To forgive all too often seems to be the adage that is a pre-requisite of healing; ‘forgive and let go’, is the echo of the enlightened.
And yet should we ‘let go’? Who will we be then? What will prevent a re-offence at some time farther ahead on the journey of healed forgetfulness?
Forgiveness according to theological scholars requires contrition and penance.
Contrition from the Latin contritus ‘ground to pieces’, i.e. crushed by guilt and that guilt is the feeling of remorse on the damage caused and the loss of connection and intimacy with the other and/or Spirit
Thomas Aquinas suggests, “Since it is requisite for the remission of sin that a man cast away entirely the liking for sin which implies a continuity and solidity in his mind, the act which obtains forgiveness is termed by a figure of speech ‘contrition'” (In Lib. Sent. IV, dist. xvii; cf. Supplem. III, Q. i, a. 1). Therefore apology requires an action and comitment to acknowledgle the and be responsible for the outcome of the ‘distancing’ and to at least try and avoid the act in the future.
All forgiveness starts within; we need to forgive ourselves in order to forgive others and that calls for a contrition and penance also within ourselves. When we forgive ourselves all external ‘sin’ becomes redeemed, in a sense there is no longer a need to forgive others. For they are but a product of our despair, our distancing and separation.
Forgiveness requires an acknowledgement of the ‘sin’ and that requires a setting done of judgement of the sinner. When we judge the sinner, even ourselves as a sinner we judge history from an egotistic future; that is our greatest sin.
Within us is the grief of remorse as we distance and create separation between ourselves and the Beloved; we year to reconcile and return to the bosom of the Lover – this is the contrition of the Soul.
It is the Sin which distances us from the other however that act of intentional distancing and separation manifests. When we are in ‘sin’ we make a choice to turn away from that which we love, we make a choice to create a separation between ourselves and the Lover; we choose not to be loved and we separate ourselves from the Beloved; we choose not to love.
Sin is defined or known by its outcome, sin always produces despair. We may not realise that we ‘have sinned’ except by the resulting despair. One cannot forgive what one does not know. Only when we know the ‘crime’, can we bring forgiveness to it; it is by observing the despair that we are aware of the sin. In this way forgiveness is not a set of doing good words and lip service, it is rather a relational act to a reality. It is a nullification of despair with hope. As sin is always intentional, so forgiveness is an intentional act of compassion.
Forgiveness is an opposite act to ‘sinning’; where sin distances and separates forgiveness unities and connects; sin equals alienation and forgiveness intimacy.
Talk of ‘sin’ may appear to be archaic and judgemental based on religious teaching and may be unwelcome to some. But we live at an edge in the world today and require language that jolts us to attention.
We hear the evangelists calling out about the wages of sin and they usually mean death and or hellfire and damnation.
Let us consider what the fallout of this thing we have come to recognise as sin is…
- We create a separation between ourselves and the one we love.
- We create a barrier between us and love.
- We exile ourselves to the void of the loveless.
- It is we who exile ourselves to man made hell.
And that is not the end of the story…..
We create around us a vibration of pain, of guilt and shame, of regret and by this, in the lonely place, it becomes a rage.
This is the demon that we possess the world with!
At first we are jealous and want to share what the other has; the world has.
Till finally that pain falls into envy and we take without care and with destruction.
Our pain becomes the vibration that permeates this planet and all that live within its embrace. That vibration deforests, culls, steals, makes war, shakes the earth, melts the icecaps, creates extinction. Strangely all this sounds like the damnation of hell!
‘’If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.’’
-Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)
Penance is an action; it is a voluntary, intentional engagement in that reconciliation which arises from love and not fear. As with hope, we are called to action; an action of sorrow born out of love for reconnection.
This contrition should not be an expectation put upon the unforgiven rather a compassionate response within the ‘forgiver’. We forgive as an act of love, calling the ‘sinner’ to enter into that same love rather than to be worn down by guilt and to react from fear of punishment.
With this concept not in our heads but residing in our hearts and soul, we observe the world about us and see that despair, separation and disconnection, that alientaion manifesting in trauma, war, disaster and segregation. We persecute ourselves with apocalyptic prophecies of retribution and annhilation; and because we fear punisment we react to bring external change and condemnation. This very frame of mind, for it is a mind reaction, generates the very energy that manifests our fears.
