Freedom and Forgiveness

Learning to be free is a ‘s work. If we harbor resentment or judgment against ourselves or anyone else, we’re still stuck in the old harbor tied up to the dock. Letting go of even one grievance is hard work. It is good work, not just for us but also for those around us. There is a deep link between freedom and forgiveness.

Phrases posted on Facebook, July 2020

What if when we judge others, we turned the spotlight around to notice if perhaps we haven’t done the very same thing we are judging in our own way or to a different degree? As we accept and forgive ourselves, we will be humanized (forgive this metaphor but it is a little like the way meat is tenderized). It will make us softer and more capable of holding the difficulties at hand.
Here is something beautiful from Mahatma Gandhi: The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.
In January 2018 Arthur C. Brooks wrote in The New York Times: Did the two sides reach agreement . . . Doubtlessly not. Yet something more profound happened: They saw each other as people. This is an increasingly rare occurrence in our country; we have become skilled at avoiding practically all interaction with those whom we disagree . . . we have the ingredients for a culture polarized by the perception that we are good and virtuous, while they are inhuman and evil. The law professor, John A. Powell . . . calls this “othering” . . . But on the odd occasion that people are exposed to each other as people . . .  “othering” is hard to maintain. And that is the rare moment when human compassion and empathy can break out.
How difficult it is to let go of how things should be or how we should be. To meet what is without the mind’s continual demands takes vigilance. It is a way to allow the heart to touch the world gently in a kind of loving Braille.
Mitch Albom this in his book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven: Edward, she said softly. “Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves.
Do you remember those car rides that seemed to be interminable to the kids? They kept asking, are we there yet? I think by now we know the central wake-up question is Are we here yet?
Here’s the ditty that arrived when I asked for help to write a post:
No hot-house haste,
slow down your pace
to a gentle, simple going–
one tiny step and then one more . . .
in time your core will know
how ardently you have been growing.
A self-loving question that might help to make us feel freer is: What better things do I have to do today than complain, try to control what can’t be controlled, or collapse in helplessness? They are each a kind of crutch. Why not think of a small way to make this day beautiful?
From Rachel Naomi Remen: The healing of our present woundedness may lie in recognizing and reclaiming the capacity we all have to heal each other, the enormous power in the simplest of human relationships: the strength of touch, the blessing of forgiveness, the grace of someone else taking you as you are and finding in you an unexpected goodness.
Forgiveness, the kind that is a complete letting go is paradoxical, for there is a hidden net that will catch us in the chasm we believe we’ll fall into when we let go. To be a trapeze artist of the soul we will let go again and again and be caught again and again.
All of us will have had pain and hurt at the hands of some unconscious person in our lives. If we define our lives by pain and hurt, we will be ground deeper into those mired and remembered states. How important it seems then to ask for the gift of being able to forgive that, which needs to be forgiven.  We humans seem not to be capable of true forgiveness unless we are given the gift of it.  We can, however, despise ourselves towards the freedom of forgiving by asking for it, longing for it, and being open to receive the mystery of it.