by Fionn Zarubica
I do not believe in forgiveness.
There is a lot of talk about forgiveness in both traditional and non-traditional circles lately. It is a hot topic. Not only forgiveness of others, but forgiveness of the self.
Forgiveness of others has been around for a long time. “Forgive and you will be forgiven” has been the promise.
Some ask, “how can I forgive so and so for doing such and such”. While others say, “how could you forgive so and so for doing such and such”. Then there are those who have created a very logical structure that identifies things that can be forgiven, like bumping into someone with your grocery cart; and things that cannot be forgiven, like genocide. Some have found a comfort in saying, “I may forgive, but I will never forget!” Do they mean that the brain will merely save the file, or that they have given themselves permission to relive the emotional part too? (But only as a reminder not to trust anyone with brown eyes again.)
Forgiving one’s self has not been around for a long time. It is a contemporary notion.
It is only in the last few years that this has surfaced in polite conversation. That is not to say that it has not been kicked around by a few spiritual teachers over the years. But the idea that anyone has the right to forgive his or her self has more often than naught raised feelings of guilt and judgment, as well as concerns about spiritual hubris.
I do not believe in forgiveness.
I do believe it is the first step to be taken on the path to transcending the ego and habits of defensiveness and hostility toward others.
The trouble is that to forgive, there needs to be something to forgive. It implies that the forgiver has to be in a state of blame and resentment in order to make the transition to forgiving. However, being in a state of blame and resentment is not where we want to spend our time.
Children do not concern themselves with forgiveness; neither do they concern themselves with holding grudges. A child will allow someone else’s blunder to pass over like a cloud, and carry on as if nothing had ever happened, full of love for them.
Forgiveness is something taught to adults by adults. Adults teach one another to take offense, and then to forgive. Isn’t that efficient? This raises the question as to what part forgiveness plays in the workings of antipathy. Is it the enabler?
Let's call it like it is, we adults like to be offended; we take great care to set ourselves up for it. What offends us defines for ourselves and others who we think we are. Without the possibility of offense, who would know our position on things? It also provides us with an opportunity to self-validate by allowing us to appear to be above the sin and the sinner; to feel virtuous through the munificence of forgiveness.
What will disappoint those who have struggled to learn to forgive, is that there is yet another step to be mastered, and that is…
Not to mind in the first place.
I would like to say I am working on this, but recently I decided to remove the mind-set of working on anything from my spiritual journey. “Working” is effort filled, increases stress and encourages a desire to control. So, rather than working, I am withdrawing my attention from anything that does not support a state of peace and gentleness within me. My goal is not to forgive you if you offend me, but rather, not to take offense; to accept you as you are, and to be present with you in love.
So basically, I am sorry, I do not forgive you.
Because there is nothing to forgive.