And then we get caught in attrition, that being worn down by the friction of fear and this is the fear of Scrooge, the fear of punishmnet. And fear begets fear an dthe cycle now further energised continues.
In these days, these times we need to STOP!
And take an account of ourselves and begin the true compassion of forgiveness in that stillness with ourselves.
The world of disaster, apparent or foretold circles around us like a great tornado. We must acknowledge our position as the eye of the storm, not to generate and energise the winds of calamity, rather to respond with stillness and forgiving prayer; holding. Let us not get to that final moment in the Christmas Carol when Ebenezer sees his punishment should he not change, he ask is the things he sees are, “What will be or what could be?”, let us from this moment on not call for change be be the change of forgiveness. We cannot change anything except ourselves.
We talk of forgiveness.
We talk of compassion.
But we really live in fear and that fear is inherent in our lives; And our lives teach us to forget to love, our very words demonstrate that we can make light of destruction and animosity
“I could murder a cup of coffee!” “I’d kill for a chance to win the lottery!”
We teach through hate (think of being angry at children); we shout at those we love; we punish rather than forgive; we joke about pain and suffering; we segregate through diversity (consider allowing comedians to make fun of minorities)
We become beings of confliction.
Confliction creates division, division separation,and we get caught up in behaviour and not in the other,
And off we go again…….
- Fear begets fear,
- And then we forget to love,
- And our Descendants lose their Ancestors,
- We lose our children.
Humans are always reacting to behaviour!
We react to what others do and how what they do sets off our own unresolved loneliness. Then we move to a place of fear. Love and fear – seems that we as humans have this addiction to this relationship. We have become so addicted we cannot imagine ourselves living any other way.
Addictions may start of with a really great reason, a great, “well because…”, but in the end the addiction becomes our master, or mistress.
The addiction tells us that there is no other way and threatens us should we ever consider another way.
We want to love, but are afraid that we might lose, we grow afraid of love because it uses pain to hold us, we live our lives in dread of punishment by our distortion of love and as with all addictions we get trapped into a perpetual cycle of self fulfilling prophecies.
- We lose our children
- We lose the child within
- We lose innocence
- We lose ourselves
- And the lost becomes lonely.
And off we go again…….
Love means you never have to say you’re sorry (Erich Segal 1970)
The one who forgives is the lover who loves without the condition of sorrow.
Love means having to say sorry when you’ve hurt love, and love does not expect excuses or explanations. Love means having to say sorry when you’ve hurt one, but say it without any excuses or explanations.
Penance is an act of reconnected love not punishment. Penance is an act of hope. Hope that requires some action in order that a dream is brought from wishing to realisation. We of this world can no longer sit and idly hope…..
The beloved requires love, Ovid says “that to be loved we must become lovable”.
What are we doing right now, this minute to be loveable? Ask the person next to you right now…..
Absolution is a setting free of guilt.
Guilt is a regret of not having done something we should have done or shame of having done something we shouldn’t have done; an endless circle of wasted destructive energy.
In order to be free, do what you didn’t do, apologise and make amends for what you did do; “I am sorry.” heals so much; set yourselves free; set others free!
Holding is praying!
Praying not to or for, but with.
All prayer is a communication of trust.
Prayer is a duet of lovers; Prayer is a dialogue of love.
A Conversation with the Divine; a vibrational song into the Spirits
Prayer is a relationship of knowing, knowing that there is a listener and that they will respond; The One Above, The Great Spirit, The Creator and all that they are moment to moment present in us.
We have all the wisdom and abilities that they have – there is no more, so don’t ask!
That moment to moment presence is that love affair we have experienced, prayer is the song of that love affair.
Prayer is a gathering together, A holding of a child when the world seems to be crashing about them so that they can manage and deal with that crashing.
A prayer ‘makes better’ and heals in this way, not by changing anything,prayer focuses us on the other; the beloved and in that we are changed. As we change, the beloved is healed.
Prayer is an acknowledgement of not being alone; Not being alone is akin to forgiveness – a bringing together.
Prayer is a surrendering to our communion with the other.
