I understand forgiveness when it comes to forgiving someone for a wrong they did to you. However, the concept of forgiveness as a tool for self-mastery used to be at best elusive. After years of studying the Course in Miracles, I think I finally get it. Forgiveness is truly done to free yourself. When you are mad at someone or feel betrayed, hurt, stepped on in any shape or form, you are taking that part of yourself that was hurt and locking it away or giving it to your anger or hurt. Condemning the wrong act, condemns that part of you that feels wronged. Pretty soon as life goes on, when you keep on condemning without forgiveness, you have truly locked away pieces of yourself. Many people don’t think they are holding on to the past or old stuff, until they are asked to forgive whatever it was that was done to them. At that point, they get a little defensive, they think that you are asking them to make it be okay. In other words, the main reason most of us find it hard to forgive, is because we think we are being asked to condone what happened. The Course asks us to forgive and ask for forgiveness. So every time you feel hurt or wronged, forgive the sinner, the sin and yourself for feeling the way you do. If you keep on practicing forgiveness, especially over the small stuff, it gets easier for the bigger issues. In other words, when you forgive the guy who cut you off in traffic, you can forgive whomever you blame for the loss of your parent.
When you forgive someone for hurting you and forgive yourself for feeling hurt, you are freeing yourself to experience life. You are allowing more of you in your experiences. In fact, if you look at it in this way, it is not a deep matter. It is something you do to keep your motor running at full capacity. Think of it as changing the oil in your car, taking yourself for routine checkups, getting a haircut, etc. We do these things, so we are well-maintained. When we do these things routinely, when something big happens, we don’t fall apart. We do these things to feel joy and happiness in the ordinariness of our lives. So, the next time, you feel hurt, angry and want justice, remember to forgive. Forgive for you. Forgive, despite the pain. If you are in pain, then be the space for the pain (as Eckhart Tolle has written in The New Earth) and forgive from that place. Practicing forgiveness will help make you more aware of what is happening and that in itself will help you make choices instead of being victimized by your own reactions.
Life comes at us. We get bombarded by insensitive people, impossible situations, and ridiculous expectations. How can we handle ourselves if we don’t use the most effective and accessible tool called forgiveness. It’s an easy tool to carry with you wherever you go. When you forgive the assaults you experience, you are in a sense declaring that you are bigger than the situations you are in. That feeling is liberating. When you realize that you are acting out a part, and that none of it is real, then you can easily forgive and move on. You can choose how to act, how to be and inevitably, become the conscious creator of your life.