The news is filled to the brim with conflicts taking place all over the world. The medicine against these ailments is called forgiveness. This peaceful solution is alas relatively unknown, and when it is, often considered unattainable. Because of this it triggers contradictory reactions. For some this ‘unattainable’ virtue is a thing of beauty, others consider it something enormously ‘floating up high’ and unrealistic. Sometimes to the point of anger. So what is forgiveness now really?
The disarray on it goes way back. HB on this: ‘We have been separated from the Source for centuries. Religions had a great deal to do with that. Christ preached peace; the church fear. By separating people from their wonderful potential for love, the powerful have attempted to disarm us and deny us. We were taught to seek all beyond ourselves; to diverge all responsibility to gods, saints, leaders, fate. This disabled our ability to draw on our inner wisdom. Separation was thus strengthened.’
Conflicts come into existence through this separation of ‘us from the others’. Our personality, or Ego, is at the basis of this way of thinking. This is not the experience of our soul. Psychology unfortunately knows little or nothing about the soul, let alone on the difference with the ego. So they tend to focus on the personality, and therefore on the physical and the brain. Psychology can, however, shed no light on the soul or the purpose of life.
Witness the reason why we as a society still have no insight into forgiveness. Science which ought to provide us with clarity, can not live up to that. To understand forgiveness, actual insight into our consciousness and our lives is essential. To start with the purpose of life, why do we live, and what are we doing around here? From the level of the soul an answer is available: the purpose of life is to transform ignorance into insight. Our path is concerned with gaining consciousness. It is the path from the personality to the soul. Or more precisely: during the process of becoming conscious we make our personality more and more transparent, so that the light of our soul can attune itself ever more certain with our consciousness, enabling it to radiate outward. People will become themSelves, and turn out to be cosmic beings.
In this process – from personality to the soul – we experience an ever broader reality. The purpose of life is therefore spiritual growth, that is, the learning of lessons. So when anything happens to you, say a crime or an accident, this vision tells you that the situation has a purpose. It signifies something, and aims to learn you something. From this vision it is very hard to succumb to viewing yourself as a victim. So what’ you experience is less important than ‘how’ you deal with it. You feel 100% responsible for your own life, and even though you may not be able to explain everything, and don’t need to, you accept that it has significance, which must be dealt with.
The personality on the other hand doesn’t realise any of this. When something happens to him, he will do something about it. As he can’t deal with loss, he fights for his physical survival, greatly values status, knows great anger, and disappointment. The description of the process of mourning (Kübler-Ross) therefore concerns the personality. First the denial, followed by acknowledgement, and subsequently the anger phase. Then comes the phase of acceptance, and ultimately the phase of acquiescence. Many people can get stuck in the anger phase their entire lives. This results in an inability to gain insight into the process, or draw any lessons from whatever occurs to you. The lessons you learn in such an emotional phase are therefore generally the wrong ones: ‘I will never trust him/her ever again’ or ‘the next time I’m gonna take it out on him/her’, etc.
Yet if you persevere through these phases of mourning (once you have overcome the pain experienced by the personality), you will be able to draw lessons after all, and take another step closer to your soul. As ultimately it is your soul – through your intuition – that inspires you. The clearer you experience and understand this process, the sooner you become able to make your personality transparent, so that the light of your soul becomes more and more attuned with your consciousness and starts to shine through. At that moment you become closer to the one you are supposed to be. You become yourSelf.
The insight you have into your own path automatically makes you more tolerant of others, as you realise how difficult it is and can be. As your soul gains more influence– while the personality dwindles to the background – you start to feel more and more related to everything and everyone. Your intuition as the instrument of the soul becomes a more powerful guide. Ultimately you will experience that we are all one. This unifying experience teaches you that separation is the greatest illusion of all.
As mentioned before, it is the personality that experiences pain. This pain may lead to the emergence of feelings of hatred towards the other (often ‘pain from a different past’ which is now being projected). A popular saying teaches us that you may just as well dig two graves when you hate someone: one for the other and one for yourself. The energy you emit towards the other will mainly consume yourself. Such are the workings of the laws of energy. Another saying in the same category: hate is a poison that you take yourself, hoping it will kill your adversary.
The answer is therefore not an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth. That way you would battle evil (the crime) with evil (hate), as is actually apparent in our rule of law, having ‘retribution’ at its foundation. The law that can therefore not provide an example either, as it also just works to reinforce our personality. As pointed out many times before: ‘a problem can not be solved with the manner of thinking that has created the problem in the first place’ (Einstein). On a ‘higher’ level, or to put it differently, in a broader reality, is where we run into the answer and where its apparent contradictions suddenly turn out to have a connection. ‘To forgive is to surrender the hope of a better past’ (Glaudemans). The personality, however, wants everything to be perfect, or at least all shiny and happy. So someone breaking through that semblance of happiness just can not be accepted, but must be countered. If that can not be done, then retribution is in order. Thus operates and propagates the personality, also know as ego or character.
