1995-02-17-Forgiving Tolerance

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Topic: Forgiving Tolerance

Group: Pocatello TeaM

Facilitators

Teacher: Daniel, Tomas

TR: Rutha, Gerdean

Session

Opening

Opening Prayer

TOMAS: Greetings friends, I am Tomas. I am pleased to be with you this evening and to share this platform with your teacher, Daniel, who is available, and other celestial hosts who conjoin with us in our teaching ministry, in our sharing process in this evolving, loving community of believers.

Lesson

Tolerance

Yes, the effect of our continuing lesson on forgiveness has taken its toll. And yet has anyone undertaken an exercise regime that did not experience tender muscles in the process of building strength? For this exercise of acknowledging the role of acceptance, of mortal imperfection, is all consuming. One may look to each other for confirmation of imperfection but we would have you go beyond this 'misery loves company' to higher and less stressful realms of functioning.

The fruit of the Spirit, forgiving tolerance, is what you have been practicing this week in your notice of the work necessary in the realm of human communication or lack of the same. In the tolerance of your brother and sister, both in the flesh and in the spirit, you have opportunity to reflect on your own case. The exhaustion does prevail when you see the situation as hopeless or when you find you have no power to heal the situation, when you realize your feet are of clay and your methods are not necessarily universal in application.

We have watched you this week as we promised. Assuredly your work has been deep and effective not only for you personally but for all of life since these in-depth awarenesses, these soul cognizances have become part of the evolving process of God. The effect of your efforts will leak into the mainstream of thought for all mankind.

The efforts that you expend on maintaining your love for your fellows is mortar in the foundation of Kingdom building. Remember in coming and going, in your daily life to take time to gather spirit strength from God, from that divine power which will implement your going forward with your service work. My eager friend and co-teacher Daniel is delighted to portray through PamElla, if she is willing, some remarks at this time.

DANIEL: Greetings friends, I am Daniel. It is, indeed, my very great pleasure to speak with you this evening. I have been most pleased with your attention to our lessons of the past two weeks. Your growth has, indeed, been broad based. You have truly grabbed the bit, as it were, taking this lesson between your teeth and pushed forward with it. As your teacher, one of your teachers, I could not ask for anything more by way of commitment, by way of homework, by way of personal study. I am pleased.

Forgiveness, Culture

Tonight, my friends, we will continue our study of forgiveness by looking at self forgiveness. I realize that this topic is most likely not a surprise to many of you, but, indeed, you have broached the issue and several of you have that knowledge that self forgiveness is yet to come and is absolutely crucial in the processes of forgiveness.

But first we asked you to look to the outer world, to look to the situations, the individuals, the institutions, and the history so that you would become aware of your lack of forgiveness, so that you wouldn't brush aside this lesson by saying, 'Oh, this I have already done. I have already done this many times. This must be for my comrades, my fellow brothers and sisters. They are the ones that Daniel is speaking to tonight'. No friends, I am speaking to each of you.

This is an ongoing thing as I believe you are coming to understand. Forgiveness is something that must be done daily, hourly, sometimes by the minute, and sometimes second by second. And so now that our past two lessons have grabbed your attention and you are coming to realize that need for forgiveness in your life you are coming to realize your separation from your brothers and sisters, from our grand Parent, and, my friends, I hope you are beginning to realize the separation you have from yourself. That is what I would like to talk to you about tonight, forgiveness of self and understanding who you are.

You are a child of the First Source and Center, our divine Parent, our Mother/Father/God, our infinite Creator/First Source. You, as children of this God, are an extension of our God. You are part of the I Am. And, my friends, you are also a material being and are a product of your enculturation. Correction, you are a child of God, however, you have a false sense of who you are. One might call it 'false consciousness' that is the product of your enculturation.

You are a child of culture as well. You are a child of your upbringing, your backgrounds, your family situations, your nationality, your ethnic background. And these are layers of muddying. They are layers that do not allow you to perceive that true essence that God created and you become often confused between your true identity and your identity within your culture. In order to begin to know who God created you must -- correction, PamElla objects to the word 'must' and feels that that is her language. But I say in order to know who you are you must forgive those layers of culture.

You must understand yourself by understanding the cultural 'you', the person you are in your society, the person that your brothers and sisters see, who you think of as 'yourself'. For, you see, it is your understanding of yourself as that 'cultural identity' that separates you from your brothers and your sisters; for are not those the areas in which you are quick to judge one another when they don't fit with your cultural upbringing or your understanding of proper morality or your understanding of dress or if they are a different age? Is that not where your feel the isolation and the separation?

