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Saturday, February 16, 2013

The "F" Word, (Forgiveness)

Dove Of Peace, Pablo Picasso
      My favorite Metallica song is *Nothing Else Matters. Probably because it's a song about fearless undying love in the face of adversity.... you know I'm a sucker for that kind of poetry. Mr. Jones', on the other hand is *Unforgiven. Which, is argumentatively one of their best songs as well. Eloquently written, beautifully sung, painting a picture of the painful life a man endures due to his abusive childhood. "Never free, never me, so I dub thee unforgiven." So tragic. So accurate. "Never free," he says. But why is he never free? Not because he cannot erase the scars of the past. He could overcome them. Not easily, but it IS possible for anyone to transcend the cards they were dealt. No, the reason he is 'never free' is because he dubs someone else unforgiven.
     Whenever I find myself deeply engaged in conversation with someone. When we get down to the nitty gritty of what is really holding a person back from experiencing authentic happiness, I find we get to one of two blockages. The two things that are holding most people back are lack of faith or lack of forgiveness. So many good people tie themselves up in a prison of pain without even realizing it because they refuse to, or believe they cannot forgive another person or themselves for some painful moment (or a series of moments) from their past. And this is what I mean by never free. Forgiveness is the key to real emotional freedom. No one ever likes to hear this, but it is the truth.
Mother Teresa
     "I cannot allow myself to forgive him for what he did. I can not give him that. He doesn't deserve to be forgiven." Never free, then.
     "I will never forgive myself for what I did to her. I was so selfish. How could I do that to someone I love?" Never free, then.
     "Some things are just unforgivable." Never free.
     I get it. I get how forgiveness could seem so illusive. Some crimes are just so horrific, so evil, so disgustingly inhuman that to forgive them just seems impossible. If you believe this, then you don't really understand forgiveness. When you find real forgiveness for someone, you are not giving the evildoer anything. You are not giving her a gift of Grace. You are not saying what he did is acceptable. Nor are you saying that you will tolerate that behavior again. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. It's about releasing your pain, and allowing yourself to leave the prison of continually reliving that pain.        
     Forgiveness begins by taking yourself out of a situation. Looking at it from a higher perspective. Like you are reading a novel. See yourself as a character. Look at your life path. Look at the other person's life path. Ask yourself, how did that person's mistake affect his life path? It doesn't matter if he learned a lesson from it or not. It doesn't matter if he wants forgiveness or not. He is on a journey. He has lessons to learn in this life and his path is different from yours. He will face judgment. He will face karma. Those are his lessons not yours. 

     Now look at your own life path. How has this transgression affected your life? What lessons did you learn? How did you overcome the hardship? Or, what can you learn from this situation? What are you supposed to learn from it? Refuse to let someone else's mistake, someone else's darkness, someone else's ignorance hold you back anymore. When you hold onto anger towards someone, when you get angry every time you think about him or her, you are continually reliving the pain. You are allowing yourself to be abused over and over again. You deserve better than that. You deserve peace. You need to let it go. When you find forgiveness, understanding of the situation from a divine perspective, you find yourself saying things like:
"He was wrong, but didn't know any better." 
"She was lost in darkness, overcome by evil or ego and he couldn't find the light. She is without God." 
"He was afraid. He acted out of fear. He had lost his faith."
"She is only human. Everyone makes mistakes."
"He is evil, I pray that God will find him."
And then you begin to let go, you begin to realize that his path is his, and your path is yours. They just crossed. There was a reason. You were supposed to learn something. Did you? Maybe your greatest lesson in this life is to learn how to forgive. Maybe you had to experience something horrific so that you can find your way out and help others who still suffer.  Only you can find the answer to the why? Look into your heart. Ask God. You will understand if you seek to understand.You have to make a choice to move on from it. You have to refuse to relive your pain anymore. Refuse to be a victim. 
     I know. This is easier said than done. And maybe you think I couldn't possibly understand the depth of your pain. You are right on both accounts. It IS easier said than done. It requires work on your part, and no one can understand another person's pain. Not fully. **Viktor Frankl described suffering as a gas. It fills you up regardless of how it compares to another person's pain. Each person can only understand the suffering he has experienced, but it doesn't make yours any less or more painful than mine. Suffering is suffering.  I can tell you this, though. I have forgiven everyone who has ever hurt me. 
    "How is that possible, Meliss? You mean you hold no anger for anyone?" Don't misunderstand. Anger comes up. Pain comes up. Sadness comes up. When it does, I pray. (Yes, that is my answer for everything. It works every time.) I ask God to help me release the anger and find forgiveness. I ask an angel (Archangel Raphael) every time I feel angry to help me find understanding and bring healing to a situation. And I do. Everytime. And I am at peace with everyone who is in (and out) of my life. Instead of harboring anger for a person, I pray for humor her. I ask that he will be surrounded in God's light and love so that he will find his way back home. It takes time. Healing always takes time. But it can be done. With faith, with hope, with love, ANYTHING is possible. 
Remember, forgiveness is not a gift you give another person. It's a gift you give yourself. Here is a prayer to help you get started:

Help me to understand forgiveness. Help me find peace in my heart. Thank You, God for helping me to forgive anyone who has ever hurt me. Please forgive me for any and all wrongs I have done against anyone else. Thank You, God for helping me to forgive myself. Thank you for cutting all attachments I have to painful situations in my past. And bringing healing to everyone involved. Thank you for helping me learn my lessons and move forward to a life of peace. Amen
Just think about it. Like I said, healing takes time. But as Pink sings in that song that seems to be playing every time I turn on the radio, ***"You gotta get up and try!" No one deserves to be "never free." Instead, "open mind for a different view," because "nothing else matters."

I hold the intention that everyone who lays eyes upon this page be surrounded by healing green light. That you be blessed with divine guidance and wisdom to help you on your path towards happiness. For the good of all things and harm to none.

"Nothing Else Matters" and "The Unforgiven" was written by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, and Kirk Hammett
**Man's Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl. Beacon Press, 2006
***"Try" was written by Busbee and Ben West
Thank you Archangels Gabriel and Raphael for the gift of inspiration, understanding and healing. Thank You, Jesus for helping me find forgiveness in all areas of my life. I am so blessed and grateful.

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