Our lesson today is on the topic of forgiveness. The practice of forgiveness is one of many means by which you as an individual can boost your own spiritual light, that shining aspect of yourself which is unconsciously perceived by your comrades in the flesh, but which is quite clearly seen by those who have passed beyond the material form or who have been created by other means.
In your strivings for spiritual growth, my friends, it may be useful to think of yourself as a beacon, a light, and consider how you can direct your actions in a way that will increase your own personal intensity. Remember that a light which may shine most brightly does so without noise, without harm. Be like the beacon of light that shines forth from the lighthouse.
Forgiveness, yes, it's a way of boosting your light power, your brightness. A most noble spiritual attribute, one which does not come so easily to those of material origin, animal creation. Forgiveness involves the laying aside of anger, pride. Yes, your own greed and selfishness. And returning love where your animal self may have experienced insult.
When you practice forgiveness, you will know that you are on the right track when you sense an easiness within yourself, a lightness of being, some have said. It has been said that it is as if a great weight is lifted from one's shoulders when forgiveness comes.
It is important to understand why forgiveness is difficult for you. That is because the animal is moved by primal urges, the instinct to survive, the instinct to feed, and the urge to reproduce. When an animal senses a threat to its ability to carry out any or all of these three urges, the animal is instinctively driven to strike out. Anger ensues. Pride wells up. And a chain of events occurs in order for the animal mind to protect the interests of the animal. This occurs in beings of animal origin as well.
Think to yourselves, my friends, of the times that the acts of other humans have angered you, lead you to harbor resentment and withhold forgiveness. How many of those incidents have truly involved a threat to your life? How many of those times has there really been a genuine and unquestionable threat to your family, to your capacity to earn a living? It is most likely that the vast majority of such episodes in your life have not been true threats to your material existence, much less to your spiritual existence. And yet it is the almost universal experience of mortal beings to carry a large burden of anger and resentment stored up over a lifetime about bygone incidents.
Like weeds growing in a garden, eventually such incidents can choke off healthy growth. Do not let this happen to yourselves. Assess your stock like the good gardener, carefully pull out the weeds. Yes, it is important to protect yourselves, but you must consider your motives. If you sincerely wish to increase your personal light, then make an effort to differentiate between the rare true threat and the common false threat. The false threats are meaningless, my friends. They can be forgiven so easily. And when you as living human examples behave in such elevated fashion, be assured that others will observe and imitate. Again, to behave in such a way is yet another step on the road to being in the world, but not of it.
Let the clean fresh water of forgiveness cleanse your mind. Let it wash away so much that hinders you in your aspirations to be like the Master, to further the goals of this mission, To be a worker helping to pull Urantia out of its turmoil toward light and life. With forgiveness comes joy and peace. This is the end of this lesson, my friends. I will receive any questions or comments now.
S: I am very, very touched by your lesson today. I think that what you've covered today is one of the foundations of what we need to learn and keys to our existence. Thank you.
R: You are most welcome. My friends, when you neglect to forgive, it is as if there is a shadow over your spiritual light, like a cloud covering the sun. It is not necessary. There are so few things in your material existence that are worth holding onto with retrogressive behaviors and feelings, so very few. And yet, of course, if your forgiveness is not sincere, it is not - it will not help you or anyone else. So keep that in mind as you work on your own capacity to be more forgiving. It will be a struggle. None of this is expected to be easy. But you will find it to be most rewarding.
Q: For the first fifty years of my life I said and felt that I was proud of my enemies. Probably during the last few years, I have been ashamed of my enemies because I haven't made them friends. I feel that I'm doing pretty good along the forgiveness line, but I still need to work on it.
A: You need not necessarily embrace the person you forgive. Rather, you are expunging the negative feelings toward the individual from your own mind. Do you understand the difference?
S: Yes, yes, I do understand the difference.
R: Were you to sense forgiveness toward those whom you refer to as your enemies, you would find that rather than being enemies, they would simply be neutral persons that you once...
S: And not friends ...
R: Yes, it is not intended that you necessarily must have intimate and close associations with all other beings on Urantia at this time, however, if your interaction can be peaceful, without rancor that would be most appropriate now. Do you see?
S: Yes, I think I've achieved that.
R: Also, there is no reason why you cannot guard yourself against those who you sense may not have your best interest in mind. (Thank you.) Even the Master did that during His sojourn here, if you would review the chronicle of His life as presented to you. There is no need to hasten your own physical demise by putting down your protective behaviors. Simply, if you can refrain from hating the enemy. There is power in loving your enemy. It does not mean that there are not some who would not harm you. This is a complicated issue, and one which deserves lessons of its own. But there has been much misunderstanding of what forgiveness is and how it should be properly applied in human interaction. But be assured, my friends, that your own personal feelings toward another individual or group of individuals are most powerful. Those which are imitative of Father are powerful in the sense of growth and movement toward light and life, and those which are regressive limit growth. Does that help?
S: Yes, it does. I think I see two different aspects to forgiveness: one is to the person being forgiven, and the other, most important, is to the forgiver himself.
Q: Is there a difference between forgiveness on an intellectual level and an emotional level?
A: They are both variations of the animal mind. There is a difference between the two - the two methods you discuss, and the spiritual - but intellect and emotion are both animal in origin, although there is the tendency to consider the intellectual workings of the mind to be more sophisticated than emotional. This is not necessarily true however. Because my thought takes structured and logical form does not necessarily mean that it is higher in its form. Does that answer? (Yes, thank you.)
S: I also join in the appreciation of a lesson that's very helpful to me. That distinction between loving one's enemies and not hating them, being able to forgive, that's very helpful to me. I think I've perhaps been more forgiving than I've been able to acknowledge, and I understand I can certainly go further, but it's nice to know that I don't have to love my enemies, because that was keeping me from thinking that I had forgiven at all. I think that that's not true now, if I've correctly understood your lesson.
Q: Regarding forgiveness, I am wondering if, as we grow spiritually and as we do forgive more and learn what that actually means and how that feels, if it actually becomes less and less necessary for us to forgive or that we more than likely are inclined to forgive immediately when we sense a transgression and then understand and then we forgo any of the pain and suffering or mental confusion or spiritual aberration that comes from harboring resentment?
A: You have a good understanding of the concept. Remember, my friend, that at an earlier stage of the evolution of man an insult would be returned by an axe blow or the strike of a club on the head of the insulted. Slowly and arduously man has learned other responses to perceived insult. Now it is the time to let even those subtle but damaging feelings of anger, resentment, desire for revenge, and so on, pass by, and instead become more agile at the practice of instant forgiveness that you allude to. Eventually, with practice, you will find that it will indeed become an automatic response. Some of you here, in fact, have done quite well in your work along this line, and I commend you. Does that answer? (Yes.) (09/25/93)
© 11:11 Progress Group.
"Michael est toujours au Volant."
(Michael is always at the Steering Wheel.)