Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Essence of Forgiveness

When we are confronted with the brutality of the world, with an unjust act made upon another, we often act with outrage, anger, and will often want to visit the same or worse injustice upon the person who has done such a horrible deed.

And its sometimes, often, a knee jerk reaction.  I know that I do it, have done it, in the past.  I still do.  And yet, concurrent with this is also something that has been with me since I was young, which is a very different reaction or impulse....which is that for as long as we simply react with an eye for an eye, we never really ever get to the root of the problem that caused such terrible things to take place to begin with.

Today while coming across the story of the Goddess, I also was confronted with a terrible image of pure brutality of a child that had been beaten and raped by her father.  The sheer rawness of this image was used as a way to drive home the point of something happening with one rather misled politician who has suggested that a woman's body has the power to fight of getting pregnant.  I know little more than this because, quite simply, I do not watch the news or most of popular information out there.  But it does filter in from time to time and I am aware of this flap that has occurred.  The point here is that instead of feeling outrage as I have in the past, I only felt very very sad.  I felt sad for the girl that this happened to.  But I also felt sad for the man who did this to her.  In our anger and sheer rage, we lose sight of the deeper issue that is true that will not get addressed as long as we seek an eye for an eye.

We have to get to the core of suffering and pain.

Now I know, its very hard to have compassion for a human being that so willfully seeks to do harm.  But what I know without any equivocation is that this man suffers from something that is not native to his soul.  I KNOW what the soul is made of and I KNOW the soul is love.  I have always believed that people were good underneath all of this bad.  But absent any good answers, we are left with just wanting to raise pitch forks into the air and join a lynch mob.  Our own hurt and suffering drives us to strike back.  But what we do in that moment is to record upon the heart of the world one more heinous act regardless of the reason for why we feel we are justified in doing so. Even if it is bad, or even evil. It still does not change what we ourselves have written upon the breast of the earth and which has now been burned into our souls.

No one in their soul self would do such a terrible thing.  They wouldn't. So the answer is in becoming aware of that soul self so the love can shine to heal all our cracked, fractured, and even broken parts.  We need a force that can such out the poison that has leached into our bones and that has turned us from divine into destitute and wounded amnesic angels.  I ask you, which is better: to strike back at a person who had done harm so that it no longer lives in our world or seek to heal that soul so that no more hurt like that person?  The answer inevitably is that we have tried to rehabilitate people and it just does not work. Just now I realized that my grandfather actually believed, I think, similarly.  He was called upon to help fashion the parole system in the state of Virginia. As a result of this work he did, he was given the job of supervising a series of boys homes that were being created in order to address the problem of minors who were considered delinquents who had gotten into repeated trouble but who could not, because of the law, be tried as adults. My grandfather had the power to say what he wanted to see in terms of how these schools or homes were set up.  He said he wanted each school to have land that could be farmed.  He wanted these boys to farm the land and learn where the food came from. He wanted to give them a very structured life because he knew they had gone wrong through a lack of structure.  He also wanted to have a system in place that provided a positive feedback for behaving, thus certain privileges were provided and boys would receive promotions within the system. What resulted was the lowest rate of recidivism of any correctional facility in the state.  While it did not have a perfect record, it did show that there are ways to retrieve the souls of our youth and help them become the people that wont wind up in trouble again.

The problem that we have is that we say once a child has gotten to a certain age, 18, that its nobodies responsibility to try and raise them. Some people want this to fall upon some agency.  Most often, though, people just get housed because the resources required are seen as taking away from other more important needs like education, roads, or health care.  Besides, why would we spend any more than we have to on a lot of people who are the worst of the worst?  The answer is that until we do, the cancer of this will continue to spread.  Fathers will beat their children senseless because they were likewise beaten senseless and thus have no check on their anger.  I grew up in a family where I lived in fear of an angry stepfather, and I know the rage and hurt that can live inside when these kinds of things happen, but long after that person is gone the hurt festers and remains. So who is hurting whom in such a situation?  We do.  We hold onto that hurt, that sense of justification in something that belongs to the past.  I ask; what good does this serve?  What good is served in erecting an altar to such pain and misery?  And what does it solve?  We tell ourselves that in memorializing the hurt, we remind ourselves never to have such hurt in the world.  And yet, it never works this way. This is a false belief in how we think things will go.  Instead, we keep the echo active and it bounces inside of us until we excise it from our hearts and souls. We do not cut it out, we do not even beat it out of ourselves.  We do not do push ups or run marathons or become president to prove how much better we are.  We merely use the rage to fuel other activities that never get us beyond the rage burning inside.  We can use the rage to bring awareness, but at some point the rage has to stop and the real work begins.  And this has only ever happened in my experience when we do one simple thing; we forgive.  We let it go. This is nothing short of miracle work because it means that we let that person off the hook.  We let them off the hook because as long as they are on the hook, so are we. Its true.  It will always be like this.  Always.  So you get to the end of your rope with the rage and hurt and then what is left?  There is nowhere to go.  You have to let that rope slip from your fingers and you let yourself forget about it.  Completely.