In your essences as children of the First Source and Center there is no separation but it is your Judgements upon one another that come from your cultural identity that are your blockages. And so now, tonight, I would invite you to spend the next week forgiving from this perspective.

I would ask you to look inward this week and as you find yourselves reacting to your brothers and sisters instead of forgiving them for their offenses as you see them, their differences, or their actions as irritants upon you, I would ask you to look at yourself and begin the process of questioning and saying why is it that I react to that? Why is it that I am intolerant of that? Why is it that that particular behavior really sets me on edge? And as you begin to ask those questions you will begin to find answers.

And as those answers surface you will find there is forgiveness that you need to do in two realms: the external realm in your past, in the realm of the institutions, in the realm of your upbringing; but also you will find that you will want to forgive yourself for your understandings, for your learnings, for experiencing the situations in the way you have.

My friends, this is an ongoing process. Do not expect that you should be complete in this or free of your reactions by next week, no. This will go on. We still find ourselves forgiving. And, yes, the heavy past work in forgiveness for most of us is fairly complete but forgiveness is ongoing, self examination is ongoing, self understanding is ongoing; and the beauty is that as this process unfolds you discover within yourself, within your being, who it is that God created. You are very beautiful and unique. You each are a unique expression of the First Source, the God of us all, the I AM. My friends I would invite you to relish your own uniqueness and relish the uniqueness of your brothers and sisters.

I believe that you will discover as you continue that rather than being exhausted you will find new strength. For as Tomas has stated, this is a new exercise and right now your muscles are tender and you aware that you have not used them for a while; you are sore and it is tiring. As with any exercise routine as you practice, as you maintain that commitment, as you work on a regular schedule, you become fit. Your muscles become hardened. You know that strength and that confidence and that inner sense of self worth that comes from such a discipline.

So, yes, you are sore and tired and exhausted now but you can look forward to renewed strength, increased strength. At some point you will feel stronger and more centered than at any time in your life. And, my friends, the good news is that unlike physical stamina you are never past your peak. Spiritual strength only continues to develop and to grow. Welcome to this new endeavor of exercise; welcome to spiritual exercise. And now Tomas and I are open to questions and comments.

Dialogue

Paula: Daniel, this is Paula. I appreciate very much the way you have addressed the issue of forgiveness. I have been working with the issue of forgiveness all week, not just because it is here but because in my discipline for preaching the lectionary is talking about loving enemies and praying for those who abuse you, and essentially about forgiveness.

The phrase 'forgive and forget' doesn't seem to hold much meaning for me and probably is not very practical for a lot of people. And the fact that they can't forget is cause to continue to berate themselves. But I was particularly interested in the cultural layer as regards memory in terms of forgetting. I have come to the conclusion, certainly not on my own, but with others, that when we forget, that to forget means to lose the transformation that happens to us when we forgive, as well as to lose the importance of whatever the injury was, to help us do better next time or to help us to enable others to be different at falling in that realm of understanding. So I really do thank you for that particular dimension of self.

Memory

DANIEL: Yes, Paula, your comments are appreciated. Please wait one moment...the fear returned for this blossoming TR. She was busy trying to listen because she was afraid that if she did not understand, that I could not, and she was somewhat confused. I understood and I think she is letting me take the reins back. So I would like to say a few words about forgiving and forgetting and letting go.

Often people are very afraid that if they forgive they will forget and the result will be that the situation is repeated, the offense reoccurs. And they believe that in order to protect themselves from ever having to experience that again they must not forget it; and this doesn't allow for forgiveness. And it doesn't protect them from ever experiencing it again because they experience it daily over and over and over and over and over and over again!! Every time they remember what it was that happened they relive it! And so their fear and their desire for protection have just the opposite effect. They experience the trauma, the indignation, the pain, the betrayal, the hurt repeatedly.

To forgive does not mean to forget and yet this is often the outcome. Because what one forgets is not the occurrence. One forgets the pain. One is relieved of much baggage. One does not have to relive the same trauma over and over and over and over again. My friends, to forgive does not mean to forget in the sense that I have forgiven it and now I have stuffed it away and I will not think about it any more. Forgive means to decide that you no longer want to carry the pain; you no longer want to be burdened; you no longer want to be separated from your brothers and sisters and from God; you no longer can tolerate the way you are living, your judgements, etc., and you take that burden and you give it to God. You say, 'Take it from me. I no longer want it. You can have it! Please, God, give me a different perspective. Please, God, give me freedom! Please God, let me experience the love of my brothers and sisters. Please, God, let me experience your love.' And in doing so the pain dissipates. And to the extent that we are fully willing to turn it over to God, it is gone.

