Forgiveness is not what you think

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Byron Katie and Armin Rott of Germany talk about how forgiveness really happens through the meditative process of The Work. This interview was part of the first German online Forgiveness Conference in 2017.

“Forgiveness,” Katie says, “is knowing that what I believed happened, didn’t necessarily happen. I can put all of these negative thoughts on you like post-its. These are my thoughts; they’re not you. And I’m blaming you for being the person I believe you to be. I’ve made you an enemy.

“I’m the one doing that to you; you’re never doing it to me. That’s forgiveness. Seeing that what I thought happened, didn’t.

“Now I can put these judgments on a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet and question them. With this inquiry we can find ourselves not only in a state of forgiveness, but in a state of connectedness with the person we were judging.

“You didn’t change. I questioned what I believed about you, and forgiveness happened. No one can separate me from another human being; I’m the only one who can do that. If I’m not connected, that’s on me. I look to what I’m thinking and believing.

“And if I’ve done anything out of that unkind, believing mind, I admit it, apologize, and make it right when I can, but only when I’m sincere about it. And this can be very humbling. It’s quite a turnaround for the ego.”

“The hardest part,”Armin says, “is giving up the perceived need to be right, to attack, to judge, and to not feel how much it hurts.”

“If I want to be right,” Katie says, “that’s my first clue that it’s time for me to identify what I’m thinking and believing about this other human being, write the judgments and assumptions down, question them, and turn them around, so that I can see that human being for who they really are. If I have an enemy, that’s on me, not them. So we’re talking about complete and total forgiveness.

“It can take time,”Armin says, “to do this process of forgiveness through The Work. But it can be completed.”

“Yes,” says Katie. “When we ask ‘Is it true?’ we have to get still and meditate on that question to see what meets it. And what meets it is big. It will shift you right out of your identity. What meets the question is your own wisdom.”

“Oh my God!” Armin says, with tears in his eyes. “Okay, I think I haven’t understood The Work. Oh my God! This is deep! What a relief! Thank you, Katie. Then, in that stillness, you have access to what is true. Oh! Thank you. And now I realize that there is no way to forgive unless you have access to that.”

“It’s the beginning of the end of the war in you,” Katie says. “Just now. It’s a gift, this recognition. And your tears are only the physical evidence of the recognition, this flower opening and petals falling. It’s beautiful.

Armin sits in silence, then gently begins to laugh. “Thank you…wow!” he says, wiping away a tear. “Can I ask one more question? What happened on the floor when the cockroach crawled over your foot?”

“I saw how the entire world was created,” Katie says. “The world is nothing until it’s named. And it’s still nothing until you believe that name. The Work was born on that floor. I saw that nothing was true. How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought? I saw that the entire world was created in that moment. And who would I be without the thought is me prior to believing the thought. And the opposites are as true or truer. So it’s all left up to the mind to determine.

“Many people have had experiences of realization. The difference for me is that The Work was given to me at the same time, so that the realization could be maintained and nurtured. The inquiry is alive in me. It’s alive! Everything just naturally ends in a question mark. It’s the questioning mind. For people who invite this into their mediation practice, eventually it becomes a part of their mind as well. It’s a practice until finally it takes hold of us. But that takes a very open mind. It takes stillness. It’s not about emptying the mind; it’s about surrendering to the mind, and just offering ‘Is it true?’ to the mind.”

“I’d say that’s discipline in the best sense,” Armin says.

The enlightened mind has nothing to forgive. — Byron Katie

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