a major ego defense of people-pleasing and takes the lid off repressed feelings and emotions.

Any kind of forgiveness that is based on the idea that something has really happened is a very limited form of forgiveness. True forgiveness need be the goal of all who desire to experience peace and innocence. Many times the question is asked, “How do you forgive?” But really this is a wastage of energy. It is much more appropriate to devote our time to looking at how we spend our day judging and comparing. By looking at all of this misuse of mind energy (egoic beliefs) we automatically eliminate its power to rule our lives. What we are left with is the true Observer that witnesses the analyzer, the judger, the victim and the perpetrator. This is the state of true non-judgment, or the process of true forgiveness. It is a decision to watch these thoughts and redirect the minds energy from identification (attachment) to disidentification (detachment). In this is the realization that the thoughts have no power in and of themselves. Instantly a sense of true power arises because we are not identified with these old “tapes” of judgment (cyclical trains of thought that go around in the mind).

Once there was a monk who desired peace and enlightenment. He walked up to the Master and asked “How?” The master simply grabbed the monk and held his head under water. After the monk had struggled for one minute, the master pulled his head out and said, “When you want enlightenment (forgiveness) as much as you want that next breath of air, it will be there for you.” This is the fervor and passion that we need to bring to our attention in daily life, so that we can experience our true inheritance; love. All obstacles will pass away into nothingness leaving only an experience of beauty and peace.

Author's Bio: 

The Messengers of Peace live simple devotional lives, hosting retreats and traveling where invited to share practical gatherings that inspire and bless all who seek peace of mind and enlightenment.
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