Somewhere we have been taught anything that does not make others happy is our fault. We are not good enough. We are somehow broken. Our ideas cannot be good enough or everyone would just simply agree. When our judgement is questioned it triggers the response of defending our worthiness. We find ourselves lashing out or withdrawing into silence. We seldom open to discussion on these alternate opinions or ideas, afraid we may see a different point of view, thus making our point wrong. But is there a wrong or right opinion to anything that happens in life? Is life not just a perception?
One of the biggest reasons I have found for this push and pull between us, is the need to feel we are in control. Our subconscious has been programed to believe others are either better than us or beneath us. Therefore we need to defend our position on the ladder of life. But is there anyone who is better or beneath anyone? Is there a need to defend our position, if we are all equal? Is it not acceptable to understand another's point of view without feeling there is something wrong with us?
As is my usual Easter custom, I sit in meditation and consider forgiveness. Forgiveness of self and others. More and more I find myself asking, "What is there to forgive?" This ritual shows me how I am taking life too personally. We are here to experience. Those who push our "Hot Buttons" or illicit hurt or anger, can be appreciated rather than defamed for they are showing me where I still have the belief, "I am not good, worthy, smart or important enough. Those beliefs have nothing to do with anyone else but me. I need in times of feeling a need to forgive someone else, to realize I created this experience to teach me more about who I think I am.
So then, what is left to forgive? I have long since forgiven the bullies, abusers, and naysayers in my life. I have even found a place of gratitude for the strength they have given me. Do I need to forgive those who disagree with my perception of life and what should be? No, they are entitled to their opinion. I can be grateful for the different aspect they have on a particular idea, for it broadens my mind.
Forgiveness of self is all that is left. Forgiveness for those times when I have responded without opening my mind and heart to what another feels in a situation. Forgiveness for self for those times I have made an assumption without hearing the whole story. Forgiveness of self for thinking I am not worthy of all that is good in life. Forgiveness for desiring control when control is not appropriate or necessary. Forgiveness for some and any belief that allows another to push those old buttons of the past, when the past is gone. Forgiveness for thinking I should be able to control the future when there is a greater power within me who will guide me if I just drop the pretense that my ego is all there is to guide me. Forgiveness of self for looking either up the ladder or down, when in truth I know we are all equal, all one, with a unique set of qualities and ideas that make the experience of life, rich and textured.
As I conclude my meditation for this year it comes to me that most misunderstandings are based on assumption, creating a story without allowing ourselves to hear the truth from others. We are so afraid of the truth that we shut out those who we presume have wronged us and create a story that gives basis to our right to be angry, hurt, and disgruntled. If we could instead create a story that says I am enough, they are enough and together we create a beautiful world, the need for this Easter custom could end.
Is it not enough that one man died on the cross, must we carry that hurt, burden and sacrifice as well? To do so negates that which we were taught in Sunday School, that Jesus died on the cross to forgive the sins of man eternally. Can we not remember this and forgive without pain and suffering?
For in forgiveness we find the joy we are seeking.