1998-09-18-The Group and the Individual

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Topic: The Group and the Individual

Group: SE Idaho TeaM

Facilitators

Teacher: Aaron, Klarixiska

TR: Bill K.

Session

Opening

Klarixiska(Virginia):This is Klarixiska. I would express my appreciation to each one of you tonight. Honesty is always a very difficult thing, being raised in a culture where you are trained to not be direct. As surely as you laugh at the directness of a little first grader, it is because of the inaccurate words of the adults in your culture. Although honesty would appear to always be the best policy, it is not necessarily so. One must be careful of one's motives and of one's love in that situation.

I thank you that I have been allowed to speak and I knew it must come quickly or Virginia would not be as open and ready. Thank you.

Aaron(Bill): Greetings dear friends, I am Aaron. I must say you have greatly impressed your teachers, your older brothers and sisters, with your maturity and straightforwardness this evening. We do not feel that this group is lagging in spiritual growth, but is experiencing differential levels which are particular to each individual. In a way it is impossible to delineate a group average that has any meaning, and yet, there is a sense of the whole that is greater than the summation of the parts.

Lesson

Growth

This dichotomy of individual and group, of part and whole, of the individual within the system, is an understanding that you are gaining directly from your own personal experience from within and from the interactional aspects of your environment. Indeed it has been already transmitted that we are going to shift the focus now from the whole back to the parts, but in this digression from the whole, do not be confused that in our new emphasis on individuality that we are losing sight of the larger perspective. No, we will not retrogress, but progress with an emphasis change.

Now the reason that we feel comfortable doing this is because you have achieved new levels of comprehension of the whole as witnessed in evidence by your sharing, honesty and comfort with each other. Indeed, as you look back on the things that were difficult in the past, on the things that you struggled with, you now can actually feel humorous as you remember how difficult that progress was, for now it seems that it is 'no big deal', as you say. This is the nature of growth that always on the cutting edge of growth there is great struggle, for it is newness you encounter, something you do not know experientially. But once it has been assimilated into your electrochemical nervous system, body/mind unity, it is proportionately configured according to its true importance; therefore it is possible to experience the relief of humor in the mental review of what was once a great and fearsome personality struggle.

Indeed will we take you into uncharted territory. We will not merely reminisce or repeat, although we will do our share of that. You will be challenged, my friends, believe me. And in fact, Simeon's discontent arouses our anticipatory joy. We will satisfy your desire for growth and for change.

I am tempted, but will not succumb, to continue lecturing you. I have said sufficient. We are all up to the challenge, my friends, and I welcome you to this next phase. That is all.

Exercise

Minearisa(Cathy): This is Minearisa. You have all done well at your self forgiveness exercise and now it is time to begin an exercise which involves forgiveness of others. My exercise for you this evening, and I will release this t/r to participate, is to visualize a person with whom you have unfinished business. I would like you to visualize them in the center of the room where the microphone stands. Look at the details of that person, their hair, their clothing, etc., to firmly plant in your mind resemblances of that person. At that point I would like for you to look at this image you have created and to express honest feelings toward them, be it something they have done to hurt you or something you have done to hurt them. We are not asking for complete resolution at this time. This will follow in further lessons. The point here is to identify something which is unresolved between you. This person does not have to be living at this time. It can be someone from your past who has graduated. I encourage each to participate, but remember there is no disappointment on our side if you choose to remain an observer. Please begin.

Dialogue

Virginia: Teachers can I ask a clarifying question? We're visualizing this person. Are we supposed to share what we are feeling?

Cathy: That's the impression I was getting, to share in a dialogue with this person..." You did this to me. I did this to you."

Virginia: I'm not sure exactly what to do, but I will share with the group that as soon as Minearisa said "unfinished business" I thought of two peers that I have tried to reconcile some sort of estrangement with that's there and I've been unsuccessful with it. The other group of people I saw were my siblings. I will be with them on Sunday and it's always a very tense time for me. I also try to approach them with feelings, letters and things and have not been able to make that bridge where there's anything more than superficial-ness. At this point I feel that I would love to have some conversation with them and if it can happen, I'm ready for it.

