Forgiveness (ot)


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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 30, 2008 - 05:18pm PT
Lately I've let myself indulge in another round of political postings. It's questionable if those arguments change anybody's mind, but it seems important to lay the issues out sometimes. Unfortunately, it's also divisive.

Since my last trip to India, I felt inspired to share more positive insight that's not polarized by political persuasion. Here's something I wrote on Forgiveness. It's a subject that has served me well to make me a happier, more peaceful person.





Many of us feel that when we forgive somebody, weíre doing them a favor. Perhaps theyíve changed, or apologized, or maybe we feel that we made them suffer enough.

The reality is, that the main beneficiary of forgiveness is the forgiver.

Every time we harbor an ill will, hateful feeling, or persistent negativity towards someone, we pack it away in a dark place within ourselves. This is a place of pain.

Many times we try not to think of this dark place where our wounds and angers live. That is called denial. Denial creates an obstacle to the honesty that we require to know ourselves. Denial can only exist by our maintenance of willful ignorance of reality.

Other times, we remember the wrongs done to us. We chew on the ill feelings about those who hurt us. We relive those negative emotions over and over, suffering the pains of the past once again. Suffering the pain of the past without resolving it needlessly multiplies our suffering in life.

The process of forgiveness liberates us in many ways.

First, facing and accepting the pain that we have endured in life empowers us to let go of it; to be free from the weight of our accumulated suffering. Witnessing the negative charge within us, without holding on or spinning it into a new drama, allows it to pass from us. Bravely facing our pains and judgments breaks the habit of denial.

Second, it is our imaginary idea of ourselves, the ego, which jealously and selfishly catalogs the crimes committed against us. We see the faults of others, and their transgressions, and gloss over our own.

By stepping back, we can witness the clinging and justifications of our mind. The egoís brutal grasp on us weakens every time we release our pain and negativity.

The judgments we hold against others creates the framework for our judgments against ourselves. Taking the leap to forgive others releases negativity within us, and automatically begins to heal the grudge that we have with ourselves.

Change yourself and everything changes around you. Donít take my word for it. It will be obvious when you do it.

By now, many people have been thinking of important objections to this whole idea of forgiveness. After all, many of us have suffered very real and painful abuse and nobody wants to line up for more. Letís look at the devil in the details.

Does forgiveness mean we have to enter into relationship again with those we have forgiven?

No, forgiveness is an inner state of not holding on to negativity. If expressing that forgiveness will subject you to further abuse, donít disclose it. Forgiving the violent ex-husband doesnít excuse his actions, nor does it mean you have to take him back. It just means that you arenít holding negativity within yourself anymore that ties you to those past pains and wounds.

We donít have to resume sending money to the wayward daughter so she can finance her alcoholism. We donít have to dismiss charges against the violent criminal so he can go find another victim. We can tackle muggers, speak out against injustice, and protect the weak and exploited.

How we deal with the various and complicated situations of life that evolve out of our decision to break free from our negativity can be inspired from our heart, with due consideration for all the factors involved.

Once we take out our emotional garbage, our feelings will give rise to intuition. Our minds will be free to take a less-biased view of the state of affairs.

There is often a middle ground in many situations. Itís often possible to have an amicable friendship and supportive custody relationships with an ex-spouse without re-marrying them. Itís often possible to work with difficult people without internalizing negativity about them but without accepting degrading treatment at the same time.

Miraculously, we often find that once the hatred is out of our own hearts, others can no longer sustain the negativity they have for us either. People who we assumed were rotten to the core are suddenly capable of humanity.

If it feels safe to express your forgiveness to the one you had begrudged, it can often be a liberating experience for both of you. Use your intuition and courage. Even if they donít deserve it, sometimes especially if they donít deserve it, it can start a chain reaction of transformation and grace that cascades into the world we live in.

When you see the potential for Love and kindness within another person, it summons the best in them to the surface.

Think about it. How many people who accept you without onerous conditions have made it to your enemies list?

If there are people who resist and hate those who unconditionally love them; thatís only because they are desperately clinging to their dark denial of themselves. They resent anyone who threatens to shine a light into their cherished oblivion.

Resistance to our experience is 90% of our suffering. The actual pain is just a small, bearable experience in the moment if we donít hang on.

You may evolve your own process of discovering where your negativity lies and forgiving your friends and enemies alike. Hereís one way to get started with it:

For some, itís painfully obvious whom they havenít forgiven. If there is any doubt, still your mind and ďintendĒ to discover which pains you are holding on to. Know your inner landscape and where the weeds are.

