Interpreting Forgiveness

[This entry was written over a two day period, and is a continuation of Jay’s journal from 1997. As always, you can read what Jay thinks about this subject now in the Post Script. Happy reading! ~ Dawn]

10/24/97

Through interpretation we can find serenity, or peace. Realize that the things you are hurt or upset by only hurt or upset you because you are programmed to react this way, and you will realize how you are denying yourself your own happiness. And Happiness denied, even for an instant, is the most blasphemous thing you can do… whether you are an atheist or a devoted priest.

You are where you are and who you are because everything you’ve done and been has led you to this point. You are responsible for every relationship, every situation, every circumstance in your life. Every aspect of everything. Everything. It’s a lot to take responsibility for, but if you don’t you’ll never find a modicum of peace, and you’ll definitely never find the courage to change what you’d like to.

Everything that happens to any one of us happens by choice. Whether you consciously choose or unconsciously choose. Whether you take control or allow another to take it from you… the choice is still yours. If you choose not to choose, you have still chosen. When another makes your choices for you, you have given them that power, and that is still your responsibility.

Make peace with yourself! Forgive yourself any bad or wrong choices you may have made. Forgive yourself any choices you should’ve made but didn’t. This is Earth. We’re here to make mistakes… they’re one of the best learning tools we have. They’re also one of the leading causes of unhappiness, bitterness, and death. I would say premature death, but there is nothing but premature death.

If your mistakes from the past still influence your life, take a look at them. Take a look at how many mistakes you make because of the choice you made long ago that you now consider a mistake. Mistakes beget mistakes, and until you change your perspective toward an old choice, you will continue to make mistakes in this area of your life, be it your spouse, your children, your job, etc.

10/26/97 (continued from previous entry)

You see, for example, if you got married and have since come to regret that decision, even in the deepest recesses of your subconscious, something odd happens. The faintest shadow of a doubt is a seed. All too often we fail to pay attention to the seeds we sow in our mind. Any random thought is a seed. That seed can grow, mature, go into seed again, and before you know it there’s a whole forest worth of regret and resentment in your mind.

There are infinite choices for each of us in every situation. Granted, if you got married having no idea that it would lead to abusive behavior, by all means get out. More often than not people get married for many wrong reasons. You can continue to make the mistake, whether by staying in a bad thing or by staying in a potentially good thing and putting all your thoughts and attention (albeit subconsciously) into making it a bad thing. Your choice and your responsibility.

It’s so very important to see that we get out what we put in. If you put loving, positive, healthy, encouraging thoughts into your mind and actions into your relationships, those seeds will grow as long and as much as you nurture them at every stage. If you put resentful, doubtful, unhealthy, unhappy thoughts into your mind a actions into your relationships, isn’t it dreadfully obvious what you will get out? We all wish for the perfect relationships, and we’re all sad when we feel ours is lacking. What we so seldom realize is that that may be precisely what we asked for with our thoughts and deeds. Put Love and Happiness in and you will get Love and Happiness back.

Post Script

There is a certain wisdom in the naiveté of Yesterday Jay that I find both charming and repulsive. It’s like chocolate: I’ve always loved it, but my relationship with it has changed over the years. In the end of my first book, “Stumbling Backasswards Into The Light”, I devour a candy bar that I identify as my favorite snack. I have not eaten one of those candy bars for years; last time I did it tasted like wax and paste instead of chocolate and peanuts, and it sat in my stomach like a rock.

Reading this entry was much the same. The sugar tasted artificial, the substance seemed insubstantial, and it left an unappealing aftertaste. The last statement particularly, “Put love and happiness in and you will get love and happiness back” has that annoying tone of the recently “enlightened” moron. The repetitive rant leading up to that statement sounds more like the internal dialogue of someone with a pretty fucked up life than anything resembling philosophy.

It is of course true that if you put nothing but love into every aspect of life, you will get nothing but love in return. There are way too many layers of possible meaning to such a statement to prove it untrue. The layers are not explained or explored by the preceding text or by the statement itself, though. You can’t explain the universe away in a ninety minute film or a phrase that’s all icing and no cake.

Love is a big thing to turn on inside yourself. Long ago I came up with a visualization to help me. I would lie down, close my eyes, and envision a bank of toggle switches on a tall, long wall. Every switch represented a gap that had not been bridged between myself and God. Every thought or belief that turned me away from complete happiness was a circuit whose polarity needed to be changed or activated or grounded. Suffice it to say there are a lot of switches, and that several need to be turned on repeatedly as my bumbling efforts at creating light cast me into darkness again and again.

Forgiving yourself is indeed a version of loving yourself, when applied properly. There is not any progress going on when you wake up, beat your spouse, forgive yourself and then wake up and beat your spouse again. (This may seem an extreme example, but only if you ignore the reality of a good emotional beating. Then the example becomes commonplace and more applicable to all sexes.) Forgiving yourself can’t just be a matter of becoming okay with your own behavior no matter how despicable it may be. This runs the risk of personifying an old Seinfeld skit, turning yourself into a shell of a human being clutching your knees to your chest as you rock back and forth repeating, “Serenity now!” or some other such nonsense.

Part of forgiving yourself is understanding yourself. “Why do I scream at people in traffic every day?” is a question that must be answered before the screaming can really stop. Otherwise, you might stop screaming externally but continue with an internal rage. The next path that rage takes might not be so harmless as raising your voice when no one but you can hear. Perhaps indulging that outlet awhile longer while you deliberately work on the roots of that rage is not such a bad idea.

Forgiveness only works when it is part of a formula, and the formula itself gives new meaning to forgiveness. For me, it got to the point where I don’t even think of the process as forgiveness anymore. The concept as it is practiced socially is not the concept as I have come to understand it. As I have said before, compassion trumps forgiveness. It is chess versus checkers, and forgiveness must almost be given up for one to fully take up compassion.

Let me close this by reiterating what I have touched on in the past. I enjoy going back over these entries and poking fun at my own words, or agreeing with them and fleshing them out with some experience. The reason I wrote then was the same reason I write now, and that I intend to continue to write: I write to clarify my thoughts, to reach for clarity and wisdom and delight in the moments that I find it. My inner dialogue is much like a drill instructor, and sometimes I just let that flow. I realized when I was writing this journal that I had to take certain steps to reach higher levels of understanding. I did not consider what I wrote then to be eternal truths any more than I do what I write now. The entire point to my writing is to move from where I am today to where I want to be tomorrow. If you think I sound like a bit of an asshole, it’s because I am. I’m also a bit of a philosopher. Thanks for sharing the ride!

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