Several months ago I wrote about Forgiveness as a helpful practice for day-to-day living. Since then, I’ve done a lot of thinking about Spiritual Evolution—and I’ve come to think of Forgiveness in a much more expansive way. As a result of this deeper consideration, I’ve become convinced that Forgiveness is actually one of the most important keys to Spiritual Freedom.
To help understand why Forgiveness is such an important concept, one must first gain a general understanding of “karma” (as derived from ancient Hindu and Buddhist traditions). The idea of karma (also referred to by some as the Universal Law of Cause and Effect) is that the sum of a person’s actions decides the nature of their destiny and future experience. I sometimes think of karma as energy, but perhaps money may be something that’s easier to visualize.
So let’s imagine that we all go through life accumulating karma in the form of money. For every kind, loving, or compassionate thing we do, we receive a dollar that goes into our karmic “bank account”. For every mean, judgmental, or hateful thing we do, we lose a dollar and incur a karmic debt that must be paid back. Conversely, if someone does us harm, they now owe us a karmic debt that must eventually be paid back. If either party is unable to repay their karmic debts in a given lifetime, then both must reincarnate in a future life in an effort to balance things out. If this is truly the case, it’s quite easy to see how a soul could quickly become entangled in a “karmic wheel” that may continue spinning for lifetime after lifetime.
To further complicate things, some even suggest that we accumulate a form of “collective” karma. That is, our individual souls must take some responsibility for the actions of our species. Human beings, for example, must all share some responsibility for wars, social injustices, and the exploitation and pollution of our Earth and its natural resources. It has also been suggested that we may even inherit a bit of “residual” karma from our ancestors. In other words, some of the negative energy from their karmic deeds may imprint itself on our DNA—or perhaps it’s merely a case of some negative habits and actions being passed down from our grandparents to our parents, and so on. I definitely understand the feelings of consternation that arise with this. After all, why should we have to pay for something that someone else did in our family tree—or something that another human being has done halfway across the globe? What does that have to do with us? Be that as it may, in many ways these ideas make sense and I’m inclined to believe they’re true.
On the face of it, this all seems rather complex and quite a difficult challenge to overcome. If we are to ever have hope of “balancing our books” and advancing spiritually, what’s a soul to do?
For me, the answer is actually quite simple.
First, do your best to build up a “positive” karmic bank account. Follow “The Golden Rule” by treating others as you would like to be treated. Be kind. Be respectful. Love others without expecting anything in return. Love them unconditionally. Why unconditionally, you may ask? Because—if you treat someone well or love them with the expectation that they repay you in some way, you generate a karmic debt for them. If they aren’t able to repay that debt in this lifetime, then they—and you will need another chance to even things out. Then you’re both right back on that karmic wheel again. But if you Love someone unconditionally, there are no debts to repay!
Second, just forgive. According to the scriptures, Jesus taught Forgiveness—and I believe this is one of the main reasons why. Think about it. If you forgive yourself for any misdeeds, then work hard to Love others unconditionally, you’ll eventually pay off any karmic debt you may have accumulated without building up more. If you also forgive others—that is, absolve them of their karmic debts to you, you will have set them free from having to repay you. Therefore, by practicing forgiveness, you set everyone free—including yourself.
Now, any time someone does something that negatively affects me, I immediately forgive them and let their “transgression” go. Then I silently offer them Unconditional Love. I must admit that this is rather difficult to do at times for, like many, I tend to take things too personally—and “relive” events over and over, every time I think of them. I’ve learned however, that each time I think about a perceived transgression, I can simply choose to forgive and let go again. In so doing, I know I’ll eventually train my mind to respond in an entirely different way. My expectation is that, one day, I’ll be able to process an event once—and not have to revisit it again at all.
When it comes to our Spiritual Advancement, whether it’s considered individually or collectively, I’ve become a firm believer that Forgiveness and Unconditional Love are essential. I’m convinced they’re the keys that unlock the Higher Realms of Spirit—and if we learn to use them well, we’ll all one day be able to set ourselves free from the ties that seem to limit and bind us so strongly to the past.
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