I remember attending a service one Sunday at Agape International Spiritual Center, and listening to a sermon by Dr. Michael Beckwith. In his talk he talked about forgiveness and broke it down like this, “Forgiveness means thank you for-giving me this”. So what I learned from that, was first and foremost we are here to learn. It can be difficult to learn if our minds are congested with the disease of needing to be right. Needing to make others wrong all the time, and just like the saying goes, “Just because your right doesn’t make me wrong.”
Spiritual practice isn’t about attaining anything, it is about releasing everything, so that in each moment we are new again. Spiritual practice is gut practice, not a thinking one. It is tough to feel new in our lives when we hold on so hard to what others say about us, what others do to us, when we hold on to comparing, competing, showing off, controlling, etc…well, you get the point. In spiritual practice, it is a practice of being here. We are always practicing living fully here. But how can we live here, when all of our attention is out there, on them, on the world, on the past, and future. Well thank goodness it is a practice. And that is why forgiveness is a gift. The gift to see where we are still learning.
I am amused by people who condemn others and judge them and take sides, and then play ignorant when they do the same thing. When we judge another, it says more about us than the person we are judging. It says, “I judge.” So in our spiritual practice we are learning to shut up and listen and get out of the way. This is difficult, it just is, all BS aside. So our practice is to learn to keep our attention inward and right here. To not let the movement of the mind pull us away from here, and that takes practice. So as we are learning this, we will make mistakes, judgments, fall down, look stupid, and feel like, “Oh my goodness I did it again.”
From my own learning, I am discovering that forgiveness is really about not being present, because the gift of life is being “present”. When we are not fully engaged with where we are now, its because we are telling ourselves a story, preoccupied by something, or the story we are telling ourselves is scaring us more then the event itself, or we react so we don’t have to deal with it, no matter what, what we are saying is, “My apologies for not being present with you. Because if I was, I wouldn’t have done….”