On many occasions I have seen people express that it is certainly noble and necessary to forgive, but only a fool would forget. The usual argument for this is something to the effect that, “If I forget, then I may set myself up to have the same problem (with the same person) in the future”. To the undeveloped persona/ego this looks like a wise stance to take, and yet I suggest it is in fact an indication the true depth and meaning of forgiveness is still veiled from our consciousness. Harboring such a perspective is the sign I’ve not fully understood the meaning of forgiveness, and I don’t yet fathom the meaning of “forgive and forget”.
There is an important reason Christian philosophy (along with many others) promotes the idea we must “forgive and forget” grievances against us. In my experience, both are important in their own way, and when we get to the depth of forgiveness, forgiving and forgetting are one and the same act, like the in and out motion of a yoyo. They are inseparable. If I believe I have forgiven and yet I feel unable to forget, this is an indication I have not yet fully forgiven.
My own state of unconsciousness is what brings me into situations that call for forgiveness. Nothing else. The pain I experience in such situations arises within me, and does not come toward me or happen to me. Typically, in such situations we judge the world “out there” for having done something to us, to my world “in here”—my inner world, how I feel, and so on. In reality, as I experience it, the whole phenomenon emerged from within. Without getting into complex details, when I am faced with a situation that calls for forgiveness, a significant aspect of what will have played out was a lack of appropriate heart-felt knowing or insight on my part.
Do I take full responsibility for the fact this person showed up in my world? I dreamed them into my field of perception. Do I take responsibility for that mystical act? Do I take full responsibility for the ways in which they appear to have behaved and subsequently caused me to feel pain? If not, am I truly ready to forgive them, myself, and the situation? According to The Law of Forgiveness, I am not yet ready. Greater recapitulation and self-awareness is called for. The medicine they bring me has not yet been assimilated. The medicine they bring is for healing the root cause of my own unconsciousness.
Forgiveness requires me to move beyond the story of victim and persecutor I play out with people. When I have woken up to what gave rise to this person and their life-taking behaviour in my world I won’t need to consciously remember what they did and what transpired. I can literally forgive and forget. To remember is to “call to mind”. Yet will I need to consciously call to mind this person’s past actions if I am seeing clearing in the present? The reason they were able to have a painful impact on me previously is that I was not seeing them clearly. I saw them in a way that obscured perception of their negative intent toward me. I can get hung up feeling bad about the whole situation, or I can rejoice in the fact I have an opportunity to see more clearly.
The actual words forgive and forget reveal something important about their deeper meaning. To for-give is an act for giving—giving the truth of clear perception, to the myself and the world. To for-get is the act of receiving—receiving the truth of clear perception, of myself and the world. The word get means to “receive“. Its root means “to obtain, reach, mentally grasp”. To not for-get is to have missed part of the mystery emerging into my world through my relationship with this other person. Forgiving and forgetting are like the two lanes going in opposite directions on a road. This is the road we walk on our path of freedom. There is a saying, “To give is to receive”, and if we apply this to forgiveness we discover, “To forgive is to forget”. As far as the meaning of the word goes, for-getting (in this context) could be accurately written as for-receiving.
When I fully give the reality of Oneness to the other, I also get or receive that reality of Oneness myself. It happens instantly, beyond time and not as a result of reciprocity. Simply put, if I haven’t got it, I don’t have it to give. Looked at another way, when I “forgive and forget”, forgetting is the immediate echo of my forgiveness. That which I give is that which I ultimately receive. I send out to the world true forgiveness, and what echoes back to me is true forgetting.
One may then ask, “But what if that person comes by again and is going to behave in the way they did before? If I have forgotten what they did to me before, then I will be a victim to their ways again, and that’s plan stupid.” To the ego this seems like a valid and important point. To the Christ Presence within us, it is certainly important, and yet far from valid. It is important in that it is question resulting from an error in perception, a mis-take on reality (the only mistake we can make). To mis-take (to miss the mark of truth) is the root meaning of the word sin. The guilt, we and others inflict upon ourselves for having missed the mark of reality, is the secondary inference of “sin”.
If I have truly forgiven a situation which arose between myself and another, what need have I for clinging to a memory of this, of the so-called past? True forgiveness is a return to Now, a return to innocence. There is no innocence in a mind distracted by delusions of the past and future. The innocence in us knows nothing of these illusionary perceptual positions. Our innocence is here and now. It meets each moment afresh and with an open heart. “Ah,” I hear some say, “but if I meet a past wrongdoer with an open heart they will take advantage of me and do me wrong again.”
