The power of Forgiveness
A reader shares his personal proofs of the power of Forgiveness
Guest article by Greg Wade
Introduction by Occult Mysteries
Readers who appreciated Greg Wade's two previous contributions are sure to enjoy his new article, in which he shares his own personal proofs of the power of Forgiveness. His story contains important lessons for us all, not least that no one can forgive another if the lower self has the upper hand.
Of course, most people, even so-called 'occultists' who should really know better, are completely unaware they even have two distinct and separate selves—the lower and higher minds as they are also called. How the occult student may distinguish between them and act wisely upon the messages received from them is the subject of our customary afterword.
It is my intention in this article to explore to some small extent the virtue of forgiveness by sharing some of my own experiences with particular reference to a recent challenging event. It is my sincere hope that in describing my struggle to attain a state of forgiveness I will help some of my fellow readers who may have faced similar situations in the past, or will undoubtedly do so in the future. But before I tell my story, I would like to touch upon one of the most important teachings of Occult Science; a teaching directly connected to the title of this article and with so many other aspects of our inner lives.
Until I discovered Occult Mysteries a few years ago, I never had any real comprehension of our ultimate purpose and the reason for our existence on this speck of matter we call planet Earth. As described in my first contribution to the website—Down the rabbit hole—I spent years searching for the answer to this question, but it wasn't until I read the first article in the online occult studies course entitled the Path to the Light that I felt that I had found the answer to this eternal question.
This discovery opened up a whole new world to me. I can't describe the inner sense of comfort and reassurance I felt in coming to the realisation that such a path exists. But to truly walk this path, we must strive to better ourselves each day by making the right choices. In other words this means we should always try to listen to the small, quiet voice of our higher selves. It is only by doing this consistently that we can hope to slowly cultivate the sublime virtues of patience, kindness, humility and forgiveness—to name but a few.
In theory, the concept of a higher and lower self (or mind—the same thing) is relatively simple to understand for those lucky enough (or should I say ready enough) to realise we have two minds. Many inspired Poets, such as Schiller, who wrote "O! Two souls dwell within my breast!"—have intuitively sensed these two selves. We've all heard people say "he was in two minds about it," and "he isn't in his right mind." Few stop to consider the implications of such sayings. It's only when we consciously try to control our own selfish urges or recognise those in others that it occurs to us that there are two minds at work in each one of us.
But we also know the saying "it's easier said than done." Only when we exercise our higher will to control our lower mind do we experience first hand how exceedingly difficult this is. Each day we are tested by all kinds of temptations and we should, in fact, welcome them because each one we resist and overcome gives further strength to our higher mind. Along with these daily tests we will all inevitably be presented with a more significant test of our faith which can come in many different forms, such as bereavement, a life-changing accident, a sudden illness or a whole host of other potential difficulties.
My test came 18 months ago in the form of betrayal when I discovered that my wife, the mother of our child and the person I trusted more than anyone else in the world was having an affair. This was the first time in my life that I had experienced such emotional pain and anguish. The natural response of self-pity took hold for days and weeks. But can you guess what it was that helped me most during this most difficult period? It was, of course, the higher teachings of knowledge and wisdom presented by the authors of Occult Mysteries. It was they which provided me with comfort and solace in my hour of need. I quickly found it is much easier to forgive those who trespass against us when we seek to attune with the Love and Light of our higher mind than the hatred and darkness of the lower.
With the benefit of hindsight I now sometimes ask myself if I would erase this experience, and the answer is no. For how can we learn to grow—how can we find out what we are truly capable of if we are never presented with any trials or challenges to endure and overcome? The statement "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is true in this respect. It must also be appreciated that the attainment of forgiveness or any other virtue does not happen overnight and even with the benefit of my awareness regarding some aspects of the hidden knowledge it still took me a long time to forgive my wife.
But if we are not willing to forgive others how can we expect to be forgiven for our own mistakes and misdeeds? It is only when we begin to comprehend the true scale of the battle between the higher and lower wills that we can come to a fuller understanding of human frailty and how this epic struggle continues to manifest itself in an almost endless variety of different ways and forms. Furthermore, we must also take into consideration that we are all at different stages of earthly evolution. We all must learn the harsh lessons of material existence before we become sufficiently purified to cast off the shackles of matter.
By now you may be wondering how I felt when I finally managed to overcome the natural reaction of despair, anger and resentment and forgive my former wife. Well, the overriding feeling which came to the fore was and is a sense of liberation. I was now free to let go of all that anguish and mental turmoil and focus on the things in my life which I had control over. This is important because continuing to play the victim and feed the 'poor me' mentality will get us nowhere except into deeper despair, anger and resentment. At the same time the opportunities to learn from our experience and increase our inner resolve slowly slip away.
Attaining the state of forgiveness is made easier when we become aware of the fact that we are all flawed and imperfect beings. Each one of us is struggling to slowly improve ourselves through trial and error over near countless numbers of incarnations as we strive for wisdom and perfection. It is the duty of those of us who attempt to walk the Path to the Light to extend a helping hand to the many who stumble through life in a state of bewildered confusion and ignorance. I cannot end this short exploration of the power of Forgiveness without including some quotes which may provide further illumination and comfort.
"To err is human, to forgive, divine."
"If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive."
"Let us forgive each other—only then will we live in peace."
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it."
"Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another.
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."
Lewis B. Smedes
"The only way to deal with impertinence is to forgive and forget it."
Li Wang Ho
And who does not know the following verses from the New Testament?
"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
Matthew 18: 21-22
Of course, there are some people, perhaps many people, who will sneer at these quotations. These are the sort of people who would sooner cut off their own hands than forgive the smallest transgression against them. Well, I have a quote for them too which may make them change their minds about the power of forgiveness.
"Always forgive your enemies—nothing annoys them so much."
In closing, I would like to share some wise words which were offered to me in consolation and which helped me immeasurably when dark thoughts threatened to envelop me. "If we can hold on to the truth that all that happens to us in this world is for our ultimate good, then this should sustain us at all times." And finally let us not forget that the practice of forgiveness extends not only to others but also to ourselves, who need it most of all!
NOTE: If you have enjoyed this article you may also like the previous articles the author has written for us, Down the rabbit hole and The art of dying
ILLUSTRATION: The image accompanying this article is a detail from a painting by the British artist, George Harcourt entitled Forgiven, executed in oil on canvas in 1899.
Article © Greg Wade. Commentary © Copyright occult-mysteries.org. All worldwide rights reserved. Published 26 August 2019.