by Mike Hayden
by Mike Hayden
It is rare that one can really forgive and forget. When we feel we are wronged by somebody we may be very good at giving them a second chance. We may feel that we have forgiven them and are ready to let bygones be bygones. However, by the third, fourth, fifth, or 50th infraction, we find ourselves much quicker to react to the situation. Each time, like peeling back the layers of an onion, we have less patience, are feeling more raw, more frustrated, and if we are the type prone to tears; just like the onion’s effect, we shed more tears more easily. Which only serves to teach us, or reminder us, or make us aware, that we really haven't forgotten the first incident, have we? And if we haven't forgotten, does that not mean we haven't really forgiven?
I think it does. Those of us who are on the path of studying Spirit and the way of love and light, or those of us who are following the religious path, can sometimes lull ourselves into thinking that a warm smile and a genteel demeanor means we are practicing forgiveness. Instead what it means is we are practicing Tolerance.
What Do You Tolerate?
Tolerance, as a reaction when confronted by wrong doing, is a great first step. We should honor it and encourage it. It is admirable yet it is not the end game of what the true master seeks. Tolerance does not really address the injustice being perpetrated, it only allows for a more peaceful space, a space that can allow for a deeper level of redress or healing to take place. But without that more expansive, more crucial level occurring, tolerance is left as nothing more than a placating or even a dismissing of the issue.
“I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers”
- Kahlil Gibran
- Kahlil Gibran
The true master understands that ultimately, the other is the self. This is a rather challenging concept to anchor deeply in our mind, yet alone our heart, which is where it eventually must lodge. Kahil Gibran is referring to the aspect of our experiences that has us learning so much by experiencing contrast; that is, from having others really testing our reactivity to how they are pushing our buttons. Notice Gibran is aware that he is not able to be grateful for these experiences, yet he has clearly learned the lesson of when tolerance and/or keeping your opinions to yourself may be the wise course. He is aware that he is not able to forgive the other person because ultimately, forgiveness and gratitude go hand in hand.
There is indeed the flip side to tolerance: feeling indignant or hurt because you have been wronged, seemingly intentionally, by someone else. And that is what can nudge us to lean toward the “other” direction of being intolerant. So if tolerance is the first step, is justice the second step? Because, after all, should we not make sure we are not wronged again in the future?
Does Justice Prevail?
In courtrooms since Roman times we humans have had the vision of balancing the scales of justice. The implication being that both sides of an argument have some validity, and finding the middle course, as the Zen masters would say, is how one achieves justice.
But justice also carries an energy of corrective action, and corrective action seems to sometimes be at odds with tolerance, as tolerance suggests the “turning of the other cheek”, and corrective action could suggest a more forceful response may be in order. When someone curses at you, you may want to curse right back (as I did this past week), or you could hold your tongue and elect for more tolerant behavior (which I was unable to do). And this is what got me thinking…
Where is that balance between standing up for your own honor and dignity, versus simply behaving just as the other person did, and not learning anything from “the contrasting” experience?
This person in question had done this kind of behavior in the past, and I thought I had forgiven them and moved on. Yet when the spark hit the sulphur once again, my flame of justice ignited, consuming any tolerance and forgiveness with it.
Par for the Course?
Ah. The essence of being human. If you find you are having more experiences like this in the early part of 2011, it is appropriate. The energies that are flooding the earth from our Solar System and beyond are specifically designed to burn up the old earth energies, the denser energies of intolerance, injustice and non-forgiveness. Alchemically, how that happens, is they must reach combustibility first. They must rise in temperature, come to the surface, be exposed to the air and then burn up.
So it might not seem as if we are making any progress, especially if it looks like the “same old behavior and triggers” are being experienced. But this time there is a difference.
For me, the difference was that I am very much aware of the interaction and my own behavior. And that is something that was actually pretty rare, for all of us humans. The old earth energies carry a great component of “unawareness”. It is par for the course for many to just keep repeating the behaviors that are discordant over and over…and feeling that it is quite acceptable to do so.
The New Course
In the newer energies of openness and transparency that are now coming more powerfully into the planet, we are becoming hard pressed to remain lost in our unawareness, asleep in our old belief systems that hold another is different from me, another is not my equal, and I have no responsibility to treat them as I would prefer to be treated myself. A great way to think about these things is taking a page from how our great grandparents may have expected us to treat, say “Mr. Wally” down at the corner grocery store: “Son, when you pick up the pantry items, you make sure you treat him exactly the same way you would treat your father. Be kind and be respectful.”
Somewhere along the way, that ancient wisdom got lost in the mire of judging and categorizing each other. But the reality is, no matter what station one is perceived to be living or working in, the time has come for us all to embrace unity and wholeness. There can be no more artificial positions that dictate that one or another of us holds a “higher” or “loftier” position than the other. Because how we treat another is now more than ever directly and energetically the way we are really treating ourselves.
And A Price Tag Is Attached
If we continue to treat “ourselves” without intending to bring in the utmost in respect, the true course of honoring another human being, our own path will become rapidly more difficult and troublesome. The new earth energies are now primed to immediately mirror back what we put out there. Time and space are shifting rapidly; we are well aware of how fast the days, weeks and months, even years, are going by. But it is not just limited to the passage of the days of the week…if we don’t start “getting it right”, as in, right action, we will find our immediate world, the one we live and work in on a daily basis, will crack and crumble. Literally. We will become less prosperous; less secure, less happy…will find trouble and difficulty at every turn.
The Good News
Is that the “justice” and “honor” we each seek as we interact daily with one another will be directly reflected back to us by how well we take another person’s justice and honoring into account. It is about honoring ourselves as we honor another. By starting with true tolerance, then seeking to be kind and just in our actions and reactions, we can finally venture into true forgiveness.
And can you imagine how THAT will change your world?