Prayer is that moment! (Referring to the concept of the indefinable moment)
Prayer is this moment!
The Spirits will not judge us, only we judge, only we have to remember to forgive; Spirits are forgiveness.
At this point of today, maybe we are feeling burdened by the responsibility of the world, that everything we do affects the world and that is so!
And of course everything in the world; that the world does affects us, it’s a dance!!!
And please, please know, not believe – know that the Spirits, the Ancestors, the Elders, the Descendants, your Spirit Guides & Allies, the Souls of everyone around you and The One Above in all its manifestations, are by your side, every second of every day. We forget, and when we forget, we think we have to do it all on our own and then we despair – And get irritable – And feel alone.
The world about us is an emanation of our soul, as we are part of the emanation of everyone and of everything else’s souls.
Shamanic Law tells us that everything external is a manifestation of the internal not yet resolved or known, and as we reflect on that, we also have to appreciate that we are the ‘external’ for the other.
So rather than rushing around and discovering ;’sin’ out there, generously healing and forgiving out there; Let us fall into humility
“Mea Culpa, Forgive me, that they may be forgiven”
Shadows hide us
And distract us from the shadow maker.
Forgiveness is that candle flame that guides us into light.
We should know ‘sin’, the separation and its outcomes, for it is the outcomes that call us to forgiveness, not the sin!
The Lonely, not the sin; Let us not forget that we are that pathway!
The penitent never approaches the altar, but always stands at the door and calls to the Divine, who rushes from the altar with outstretched arms.
Prayer is an act of humility, it is asking to come home
There are times when we are cornered…….
Because we are afraid and do not say
Because we are angry and do not say
Because we feel weak and do not say
Because we are in pain and do not say
Because we are in love and do not say
Because we hurt and do not say
Because others turn away and we do not say
We believe we are alone
We believe we are in the dark
We believe no one listens
We believe that no one sees or notices
We believe we are silenced
We believe that others are waiting to make us worse
We do not know…..
And at times we are cornered………
At times we lash out…..
At times the other is always the enemy….
At times we have to be more powerful……
Because we cannot say……
I am afraid
I didn’t listen either.
Begin the ritual here…
Let us make a song for our destiny, for our future, for our Descendants.
Let us begin with simplicity, the Psalm says, “Sing God a simple tune, for God is the simplest of all” ,but with comittment. Let us begin with us. Let us begin with a daily promise to for five minutes be that still moment of compassionate forgiveness. No more than 5 minutes, this is a lifelong act and 5 minutes will prevent the mind analysing and judging; 5 minutes will maintain simplicity; 5 minutes will ensure intensity; 5 minutes will prevent apathy.
Let this be an act of the soul. More often than not we think, energise our body and do. We appear to bypass the heart altogether! So in the moment let Heart and Mind come together and in union with the body do; this is an act of Soul.
THE Surrender to Forgiveness RITUAL
The requirements for the ritual are:
A bowl of water, a large rock, a candle and 5 minutes of your time
Consider anything that you may have done or not done that has resulted in separation or disconnection; with others, with the environment, with images on the TV or in the media, with those less and those greater than you, with any and all your realtions of the earth, trees, plants, animals, the land, the waters and put these in your heart.
Observe and witness in your mind all the events of separatiaon and despair in the world, all the fears and injustices, all the pains and traumas, all the ignorance and indifference and find them in yourselves.
- Without control
- Without expectation
- Without analysis
- Without judgement.
Let these thoughts, gently fall like rain into your heart.
Open your heart as that empty bowl ready to receive. Let your heart catch the falling rain of your thoughts. Follow and speak to the feelings within your heart; whatever the feeling, the cause was in you So use the feelings as a route to the forgiveness.
Let you heart bring a song of apology, of contrition and of penance to these.
Don’t allow you mind to bring an analysis or criticism, or a judgement.
Bring honesty to your feelings.
Bring surrender to your feelings.
Bring vulnerability to your feelings.
Let your heart break open with the feelings.
That keeps you apart from the other.
That keeps you separate.
That keeps you at a distance from the Beloved and the Lover.
