February 5, 2009.
In the "Share Your Story" section of the website, Nini responded to Roy's story, "Communicating with My Life Partner," with a story about Sam, her cat, who died in her arms. I extend kudos to both of you for sharing such heartfelt experiences.
Nini's story caused me to reflect on my dog Ringo, who died after being hit by a car. I was fifteen. I was living with my newly divorced mom and two younger brothers in a shabby two-bedroom apartment in L.A. I was in charge, among other things, of doing the laundry. The laundry room was below our apartment and next to the car port. As I was putting the clothes in the washer, I heard the screech of car tires. Bolting out from the laundry room, I saw a car go screeching by and there, lying in the middle of the street, was Ringo, my five-pound friend. I ran to his side. He acknowledged my presence with one last wag of his tail. I was devastated. I blamed myself. I also blamed my mom, who was at work at the time of his death. I believed that, if she'd been home, this never would have happened. I thought Ringo shouldn't have died when he did.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience rather than humans with spirits. That's a huge difference! And truth be told, we don't know what anyone is here to learn nor do we know what circumstances will best provide spiritual growth in service to our highest good.
It’s precisely because we don't know that it’s impossible to judge. This is important, so follow my drift: If we're not in a position to judge anyone, then we never have to forgive anyone—for anything—because in order to forgive, we first have to judge. Take a moment to let that sink in because it’s an extraordinary concept.
You don’t ever have to forgive anyone because they never did anything wrong—unless you judged them, which, as we’ve already established, is unfounded if you don’t know what they’re here to learn or how they'll best learn it. The only person we ever have to forgive is ourselves . . . for having judged.
When we think we know more than we do and we place a judgment on ourselves, on another, or on a situation, it feeds the ego, or the “small” self. The moment we enter into judgment, we’ve entered into duality, creating painful feelings of separation and suffering for ourselves. It's not the events in our lives that are the source of suffering. Said another way, it's not what happens to us that causes us to suffer. We suffer because of the judgments we place. If we judge an event as "bad," then we, too, feel bad. If we judge an event as "horrible," then we, too, feel horrible.
Have you ever noticed that making someone wrong disrupts inner peace? That’s because, as you separate yourself from someone through judgment, you’re disrupting your connection to your authentic nature, which is loving, accepting, kind, peaceful, generous, and compassionate. In Spiritual Psychology we call this the Authentic Self, a consciousness/awareness beyond duality. It's who you are beyond ego and personality. It's eternal.
Judgment is always at the root of inner disturbance. When our ideals are violated, for example, what’s violated is the way we think things should be, which is usually the way we were brought up, which we think is the right way. That’s not to condone bad behavior; it’s simply that, identifying the judgment and letting it go allows us to grow spiritually. Let me be clear: this doesn't imply being a doormat.
When I take one hundred percent responsibility for any disturbance going on within, without blaming it on anyone or anything outside, then the only person I ever have to forgive is myself—for the judgments I’ve placed. It’s always about self-forgiveness because I can’t forgive anyone else if they didn’t do anything to me.
Love is always available and always flowing. The question is, are we allowing it or blocking it? We block the flow of love and create unnecessary suffering when we judge. Self-forgiveness allows us to compassionately apply love to the places inside that hurt, allowing the flow of love. It’s a powerful tool in service to healing.
In Part II, I'll demonstrate how to use self-forgiveness as a healing tool by modeling how I applied it to my experience with Ringo.
Copyright © 2009 by Irene Kendig