Often, of course, it is difficult not to take it back, to be frightened, to say, 'Oh, I don't know what it is like to exist without this burden. I am unsure, I feel uncomfortable. At least with this burden I know what existence is like'. And so we take it back. And then we turn it over again. And this goes on; it is a process. But what happens as we evolve is we learn to let God have it much more of the time than we ask to hold it.

And so, friends, forgive. For in the forgiving you will forget the pain but not the occurrence; and in the forgiving you are given the connection to our Source to help avoid those situations where you allow yourself to be a victim. Forgiving does not mean setting yourself up to be victimized again. Forgiving means one stops the pattern of victimization. One says I am done being a victim of myself, God. Here you go, you may take it; and I will trust You to be my guide and to show me the way that I may steer clear of future instances. To forgive means to have that self esteem to know that one does not need to be a victim. Is this of any help, Paula?

Paula: Yes, very helpful, because it affirms where I was thinking I needed to go with regards to explaining and expanding on those thoughts. But also as you have been talking and I have been listening to what my brothers and sisters have been sharing, as you know, a couple of years ago and until a year ago I really was in the midst of great turmoil and trouble; and I didn't realize how strong a 'beating' I had taken with regards to conflict. When I went off on my sabbatical this fall I did realize how much stress there was; although at that time and by God's grace and a lot of support I really was, in that time that you described, more fully whole than any other time in my life. I had forgiven those folks. So I have been just sitting here thinking that if I had forgiven those folks how come I was so tired? And of course forgiving is hard work. So I think my weariness and need to recover was because I really did work very, very hard at forgiving those persons that I felt were my enemies or whom I felt abused me or whom I had in the process wronged as well. Thanks for just continuing to talk about that because it is a very helpful realization for me to look at that. I did work hard and no wonder I was tired. Thank you.

DANIEL: And I would remind you that as you continue you will continue to be strengthened. That is all.

TOMAS: [I have] one additional remark having to do with the work of forgiveness and this aspect of forgetting. Your efforts in forgiveness are much like a creation of your own. For as you whittle and mold and toil in the process of perfecting forgiveness you have created something real and whole which is now a part of your evolving soul, which is your own personal jewel of wisdom which may shine brightly in the darkness where others may see your light. That experiential value is yours, well earned as a result of having borne the burden of the experience which gives rise to wisdom and compassion. Questions?

Barriers

Isaac: Hello, Tomas and Daniel, this is Isaac. I want to add a commentary briefly on this business of the weariness of forgiveness work and see what you think of this idea.

It occurred to me as you were talking about this that possibly some of the weariness of our relationships with other people is the effort it takes to stand in judgement upon them and upon ourselves. Having witnessed the tremendous effort it took to go through a lawsuit with the Urantia Foundation and Kristen Maaherra as to who is right and who is wrong it occurs to me, at least from my experience, that I expend a great deal of effort when I am in a judgmental mode toward other people or toward myself. So that is a wearisome effort. And perhaps that is part of this picture you were describing, Daniel, when we appropriate this forgiveness, letting go of the pain, letting go of the victimization mode. And I would add letting go of being the judge, we will experience a lot less work. What do you think of this idea?

DANIEL: Yes, Isaac, my son, of course. Judging others takes enormous energy for judging others is a barrier that keeps us separate from one another and keeps us separate from our Source. To maintain such a barrier does require energy and it is very wearisome, yes. It is wearisome in a different way than forgiveness because the weariness and the tiredness that comes from maintaining a barrier of that sort goes on day after day, after day. One never becomes strengthened. One's muscles never become toned. One becomes more and more depleted.

The weariness that comes from forgiveness is of a different sort although it is related. This weariness comes from recognizing all of the barriers, all of the judging, and all of the energy that is being expended. And the weariness is a recognition of the weariness that is already there.

But it also comes, then, from learning to relinquish, learning to take down those barriers. And often this is finding muscles that have never been used before. For you all are good at maintaining those barriers. That you have done for years. You know how to do that. You know those muscles. Forgiving in the sense that we have been discussing requires you to use muscles with which you are less familiar.

An analogy that comes to mind is that of trying to learn to wiggle your ears. There are, indeed, muscles and some people have discovered those muscles and can wiggle their ears. But it took much time, practice, and development to develop and tone those muscles. And so this week the weariness that many of you are experiencing is the weariness of hunting for those ear wiggling muscles. The tenderness you are feeling is from wiggling which is something that you have not done as much of as you are now attempting to do, although, of course, you have done some in the past. My friend, does this answer your question?