As the rain falls into your heart, let everything that you experience become ripples in the pool of your heart. Allow these ripples to radiate outwards into your body. Surrender to the physical experience of the outcomes of your broken heart;
Feel the separations, the divisions in your body.
Do not resist or fight any response of feeling, emotion or physical action;
if you cry – cry.
If you tremble – tremble.
If you’re hurt – be in the pain.
Let your body release the feelings as they ripple into it.
Let your body sing the words of this apology, repeat audibly as you witness and experience, “I am sorry”.
Bring your soul, your connection and manifestation of the Divine Spirit to offer and receive forgiveness;
Hold your hands out before you as an open cup,
A vessel of offereing and receiving.
Let the moment flood into your hands, the thoughts, feelings and physical experiences of separation. Hold them there in your hands with a childlike contrition.
Repeat three times;
“I am sorrowful, draw me closer, let me be loved.”
Say it and hear it.
Slowly bring your cupped hands to your face and place your face into your hands.
This is both an act of giving and receiving; an act of surrender.
Allow yourself to be held and to hold for a few moments, at the same time being aware that as you are held and are holding, so also is the Earth and all her children.
Say to yourself “I forgive me and you because I love me and you”.
We are all water droplets, we are from the ocean, within each of us is the Ocean and everything we do, everything begins and ends with water;
The Ocean of water connects us all.
In the Time before Time, it was the Ocean that came from the womb of Chaos and from that Grandmother, the Earth and all Her Children came.
Water contains all memories from the first Ancestors to the last Descendants.
We are the rain caught up from the ocean by the wind of the mind, condensed by the passion of the heart and we return as rain falling upon the Ocean.
Each act, each word, each feeling, each touch – a raindrop that falls into the eternal Ocean.
Right now wash your hands that hold this moment of forgiveness and love.
Let the water recive your contrition (this is important; the water does take the judgements or ‘sins’), your penance and be your absolution.
Let the water drop like rain, like tears from your hands onto the rock.
Light a candle to disperse the shadows.
Sit with this candle beside you as a sign of your illumination.
When the ritual completed, pour the water and all that it now contains onto the Earth as a blessing.
And let that love affair reside in the bones of the Great Mother.
Why no more than 5 minutes?
This is a lifelong act and 5 minutes will prevent the mind analysing and judging;
- 5 minutes will maintain simplicity;
- 5 minutes will ensure intensity;
- 5 minutes will prevent apathy.
- We can all find 5 minutes
- 5 minutes in heaven is an eternity in heaven
- In 5 minutes 1285 babies are dreamt into birth
- 565 are born into poverty
- 542 people die in 5 minutes
- 80 of those people die from hunger
- in 5 minutes 1 species is a third of the way to extinction
- 3 stars are born
- 25 earthquakes happen
- 750 acres of rainforest are destroyed
- 15 hundred million cells die in our bodies every 5 minutes
- 9 people kill themselves every 5 minutes.
Imagine stopping the world for 5 minutes?
And in that 5 minutes everyone dreamed!
6800,000,000 dreams would begin – at least, now that would be a miracle and miracles change everything.
Allow this physical act of ritual to overflow into an act of connection; hug those with you, email or better still phone/visit a friend.
Make this a daily practice,
Make it the starting point of every meeting, gathering and/or group,
Make it a daily part of family life,
Share it and offer it to others to do.
Make it a beginning, ending or focus of every gathering you have; let it be a part of life, like breathing, like praying and be the rain that falls into the heart of the world and create those ripples!
As much as this may make you feel sad, this is an act of love and therefore joy. It is joy and intimacy that bring healing (we know that the physical body heals faster; white blood cell counts increase, when touched and/or when the person laughs). If we are ‘sending’ the healing of forgiveness, send it with joy. So maybe the physical act of rippling is to laugh!
This is not a flagellation ir a punishment; not a judgment,it is a true act of penance, which comes from true contrition, which is a true act of absolution.
Because this moment is a true act of love and prayer to heal the separations, divisions, fractures, alienations and despairs of this Earth and all Her children. And maybe we will all listen.
The Ancestors are asking us to STOP so we can become the song that will start the Descendants.
If we STOP, the Earth can START and then we can all BEGIN
The Lover comes for us no matter how much we judge ourselves.