Bernie Fitterer MDI Contributor
We generally have been taught that we are only bodies in this human existence, and we hold strong attachments to things, titles, fame, money etc… If someone in any way diminishes us, as we are attached to a body and an ego, we tend to judge them as having done us wrong, and believe that if they make amends or atone for their behavior we may or may not grant them forgiveness. We think as individuals who hold the ability to judge others as worthy and determine whether or not we feel they deserve forgiveness.
This is not the “forgiveness” I wish to address.
Wikipedia describes forgiveness this way: “Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, and overcomes negative emotions such as resentment and vengeance.” The act of offering forgiveness, to the offender is considered a means of freeing the offender for the error or sin he made. This idea places an unequal status on the offender as being lower, and the victim as being the higher in status.
If this description sounds confusing, that is because it is. This is a very mixed up way of looking at forgiveness.
In this world of ego form, where we identify as separate bodies, we have been conditioned to believe that forgiveness is something we bestow on anther person for the wrongs they committed to us. You wronged me, I judge your behavior as bad, you owe me some form of penance or correction and have to diminish yourself for me to think you are worthy of my forgiveness. All the while, as the victim, I carry the burden of judging your behavior and attempting to decide when you have paid a fair penance for your behavior so that we can become somewhat closer in status.
According to a sacred text called “A Course In Miracles,” being the judge holds a tremendous amount of burden. It puts us in the position of being the jailer (in our minds), while most often the other party does not even realize that he or she has done anything wrong. To hold the judgment against another person requires a tremendous amount of energy and keeps us in jail, as the jailer of an idea we are not willing to let go of, sometimes to the point of being physically ill.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
If we can shift our mindset for a moment to suspend all judgment, like we do when we see a movie that has scenes which defy logic and physics, we could recognize that we are not bodies, but rather a Spirit that animates all of our bodies.
This is where it can get good again.
As Spirit, we are not bound by the actions of bodies, or by the attachments to things, titles, status, money etc., because we are beyond the physical. With this way of thinking, we are able to conceive that all of our judgments and condemnations of other people’s behaviors and all material things are really irrelevant because all things in this material world are simply illusions.
To free our minds of all illusions requires that we, as Spirit, forgive ourselves for thinking or believing that things are real.
From a physical body perspective, we judge ourselves as the worth of those material things, yet as Spirit, we are much more than any “thing.” As Spirit, we are what animates the body, and not the body itself. By forgiving ourselves for judging ourselves as mere individual bodies, we free our mind to see that all experiences, situations and other people’s behaviors are simply circumstance that take place so we can learn and remember that we are more that the illusion of a body.
Once we have forgiven ourselves for the judgments we have held, we are able to throw away the key to the prison cell that has kept us from embracing the true self we are as Spirit.
Thus, true “forgiveness” is the last illusion we release to allow us to recognize that we are only Spirit … Divine Love.
Take some time to ponder these two different concepts of forgiveness covered here, and see which one brings you closer to feeling at peace in the moment. Whichever idea brings you greater peace will make your human experience much more pleasant.
Bernie Fitterer, MDI, Canada Region, HSI Division, Team Catapult – After a number of Traumas, suicides and deaths, Bernie embarked on a journey of making meaning of life. He found A Course In Miracles in 1995 and since 1997 has conducted a daily practice from it. He has also studied many of the major traditional philosophies, mythology and stoicism.
A Course In Miracles (ACIM) – comprised of a text, a workbook for students, and a manual for teachers – is a quest to question everything you think you believe and everything you think you think by using your state of peace as your guide, by distancing yourself from tension and draw yourself to a mindset of peace.