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#364153 - 06/14/11 12:13 PM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: Still]
earlybird Offline

Registered: 02/18/10
Posts: 1007
Good morning Darkheart,

Thanks for using nature as a means to work with me for you know my love of it and its ability to give us meaning and meanings. But is not seeing the little things such as the conch shell tucked in the grains of sand and how his existence relates to the movements of the oceanís tides (the big picture) equally important. Iím puzzled for to live in the now by not reviewing the past in order to seek the rhythms of the surf am I not then poorly prepared for the tsunami that the excessively receding tide is giving me warning of a future calamity?

I mean no disrespect only I do not fully understand. Iím only digging in the sand looking for buried treasure I suppose.


Itís hard to have a conversation about forgiveness without ďGodís mercyĒ being part of the conversation. I appreciate your willingness to bring it to the post. Your definition which was ďnot seek revengeĒ fits nicely with what I arrived at on my own where I do not wish my rapists harm. I imagine we both would like justice to be enforced which in your belief system I believe there is a final version of justice. But then again I understand the perpetrators against me can even avoid that justice without ever having to apologies to the ones they crushed which seems wholly unfair to the persons injured. I enjoyed combining your thoughts about praying for your enemy, who now is no longer your enemy, but keep him far, far away and not drink from his cup. On this we both agree, accept I donít have the ability to pray for him for by choice that is not a tool within my (as well-intended is about to point out) rather light tool box. :-)


I hope you donít mind I couldnít resist playing with you a little in my comment to Max about your suggesting I need to improve my education by visiting the library. Youíre making an assumption that I donít. Dang, I hate it when someone assumes something, especially when their assumption is spot on! My town does not have a library and Iíd like to use that for an excuse but then Iíd be setting myself up wouldnít I? So Iíll just do a map quest and see where the nearest library can be found. I wonít visit it but at least Iíll know where one is. All kidding aside, Iím not much of a reader I wish I were.

I do like your challenge to lower my guard and allow other types of more esoteric kind of thinking into my thought process. The interesting thing is if I along with the majority of others did this it would no longer be considered esoteric so are you sure you want to invite me and others into the pool?

Iím a bit lost as to why both you and DannyT (undoubtedly others as well) want to label me as an ďanalytical thinkerĒ. I donít see this about me at all. I love to write poetry which would be even more painful than it already is to read if I were to write it from a standpoint of boring analyses. Please be careful not to write me off as dry repeater of facts Ė Iím more than that.

Of course I use my intellect to rule out what I see as silly or mystical thinking that believes something based on nothing except they believe it because they want to believe it because if they believe it truth it will then be true so it is therefore the only true truth that is allowed to be believed.
So after ďanalyzingĒ what I believe you have said I think you may be right. In the process of resisting mythical or religious types of thought processing Iíve undoubtedly closed myself off to some esoteric kinds of thinking that might be useful to my growth both as a human being and a survivor. So do you know any good online libraryís? (Never mind the truth is, I wonít visit them either)

Thank you Robbie Brown

I appreciate the added component and Iím glad that it has helped you and your inner child find some peace. It is interesting that both you and max have a similar concern, that your abusers might view forgiveness of them and their actions as a weakness and attempt to turn it against you. Forgiving or not forgiving is a powerful act either way a show of strength when it is used by chose not forced or mandated. (A free will kind of thing) I think Max nailed it when he said forgive and create distance. I like that though it does beg some questions but thatís for a different thread in a different forum Iím not apt to visit. Thanks Robbie, Earlybird

Balanced (My goal)

There is symmetry
In self-reflection
Life exemplified
Grace personified

#364163 - 06/14/11 02:29 PM Re: Forgiveness - Guns - or Reason? [Re: earlybird]
DannyT Offline

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 645
To me forgiveness is part of a wider ranging letting go, as I mentioned earlier, and meditation plays a role in it.

People often think of meditation as a mystical thing (and it certainly can be), and even further they often think of mystical meditation (as in Starhawk's work) as somehow soft or mumbo-jumboish.

People resist these ideas because they seem "unscientific," and most of us in the west accept scientific thinking as the ne plus ultra. The difference between Western logic and Eastern meditation is in how knowledge is gained. Science looks outside the self for understanding, typically (even it's psychology does this). Meditation as a science is about looking in to the self and coming to terms with the patterns one finds in the exploration. Both eminently based in the real world.

After many years of experience with it, I can say, more objectively, meditation is a means of bringing one very firmly into the present moment so that one can deal with whatever is going on in one's body or mind. In Buddhism this is called Mindfulness of the present moment, and it is the first stage of meditation.