Isaac: Yes. I feel like saying, 'Well said, teacher'. That was very well done, very clear to me, Daniel. We are all chuckling at your analogy of ear wiggling. So thank you for connecting my thoughts to the rest of this whole thing. And I'll return the mike to the next speaker.

DANIEL: You are most welcome.

Stillness, Discernment

Brenda: Hi, Daniel and Tomas, this is Brenda. I want to, and I am not exactly sure how to phrase it or what exactly I am asking so bear with me. Kind of on the idea of judging that Isaac brought up. I guess from the basis of being at school there is a very large variety of uniqueness and a lot of discussion about the uniqueness of others, of people around them of people who aren't, and along with that comes a lot of judging: 'this is right, this is wrong, maybe we should change this', and a lot of ethnocentric attitudes, a lot of egocentric attitudes. It was really good for the verification and validation that you gave about that we are all coming from different cultural levels or layers, family layers, backgrounds, histories, race, all that combined. I guess I really like the idea of looking at those and really learning that your way is not necessarily the best way. You need to look at where they are coming from and see that your way is just a product of that upbringing. I guess my question is, 'where do you draw the line or is there one of accepting that which is different from the way you see it and where you say, .no, that is wrong...I need to do something to change this because I see this is wrong. Does that make any sense?

DANIEL: Question understood. My friend, several weeks ago I told a story about two twins. And I will retell that story in brief.

There were two twins that were born into a loving family. They were given high ideals. They were raised with love and understanding. And at some point the two twins took separate paths. One twin became more quiet and introspective, spent more time in stillness. The other twin stayed very active working for causes, working against what the twin perceived as wrong. And as time went on the second more activist twin realized that the quiet twin was producing the fruits that the active twin desired.

I would say to you, my friend, always turn inward to your Inner Guide. Much of what is thought of as 'wrong' on this planet is simply a difference in cultural values. They are moral issues, they are not breaking God's laws. I would ask you to spend time contemplating the true nature of God. I would ask you to sit in quiet asking that you will be given guidance, that you will know when and how to act in a situation, when to listen, when to speak, when to pick up a picket.

I realize this does not address your question directly for I cannot tell you when something is wrong. That you must discern and that will take practice. I would ask you to have that awareness that much of what is thought of as 'wrong' is cultural. God smiles upon God's children. God sees the beauty in His/Her children, but delights in their play. And God sees God's children as what they are, children, and not perfected beings. So I would also suggest that as you look at your brothers and sisters (this is you inclusive) that you understand yourselves as but children and do not expect and require so much of yourselves and one another. Have the tolerance you would have for an infant or for a toddler or perhaps the tolerance you would now have for an infant or a toddler with the understanding that that they are developmentally where they are and need to be in order to progress. Brenda, my friend, is this at all helpful to you?

Brenda: Yes, thanks. I guess just kind of reiterating that whether it is wrong or right none of us can say for absolute sure, that we have to look at ourselves from where we are and not see that as above or advanced from where others are in their own path.

DANIEL: Yes, my friend. Know that as you advance further along your path you will be less likely to look at hierarchy. But on the other hand, my friend, facts are facts. Some of you are further along the path than are others. And this is perfectly acceptable. It is how it should be. What becomes a problem is when one judges one another based on where we are on the path. That is the problem, not in noting difference but in judging for the difference. Is that helpful?

Brenda: Very. Well said. Thank you.

DANIEL: You are welcome.

Acceptance

Aren: Daniel, this is Aren. I have a question about forgiving oneself from old feelings. A lot of old feelings have been surfacing, a lot of which I feel are unhealthy for me. It is from my past which I can't do much about. I would like to go a little bit into there. Could you answer anything?

DANIEL: My friend, I would be glad to address this topic. My first words to you are, Aren, be at peace with your feelings as they surface for that is part of the process. Do not judge yourself as being bad or wrong for having these feelings. Do you not have understanding of where these feelings came? Would you not if you were counseling your brother or sister and they were experiencing such feelings, would you not have understanding of where their feelings came from? (nods) Be as gentle and loving with yourself as you would be with your friends. Extend to yourself the same understanding, the same tenderness. See that child that you were. Have compassion for that child. Love that child. Give to that child what that child had not at that time. It is OK to have those feelings. It is understandable and if those feelings are not felt fully at the time and released, if the adult support and nurturance which is so vital in a child's life was not there then there is not that avenue. Part of the adult process is to release and forgive.

