The idea of forgiveness is probably one that eludes us in the most basic sense, because we approach it from the perspective of pain and suffering that we imagine someone has caused us, and believe that to forgive “them” is to somehow let go of the pain, pretend it doesn’t exist any more, or somehow condone their behavior in terms of the experience it created for us. Even when we struggle to grasp forgiveness in theory, which gives us the basis for attempting to actually “do it”, we often find that it doesn’t work, and we still hold hard feelings and pain caused by another, that still eats at us, and we can’t seem to honestly let it go in the real sense of the word.
“To forgive is to forget”
One of the hardest things to realize about this equation is that forgiveness in the ultimate sense has nothing to do with the other person or situation we think that we need to forgive, but rather about us, as seeing whatever happened as the enactment of a larger pattern as a behavioral dynamic of some sort that acts as a mirror for helping us to “see” aspects of ourselves that are normally very difficult to see. It comes through the realization that whatever takes place in a relationship or situation, that we are very much playing a “role” in that situation, and are participating in creating the experience that it affords us.
Our lives are psychologically governed by “patterns” as life themes that we are conditioned to in our formative years, and continue to act out in various ways through the very nature of the relationships we form and the behaviors that become immediately established through the nature of our interactions. These life themes as “dramas” usually involve ideas like: betrayal, abandonment, deception, not being worthy of love, being used, not wanted or good enough, and so on. These patterns as life dramas were being acted out within the dynamics of our immediate family, friends, and daily environment while we were growing up, in which we played a part, had a role of some kind within it, was subject to the emotions and attitudes being openly displayed. These dramas formed our everyday “normal” experiences, and in an attempt to make sense out of them, we began telling ourselves a story about them that made them “mean” something ((I’m not wanted, no matter what I do it’s not good enough, etc.) The meaning we began giving things by the story we told ourselves about what was happening and why, formed the basis of what became “our story”, that we continue to develop as we grew up by using it to interpret all of our experiences that had a strong emotional impact, making them mean the same thing, and using them as the means of creating more of the same type of experiences. The meaning we gave things in order to understand them, not only means something about the people involved, and the way the world is in general, but it means the same thing about us in the context of the story we tell ourselves about it in which we are not only the main character, but also the creator of the story as a means of creating our personal experience, and the observer who’s always “watching it” as we play it out in our imagination, subjecting our self to our own story about it over and over, seating it deeply into our subconscious, which perceives it as “real”.
Whatever thematic pattern we’re conditioned to, we develop as the formative basis of our mental paradigm or vibratory frequency that forms our “perceptual lens” and how we interpret the events of our life just through how we perceive them. While we think we’re conditioned to only one role in a dynamic, we’re actually conditioned to the dynamic itself, and while we may relate to one role in that dynamic as a child, as we grow into an adult, we begin associating with the adult role in the same dynamic. As an adult, we can play any role in that dynamic, or even multiple roles at the same time, switching back and forth, and act to perpetuate the dynamic, initiating it by projecting it, and by the presumptions we’re always making as a form of anticipating or predicting, and the natural behaviors we employ as a result.
How we act when we come into relationship with others, stimulates, and calls forth the matching tendencies in them of the shared patterns, and we establish the nature of the relationship as the behaviors and attitude that forms the daily interaction where the shared theme becomes acted out in a new version. By co-creating more of the same type of experiences that leave us feeling the same way, strengthens and reinforces that dynamic in us, telling the same type of story, wrapping our identity around it to the point where it’s the only story we know how to tell. We form our mental paradigm out of that story as our “basic perception” and we can only “see” in others and situations what matches our story. We’re always in the process of telling our story through our outward persona and natural (unconscious) behaviors and general attitude, which are all natural expressions of our paradigm.
Because these patterns are engrained in our subconscious mind (our mind is structured by them) which forms all out natural and automatic behaviors, and how we’re “being” in terms of our energy and how we “feel” to others, we are actually vibrating to the frequency of that dynamic (pattern) and act to stimulate it in others by resonating with those that share the same tendencies and can cooperate naturally in acting out the same dynamic, giving both of us more of the same experiences through the natural interaction that takes place. All attraction is ultimately unconscious in nature, and comes through the quality of our energy as our emotional mind-set, which connects us energetically with those of the same quality of consciousness in our environment. When we connect, see each other, encounter each other, or actually meet directly and interact, we experience a pronounced chemistry as an “inner stimulation”. This feeling of having chemistry with someone, feeling attracted to them, is the experience of “resonance” as inner sensations that are arousing somehow. We are literally vibrating them, and they us, through “shared” qualities and life themes. We come together based on these shared qualities because we’re compatible for acting out the same idea together through the relationship we form.
Because this is all taking place at the subconscious level and comes automatically, without our direct awareness of what’s actually happening, the only way we can begin working with it consciously, is by realizing that we tend to end up in the same type of relationships with the same type of people, where the same type of experiences take place, leaving us feeling the same way. We can only act to change and evolve the stories we act naturally to tell, by gaining awareness not of the other person as separate and different from us, but as possessing and reflecting back to us the same qualities, tendencies, and relationship dynamics, that we ourselves possess. We can recognize how we feel because of the interaction, and while holding that feeling, and simply being present with it, we can see the story inherent in it as a series of associated memories.
