Every morning I write a little meditation with attached images that in some way reflects what’s going on in my life. I do this for three reasons. To experience gratitude for something I have learned, to share my thoughts with others and to consciously align myself with LIFE while participating, albeit unwillingly, in a death destroying culture.
As a naturalist my focus is usually on some gift received resulting from my reciprocal relationship with nature. But I wrote this meditation to articulate one of the most important aspects of relating to other humans – perhaps the most important. Forgiveness. And I wrote it after experiencing the freedom and gratitude that followed a powerful act of forgiveness associated with a long-term friendship.
In this instance I had to open the heart door, because this person’s confusion/difficulties/ behavior had separated him from the person he was/and is. To stay heart centered by repeatedly reaching out and letting go of an uncertain outcome I had to risk rejection, humiliation, and further mis -understanding. When we finally met heart to heart, apologies followed, along with personal accountability and an acknowledgment of some genuine confusion on his part that remains a mystery to us both. My sense is that other, not so benign forces, were and are probably still in play…
After reconnecting, I couldn’t stop weeping, this time not from grief but from relief. A close call.
What yesterday’s experience reinforced for me was how critical it is to come to those we love from a heart centered perspective regardless of the extent of our personal suffering. And that it doesn’t matter who makes the initial effort, only that one person does. What follows is this morning’s meditation on what I gleaned from this personal experience:
“Forgiveness Is not a word that is used by the Collective anymore, probably because most people are self – oriented, not other oriented. Forgiveness requires a depth of honesty, deep humility, a willingness to listen and then to acknowledge wrong-doing or a mistake made. Without excuses. It requires entering deeply into relationship – a willingness to take responsibility for one’s feelings and actions and most importantly requires two people to participate with Open Hearts…
At the heart level, if a mistake is made and a genuine (generous) acknowledgment follows then Forgiveness is the Gift given and this exchange Frees both. There is NOTHING quite like that feeling.
If not dealt with, the wound begins to seep… this corrosive force will eventually destroy what’s left of that relationship. If the wound is superficial indifference follows.”
And this brings me round to Jesus (it’s holy week as I write) whose final words according to some sources were “forgive them for they do not know what they do” a phrase I find repugnant, but then I am neither a Christian, or a believer that forgiveness can even occur without heart -centered dialogue, and even that isn’t enough unless both parties are accountable for the mistakes/wrongs that separated them in the first place.
Today (as I write) is ‘good friday’ an oxymoronic term if there ever was one although devout Christians will disagree. This morning I read an essay written by a feminist scholar who happens to be a Christian who imagines Christians protesting, removing Jesus from the cross to celebrate Life (not betrayal, torture, torment, violence, and death) “Let’s interrupt the violence” writes Xochitl. One of the points she makes so eloquently is that we live our stories and that “our actions especially the repeated ones can either shape us towards life or towards death”. I will add that this Christian story is not only an ugly one, but it belongs to us as a culture. With the Earth and all her living beings – human and non -human – in peril aren’t we living crucifixion now?
When I think of Jesus I perceive a man of great integrity, a healer, a mystic, a truthteller who was crucified for who he was.
“He who is close to me is close to the fire”.
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you”.
Two remarks attributed to Jesus both taken from the Gnostic gospels.
A wise and honest man, a definitely worth resurrecting, but not from the cross of hell.
I’ll leave it at that.
4 thoughts on “A Story About Forgiveness by Sara Wright”
That last quotation from the gnostic gospels is one that I always interpret in a very Jungian(!) way. Our personal job is to keep bringing what is unconscious into the light of consciousness – history shows us what terrible things happen when whole societies don’t do this. Our present ecological predicament can be seen in exactly this way – don’t you think?
I am a jungian analyst no longer practicing…. yes indeed… i see it both as metaphor and reality
Sara, thank you for this wise and important post. I love your use of the unwinding fern as an illustration. “Fiddleheads” are just coming up in my part of New England and your post has made me think of how we all need to open ourselves and our hearts in order to fully experience the light and warmth of the sun just like the ferns are doing now. They are a perfect metaphor for opening ourselves to the light of truth of what we have done and the warmth of giving each other grace when we make mistakes, two elements that are required before we can journey across our hurt and suffering to forgiveness if we choose.
Good perspective Carolyn – but I see fiddleheads as the stuff of life too in a literal sense – so struck by this concrete manifestation of opening yesterday while in my favorite forest