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Learning to Forgive: The Spiritual Side of Mending Relationships

Most people would agree that one of the hardest spiritual teachings is to “love your enemy”.

Nothing could go more against the grain of our human nature than to love those who seek to do us harm. But going against the grain is precisely the Way of spiritual awakening.

It is known as a path of self-denial, or better yet – self-transcendence — because the part of us that can only hate the enemy must die.

The decision to follow this teaching requires a total devotion, an absolute commitment to transcend our fundamental urges for self-interest and self-preservation.

Teachers of many Traditions point out that it doesn’t mean much to love those who love us. Anyone can do that. Loving those who do not love us is an entry into a new way of life that opens onto the Presence of God.

Learning to Forgive: The Spiritual Side of Mending Relationships This choice to love the enemy has to do with the very nature of spiritual evolution. If we manage to accomplish that hard task, then we will know on an intimate level something of the reality of a new consciousness of living.

To love those who not only have no love for us but actively dislike us is to enter a quality of consciousness that is free of concern for self and of the actions of others.

To love one’s enemy is not weakness but the ultimate strength because it requires exceptional self-control and objective compassion for others without any requirements. It also calls for an inner stability that nothing can shake.

People who can love their enemies are people who know their true identity. They do not need validation from the outside because they are anchored, “rooted and grounded” in a greater power.

This is certainly advanced spiritual work, the fruit of wisdom and understanding gained in the furnace of years of efforts. It is the goal of all authentic spiritual paths because the person who loves their enemies has conquered violence in themselves.

The ability to accomplish what might seem impossible to our natural self is also the key to spiritual healing. All of those wounds from our past that keep us fearful and defensive evaporate in the light of this new way of life.

In order to be able to love one’s enemies, one has to live from a different perspective, no longer concerned with oneself, conscious of one’s true purpose in this world, free from the ways of our culture, and enabled by a greater power.

We access this power through breaking the chains of our emotions that keep us anchored in self-absorption. If you have ever tasted this new consciousness and relationship to others, you will understand why it is called the pearl of great price.

To be free to love your enemies is to live in unconquerable gratitude and joy. So the question becomes: How do we go about forgiving people who have hurt us badly? This is a crucial question for all our relationships and for our own health and peace of mind.

In order to realistically approach this difficult issue, it is important to recognize that sometimes people cannot control how they behave. We certainly need to be held responsible for what we do as adults, but we all know that sometimes knee-jerk reaction takes over and we are as surprised as everyone else about what we have done.

Learning to Forgive: The Spiritual Side of Mending Relationships Recognizing that dynamic in human behavior makes it possible for us to begin the process of forgiveness. This issue of forgiveness is critical to our well-being as much as it is to those who need to be forgiven.

Holding on to resentment or anger, however justified, is very destructive and often makes people terribly ill. I know a lady from a previous congregation whose husband cheated on her for years.

Sometime after their divorce, cancer developed in her body. She kept telling me that she couldn’t let go of her anger and could not bring herself to forgive. The cancer eventually spread to her face and ate her up.

We hurt ourselves more than the other person by being unwilling to forgive and we keep them in control of us, even long after they are dead. This is a central teaching of all authentic spiritual wisdom and one that we cannot afford to disregard.

In the New Testament, the Greek word for “forgive” means to put down, as in taking our baggage off our back and walking away from it. Life is too short to carry heavy burdens unnecessarily.

It is true that, in the process of reconciliation with another person, it is important for people to admit their errors and to say those simple but difficult words “I’m sorry”. This enables the relationship to go forward.

A sense of conviction over our errors and remorse for them places us in a position to be given a second chance. Imagine if none of us were given another opportunity to make things right.

Because we all need it, we must be willing to give it to others even though that can be very difficult. As we learn in life, most things that are worthwhile don’t come easy. It is part of our humanity to make that extra effort of overcoming painful things.

We are then empowered to begin anew.

About The Author

Ted Nottingham is the author and translator of a dozen books, the producer of numerous televised programs, publisher of Theosis Books, and spiritual teacher at the online community for spiritual growth at www.innerworkforspiritualawakening.com

Manifesting a More Beautiful World – Chris Paradox

Gathering of Minds

10th October 2015 London

Chris Paradox yourununstoppableyou

Back in 2002 Chris gave up a £70K p.a. Career in Recruitment Advertising to go and live under a tree in Battersea Park and sell the Big Issue for 7 months.

Mark Twain said “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why” and so Chris gave it all up in a desperate attempt to find his ‘Big Why?’

Chris Paradox will talk about his own journey with Conscious Manifestation and how it relates to the evolution of consciousness on earth and the creation of the type of world we all want to live in.

He’ll be explaining…

  • Why Self Love > Self Esteem
  • Why Your Shadow is killing us
  • Why Loving your enemies is the key
  • How to awaken within the dream
He’ll be describing a simply daily practice for manifesting your very own beautiful world.

 

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