When we change the orientation from “what they’re doing to us”, and self-reflect instead while asking ourselves “what is my part in this”? What role did I play in cooperatively acting this out to recreate my own experience? How have I felt like this before, and what story or experience was being acted out then? Is this a familiar feeling, and if so, in what way is it familiar? What memories do I naturally associate with it? And what does it remind me of? What points along the way did I get a notion or direct realization of what was happening, and what did I do or tell myself about it that explained it or made it alright and kept me “in” the relationship despite what I was realizing about how I felt? What did I sense about what was happening, and chose to pretend I didn’t notice, or interpreted it in such a way that I masked it with an illusion that secretly condoned it? What were the indications along the way that gave me a funny feeling, that I didn’t investigate or act on?
The true ability to forgive another comes only through the self-realization that they provide you with. They are acting as an outer mirror that’s reflecting back to you through a direct experience parts of you that you can’t see clearly or have covered over with a story about it that prevents you from seeing it for what it really is. Any relationship we participate in (which is all of them) is based on shared qualities that we have in common (which is why we relate) and the natural interaction that takes place through the expression of those shared qualities to tell a story as a joint experience. This brings whatever is “inside of us” (that we’re largely unaware of) outside of us, where we can view it through the experience of it in an objective manner (apart from us) as a “full pattern” that also contains aspects of ourselves normally hidden from us through some form of denial or suppression.
By realizing this, we can use our relationships and the experiences we create through them as a mirror that’s showing us who we are in our fullness. We can recognize the dynamics we are prone to and the tendencies that engage us unconsciously in cooperatively acting out those patterns in new and varied ways with new people. Once we realize “what we’re doing” in a relationship that’s cooperating in causing the events that produce emotional pain as the enactment of our life’s theme, just through the awareness itself, we are no longer “unconscious” in our own experiences, and are no longer prone to the same stimulus. We are no longer drawn into illusions through reactive behaviors, and no longer “relate” to behaviors that act to initiate those patterns, and as a result no longer need to act it out in an attempt to recognize the true reality being played out as a shared delusion.
All healing in the ultimate sense, is becoming aware of parts of ourselves that we are not aware of in the normal sense, that play a powerful part in the life dynamics we engage in that form the basis for our experiences, and of course, give us a sense of ourselves by how we identify with our own self-created experiences. We don’t realize that we’re playing a major role in the type of people we attract and are attracted to, and the situations that naturally emerge out of the relationships we form with others. This lack of self-awareness and the tendency to project onto others by imagining that they are “doing unto us” in an unfair and unjust manner, is what keeps us expressing what we call “shadow aspects” of our personality that we continue to remain unconscious of, and therefore don’t recognize them and certainly don’t “own” them. As we begin recognizing our own tendencies in relationships and situations, and become conscious in our own life, we can see them as they’re being acted out in the moment when we’re actually in the process of “doing them”, and we no longer engage in the same manner. In that moment of awareness we realize what’s actually going on, and we’re no longer “reactive”. Because we can see it in a new light, it’s no longer compelling to us, and in that moment of calmness where we used to react, we realize that we actually have a choice in how we respond and interact. By changing our response to a person or situation, we change the dynamic that plays out, and break the pattern. The same behaviors that we used to get draw in by, no longer have the same affect, and after awhile, we don’t even notice them anymore. Once we break the pattern of our own tendencies, we don’t attract people who are living out that pattern, and no longer relate to them or have any chemistry with them. We become neutral to it.
Once we realize that what was holding us to the illusions of the story we were telling ourselves was the fact that we were unaware of what we were doing, and through our awareness, we can simultaneously realize that the people still acting out those stories are in fact unaware of what they’re doing. They still believe they’re real, and so honestly don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t realize that they’re living out of an illusion of their own making as the story they continue to tell themselves about everything that gives their live meaning. In this awareness, we can realize that there’s actually nothing to forgive. The idea of needing to forgive was based on an illusion and our lack of awareness. Once we are no longer participating in telling the story as a shared delusion, we are no longer affected by it. We no longer feel any residual pain, no longer suffer at someone else’s hand, and at some point, quit thinking about it all together. In the ultimate sense, we know when we’ve actually forgiven someone or some perceived act “against us”, because we literally forget about it. We no longer think about it or feel the pain it once caused, and when we do recall it, we can do so in a completely objective, matter-of-fact way. We look at it almost like we’re looking at it from a completely detached perspective where it’s no longer personal. If you’re still hanging on to something that happened “to you”, with pain, suffering, and hard feelings of any kind, it’s means you haven’t forgiven and more importantly, that you haven’t been able to realize the delusion that you yourself are involved in.
As with all things in life . . . awareness that brings self-realization is the key to healing and happiness.
Dr. Linda Gadbois
About the author:
Dr. Linda is a Spiritual Scientist and scholar of Hermetic Sciences and Ancient Wisdom traditions. She’s a professional educator and trainer for all areas of personal transformation, self-creation, mind development, and soul/spiritual evolution. She practices Integrative Medicine with a special emphasis on Psychology and Creative therapies. She conducts ongoing classes, Playshops, and Adventure Seminars, and is available for private or group training, mentoring, and speaking engagements.
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