True forgiveness is an art.
It can only be exquisitely practiced if it be true
It an art-form because, like a martial art, it takes discipline, exercise, determination and the development of latent talent within. It must be over learned to replace the habit of judging, defining and miscreating. It is practiced through exquisitely mindful awareness of errors of thought, and having noticed them, releasing them to correction. Make no mistake, there is an art to letting go of judgments, stepping back and allowing the One who knows make the correction. Stepping back, where you would have formerly defended yourself, is nothing short of a highly skilled maneuver akin to dodging a bullet like Neo in the Matrix.
“All human standards of judgment are faulty, finite.” (Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 22)
Since all our judgements are faulty, we cannot try to use our old idea of forgiveness to accomplish anything. The Art of Forgiveness is something different. It is the recognition that we do not know and so, we cannot judge. How then, can we “blame” and then “forgive” something that we have misunderstood because our the scope of our understanding is severely limited.
To forgive is to acknowledge that there is nothing outside of ones self. To forgive is a form of personal responsibility taking that leads to unified perception. To acquire unified perception is to remove the sense of separation from God. It is the Atonement (At-one-ment). It is the Ultimate Healing, it is reunion with the One, Divine Beloved. This is an exquisite experience.
All the Glory of the Kingdom is veiled if our minds are split–or not whole. Healed and unified perception is of paramount importance because minds that see truly, bless those they look upon. Healed minds can heal. They can “cleanse the rust from off the heart”. A healed mind shines Light into the darkness and releases the Comforter within.
To be forgiving means to understand that one’s purpose is to be for giving. We are created like unto God – the Great Giver. We are designed to give. And since we are a whole part of the Oneness, when we give, we are giving to ourselves. The issue then becomes not whether we are giving or not but what we are giving. Are we are extending the brightness of Kingdom through clarified perception, reflecting from a clear mirror? Or are we projecting illusions from a split mind, reflecting shadows from a mirror obscured by the dust of acquired learning ?
“Know thou that the Kingdom is the real world, and this nether place is only its shadow stretching out. A shadow hath no life of its own; its existence is only a fantasy, and nothing more; it is but images reflected in water, and seeming as pictures to the eye.” (Abdu’l-Baha’, p. 177)
If the Kingdom is the real world and this nether place is it’s shadow, then who casts the shadow? Almost all of us “make pictures” or project illusions, from our minds through our faulty judgements and have thus created a shadow world that we then react to as if it were real. This creates enormous conflict.
We do not realize that we are causing the world we witness. The good news is that because we make the world with our thoughts, we can change it by changing our minds.
Enter, the “Art” of Forgiveness.
“The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.” (A Course in Miracles, T. 26:IX)
The practice of the Exquisite Art of Forgiveness is a real, nuts and bolts, everyday occupation in which we become Wagers of Peace. We can usher the whole world into a bright new reality via the power of Unity. One mind is all minds.
“Should any come to blows with you, seek to be friends with him; should any stab you to the heart, be ye a healing salve unto his sores; should any taunt and mock at you, meet him with love. Should any heap his blame upon you, praise ye him; should he offer you a deadly poison, give him the choicest honey in exchange; and should he threaten your life, grant him a remedy that will heal him evermore. Should he be pain itself, be ye his medicine; should he be thorns, be ye his roses and sweet herbs. Perchance such ways and words from you will make this darksome world turn bright at last; will make this dusty earth turn heavenly, this devilish prison place become a royal palace of the Lord — so that war and strife will pass and be no more, and love and trust will pitch their tents on the summits of the world. Such is the essence of God’s admonitions; such in sum are the teachings for the Dispensation of Baha” (Abdu’l-Baha, ibid, p. 34)
The Exquisite Art of Forgiveness is radical, it is mercy unalloyed. It is a total relinquishment to the healing power of Love.
Heroes are being led to the field of battle…the battleground of the mind.
“Arise, O people, and, by the power of God’s might, resolve to gain the victory over your own selves, that haply the whole earth may be freed and sanctified from its servitude to the gods of its idle fancies.” (Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 93)
Heroes, being led to the field of battle — the battleground is the mind.
~ D. Oraea Varis
Note: the ideas expressed herein are based solely upon the author’s experiences and are not intended to represent any official Baha’i viewpoint.