The beginning of this series starts here …
After weeks of carefully picking our way through tangled brush and strenuously rising from the valley below, we have reached the summit of the high mountain. In this altitude the air is thin and crisp and all movement is considered. It’s been a rough climb breaking new trail. Looking down the mountain from this height, we now have a clear view. We can see that there are many other pathways through the brush etched like the carved rivulets of spring runoff… the trails of sure footed mountain goats.
While on the mountain we have been engaging in the deep personal work of extricating ourselves from the gravity, the weight of empathy and the patterns of cause and effect that influence our lives. Through our relationships, our spiritual practices, our creative work, our silent listening, we have been gaining insight into our own healing path as we climb.
We have been gaining self knowledge and have experienced that seeing a pattern reoccurring in our lives in one instance isn’t necessarily enough. Over and over insight informs us from various vantage points as we engage in our relationships and make our choices. Each time we have been acquiring new strengths to heal and resolve the suffering we have endured, for we have all suffered much. As we climb the mountain we prepare ourselves to be better able to compassionately embrace the suffering of all beings, even though our hearts are heavy with it. There is respite here at the summit, but we are needed, and our lives await us in the valley below.
Before our return we gather together. We have broken new ground on this climb and we are being asked to acknowledge this in whatever way has meaning for us. In this conscious act of acknowledgement though, it is made known that forgiving and asking for forgiveness initiates us consciously into the healing we seek.
We come from many spiritual disciplines. This healing path however, is deeply personal and a matter of consciousness, not necessarily of form. To forgive simply takes the desire and the understanding of the necessity to forgive. The spiritual assistance to actualize this and integrate it into our lives follows. But we ask… who are we forgiving?
Over lifetimes we acquire many layers of unresolved suffering… many layers upon layers. We know that in life there are genuine reasons for sadness or fear. However, when we fall prey to a blinding resistance or anxiety, to negating thoughts or emotions, to extended depression, to continued confusion of fear for small things, to prolonged existential sadness, when we become numb or indifferent under the burden of circumstance, or when we find ourselves empathically reacting to another person’s suffering and making it our own, we can be alerted that there is a possible layer of unresolved trauma lending empathic weight to what is actually happening. It is in this understanding that we can find the strength to respond to present life circumstances with more clarity, more perspective. In more trying situations, we can look here for grounding and courage.
The forgiveness necessary is simply in our own hands…
“We must forgive ourselves
for carrying the weight
of our suffering
for so long”
Recognizing the intimate closeness of it. The soft spot in the middle of our gut we protect and know so well. The addictions that numb us. The inability to allow ourselves real intimacy with another. Forgiving ourselves we can better understand the difference between bearing witness to suffering with compassion, and carrying suffering as a personal empathic weight.
We also often carry our unresolved suffering from collective archetypal trauma through many life times, adding layers and complexity to our initial trauma. It is for this reason it is important to understand the necessity of forgiving ourselves for adding to the collective human separation by carrying this suffering through all these lifetimes.
And to whom are we asking forgiveness?
We are asking forgiveness to life itself and any way that we have diminished life. As we bend low, we ask forgiveness from all beings, from everything in existence, for perceiving of ourselves apart. This asking for forgiveness is a mending. As we heal this also contributes to the healing of the whole and the imbalance caused by this separate human empathic velocity.
In this conscious act we commit our selves to becoming more present in our bodies, feeling everything, resonant and trusting… and assisting in healing this separation. As we heal the grief and loss of separation we have carried for lifetimes, we find our place in this beautiful world. This world which eternally finds balance in each moment and which simply asks us to open our hearts and to listen…
© Jana H. White
Artist: Hieronymus Bosch “The Garden of Earthly Delights”