Forgiveness: Do You Practice Forgiveness? Can You Let Go?
Lately, I have been giving a lot of thought to forgiveness. I’ve been reading The Disappearing Universe, and A Course in Miracles, both of which talk about the importance of forgiveness. Have you thought very much about forgiveness lately? Forgiveness is quite the concept. How able are you to forgive? Forgiveness helps you as much as it helps those you forgive; it’s liberating and helps in “letting go.” You may even feel as though you free yourself through forgiveness if you can learn to really forgive and let go.
I think that we believe that it is difficult to forgive. If someone has hurt us, we think they don’t deserve forgiveness. We feel we have the right to be angry or hurt and hold on to the negative feelings. If someone has hurt us, we feel justified to be angry and believe the person needs to be punished. So, we hold on to the anger and the hurt and then plan to get back at the person. Through the process of reading these two books, neither of which have I finished, I’ve discovered that forgiveness is really a lot easier than I had thought and I feel a whole lot better than when I carry around the hurt or anger.
As I grow older, I become more spiritual. My faith grows stronger yet my organized religious practice is less. Because of this, I am constantly looking for ways to expand my faith and thus expand my life without the constraints of organized religion. I hope this does not offend anyone but I have found that I grow further in faith being open to more. This searching led me to The Disappearing Universe and A Course in Miracles and the practice of forgiveness.
What if, because each of us is a child of God, we are all pure and innocent? Or what if no one really is doing anything to hurt anyone else? What if we only perceive that we are being wronged while in fact, no one is actually trying to wrong us? What if it all is a dream? What if we are all living a dream and we are simply waiting to wake up. What if we aren’t ready to wake up, because we haven’t learned to forgive and because of this, we live in guilt? What if until we rid ourselves of guilt, we are unable to wake up from this dream? What if waking up from the dream joins us with God for eternity? What if, we really are immortal and we are experiencing the physical world through a dream?
These two books ask the readers to think differently than ever experienced before. Initially these statements can somewhat rock your understanding of the world. Some of what is said in these books leaves it’s readers feeling anxious and shaken up. But I happen to like thinking about “what if?” I like being shaken up if it’s going to
stretch me and lead me to more joy in living. I certainly don’t mind being shaken if it’s going to lead me to an eternity with God. And I’m finding that as I practice forgiveness, I am feeling happier and more at peace. Maybe, just maybe, there is something to the lessons taught in these books.
I am far from doing justice to either of these two books, but I feel like I want to share some of what I am struggling to think about, understand and apply in my life. The Disappearing Universe and A Course In Miracles both say that the world is a dream that we have created because of our unconscious guilt and that salvation will be reached when each of us wakes up from this dream to be with God for eternity. This can only be achieved however, after learning universal forgiveness. Universal forgiveness is learning to forgive and love everyone. Through learning this universal forgiveness, we actually learn to love as God loves us. Because everything is a dream, then everything is an illusion. When we are upset, angry or hurt, we are not upset over what we think we are upset about because everything is the illusion. No one is guilty of anything because all is illusion. We are stuck in this dream world because of our guilt and to awaken from this dream, we must learn to forgive others and ourselves. This is what these books mean in teaching this universal type of forgiveness.
There are many opportunities for us to practice forgiveness, each and everyday. You are cut off in traffic and you want to curse the driver out. Instead, forgive the act. You are waiting in line at the bank and it seems to have stopped. The person at the teller carries on and on, holding up the line for what seems like trivial chatter. This is another opportunity to forgive. You are at work and one of your fellow workers takes up half your lunch time filling the conversation with nothing but negativity. Once again you have another chance to forgive.
To paraphrase Gary Renald, author of The Disappearance of the Universe, remember to say to yourself, each person is a child of God, pure and innocent. Then say to yourself, all is forgiven and released. Practice these statements each and every time you feel yourself upset or uneasy, angry or hurt. Learn to practice forgiveness, not only for those you know and love, but for everyone you encounter in your daily life.
When you begin to think of each person as pure and innocent, it is easy to forgive. Realize that their intentions are good because they are pure and innocent. They are living according to their own perceptions of the world. We live in a world of perception: perception is not truth, fact or knowledge. It is perception. Each one of us can have a different perception. So, don’t get upset. Forgive. Think to yourself, s/he is pure and innocent. Forgive and release forgiveness into the universe. Practice forgiveness and you will notice a change in your attitude. You will find more joy in everyday life. You will find more joy in just being you.
Pay attention to your day. You will find plenty of opportunity to forgive and in the process of forgiving others, you will notice that you are much quicker to let go of those negative emotions. Forgiveness is freeing and liberating. As you forgive
others for their indiscretions, you forgive yourself for your own indiscretions. As you begin to feel better about others, you will begin to feel better about yourself as well. Forgiveness is freeing and very liberating. Give yourself a gift and practice forgiveness daily. You will help yourself at the same time make the world a better place. If we are living through a dream, learn to forgive and make the dream a better dream. Get more enjoyment out of the life we have been given and learn to forgive and let go.
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