In a state of concentration and mental quietude, feel the emotions and reactions that come up when you examine the person and situation that needs forgiveness. Ask yourself if you are ready to let go of it. Just ďBeĒ with it, for as long as it takes for it to lose its negative charge. Decide to let it go.

Donít refer back to the ego and justify your anger or multiply your reasons for being upset. Watch it and let it be. Realize that humans are often weak, ignorant, and self-obsessed. Itís natural that we hurt each other, consciously and unconsciously, in countless relationships. We all have faults in the actions of our personality. Live and let live.

Recognize that the offending party need not always be a bad person. Free them to be better by releasing your hold on a negative concept of them. In doing so, you release your hold on a negative concept of yourself.

Repeat this process until the negative charge in your mind and heart regarding the person is discharged.

In the course of our lives and in nearly every human relationship, we experience and inflict grief and hurt, intentionally and unintentionally, in communication and miscommunication.

Iím sure Iíve upset many people over the years and I beg their forgiveness. I freely forgive all those who have hurt me.

The way to be free from the cycle of negativity is through forgiveness. Give it a try if holding on to your bad feelings isnít serving you.




Jun 30, 2008 - 05:25pm PT
I forgive Woody.

Trad climber
Joshua Tree Ca
Jun 30, 2008 - 05:25pm PT
"The reality is, that the main beneficiary of forgiveness is the forgiver"...

I learnt that un right cheer in Mare-ka...


"I forgive Woody"...

I almost inhaled my own spit laughing at that one...

caught me OFF guard...


Big Wall climber
Phoenix, AZ
Jun 30, 2008 - 05:47pm PT
So any chance you've been able to extend this to how you feel about GW?

Nice post, BTW.

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 30, 2008 - 05:54pm PT
Actually, I'd be able to sit down and have a happy cup of Tea with Bush Daddy with love in my heart.

I still think he should stand trial for war crimes, but it doesn't mean I don't have compassion for the guy. What we have as government and society is a reflection of ALL Of us in total.

The way to a better world is through all All being more forgiving, understanding humans, then we don't get Bush or we get a better Bush. That's the magic way the world takes shape



Edit: but if you run over my Ibook, I'll skin you alive!

Jun 30, 2008 - 05:57pm PT
I think we may be straining Karl's forgiveness.

Trad climber
SF Bay Area
Jun 30, 2008 - 06:09pm PT
"Forgiveness" has been a subject lingering on my mind today, so I found myself unroutinely clicking on this OT thread and subsequently clicking on the Reply button. The article above by Karl is insightful. Following is just an excerpt from this weekend's mountain biking trip report. As the forgiven, I experienced a transformation by the power of forgiveness albeit through the littlest things in life.


So, let's see what I did this weekend: forgot my riding shorts and had to buy an expensive pair that don't really fit, lost my expensive sunglasses, and lost my precious wedding ring. Depite all these supid mistakes I made, all Mud (my husband) said was, with a smile, "You are gonna get some spanking tonight." Of course he would never do that; he was only saying that to make me laugh -- he was trying to make me feel better! I knew if our roles had been switched, I would have gotten disappointed and angry and would have gone off scolding him "how could you..." and "I told you not to..." I had done that before -- even though I knew my critisisms would not help the matter at all, I would do that just hoping to make the mistake sound so painful that hopefully it would not be repeated again. Of course, that's not how things work, and it only makes the person already feeling guilty of wrong-doing feel even worse and leaves both of us angry. It strikes me hard this time how differently Mud and I handle things, and this time with me being the wrong-doer, I much preferred his composure, acceptance, and forgiveness even though I was beating myself up inside. I promised myself on the spot that I would learn from my dear husband and be understanding and forgiving next time he makes a mistake. This awakening experience made me feel good -- It will help me be a better person. Suddenly, the weekend did not look so bad any more. As a matter of fact, it was downright ... good!
Then, it got even better. On the long drive home, it suddenly dawned on me that I took the ring off and hung it on my harness when I was in the climbing gym on Thursday morning. I completely forgot about it as well as the rare gym session. So I didn't loose my ring after all!!! I laughed and chuckled when Mud shook his head next to me again with a smile on his face. Oh, what a great weekend!

