True foregiveness is not an act but rather a state of being. To truly forgive means to be able to deeply feel life with the pain, suffering and betrayals that comes with it, and also to simultaneously maintain an unconditonal love for oneself and others that is based on contentment and clarity. The state of constant forgiveness is both an absorbed contentment that is not based on the projected reality, and at the same time a deeply felt compassion and intimacy with everything that appears.
True forgiveness is the act of letting go of something within our own awareness. However, this does not mean that we dissociate or merely escape from something that has happened. It means that we give ourselves full natural permission to feel and express ourselves in response to whatever happens. At the same time we understand that to constantly hold on to a feeling of resentment against someone is still something that is held within us, and no matter how righteous or justified we feel in that, we will always be weighed down by it into self pity, anger, relational discord and constant inner and outer dramas.
When we perceive that the root of all negative harmful action is the distorted emotional patterns and tendencies within self which give rise to, and our further propelled by traumatic experiences in early childhood, then we see that everyone is innocent at the root. We simply act out of our traumatised selves, and the more ignorant we are to the fact that we are acting out of that hurt inner child, the more we sink deeper into those painful patterns of behaviour and action.
The root of all evil is ignorance. When we come to this understanding, and when we feel wronged by someone else, we no longer can perceive it as an of evil or a purposeful malevolent attack, but rather as simple at-the-root ignorance and the inevitable action that that ignorance gives rise to.
When we cannot forgive self then we certainly cannot forgive others. Because to forgive ourselves means to truly understand the reasons why we acted in a certain way. We must realise that when we act cruelly we act out of a place of deep inner hurt, where we still seek to protect ourselves and push the world and others away to a comfortable and safe distance.
We must perceive the fact that however badly we or someone else may have acted and with whatever cruel or spiteful intention, it is all rooted in the same thing: an inability to see the world and others wholesomely. As long as we cannot perceives ourselves as wholesome beings then we will not be able to perceive others that way. From the fragmented perception there will always remain something to protect, defend and possibly attack, and there will be always be a potential threat ‘out there’.
When we see the world as an enemy we take the position of a constant victim. When victims get hurt in life, they hold onto that hurt and create internal barriers and shields to protect themselves from getting hurt again.
When we act as responsible open beings then we give ourselves and others the freedom to act through how we really feel. However, this does not mean we give others the freedom to constantly hurt us, because we do not continuously and repetitively hurt ourselves or put ourselves in such situations where we would be hurt. We learn to manage our own space of self from the position of self-respect and self-love. We draw our boundaries with others from the perspective that we have a certain way we choose to treat ourselves and others and we expect others to do the same.
The act of true forgiveness always starts with self. It is has nothing to do with making a judgement about whether another is guilty or not. True forgiveness is but natural when we dwell in the space of free-flowing equanimous contentment and we have a deep understanding of how ignorance manifests initially through traumatic experience, and then reemerges as the negative and self-destructive impulse that is reflected outwardly through relationships with others.
If we want to forgive then we should first learn to forgive, love and cherish ourselves. If we want to be forgiven then we should first learn to forgive ourselves and genuinely see the inner roots of the action or behaviour that we want to be forgiven for. Either way the act of true forgiveness is based on first seeing and refining the distorted and traumatised aspects within ourselves and then manifesting that refinement through genuine unconditional love and care towards ourselves and others.