October 17th, 2016 / Jake White
When we are searching for forgiveness then we are searching for peace. Conflict is the way in which we move away from peace. When our relationships become conflicted then we often experience separation between ourselves and another person. When we are in this space of separation then we often lose track of what brings us back to that space of peace. It is important to realize that any meaningful relationship starts out in a place of love and connection. It is the recurring experiences of hurt that make us move away from love. When we see that relationships are centered around a deep connection with love then it helps us forgive in order to move toward where our relationships began.
There is a spark of creation in any relationship. There is something that draws us to a particular person and there is a sense that we will receive some form of completion or intimacy from the relationship that is beginning to form. Over time the relationship may move away from this intimacy and we will find ourselves at a distance from what brought us so much joy. This movement away from connection is what we have to learn to forgive. Forgiveness is the way in which we can repair the distance that forms between ourselves and another person. Ultimately forgiveness is what brings us back to an intimacy with ourselves and helps us see how we move away from ourselves in a search for intimacy in our external life. Relationships start in a place of intimacy and because of the ways that we have learned to separate from a deep connection with ourselves begins to overshadow the original connection that we found in our relationship.
We often can see that while we may find ourselves in a current conflict with someone and we feel a sense of hurt and pain in a current relationship. It is often the case that our current separation is linked to past relationships that caused us conflict. We will often find that in our current relationships they have moved in a direction that was similar to the past. This is where we can see the link between what is occurring now and what has happened in our past and the choices we make that keep our past alive. This means that by understanding our past conflicts we are able to resolve what keeps us from true intimacy currently.
An example of this for me was when I was a young boy I was playing soccer with a bunch of men that had come to my farm to celebrate the end of the recreational soccer league season. I was off on the sidelines feeling intimidated by the size of the men that I was playing with. My dad saw me on the sideline and quickly ran over to me to help me get involved in the game. My dad pointed out a boy my age that was playing and told me to be as bold as he was. All I remember feeling at this time was a need to be better in order to be ok in this situation. It is from this feeling of needing to change that we begin to separate and lose a sense of intimacy with ourselves. I felt that the little boy that was quiet and timid was somehow not good enough to match the men that were boldly playing a game of soccer. It is the beginning of this separation that causes conflict in our current relationships. For me I saw that in my close male relationships I was constantly attempting to overshadow and out perform. This created a need for me to be actively attempting to prove rather than be at peace with who I was. In these relationships I could see that there was a lack of intimacy because I lost touch with that little boy that was ok with quietly observing the action on the field. I did not need to perform and I was content where I was. For me the forgiveness comes when I can look at the choices that I have made in order to protect and separate from that part of myself and the ways that I continue to recycle this old story in order to get approval or value from my close male relationships. I can forgive myself for needing to perform, I can forgive myself for always comparing myself to other people, and I can forgive myself for not being able to sit and enjoy who I am. Our connections originate in peace and it is the conditions that make us move out into a conflict with the way that we truly are. When we are able to forgive ourselves then we begin to turn away from the people that made us feel that we were not enough. Forgiveness ultimately brings us to our feelings that are linked to our past experiences. When I can look at my feelings of disappointment and dissatisfaction with myself in my life currently and in my past circumstances then I am able to see what feelings I formed around that little boy that needed to fit in in order to feel accepted.
Our forgiveness is always complete when it is focused and includes everything that we have done to protect ourselves. It also shows us that separation does not always come from other people’s actions but in many cases comes from the stories we create in relation to them. When we can journey back to ourselves with forgiveness then we are willing to walk toward the part of ourselves that we left on the sideline. We are able to forgive how we changed ourselves in order to fit in with our environment. Ultimately when we forgive we begin to reclaim the qualities that we felt were not of value in our close intimate relationships. Of course my choice to no longer be quietly sitting on the sidelines was the way a little boy thought his dad wanted him to be. This was a search to receive approval and intimacy from my father. Over time this led to separation from myself and to male relationships that were based in conflict and ego. It is forgiveness that helps us see the cause of our conflicts and how it originates with a simple choice to move away from our true self. When we forgive we are asked to turn around and forgive everything that we did in order to move away from ourselves. When we finally see the value in our own sensitivity then we are able to pick ourselves up and reclaim the qualities that are in touch with a deep sense of love, so much so that we were willing to change ourselves in the name of love.