I’m looking into Kathleen’s focus on forgiveness as a big part of the journey to self-mastery. And I’m benefitting.
I can only get forgiveness as an idea so far – knowledge at the intellectual level. It hasn’t come alive for me – knowledge at the experiential level. And I certainly haven’t realized the truth of it – knowledge at the realizational level.
So let me look at forgiveness in an effort to learn about it myself. Let me start by defining it:
1 : to cease to feel resentment against (an offender): pardon forgive one’s enemies
2a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital (see requital sense 1) for: forgive an insult
b : to grant relief from payment of: forgive a debt (1)
To cease, give up, relieve – all of these have the common sense of the cessation of something. The something is conflict, insult, or debt. In some way we see the other as owing us or beholden to us.
So there are two things we can see: We have a judgment of the other person and we’ve taken action on it as a result, if even to reach a conclusion about the other person (idiot, a$$hole, or cheat).
Withholding forgiveness usually has a second level. It’s usually associated with a manipulation. We’re manipulating the other person to do what we want them to do. If they don’t, we don’t like them, avoid them, or look down on them. Apologize for the offence or insult, we’re saying, and I’ll forgive you. Pay the debt first.
The answer to the cul-de-sac this leads to would be to stop the action, drop the manipulation, and cease judging. That’s the operational content of forgiveness.
I can get things more easily if I operationalize them in the beginning, to set up a practice. I get a thing more and more the more often I do it. So:
(1) Stop the action (resentment, hostility, scheming),
(2) Drop the manipulation (making the person pay), and
(3) Cease judging (labelling, stigmatizing and marginalizing the other person).
This then is my beachhead of understanding. (2) Let me start from here and fan out.
(1) Merriam-Webster Dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/forgive
(2) “A Beachhead of Understanding,” Aug. 16, 2013, at http://goldenageofgaia.com/spiritual-essays/the-path-of-awareness/a-beachhead-of-understanding/ and “Establishing a Beachhead of Understanding,”