In this life . . . we are unable to forget whatever remains unforgiven. So, if we won’t let go of some pain — whose time has now past — then who is to blame for the weight of this burden still being carried on our back?
Life is trying to reach us and teach us, through our experience of it, that we need new and true answers. These higher answers serve as a special kind of personal shelter that effortlessly keeps out what is harmful and keeps in what is healthy and life-giving.
Here is one example of how these higher answers can work for you. In reality, you cannot separate your answers from your actions and your actions from their results. Just as warmth must follow sunlight, so must a higher, happier life follow when inner light is allowed to flourish.
Your New Answer: Forgiveness is the personal understanding that except for circumstance there is no real difference between you and your offender.
Your New Action: In spite of all the inner screams to the contrary, dare to treat your trespasser as you would want to be treated.
Your New Result: When you stop punishing others for their weakness, you will stop punishing yourself for yours.
True nobility is not a question of birth right or social rank; it is the native estate of each soul that, upon awakening to its divine inheritance, knows the strength of these twin truths without having to think about them: justice and mercy are one, as is love and fearlessness.
Key Lesson: The smaller the self, the bigger the sense of offense it takes whenever anyone steps up to challenge one of its precious self-images.
Realize Real Self-Command
There is a very surprising reason why we tend to suffer over our mistakes as we do. The real source of our pain in these moments –whether we’re alone or with others — is the fear of being seen as less than we’ve imagined ourselves to be. We all know how it feels to try and save face, to scramble for scraps of lost dignity. But fearfully trying to cover up a misstep is not the same as knowing where we’re going. In fact, whenever we feel compelled to cover our tracks, something is in command of us, isn’t it? But here’s the real question: What part of us wants us to believe that a good “cover-up” is the same as being right? The answer is surprising: It’s our “un-original” self… a level of being that only knows itself through a slew of acquired social images, including the false belief that they must be protected at all costs.
Though we have yet to see it, beating ourselves up after making a blunder doesn’t mean that we actually knew better than what we just did — nor does this kind of suffering lead to greater command or better decisions the next time around. Self-punishing acts prove only one thing: Something in us would rather suffer over what happened in the past than be present to those parts of us that erred in the first place. Real self-command dawns within us as we realize that reliving the past is powerless to change a present misunderstanding; it comes from the light of our new knowledge that having the courage to drop the level of Self that keeps wronging us and others is far more important than being seen as right. This same realization also grants us the courage to start life over — again and again.
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