When this happens, a most amazing thing takes place.  You feel utter relief.  In that moment you suddenly see things differently.  its like you have been holding something inside for so long that you forgot how badly it hurt. You feel so much better as a result.  In this place, all of the old concerns and positions simply fade away as this thing in you becomes a distant memory.  And this happens very fast.  You pull a stick out of the mud and the water rushes in around it and in a few moments, it is as if it had never even been there.

But how do we address the suffering of others?  Again, this is tricky because as long as we are on a crusade, we aren't really interested in reforming others.  Reforming others is more a moment of inspiration.  It is in fact, a gift from the Goddess that resides in each of us.  She calls to each of us to listen if we will but allow ourselves. She takes us into her heart and it is her presence that will suck out all the poison in our lives.  Just her mere presence will do this. But to feel it, you have to reach a place where you are ready.  Its not even an idea or an imagining.  It is very real and powerful.  We don't know how real it can be because we have quite simply banished her from our lives.  But she is returning, and she returns not on some cloud from heaven but within each of us, from the inside out.  What she brings is grace and in that grace there is forgiveness.  What you will discover in that moment when you are inspired by her great and nurturing presence is not that you need to forgive someone else, but that you needed to forgive yourself. Here, in this place, comes the recognition, the absolutely undeniable reality that everything that has ever happened, we have had a hand in.  But we cannot and will not know or feel or see it for ourselves until we reach that place where we can feel HER.  Her grace.  Her nurturing and forgiving presence.  IN her arms, we relax and utterly let go.  And that is what she is about; letting go.  She alone is capable of embracing the mystery.  It isn't our masculine that does this.  Its true.  He is something very different, and yet each of these two forces were designed to be one.  To work together.  He can illuminate, but she can allow you to be comfortable with not knowing.  Sometimes knowing only keeps the awareness active of what has been before. Let her drop down around you like a vast landscape full of stars and a slip of moon rising.  She will quietly pull all the pain and poison from you as you slump into her arms, utterly incapable of knowing how to hold onto that old rope.  Her presence will soften your grip as you fall....

We only will help others when we can inspire them to do the work necessary, I am afraid.  We cannot simply right a wrong at the end of some pitchfork.  We may continue doing it, but this does not mean that the condition of the world gets any better.  At some point, we have to bring love into the equation because it was because of a lack of love all the way around that things have gotten the way they have. There is always a reason for why people do bad things, and it will always go straight back to love.  A robber robs because he or she does not feel like they have enough nor do they feel like they have the means to get it on their own.  Otherwise, they would. Somehow, they feel like they have to make a shortcut.  Some steal out of desperation because they have not good answers to a very bad situation.  It is a lack of love that will blind someone selling methamphetamine about the consequences of such an activity, for love will most certainly open you to the ramifications of such things.  Acting out of our own unresolved rage, we hurt others never stopping to think what the result of acting on that rage will have on them. There is a better way; let the rage out but don't let the rage out on others.  It does not belong to others, it belongs to you. let your anger and hurt out of you.  Yell into the darkness, take a hammer and beat an old wooden stump to powder.  Allow the echo of that hurt, all that nervous energy out of you. It is widely known now that such actions does have a result on our neurophysiology and can allow us to lessen and release those old blocks.  And if it does not seem to help, keep on doing it. Do it each day if you have to.  Pray before that old dead stump and explain that you are seeking to let all this junk ooze down into the earth where the grace of our Mother can transmute it for us. She can.  And she will.  But you have to be focused on wanting it gone.

I am not going to pretend that the world's problems will go away tomorrow if you do this.  This is not going to be something that is healed in a twinkling. it will be healed person to person.  But as each person does heal, it inspires others bit by bit.  It changes the signal in the matrix of our collective human soul on the planet. And when the time comes, we will also learn how to cleanse the earth and rid ourselves of this old energy once and for all.  But until then, the change must happen with you.  Then, as each person does this, the energy changes.  its a big hill we have to climb, but just as Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the hill his people had to climb to reach the promised land, his efforts did not go wanting. Things DID change, and it changed because people took it upon themselves to do so. Person by person. Person by person they locked arms as they took that now-famous walk from Selma to Montgomery Alabama.

We have a long walk, but each journey begins with the first step.  We don't even need know the way, but trust that we will get there.  What we need is someone who can inspire us, someone who has already seen the Promised Land. I know what that land looks like.  I know its touch, its taste, and feel. Its the only place we need go or know in order to heal the wounds of the world.  It is not a specific answer, but a broad pronouncement that there is nothing that hurts you that cannot be healed. If you come to HER you will be healed.  Just get to the end of your rope and cry out for HER.  That is about all you need to do.  The world will conspire with you to get you to the end of your rope and it will also conspire to see to it that you also succeed in letting go.  

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