Question: Can you explain to me about forgiveness? Is forgiveness (and “making amends”) something that I (a recovering addict) need to address? It seems silly to think I need to drag up every person from my past that I did something hurtful to. But what about those big relationships as in family? Will forgiveness and amends help in the healing of me?
Answer: Your intuition is good; learn to trust it, which doesn’t mean to close your eyes and follow it blindly. In this instance, there are times and people that pass through our lives when and with whom we realize we have missed the mark; and, even though they may have been cruel or mistaken in their actions towards us, we know we were part of the destruction that followed. When we feel the need to apologize and/or to let them know that we harbor no hatred or anger towards them, we should listen to our heart. It may be that this message of forgiveness is intended for the person we send it to; but, in many such cases, it’s equally likely that this message of forgiveness has been first sent to us from our own heart… indicating we can let go of who and what we have been… and move deeper into our relationship with True Love itself.
When it comes to dealing with others who have failed to meet our expectations, let us never forget the following: their choices in the past that may have caused us pain ought never blindly determine how we treat them in the present. After all, if the Divine decided to judge us “once and for all’ — for even a small portion of our poorly made, self-centered decisions — surely It would have given up on us a long time ago.
Question: Mother Theresa once said, “The more you have, the less you have to give.” Would it be good for us to be poor? Why do physical possessions seem to have this corruptive nature that is so antithetical to the spiritual life?
Answer: In a word: identification. Now add to this idea what it means to be attached to things. We are never attached to the objects themselves; rather we are attached to the sense of self we derive from our ideas about these objects as to what they “make us.” Goodness has nothing to do with either poverty or wealth relative to this world and its possible possessions. There is a poverty that true spiritual aspirants discover, but it has nothing to do with ownership or the lack of it. This poverty is the discovery that we had mistaken ourselves to be something we were not. This realization is the beginning of real riches.