I had a chat Saturday with an old friend and we got on the subject of forgiveness. I don’t know too many people that really have mastered the idea of forgiveness on the planet. At one time or another, each of us has hurt or been hurt by another, the choice then begins to forgive them and move on, let them go and don’t deal with it, or pick go after revenge and retribution for the actions of another.
Have you ever been sorry or something you have done to another and said, “i am sorry, can you please forgive me?” Ever had someone not forgive you? Did they believe in an “eye for an eye X10” as a way to get even? One of my personal favorites is when someone says, “it didn’t sound sincere enough!”
These are the times you simply have to bit your tongue and walk away, as the act of forgiving is simply a choice. You can ask, but that doesn’t mean anyone has to actually forgive. That part of the equation is a choice they get to make.
As our world increasingly moves to the idea of globalization in real time, sans for a few seconds it takes to shoot data up to the satellites and down, we literally have the ability to see the planet in real time. I think this is a great thing. The weakness in our current model is that the Internet and the inexpensive technology that we have to do this, is not bringing people of differing ideas and backgrounds together.
What it is great at is having like minded people all find kindred people for whatever possible interests or like they might have.
As I type I think about the early 1990’s when I think it was newsgroups and bbs. I was trying to get a grasp about what the Internet was and there were myriads of topics. I think one week I went through most of them and went, “wow, for all the really cool things like learning to do some element with computer software, there is the complete freak show here as well.”
But watching the data, you could see the paths that Ethan Zuckerman’s research showed years later with following trends and who was responding on them.
This is the problem of what the current state, as well as what is coming along in what I guess we call the machine age. It is the reason Augmanity is started, as I don’t see the current trajectory of the commerce/security/media Internet really wanting people all to behave and love their fellow man. It simply isn’t’ very profitable.
Speaking of love. It is much like forgiveness. It is a choice. Usually the choice is simply “do I love myself?” Or “do I love others?” Forgive the simplistic generality, but it seems to be about that simple in concept, but the reality of how many layers of self vs. selflessness one can have seem to be infinite at any moment.
I used to think love was simply holding your hands around something and giving it your love. I really did, the idea of proving or earning love probably is a common theme with the way western society, particularly the USA works. It is pretty stupid to love that way, as it has conditions attached to it. This works great if everyone is in it for themselves, but what if there is something bigger than us? This type of love will fail.
There is also the idea of unconditional love. The easiest way for me to describe it is simply hold your hands open and give love. If someone wants to enjoy it, they will come sit on your hand, but they are free to go anytime they want. This model confuses many in the world, as it is not the “norm” of what we are taught or the media with the drama of current day insanity of reality TV shows the viewers.
Both of the aforementioned ideas are “love” of sort. What is the difference between the two? One had the free will to choose to love with no strings attached.
Forgiveness works the same way, as usually, if you love, or try to love in both of the variations mentioned above, you are going to hurt someone, or be hurt. It simply is the way it works. You also can have a third and fourth choice where two people destroy each other, or in rare circumstances, both really understand and walk away loving each other.
Forgiveness is the same. It was only about 10 years ago when I got a real clue into what the word means when I had a choice to destroy someone that hurt me or forgive him or her and love them. Part of the problem with destroying things is that I seem to have a real talent for demolition.
Ahh those six weeks, where one just sat in meditation and prayer and had the worst of the evil inside myself fighting the best of the love inside myself. IT is an experience I really don’t wish upon anyone, but one that I wish everyone had to do. Because you realize after the pain of the war inside your heart and soul that you get to make a choice.
I confess I also had help with an old man in the dessert that never did let me get more than a sentence out about how I was “wronged.” He said, “it doesn’t matter what another does to you, it is how you react that matters. Forgive them and pray for them.”
This advice seemed and still seems a bit odd in the world we live in. You really mean to forgive someone and mean it? Usually we smite each other, badmouth each other and then go attack friends, family, co-workers with little snips to destroy someone else, while forgetting we aren’t any different than the person that hurt us.
It took 6 weeks for whatever that war was inside my heart to be over and I have to call it the grace of god let me walk away, forgive a few people, forgive myself and move on. The movement forward didn’t happen instantly, they say time heals all wounds. There is something to be said there, but time also has no influence on the choice another has to forgive you for anything either.
Much like the free will in how you want to choose to love, you have the same choice in how you wish to forgive.
Do I forgive them, do I just say I forgive them and cut them loose, or do I try to get even and revenge?
If you think back in your life, we all have been on both sides of the equation. When someone comes up and says, “I’m sorry,” only you get the choice to do one of the three aforementioned ideas.
Confucius says that if you want to plan of revenge. Make sure that you dig two graves, one for the victim and the other for yourself.
If you say you forgive someone and you really don’t and you cut them off and cast them into your darkness of vision, you might fool yourself into thinking you forgave, and I do understand, it is a pain in the butt to keep watching someone do the same thing to you…. but you get to make a choice.
The last is probably the hardest. If someone says, “I am sorry, can you forgive me.” And you actually do, particularly in a world where dysfunction and the ability to dispose of people is as easy as throwing away your coffee cup each morning on the way to work.
Maybe forgiveness, love and free choice or free will all really does go together in a nice neat package.
Once you actually do forgive people, even those that walk away, and those you say you are sorry to that walk away
You are simply one step farther in learning how to love with your hands open. No strings attached.
Each day you struggle to let go of more of your self, and learn to love selflessly.
That idea really screws with our modern egocentric society. But if you look out across the landscape of the modern world, it really isn’t all that different than what it was though mans time on earth.
What hasn’t changed much is that to actually change the state of humanity, man has to forgive each other for all the crap we do to each other. But that would probably do away with the weapons industry and then the romantic sensory love with “self” as the main recipient would really suffer horrific downturns. Even Lawyers would be threatened and have to get a new line of work, “divorce rate is down 85%!”
The only thing I do know is forgiveness is a most difficult thing. Forgiving oneself is probably the most difficult. But until you master it. The idea of openhanded love and giving love and requiring nothing in return, just won’t make much sense.
While it will still hurt a bit when someone wrongs you, or you wrong another. Praying for your enemy make little logical sense, yet, it will teach you so much about what actual love.
None of us is anywhere near perfect. At what point will we all realize this about each other and start to forgive each other?
It is the only think that will get rid of the resentment, bitterness, hatred and need for revenge on the planet.
Personally, until you do, you usually have no idea how much baggage and extra weight from your past you carry with you until you let it go.
Learn to love with open hands. Don’t hold on to the “stuff" that slowly kills you.
Alas, it is a choice - only you and I get to make it. That is the beauty of love and why "free will" had to be included in the equation.