Forgiveness is a multidimensional process. Oprah says that her “favorite definition of forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could’ve been any different.” I think forgiveness also includes giving up dreams for a hoped for future. As we accept and surrender to what is, we are faced with the task of letting go of our wishes and desires for something that did or did not happen, is not going to happen, and differs from the reality we hope for.
I’ve written about forgiveness before, however I am still finding new elements of letting go. As I move through my own healing process and exploration of forgiveness, I discover the complexities and layers that present themselves in a variety of shapes and forms. Each layer brings a moment, or sometimes longer, of grieving; an acknowledgment of loss. Even when we embrace change, and create growth as a conscious choice, there is an aspect of letting go that wants to be heard. Some part of our psyche that simply wants to say goodbye as a way of helping us to recognize where we have come from and where we may be headed. For me, forgiveness is more about accepting and releasing attachments to a dream, hope, denial, or fantasy of how things could have been and how we wish they would be different than they are.
There are times when relationships have a parent/child dynamic regardless of biological reality. I am not a parent, so I can only imagine how challenging and difficult it must be to want to help your child and accept that you may not be able to. Or, maybe the reverse is true. Many a child has been put in a position to be the caretaker of a parent with the hopes for a future relationship that will be loving and respectful. Regardless, often we are faced with helplessness and hopes for an unrealized relationship. Sometimes reality just doesn’t match with our dreams and hopes. Then, forgiveness comes to play if we allow it. Grieving allows us to accept the loss of that which we seek and may never realize. Forgiveness gives us permission to find peace and loving kindness in the midst of coming to terms with loss.
I truly believe that inside each of us is a bright spark of light. A spark that we all share, the same glimmer of light that all creation shares, and the core glow that all life originates from. When I struggle to find a genuine space of well-being involving another, I focus on the spark of light that we all share. In my hopes for healing for all those who choose it, I pray that they will find an end to their suffering and the root cause of their suffering. I know that the only true path to healing is within. We cannot provide the light for another. We can shine as brightly as possible, yet it is still up to each of us to make a choice to see our inner light. It is up to us to decide whether we fan the flame of unlimited potential or smoother it.
For me, a cosmic dimension of forgiveness is recognizing and feeling my own inner light while genuinely hoping for another to see his or her inner spark. My desire is that that they will find the guidance they need, gently turn toward the light, and recognize that what they seek is right in front of them. Inside, we can find the love, kindness, acceptance, and respect that we seek from one another. We can stop looking and expecting one another to fill us up and heal us. Then, we can find peace in knowing that we are enough. We are deserving of loving kindness and respectful attention because we are allowing ourselves to fill our own selves up. We move through the process of grieving and forgiveness and shine. We set ourselves free and take flight.
Joyous soaring rises above resentment, projected expectations, punishment, and manipulation. As we release the chains of oppression, we are liberated from defending, running, and pushing away. Faith and trust prevail as genuine power gathers. Suffering is alleviated and compassion grows as we release our disappointments in the past and hoped for future that simply will not be. As Ram Dass says, “Be Here Now.” Loving kindness is in the now – not the past and not the future. Letting go brings us into the present.