Forgiveness is the most important word in the universe right now.
Forgiveness: the key to happiness... the key that opens the heart to love... the key ingredient to personal growth and understanding... the key to justice... the key to peace.
Human beings are not perfect. Life is an adventure into the expansion of human consciousness. Education begins with the acknowledgement that we still have a lot to learn. But at the same time, we are not entirely a blank slate. We arrive here with some powerful tools at our disposal.
But if we deny our imperfection, our unexplored ignorance, we close our minds and hearts to new and sometimes better information. On this journey, mistakes and misunderstandings are inevitable. It doesn't make sense to blame ourselves or others for not knowing what we or they don't know. A lot of what we learn is by trial and error. A lot of conclusions we come to is based on a limited sampling of possible experiences. It would be convenient if everything we currently believed actually turned out to be true... but while convenient, it's probably not wise to hold onto those beliefs too tightly.
If we lie when we know we ought to tell the truth, then we don't yet really understand why it's so important to tell the truth. We understand the words but the full meaning, importance and implications of what it means to tell the truth or not tell the truth isn't there yet.
If someone lies because they are afraid of what will happen if they tell the truth, then aren't we all, at least to some extent, responsible for the space in which that fear exists? Is anyone who is afraid to tell the truth, really free?
Who is responsible for the space in which freedom is lost? Who isn't responsible?
A person who commits a crime will usually feel the need to cover up what they've done, which in itself can lead to even more crime. Sometimes they continue to commit more crimes because they are under some other kind of threat from others who were involved or benefited from the original crime.
The people we elected to positions of leadership have now totally abandoned the US Constitution in order to cover up their crimes. And now the crimes they continue to commit and abet will lead to total tyranny in order to escape accountability if we all can't find a way to break the cycle.
Who is responsible for the space in which crime exists? Who isn't?
We're all in this together. Every lie, every dishonesty, large or small, creates the space in which life, freedom, and happiness hangs in the balance. And every act of kindness, forgiveness and understanding can tilt that balance in the direction of preserving or restoring that freedom and happiness. Without the hope of forgiveness... ignorance, lies, fear and unhappiness will persist.
Forgiveness alone cannot solve all problems, but it's a necessary ingredient if human beings are going to evolve in the direction of sustainable life on our home planet.
Forgiveness is our most important lesson in the acquisition of an education. It illuminates the way forward, aligns us to an appropriate attitude that allows us to let go of our illusions and replace them with new information and expanded consciousness. We forgive ourselves for making a mistake, for having not understood the full implications and consequences of our behavior. This is not an excuse. It's just what's so.
Forgiving ourselves and others is a difficult lesson to learn because we are enveloped in a consciousness that is still in its infancy; still only beginning to even ask the questions to which forgiveness is the answer. But here you are reading this. There are no accidents.
Forgiveness is not an excuse for, or acceptance of, unsavory behavior. It's appropriate to feel bad when confronted with the results of our poor choices. But once we realize what we've done, forgiveness illuminates and opens the space for allowing the reality of where we are, to be confronted without fear, anger, and recrimination.
I made a terrible mistake; I hurt myself and/or others; I didn't fully understand; now I do; I will be responsible for the damage I caused; I will do my best to avoid making this mistake again; I forgive you; Can you forgive me? Can we forgive ourselves?
Is there any human behavior that cannot be forgiven? No. None.
But that's not permission, or a reason, or an excuse to keep engaging in inappropriate behavior or sloppy thinking.
If you can't forgive yourself or other people, you haven't acknowledged the full truth... which is to say, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth... of what actually happened. We are all part of the illusion we call life. We are all expressions of who we are. We are all children of God, brothers and sisters. What we do to others we do to ourselves. We all make a difference.
When someone engages in totally unacceptable behavior, we forgive their ignorance, their lack of understanding. But at the same time we are responsible. We do what we can--what's appropriate--to prevent that behavior from hurting anyone else in the future. And we seek justice: a proper accounting for what has taken place.
So who determines what behavior is acceptable or unacceptable, and who determines what a proper accounting is?
Well, sorting that out is part of our journey, part of our education. Sometimes humanity is at the cutting edge, exploring questions that we have only begun to address. Other times what is and what is not acceptable behavior has already been addressed, contemplated, thought through, and the answers are clear, understood and available for review and further contemplation.
The Golden Rule is almost universally understood to be a useful guideline of what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Other examples of established guidelines are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, also the Bill of Rights (i.e., the first ten amendments to the US Constitution).
In my understanding, with experience and maturity we learn to respect, seek, and value... truth, honor, dignity, compassion, courage and love. There are no words that define the totality of what is right and what is wrong, but humanity has at least made a start... and we have a virtual library of accumulated wisdom and articulated knowledge over the ages to which we can refer, study, and sometimes question, and sometimes change as we learn and expand our consciousness through intention and experience.
I mention all this because right now we are at a major crossroad in history. Our institutions are failing us and our responses to those failures leave a great many of us (which is to say most of humanity), confused, hurt, and afraid. We're all making, or at risk of making or allowing others to make, poor, self-defeating choices.
And so I suggest we get back to basics; let us review what we were once taught, what we once knew, and perhaps have temporarily forgotten. Let us open and all stand together under one large umbrella of forgiveness... and let us review where we are, who we are, and where we want to go... and do it with as much truth, honor, dignity, compassion, courage, and love as we can muster.
"...and if you haven't the courage to tell the truth, or the consciousness to honor the truth, or the love to love the truth, then one day you will not have the truth to tell, and soon thereafter you will not live in a place that will acknowledge the truth when it is told, and not long after that the truth will not be told, for it will no longer be allowed. You cannot hope to be a traitor to life, and then expect to live in a free and just society."
From "The Answer"
By Mark A. Goldman
“Liberty lies in the hearts and minds of men and women;
when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it;
no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it…”
—Judge Learned Hand
Starting Over - A book by Mark A. Goldman
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