But one cannot forgive when one is sitting in judgement on where one is at the time. So the first step, my friend, Aren, is to be tolerant with where you are and be at peace. That, then, will give you the room to take the next step and the next. I will be glad to speak with you further in depth at a later time as you become ready to take the next step. This week I would ask you to work on the first step, that being accepting your feelings, accepting yourself, accepting the place where you are now. Is this helpful to you, Aren?

Aren: Yeah. I find a lot of aid there. I think I will be quiet.

Feelings

TOMAS: I think I will not! I only have a fine point here and that has to do with your being able to distinguish your reality from illusion. Your teacher Daniel elaborated and stressed how it is that you and we all are sons and daughters of the living God, that that is our true identity. It is that which we are becoming. The experiences of this existence, your temporal existence, your cultural experiences and various behavioral out-workings are matters one encounters in the arena of the experiential life. The experience is not the end product. The stumbling block of emotions and feelings are tied up in the temporal existence and the belief that you are exclusively belonging to the realm of mortality. Wherein it is profoundly different, for your true reality is from a core of perfection and attains perfection of purpose. It is by identifying with that Fragment of divinity within your own identity that will steer you clear of the shoals of feelings. That's all.

Leetah: Tomas, that brings up a question for me which when we talk about feelings that are based in reality and feelings that are based on illusion we come back to the levels of culture that have been given to us depending on our own private personal backgrounds, and how difficult it is to remove those feelings, whether it is judging ourselves as a result of being in a particular culture or in a particular church or family or whatever. Your concluding remark was that it would keep you from the shoals of feelings. I guess my question is, the feelings are there, how do we know if the shoals are illusion or reality?

TOMAS: I want to quickly say that 'shipwrecked' was part of that sentence; to be shipwrecked in feelings is a disaster. But feelings themselves are part of the richness of your experience. I also wish to clarify that in my early remark I did not mean to say that feelings were not real, for they are, or that this life is all illusion for it obviously is quite real for you in your experiencing of it. I have muddled the entire process. Please forgive me. Have you now a question, now that I have clarified my grammar?

Leetah: Tomas, I am not sure I was as confused as you thought I was. I am not sure what is happening in this conversation (laughing) now. I guess I was just thinking that so many of our feelings, whether we are shipwrecked or not, are based on culture; that the feelings we get of judging ourselves is the result of the particular culture we are in, and sometimes that is not reality, whether the culture is real or not! It is not the reality that God judges us with. God's forgiveness is there. And I guess that is where I am trying to get rid of, my culture and feelings, so that I can accept God's forgiveness and God's love without the judgement.

TOMAS: You are in error to try to get rid of your feelings. Your feelings are your treasure trove of responses to life. You do not acquire your feelings through cultural methods but through your own unique response to life itself. Your feelings are your own and although various cultures accept expression of feelings differently, some more acceptable than others, your feelings are genuine and personal. They entail the soul's response to life's outpourings. These feelings are not the same particularly as emotions which involve your cultural and social dealings with other people. This is entirely another lesson, getting into emotions as compared to or versus feelings, and I will not pursue that. But it is my intent to stress that feelings are real and can be borne on lighter air than is normally the case.

Leetah: Thank you, Tomas. I'm not sure what I have communicated. I was thinking in terms of feelings of guilt that we carry with us so easily. And the things we feel guilty about are mores rather than transgressions or mistakes or sins. I am just thinking of the first time I put on lipstick or the first time I wore pants. I thought I was going to be struck by lightning! And that was a real feeling of guilt. But I don't think it was from God. That's what I am saying.

TOMAS: Indeed, these internal reactions to life's experiences are complex, guilt at the condemnation or authority of someone who has not accepted you as a spiritual daughter. They have usurped your right to be and experience life by their judgement and behavioral standards. The error is in judgement, for who wants to stand outside of one's society? It is easier to conform and compromise one's reality than to boldly be original unto your own self with your own feelings and responses to life without weighing or comparing how they will be received or perceived by your peers.

The incident of Brenda's reference as I overheard was similar, that in not identifying the self as a precious and vital being of God, a offspring of divinity in process of becoming, the accusatory and inflammatory social context takes over. The judgments are great and feelings are assailed by the judgements. This causes havoc and damage to budding tender personalities with feelings. Therefore restraint in any kind of judgement which would induce guilt or shame is best.

Leetah: Thank you Tomas.

Closing

DANIEL: Are there further questions? In that case, my friends, I will draw this meeting to a close asking each of you to examine your reactions this week, asking for understanding of yourselves, of why and how that you react in the way that you do, that you may forgive, and in the forgiving begin to heal the cultural layers. Go in peace.