things i am learning counter to much of my research into both mainline faith and non-faith based psychobabble and spirituality. i simply believe that forgiveness, giving and receiving, is simply not solely an internal work within the self for the benefit of…the self.
counter things i am learning
a reduction of hostility is not forgiveness; it is simply an abatement of hostility within… the self.
tolerance is not forgiveness; it is simply the edge of the abyss of hatred. whether falling into or climbing out of, tolerance is simply a standing at the edge of the emotional abyss within…the self.
a mental no longer holding against is not forgiveness; it is simply a letting go within…the self.
no longer needing to proclaim the other’s offense is not forgiveness; it is simply a subsiding in the need to profess one’s deep woundedness. it is a slow settling within…the self.
an internal empathy, an understanding, of/for another’s real or perceived offense is not forgiveness; it is simply an internal expansion of compassion within…the self.
the diminishing of vivid emotions is not forgiveness; it is simply a waning of memory, and/or a waning of negative energy within…the self.
moving on in one’s life is not forgiveness; it is simply moving on for…the self.
to stop punishing another or one’s self is not forgiveness; it is simply an abatement in the pursuit of the punitive.
silence is not forgiveness; it is simply withheld words.
the passage of time is not forgiveness (and does not heal); it is simply the ticking clock in which memory fades within…the self.
words are not forgiveness; they are simply empty vessels, symbols, vehicles to potentially carry amazing, mundane, or hurtful meaning.
many of these things are good and necessary and in them is the preparation of the ground within, yes, the self. and from this ground is the place in which forgiveness to be given, to be received, may spring.
forgiveness is not just an ego-centrical work, it is far more, far harder, far more powerful, far scarier.
it would be nice to believe that forgiveness is simply an internal work–that is safe, it is easier to hold onto than the truly frightening work of forgiveness. faith based and nonfaith based psycho/spiritual babble would like to tickle your ears with forgiveness as purely an internal work, a work of self improvement, self health, spiritual obedience. but that is incomplete and rings with the sounds of hollow clanging cymbals.
i realize there are some exceptions. there are truly some people who forgiveness may only play out internally and it is a hard, powerful work in its own unique way. as much as many of us would like to believe because of our enormous hurt and fear that we are in the realm of the exception, that forgiveness can only be an internal work, it simply is not true.
forgiveness is very hard work. it is hugely risky for its pursuit and outcome can not be predicted. it is actually quite uncommon. we like to believe we are a forgiving people, but most things we claim as forgiveness are simply the forerunner, necessary but incomplete in and of themselves. most of us stop with one or more of these internal forerunners because it is socially acceptable. others pat us on the back for being such a tolerant, forgiving person. we’ll feel like we are a little better for. and we’ll walk away. yet if we are honest with ourselves, we know we have begun the work yet simply walked away with it half finished. we know.
when we are old, we will regret the incompleteness, the loss of opportunity, the absence of things that may have played out differently if we’d found our way to walk more fully into forgiveness. yet with that age we will be merciful with ourselves and forgive ourselves for our incapacities and lack of courage in our woundings. we will be kind with our regrets. perhaps if the other still lives, we will find the courage to workout forgiveness.
forgiveness is a terribly uneasy work. it is scary. it is risky.
it alters the path of those involved. it changes the future. it softens the blows of memory.
but what will forgiveness really bring? i do not know for it is not to be controlled or predicted. it cannot be manipulated. we can hope for goodness it might bring; but it may not bring goodness?
will the process of forgiveness heal? or rip open? bring peace? or conflict? subside pain? or increase? calm? or expand anxiety? alter future courses? or hold steady? ease memory? or harden it? change relationships? or lock them down? build something new? or replicate the old? or sever? create bridges? or damns? open us to compassion? or close us in? mercy? or coldness? love? tolerance? or hate? will it move us out of our self? or into? will it create humility? or pride filled? open? or defensive? strip falseness away? or create more? expose a more whole truth? or diminish it? will it create hope? or dash it? will it open eyes? or close them?
will it give? or take away? both?
will it move us closer to the divine? or distance us? what of our humanity? our gifts? our strengths?
will we only be more frightened? or brave? more at risk? or safer? more codependent? or interdependent? more doormatish? or welcoming?
what does forgiveness bring? anything? or nothing? something unknown?
is it worth the uneasy internal preparation of our ground of being? or not? is it worth following through? or not? is the risk worth taking? or not?
what might forgiveness bring? i do not know for it’s outcome cannot be controlled, managed, predicted or manipulated.
am i doing the work to prepare my internal ground? will i ever be ready enough? probably not. but as with most things in my life worth doing, i am never ready, or smart enough, or knowledgeable enough, or wise enough, or undefensive enough, or open enough, or loving enough, or compassionate enough or healed enough or humble enough or stable enough or silent enough or clearly spoken enough or know myself enough or the other. i am never enough? they will never be enough? i am never ready, i simply leap or have tried and sometimes i don’t even leap. sometimes i get knocked or trip over the edge of my unreadiness. it scares the hell out of me. it scares the hell out of me that i might leap, fall, trip before i am enough, before they are enough. i know when i start to land, i will be so glad i got knocked, tripped or leap over the edge of my unreadiness.
i will continue to prepare my internal ground for the day i leap, fall or trip over the edge of my unreadiness? or someone leaps, falls or trips into my unreadiness.
yes preparing my ground is what i think i am and should be doing. it will not be enough, it never will be, but it is all i can do. and forgiveness has never been about being enough; no one is ever enough to forgive or be forgiven.
forgiveness is a way of living; it is not an event or words. it is a way of living. if you cannot forgive in little things, than surely you cannot forgive when the wounds are not little. perhaps suffering alters one’s relationship with living forgiveness or choosing to live without it? i don’t know.
i just believe forgiveness is a way of living, any other for me is simply a clanging empty cymbal.0