Question: Someone I love has hurt me deeply, betrayed my trust, and now I don’t know how I should feel about this person. Should I forgive and forget, or try to find another who won’t be the same way? Seems I can’t get a hold on what should be happening here! What’s to be done?
Answer: No one can, nor should he, ever say, “do this, or do that” when it comes to questions of the human heart, and how to deal with what has revealed its vulnerability. How does one remain open and loving when anger and mistrust are trying to seal one off from love itself?
Seen clearly, as challenging as it may be, the great pain being felt here is not because of what someone else has done, but rather because of what that behavior stirs and serves to reveal in you. We are divided…pure and simple; one “I” wants to forgive, knows that hatred and resentment is never the right thing to do…while another “I” finds forgiveness unreasonable, makes and holds accounts against the offender, and finds full justification in carrying forward an unforgiving attitude. One “I” wants to believe in the “good” in others, while another “I” knows that the “good” in sleeping human beings can disappear in an instant, like the sun behind a series of passing clouds. So, what to do? Don’t look for the “pot of gold” at the end of an imagined rainbow!
Human relationships are storms waiting to happen because people who think that their worth depends upon what others do or don’t do towards them will always (eventually) find themselves in conflict with the choices these “others” make. But, in these storms, and the “rains” of pain they produce, also exist the seeds of other possibilities.
In any crisis of confidence with another there is also the possibility of the “seed” of self-reliance breaking through to reach for the sun. In any moment of doubt, despair, or sense of betrayal brought on by the choice of another, there also exists the possibility of realizing that dark states, regardless of their “cause,” don’t prove our innocence or virtue; these dark (self-induced) states show us, at once, two possibilities: we can either succumb to living as a victim of the passing moment, or we can see that the moment making us miserable is born of our unconscious identification with something or someone outside of us. However, this knowledge, these insights do nothing to change the nature of our pain, nor is it intended to; it exists to allow us a new order of choice in the moment of our conflict, by showing us that what we suffer over determines how we suffer, and for how long.
If we continue to believe that it is what others do that drives us into our dark ways and days, then we will never stop suffering trying to change them, or crying over how conflicted we feel because we’re not sure how we should be thinking towards them. But as we awaken a bit, we can start to be willing to suffer our presently divided “self”…to see that our many sleeping selves, by their inherently varied and un-reconciled existence within us, will always cause us to “love one and despise the other.” And it is this choice…to be what we are without a “reason” (for being that) that makes the difference in whether the bad weather of our relationships produces spring flowers or mud holes. More than this cannot be said about what to do with those people in our lives who have hurt us.