Chapter 7: Freedom Through Forgiveness
An excerpt from You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey of Self-Awareness, Peace of Mind and Joy by James Blanchard Cisneros.
My friend Mike has a four-month-old daughter with a woman from Costa Rica. They are not married and he’s had trouble seeing his daughter. Mike was upset about the situation. Then Mike found out that his sister had called both the mother of his child and the child’s grandmother to tell them how badly they had been treating Mike with regard to the baby. Apparently, Mike’s sister had angrily expressed the way she felt about them and the situation. Obviously, this action did not make the situation better. Both women told Mike how his sister acted which made Mike mad at his sister. He was so upset that he was planning to cancel his visit with his sister once he got to Miami for his birthday.
In handling the incident, Mike had two choices. One, he could allow the ego-self to dictate the situation, and react with anger, judgment and condemnation, thus separating himself from his sister. Two, he could recognize that his ego-self would try to answer first, and pause. Mike could then bypass this effort by his ego and go to his Godself for guidance. If Mike makes the latter choice, he would see that the Godself would always ask him to act with compassion. In return, he would receive peace.
People who have not yet remembered their perfection will, from time to time, act and react in an immature manner. Mike’s sister’s feelings were hurt by her brother’s situation and she reacted immaturely and with anger.
The ego-self will always answer first because it has made itself our programmed response. We have been trained by it and thus we react as we were trained. Speaking with anger and condemnation is a natural response of the ego-self; it makes us right for doing so. Anything that differs from our point of view of how the world and those in it should behave and react is taken by the ego-self as an attack upon us. And the ego-self continually tells us that it is right and honorable to defend ourselves against an attack.
When we are angry our actions are not constructive. We become angered by others’ actions, which because of their immature nature, they had little control over. Our anger now becomes an immature reaction to their immature action. So we need to ask ourselves, where does this leave us? Definitely not in a peaceful place! A peaceful place is found by reacting with compassion and love toward our brother or sister. This peaceful place can be our goal in every situation. This peaceful place is our natural state, and our natural state is not temporal in nature.
Reacting with anger and condemnation might bring us a false and very temporary state of peace from the simple misperception that we are right and the other person is wrong, and that the wrong deserve to be punished. Remember our ego always answers first, and its primary goal is to separate us from our brother or sister. We need to ask ourselves: Would I rather be right or happy? Would I rather express false power or experience everlasting peace?
If we listen to our egos, we will react with condemnation and judgment, for they are among the ego’s favorite tools in its effort to separate us from our brothers and sisters. As surely as the sun rises in the east, so does reacting with the ego bring us a lack of peace. You and I know this very well, for we both have experienced situations like this when we’ve reacted with anger to another person’s action, and later felt badly and saddened by the way we reacted and dealt with the situation. We feel badly because we’ve lost our peace of mind, which is our natural inheritance. We feel badly because we have tried to attack and separate ourselves from our brother or sister who is a part of God. But we cannot attack and separate ourselves from our brother or God and still feel whole. Trying to do something that is impossible creates frustration. Frustration leads to confusion and confusion to chaos. Because we, our brother and God are one, what we do to our brother we do not only to him but also to God and ourselves. If we attack ourselves without knowing it, we create confusion. At first, it may be difficult to see that this confusion is self-inflicted. If you are not currently aware of this confusion you will soon be, for the number of times that you unknowingly attack yourself may be high but it will not be without limit.
I am simply here to remind you and myself that there is another way. Through compassion and understanding, we can choose peace instead of anger. We can choose a peaceful mind instead of an anxious mind. We can choose happiness instead of sadness and we can choose compassion instead of condemnation, anger and regret. We are all spiritual beings, having a human experience. We have yet to remember our perfection, and that is why we are here. Someone with whom we may be angry is here to assist us in remembering our perfection. He or she is our teacher, as well as our student. All of his or her actions and reactions offer us an opportunity to choose peace in a situation where we once found the possibility of peace unobtainable. This person offers us another opportunity to forgive what we once found unforgivable, and to love who we once found unlovable. In making these choices we remember our own perfection, and in remembering our perfection, we find peace, forgiveness and love within ourselves.
That “immature” person, in truth, has offered us the gift of remembering our perfection, that we can choose peace in any situation. What else but gratitude would we offer someone who is teaching and reminding us that peace is available in every situation? Would gratitude not be the sane response to such a wonderful gift? There is a place in your heart that understands what it is I am sharing. I know this of you, because I now know this of myself, and you and I are one and the same.
After remembering all this, how will you now react to your brother or sister’s next immature action? Will you react with condemnation, anger and an anxious mind or with compassion, gratitude and a peaceful mind? Will you choose to be right, or will you choose to be happy?
As it turns out, after the initial anger that Mike experienced, we talked about it, and he was able to deal with his sister with compassion. He understood that people sometimes act in an immature manner, and in order for him to keep his peace of mind he had to forgive her action, and understand where she was coming from. He had to understand that his sister simply made an error in judgment. He remembered that the sister he loved was not represented by that immature action, but was a spiritual being on her journey to remembering her true self. He understood that her action deserved understanding and his sister deserved compassion.
On our journey toward achieving peace of mind, it is very important to understand that there is a difference between an action and the person performing the action. An action happens at a moment in time and regardless of how we have been taught to see it, it is an opportunity. The opportunity shows us where we are within our minds. It teaches us who we truly believe ourselves to be. We can choose to react with peace now, or we can choose to react with peace later. Sooner or later we will find peace. Because of free will, we can choose when we want to experience peace. Also understand that the belief that peace is not immediately available to us does not in any way interfere with the fact that peace is always available. The time it takes us to react with peace is up to us, and will be measured not only in time, but in pain. For if we do not have peace about a situation then we are experiencing some level of pain about it.
When we choose to act with compassion and forgive a brother or sister after an immature action, we receive peace as our gift. We can also choose not to forgive a brother or sister for an immature action for a lifetime, and our gift will be a lifetime of carrying in our hearts and minds a lack of forgiveness for that action. This lack of forgiveness will weigh on us, for it is unnatural not to forgive. We can forgive a brother or sister and in doing so release ourselves from that action, or we can choose not to forgive and carry that painful action with us until the end of time. In the end, it is we who have the power to resolve the issue. We have the power to react to every situation with or without peace. We have the power to carry it with us as long as we want. We have the power to release it as quickly as we want. It is our choice to be weighed down or released, to be right or to be happy, to live in pain or in peace, to react with condemnation or compassion.
This material can be found in the book - You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey of Self-Awareness, Peace of Mind and Joy.
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