This can really help with healing for us with abuse issues because so much of our inner dialogue is about past events. So meditation helps us to stop the cyclic thinking and get control of the inner dialogue by returning us to the present moment so we can listen to it talk and gently guide it into safer, healthier, more (self and other) forgiving places.

I remember one meditation book talking about it as training the puppy, where the mind is the puppy. This kind of meditation involves things like focusing on the breath and deliberately calming the breathing, then clearing the mind of all thoughts in order to begin to work with the thoughts as they arise. It's very challenging and wonderful training.

The mystical version uses ritual and symbol to focus the mind. For example, meditation in Starhawk begins with gestures that consciously create a safe place within which to meditate, for example on letting go. One of her meditations is on banishing bad thoughts. In this one you create the safe space, then you call up an image of what you're trying to release and begin to draw or write about it. As you're drawing or writing, you say "in drawing (or writing), I am relieving my pain, I call it up from every part of me and cast it out into the drawing (or writing)." Then you burn the drawing, banishing the ill effects. This is a psychologic tool for pulling the pain out.

Both of these kinds of letting go are extremely powerful techniques for managing the mind. They embed deep psychology and are created out of years (if not millennia) of studying the mind and working with its structures.

In Buddhism this idea of forgiveness then becomes part of a larger technique for managing conflict of any kind. You use the breath mediation to come into the present moment and work a series of stages of recovery that are as analytical in a way as Western logic.

You start with Recognition. Here you just state all the parameters of the thing you're trying to resolve. Anyone trying this here might spend a few days or weeks recognizing all the issues. You use the breath meditation to do this in order to keep the mind still rather than raging while recognizing. You're looking for patterns in your thinking, in your behavior at the same seeing the actual moment of the abuse. As you're recognizing, the meditation keeps you in the present moment, where you are safe. You also recognize that your fears are mostly about returning to the past, when in fact you are in a safe present place. Present moment: wonderful moment.

From the recognizing you move on to Accepting. Consciously you review what you've recognized and accept that it is real, that it is irrevocable, and even more importantly that it is totally OK that it be real and irrevocable. In otherwords that you are safe in its reality (not that the happening was just). All the while you're doing the breath meditation and calming the arising pain. You accept that what is past is actually past, that the patterns of mind one has developed holding one in the past, when the present moment is actually safe. Each acceptance breaks a link in the chain of attachment to the abuse.

THen you move on to welcoming it. This is most counterintuitive but powerful part. I used to have anxiety attacks, and I found that welcoming them would turn them into amazing surfing experiences. I'd sit there in a ball on the floor of my room, kind of rocking back and forth in total panic saying, "bring it on! Give me move! I welcome every wave!" It was amazing! It was like I was surfing on the waves of emotion pouring through me. I could feel their rhythm. In welcoming you are forgiving the whole situation. Welcoming dissolves the chains of the past. Because the mind is constructed out habits of thought, the chains will reappear, but they will be weaker chains, more easily dissolved. The welcoming is a vital tool in weakening the chains.

In meditation you observe your feelings from within the Now. So you'd see your own resistance arise, you see the cloud of confusion and fear. The meditation gives you a safe space within that cloud that is totally unaffected by it.

From the welcoming there comes the next stage, which is transformation. Here the first three stages reveal their power in that one's understanding of the situation is necessarily transformed. It moves from being horrible and beyond one's control to having been seen fully, accepted and welcomed as part of the experience of life. I can't overemphasize how important the welcoming is. Until we can welcome this, I feel that we are some level shunning our own abused selves, trying to distance ourselves through healing from a profound part of our experience. That shunning leaves pus in the wound to continue to cause problems later on. We shun because we're afraid, even though there's nothing to be afraid of any more. Welcoming transforms the experience by saying: I might as well open my arms to every element of my life: let them pour through me: I can't be harmed any more.

Then the past has no more power over us. We are no longer victims.

You could say that the stages I just outlined as a guide forgiveness mirror the stages of healing in the body. For example: a wound occurs. you get cut. The body recognizes this and accepts that it's real. It constructs something like a scab that welcomes the harm, like it sends out a greeting party. Then the scab is taken back in, more fully welcoming the injured tissue and forgiving the wound itself. Then ideally the whole wound is transformed back into whole flesh. Forgiven.


ps: Earl, I think you're actually the one creating the label "analytical thinker" because you're using words like analysis and reason. We're just echoing your presentation of yourself, and there's definitely no criticism implied. I'm a very analytical thinker myself, and everything I've talked about here, in this thread anyway, is also extremely analytical. Growing up, Mr. Spock was my hero.

Edited by DannyT (06/14/11 02:38 PM)

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