Mountain climber
Jun 30, 2008 - 06:12pm PT
I have to admit, I didn't read EVERY syllable in Karl's, with that disclaimer, I don't think there is a post Karl has ever made that agreed so wholeheartedly with.

I'll start by forgiving all of you liberal, communist, homosexual marriage loving, tree-hugging, bolt chopping, dirt bags for being you. You can't help it and for that I have nothing but compassion for you.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Jun 30, 2008 - 06:30pm PT
Karl B., so very well written and so true. My life experience has proven out your theory as so eloquently set forth.

Two people I had a falling out with during my adult lifetime became my best friends...and before my hub. died we forgave the ones that misdiagnosed or missed his physical problem. I can live freely because of this.

Thanks for being brave enough to post this. I think it took guts. Many would not expose their feelings so forthrightly. Lynne

Trad climber
Jun 30, 2008 - 06:49pm PT
Okay, I forgive all those who took a position in opposition to my "truth". On the other hand, sleep with one eye open Ouch.

Eating sand on the shores of Malibu...
Jun 30, 2008 - 07:44pm PT
Beautiful post, Karl. Thanks for the reminder.

This subject comes up in my life to various degrees on a regular basis, and I can--finally--see my incremental progress in letting go of the negative feelings much more quickly now. (Nowhere close to perfect, of course, but there is progress.)

From an adolescence filled with physical and emotional abuse, I'd acquired a remarkably defensive, reactionary set of responses to my environment which was causing me much more pain than anyone else. Being able to forgive the people who hurt me was the greatest gift I've ever received--and I received it from myself.

Being able to forgive certainly doesn't mean you accept abuse, or injustice, or acts of hatred, bigotry and deceit--forgiveness doesn't make you a doormat. Just the opposite, in fact. And this is where so many people seem to get confused about forgiveness.

If you're not a slave to your emotional reactions, your ability to reason in confrontational situations is much, much greater. And it's easier to empathize with the person whose actions are hurting you or those you love. To empathazie with someone doesn't mean you agree with them--but you may understand their motives better. And understanding motives is where you have to start if you want resolution.

Like Karl, I don't hate George Bush for what he and his handlers have done to this country--I feel immense sympathy for him. What an awful time he must have trying to sleep at night...and it shows in every photo I see of him these days. I geniunely feel sorry for this man who's dropped his moral compass into an abyss of fear-based behavior.

But that won't stop me from speaking out against his destructive actions, his war on Iran, his war on the Environment, his policies of greed and hatred, dressed up in the smartly-pressed uniforms of Patriotism, Pre-emptive Stiking and Democracy.

Like Gandhi demonstrated, you don't have to hate your just have to stand against them and their actions. And forgive them--because you don't want to be saddled with that much hatred for the rest of your life, do you? I know I don't.

Jody Edit: Thank you for forgiving me for being a tree-hugging, homo-defending, animal-loving environmentalist, Jody. You just made my day! ;-)

Jun 30, 2008 - 08:14pm PT
There is only one worrisome thing about people who forgive and have compassion. After they have compassed they plan on sending you off to hell to burn for eternity.

Let me see. Which do I prefer? Good honest hate? Or self-righteous superiority with vengeance? I'm thinking. I'm thinking.

Mountain climber
Jun 30, 2008 - 08:17pm PT
L, you're welcome. :)

Mountain climber
Jun 30, 2008 - 08:18pm PT
"they plan on sending you off to hell to burn for eternity"

What was that supposed to mean?

Jun 30, 2008 - 08:20pm PT
I'dunno. What does it mean to you?

Mountain climber
Jun 30, 2008 - 08:22pm PT
I usually know what I mean when I post something. Just wondering if you did.

Jun 30, 2008 - 08:29pm PT
Yeah. I guess I am just not as good.

Mountain climber
Jun 30, 2008 - 08:31pm PT
About time you realized that. :)

Jun 30, 2008 - 08:33pm PT

Eating sand on the shores of Malibu...
Jun 30, 2008 - 08:34pm PT

From your posts, I'm inclined to believe you don't actually prefer hatred. In fact, you go to great lengths to find balance and equal ground for all viewpoints involved.

I believe you might have been projecting something here; when I've forgiven anyone, it's a done deal. I may remember the experience (usually the lesson if not the pain), but since I don't believe in an actual place called "hell", I don't consign people to it. I figure we all carry our own heavens and hells around within us--no one needs a bus ticket to get there.

Are you alluding to the hypocrisy of certain organized religions?
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