The Art of Practice: Forgiveness Made Easy

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Forgiveness — it is easy to say, but how many of us actually know how to do it? Forgiveness is a deceptively complex act, involving a complex calculus of developmental intelligences — including our cognitive intelligence and emotional intelligence, our spiritual intelligence and self-defenses, our intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences, our moral and ethical intelligences. All of these are being “lit up” in different ways by the act of forgiving, and each is exerting its own influence upon the depth, span, and quality of our forgiveness. What’s more, if we are not engaging in a consistent Cleaning Up practice, then genuine forgiveness is that much more difficult to find, as resentment has a funny way of wrapping itself around the hidden residues of our unexamined shadows. To authentically forgive — what Barbara describes as “the absolute refusal to hold ill will against someone for what they did or didn’t do” — can actually be tremendously challenging. Fortunately Barbara Hunt is with us to help make it simple. Watch as Barbara talks to Lisa and Corey about forgiveness as an integral “master practice” — a practice that scaffolds and supports the rest of our various waking up, growing up, cleaning up, and showing up practices. We currently live in a culture that has taken a healthy Green-altitude ideal — “I am responsible for not offending other people” — and twisted it into a self-serving stance that says “you are responsible for not offending me”. This has resulted in a collective regression away from a healthy pluralism that can tolerate multiple discordant points of view, and toward something like the “grievance culture” (or “apology culture”) that we find today. But without an underlying “forgiveness culture” to support it, “grievance culture” can only end in more fragility, more tribalism, and perpetual resentment. Can we forgive ourselves and our own shadows in the Upper-Left quadrant, while still holding ourselves accountable to our own transformation? Can we forgive our shortsighted behaviors in the Upper-Right quadrant, while holding ourselves accountable to our own transformation? Can we forgive each other for our failings in the Lower-Left quadrant, while holding each other accountable to our mutual transformation? Can we forgive the historic currents and inertias of our society, as well as the flawed systems they have produced in the Lower-Right quadrant, while holding civilization itself accountable to transformation? Can we forgive a God who inflicts such terrible suffering and heartbreak upon our lives? In an era that is becoming increasingly fragile with every social media post, forgiveness has become the ultimate practice of anti-fragility. And it is exactly the panacea we need in order to liberate ourselves, to heal our cultural traumas, and to enact a more just society for all of us.

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