It is within yourself
‘Well yes, that’s just how I am, I can’t ever let go of something, that’s just not in my character’ is, for instance, a well-known excuse which confines you to your personality. The Dutch ‘Course of Miracles’-expert Willem Glaudemans wonderfully describes another common excuse, ‘Something within ourselves might hook on to something, a raw deal and all, unjust and therefore unforgivable. Me having been hurt by that other, and now I should be the one to forgive! Why should I always be the one to forgive?’ And the only solid and simple answer to this is: ‘Because you love yourself.’ You do it for yourself, and not for the culprit. It is an act of love for yourself. Whomever forgives, loves their self. Your soul wants your liberation, wants you to find inner peace and quiet. That inner process starts with aiming your focus inward. There we will encounter our pain, our hurting, our disappointed expectations, our resentment, hate, anger and revenge, our judgments and our accusations. They are ours, and because they are ours and not the other ones, we can actually work with them. We tackle the process at the root, at the cause, not the effect. The cause of our pain lies within us, and not beyond our selves. Yet our ego loves to point its accusing finger at everything beyond: that one is guilty of making me feel so miserable. Exactly what gets in the way of us learning to forgive. Others may have triggered our feelings, but that doesn’t make them responsible for those feelings. We are … because it is all about our selves. It is an inner process. You do it for yourself, and not for the perpetrator. Your soul wants to be freed, and find peace and quiet.’
What could work well within the world of the personality, would be to use an act of will. You must first decide for yourself, and really mean it, that you want to forgive yourself and the other. How that shall have to be determined, but wanting it is the starting point. This step sets a process in motion that is akin to falling in love. Somewhere down the line that also was an act of will. As soon as you really start to open up to someone, you swiftly find out more likeable things about this person, making that person ever more complete. The same goes with forgiveness. Logically so, as, of course, forgiveness has to do with love. So, once you have decided to forgive, you will start to see the other as ever more complete as well. (That process I have witnessed from up close with my mother, so eloquently portrayed by Alex Verburg in ‘The Reconciliation’. She also started to understand that Ferdi E, the kidnapper and murderer of my father, was so much more than just that one crime.)
Late in 2012 a large family drama shook up the Netherlands. However, the ‘follow up’ had also been remarkable. Mrs Halman had two sons that both fanatically played baseball. Gregory went to America in search of his fortune, and Jason stayed in the Netherlands. When Gregory visited his family in 2012, he was stabbed to death by his brother in a psychotic rage. Mrs Halman later said that her family didn’t have to forgive her son Jason, as they had not blamed him of anything in the first place. Out of insight and love she understands why her son did what he did. Now there is no need to go through the pain of the personality, as there is nothing to forgive. You have not blamed anyone, nor have you been or become a victim. A beautiful metaphor for society to hold onto as well. Just like mother Halman a society can show empathy for the perpetrator and strive for a joint solution. Restorative justice has this at its foundation: whenever something happens it concerns the entire society which is responsible along with the culprit. Restorative justice does not wish to establish retribution, but healing: what can we learn from this, and how can we nurse back the community, the culprits, and the victims back to health?
The cosmic road
The society of humanity extends a long way in the broader way of thinking. We are one cosmic family. We are one of the many manifestations of consciousness. We are all one, we undergo the same spiritual evolution. We are directed by a cosmic law, the law of Reincarnation. Life is eternal, we have already lived thousands of lives. We have been everything before, man, or woman, of any race, religion, or inclination, murderer, victim etc. We have been through a lot already.
So has your child or partner been killed? You may well have been a murderer yourself once. Perhaps now you have to experience, what you once did to someone else. Not necessarily, but possibly sure. The present murderer is therefore much more than just that single act of violence. Like you he is but a soul taking his course. You are not better than he is. You are equals, even though you might be further ahead in the process of transforming ignorance. Yet for all you know it might be the other way around. You never know which road the other is travelling. Any judgment would be out of place. Someone who has separated himself could, however, very easily judge and grudge others. The other is of no concern to him, so he may feel superior all too swiftly. He is good, and the other is bad. Especially once he believes that it is all ‘in the genes’. Our clogged up prison systems are a sore reminder of this limited way of thinking.
Head and Heart
The head by itself can keep its distance. In combination with the heart this gets a whole lot harder. The heart – life’s vital link to the soul – knows of our cosmic connectedness. To forgive is the way of the heart. Thinking rationally you will never get there, as you could just as easily argue in favour or against forgiveness. The answer lies in a different higher way of thinking, knowing intuitively, and not following the tracks that lead you there.
In other words; there is but one road to get to forgiveness, and that is the road inward. The road to the other, to the world, the road outside leads away from that inner path. The road towards tolerance and forgiveness is to gain insight into ourselves, in the workings of our personality, and to develop the heart and the intuition. By getting to know yourself, you will know the other, and therefore everyone.
Than the outside world is no longer a threatening black box, that stimulates our fears. Fear is nothing but a lack of insight. When you gain insight into why something happens, it no longer bears a threat to you. What remains is tolerance and forbearance. Ultimately encompassing a feeling of love for each and everyone. Which is not so suggest that you condone everything everybody does. Even when you don’t agree with each other, you can still love somebody.
Forgiveness assures that past crimes become neutralized. They are depleted of their emotion. No longer are they negative or positive, they are. It has been done. Dot. This effect is also referred to as detachment. The result of forgiveness is detachment. Factually they are the same process, as you strip the personal of the experience. You detach yourself from the emotions the event has triggered. Just like Mrs Halman, devoting and caring to both the victim and the culprit, without ever passing judgement. This would also be the solution for the mother of all conflicts, the battle between the Jews and the Palestinians. They are literally blood brothers of each other, and both culprit and victim. The only solution would be to forgive. The same way of thinking that caused the problems in the first place, can never help us get to a solution. The other and broader way of thinking is called forgiveness.
Our inner wisdom has been out in the cold long enough. The way inside is open again. This starts with accepting your self for what you are. To forgive yourself. To look lovingly at the deeply rooted blockades in yourself so you can more easily let go. Forgive yourself and take your leave. To forgive yourself liberates you. Your soul, any soul, does not judge. He or she realises that every step has to do with a necessary process of becoming aware. Your best friend on this journey is called forgiveness. She has always been at your side, you just didn’t realise it yet.