I propose this is not an accurate appreciation of the nature and wisdom of the heart. On the contrary, to meet the world with a closed heart I do myself a great disservice, a grievous wrong doing. If my heart is closed, the vast and ineffable wisdom it affords me is obscured at best, and completely veiled and inaccessible at worst. Without wisdom such as that of the omniscient Heart, how will I recognise the true intention of those who arise in my world? What’s more, with such a closed heart Life has no option but to bring into my world the very people, situations, and experiences—painful or otherwise—necessary to shake me out of my slumber and spiritual coma. Sometimes the only way to bring someone back from slipping into a coma—or to wake them from a powerful nightmare—is to slap them on the face, or throw a bucket of cold water over their face. If someone brought us back from our slip into unconsciousness in this way, we would ultimately thank them, would we not? Despite the momentary and relative pain or discomfort it may have caused us.
If you recall or refer to what I have shared on the Law of Forgiveness, you may already understand that, according to this Law, forgiveness is not the acknowledgement and subsequent acceptance of a wrong-doing, of a something a person has done to me. Rather it is the deep and duality shattering realisation that nothing ever happened, and that my experience of life is not happening to me rather it is emerging through me—through that which I Am (The I AM THAT I AM within “me”). Thus it is impossible to not forget. How can I remember that which never transpired? What never transpired was the illusion that the world around me was being anything other than a mirror of my own yet-to-awaken consciousness. To re-member is to recall to mind, derived from Latin memor which is to be mindful. To be mindful is to be conscious or aware of something. Yet how can I, in my right mind, be conscious and aware of something that does not exist, something that has no basis in reality? To be conscious of something that is not there is the definition of an hallucination or delusional psychosis.
If I have truly forgiven a person for the apparent grievance they seemingly caused me to feel, forgetting the whole ordeal is not only unavoidable but simply delightful. Oh, the joy of being truly free of the ill-conceived past maintained by my Self-unconsciousness. To the degree I am free of my foggy delusions of the apparent past, is the degree to which the I am free in every moment of the need to try to control and avoid being confronted by my apparent future.
In my experience, if I truly forgive someone who behaved in a life-taking way toward me, there are three most likely consequences:
1) That person ceases to behave in the same way toward me. They may or may not continue to behave in similar life-taking ways with other people, but in my world such behaviour will cease. I have experienced this in numerous situations with a multitude of people. My unconscious affinity for their shenanigans has been vanquished. It has verily vanished forever. To vanquish, in this regard, is to demolish. In Latin moliri is to build or construct, referring also to a massive structure. To de-moliri is to tear down the massive dualistic constructs I had built in my mind; constructs that until the moment of absolute forgiveness—of clear wisdom and insight—were obscuring my view of myself and of the world.
2) The person ceases to be a participant in my world or realm. They simply take flight like a bird migrating toward circumstances more suited to its predisposition, and moves out of the kingdom. They head off to other territories; to participate in the world of people who resonate with where they are at in ways I no longer do or can.
3) They might show up again in my kingdom—my sovereign realm—and yet the wisdom of the clear light in my heart gives me immediate and clear perception of their ways, their motivations, and their ill intent if they come with any. Here and now, without reference to the past. Because I relate to them with forgiveness, I have no past with them; we have no history. Yet here and now, I see their essence as it is—a bright luminous star—and I see their mal-intent, as it is, like a shadow cast before them. As a result, I lovingly (without judgement nor criticism toward them) do not grant them right of entry into my kingdom (which resides within). I might choose to ask them to leave, I might use my two feet to move away from them, or whatever course of action is necessary to not enter into a life-degrading relationship in which they can play out their malicious behaviours. If they have sufficient presence of mind, I may explain to them they are most welcome in my world as and when they approach me with the love and respect my realm requires of all those who enter herein.
To reiterate, in this third scenario, it is not necessary for me to actively and consciously remember (re-member) my past with this person. Here and now, I have no history with them. I have no history, full stop. Thus I meet them afresh, and in that moment the living all-knowing intelligence within my sacred heart of hearts will recognise the most appropriate (life-giving) way to handle their approach and emergence in my world. I will instantly know the most life-giving course of action, and in this way I will not fall victim to—be experientially subjected to the effects of—my own unconsciousness in such a situation again.
Such is the mystery of truly forgiving and forgetting.
Please comment if you have any questions.
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