Forgiveness is a very popular concept. Everyone who is interested in self healing and personal development is talking about forgiveness and how that is being compassionate etc. However, many people find it difficult or impossible to truly forgive. Some people may think they have forgiven, but a little inquiry and you will find that they still harbor ill feelings. This article will explore why it is so difficult to truly forgive and how to correct that.
Let us say for example, you have had some terrible things done to you by your parents and other people, as many people may say they have. It is even a common expression now for people to get together and talk about how their parents messed them up.
Indeed that is true, we are a product of our upbringing, and I deal with that in many other books and articles I have written, but that is not the subject of this article.
Here I would like to discuss how the idea of forgiving people is actually counter-productive to your personal growth, freedom and happiness.
Why would you need to forgive someone? Because of something they did to hurt you. That is obvious. However, the question is; ‘why are you hurt?’
Being hurt is a two part process. First, it is the action that is done by the other person, which in some cases could be God or Mother Nature who rained on your holiday. Second, it is what has been hurt, that is your ego. And this is what we need to work on.
If you stick your hand in a snake hole, you are invading its home, making it feel attacked, and it will bite you. Depending on the snake, you may die soon after. Is that the snakes fault? Does the snake need to be forgiven for acting out of instinct and doing what it is designed to do? Whose fault is it really?
Every creature has its nature, and it will act according to its nature. You cannot change that, otherwise you are taking the part of God and deciding that you want to change the world you have created. That is a bit arrogant I am sure you will agree. We simple humans have no ability to comprehend the reason and methods of creation in our present conscious state, and so who are you to tell God what He should be doing?
I use the word God here merely for simplicity in our discussion, you should take the concept and fit it to whatever force you believe is behind the creation of all things. God is a convenient word to save space and time instead of saying ‘The Cosmic Force of All creations, the Beginning-less Beginning, the Cause of All Causes, That incomprehensible Thing which came before all Things and will remain after.’
Why do you need to forgive anyone? Because you are hurt. Why are you hurt? Because things did not go the way you wanted them to go. Who are you to tell God how He should have made things or people function?
We all make the big mistake of seeing humans as different than other creatures in nature. You say your mother is not a snake or a dog, she should have known better. That is not true, if you look objectively. Humans have the capacity for higher thinking and conscious actions, but how many actually use that capacity? Not very many at all. People just live by instincts.
We are born with our animal instincts for self preservation, procreation and other animal requirements to keep the species alive. In addition to those natural ones, other instincts are developed in our personality as we grow up. I choose the word instincts because it is more accurate than personality or character traits.
The reason I say that instincts is a more accurate word, is that although the difference is that an instinct cannot be changed in other than very rare occasions, personality traits should be easy to change, but the reality is that they are not. And so what traits and characteristics we develop as a child are added to our basic instincts and become part of that overpowering force which we are slaves to obey.
Only those few people who have determined that they are fed up enough with their life and want to change have the potential to change those learnt instincts, if they are fortunate enough to receive proper education and training in doing so. The rest of humanity is slave to live out their life ruled by what they have become through no fault of their own.
The preceding sentence is all you really need to learn and accept in order to let go of the impossible and purely ego based concept of forgiveness. Being hurt or angry at someone for doing what is their nature to do, that they are helpless to counteract, is saying that you want God to change the world.
Even God is limited in His powers, but you want to be more powerful than that, saying that you should be able to stick your hand in the cobra’s den and pull out its young babies to play with them, and not get bitten.
Let us prove now that even God is limited. There are rules to the universe. Any scientist will tell you that if certain principles in nature where to change, then the entire universe would collapse. And so God is limited by the very rules that He created.
Put simply using a card game of poker as the example, even God cannot beat four aces with a pair of two’s.
You want to forgive someone who has hurt you, but the true cause of your pain is because you are denying reality. Then who is the fool? There is nothing to forgive but there is much to accept.
When you mature enough to accept things as they are, there will be nothing to forgive. Yes, mature is the correct term for all of you who know how an immature child can demand many things and get very upset because they do not understand that they simply cannot have what they want.
It is that simple. Your mother did what she did, for example, and you are terribly hurt and suffer. If you would forgive her, then you would be fine, but it is just not possible, you cannot find forgiveness in you in any way. Hard as you try, year after year, try to forgive her, is not possible. The pain continues, the regret, the repetitive thoughts that she should not have done that, how could she, etc. You suffer and need to forgive her, all the books and teachers tell you that forgiveness is the key, you must forgive in order to move forward in your spiritual growth and emotional healing.
But you cannot forgive her and you suffer now even more because she is preventing you from growing and healing. Your life is limited because of her and what she did, even now robbing you of the ability to forgive.
Maybe you convince yourself that you have forgiven her but there is still some bitterness or regret or negative thoughts about the pain that linger, and so your forgiving is all in your imagination and not truly completed, and for this you suffer more, you are worse, not better.
I am saying that it is not possible to forgive. Forgiveness is an illusion to cover up a selfish ego concept that the world and everyone in it should live and act the way YOU want them to.
If you threw a stone at a brick wall, you will hit the wall and maybe chip off some of the stone or bricks, causing permanent damage. If you threw the very same stone into the sky to hit a cloud, perhaps you even got the stone into the clouds, there would be no damage and the stone would fall right back down to you, having made no effects on the sky or cloud at all.
It is you who has become as thick as a brick wall, when in reality your true essence is like a cloud in the sky. Free and pure, without any fixed form, able to come and go without hinderance, and impossible to damage.
Stop wasting time and energy trying to forgive someone for doing what they had no choice but to do, and spend that energy on realizing your true nature. In this way, you will have nothing to forgive, yet all will be freed, you will be released and truly healed of your pain.
All your pain is due to your behaving like a brick wall, thick and limited, solid and immovable. Find the reality of your nature and release those learnt instincts and habits that make you hurt people, and most of all, yourself.
There is no one to forgive, there is no need to forgive, there is only the need to see and accept reality. Accepting reality is being objective. Objective people cannot get insulted or hurt because they know that a walk in the rain will get you wet, and so why should you be upset if you get wet for walking in the rain.
I do not forgive because there is nothing to forgive. I accept the reality of the nature of the person. A thief’s nature is to steal and that is what he will do. I will learn not to deal with the same thief again. Accepting the reality of the nature of the person and do not give them the opportunity to continue doing what they have done in the past and will most likely repeat in the future.
In this way you will not continue to injure yourself and as you stop stabbing the knife in the same place, the wound will heal on its own very quickly.
As the old joke goes, man goes to doctor and says it hurts when he lifts his arms above his head, and the doctor says; “So don’t do that.”
There is nothing for forgive, people are what they are, but if it hurts you to expect and want anyone to be different than their nature makes them be, then don’ do that.