Reading Marianne Williamson’s book, A Return to Love, I came across this great section on forgiveness. I have transcribed it for you here.
Forgiveness is “selective remembering”–a conscious decision to focus on love and let the rest go. But the ego is relentless–it is “capable of suspiciousness at best and viciousness at worst.” It presents the most subtle and insidious arguments for casting other people out of our hearts…
Forgiveness is the choice to see people as they are now. When we are angry at people, we are angry because of something they said or did before this moment. But what people said or did is not who they are. Relationships are reborn as we let go of perceptions of our brother’s past. By bringing the past into the present, we create a future just like the past. By letting the past go, we make room for miracles.
An attack on a brother is a reminder of his guilty past. In choosing to affirm a brother’s guilt, we are choosing to experience more of it. The future is programmed in the present. To let go of the past is to remember that in the present, my brother is innocent. It is an act of gracious generosity to accept a person based on what we know to be the truth about them, regardless of whether or not they are in touch with that truth themselves.
Only love is real. Nothing else actually exists. If a person behaves unlovingly, then, that means that, regardless of their negativity–anger or whatever–their behavior was derived from fear and doesn’t actually exist. They’re hallucinating. You forgive them, then, because there’s nothing to forgive. Forgiveness is a discernment between what is real and what is not real.
When people behave unlovingly, they have forgotten who they are. They have fallen asleep to the Divine within them. The job of the miracle worker is to remain awake. We choose not to fall asleep and dream of our brother’s guilt. In this way we are given the power to awaken him.
Peace and Light,