Bill: Was this exercise supposed to be a dialogue mentally in your own mind, with thought?

Cathy: I got the impression that we were to visualize them right there and talk to them as though they were standing there.

Bill: Yeah, rather than discussing it with the group.

Bob D: That's a difficult exercise. I was thinking about that and realized the nature of forgiveness and how it's done. It's so hard to fathom, because you can't just say, "I forgive you." and it's over. It just doesn't work. You can say it over and over again. You can even intend it over and over again, but somehow it crops up... the emotions. There's still some pain or something you can't let go of, blame, or some issue regarding it.

I would think I have is to lose the idea that there are devious motives. Almost always injuries are done either accidentally or it's your perception of them injuring and they never had the perception they did. Or they may really injure you, but there's a point where you might never come to resolution and agree who did what or how it happened. You have to almost realize that this isn't important anymore. What's more important to me? Love or anger? Blame or a feeling of wholeness? Somehow when you harbor those feelings you don't feel whole.

I don't know that I can have a dialogue with a person so much as recognizing the kinds of ways that I would want to react. I know that it wouldn't be so much in saying "You did this and you did that" as saying "I recognize during this time period that you hurt and I hurt and maybe at certain times during that it was more important for you to hurt more than me and more important for me to hurt more than you." There tends to be a sense of selfishness that comes in and you have to learn to let it go. Sometimes people need more understanding and so I think that I would go about trying to understand and interact on that level if I could. Maybe just the recognition that we're not perfect and that we're always going to infringe on somebody else's rights to an extent when we're caught up in something ourselves.

Marty: Maybe carrying one more idea from Bob's is with the person I'm thinking of. I think I've forgiven them. It's an ongoing thing, because I don't think they really realize how they're being perceived in the way they are hurting you. And yet when you try to say anything it becomes a defensive thing. So I've come to grips with that and deal with them fine. I just know that's the way this person is and if I'm going to be in contact with them, which I am, that's something you have to go with.

Maybe that's not completely forgiving them, but it still puts you on the defense of how you deal with that person. You can't really open up to that person because there's still that fear of really being put down again and what other people think and it's back to that same old thing. I feel like I've forgiven them, but it's probably not real forgiveness because I can't be as open with them for fear it will turn around and come back again. It's hard to feel comfortable because it's not someone you can really talk to deep down because in the back of my head it's still there. Will it come back again like it has in the past?

Bill: I understand what you're saying and I'm thinking that maybe forgiveness for another person is necessary primarily to get it out of your system, to get the anger out, and you may never be able to communicate clearly with that person.

Marty: I realize who the person is and they deny it when you approach them with it. So to me there's not much sense in opening old wounds. Maybe it's the avoidance thing. I don't know.

Bill: I've thought about this. People sometimes think, "I'll forgive another person if they'll apologize first." and there is that sort of thing that happens. The person apologizes and you feel a lot better about them and forgive them. Then there are the situations where they won't apologize. Like you say, they're defensive or they won't understand.

Virginia: Or they think they’re the ones that have been wronged.

Bill: Yes. They might think they're the victim and you're the perpetrator. But I think about the Urantia Book's definition where it says at one point that God transcends forgiveness. God understands completely and so I think if I could really understand another person. I could think of examples. People I regard as mentally ill. If I could just understand how they think, maybe then I could understand enough to forgive.

Marty: I think in my instance I do understand where they're coming from, I can see what they're afraid of, but it doesn't help me when some of the comments come out.

Bill: Do you think that's a lack of forgiveness or is it just being realistic

Marty: That's what I don't know. How far should forgiveness go? To me, you shouldn't have to open yourself up to that kind of hurt all the time either.

Lori: To me forgiveness is a final acceptance. It's just like...it's okay. That's the way it is and I'm okay. In any instance you just send more love and then it does become transcending. Does that make sense? Because you see people in such pain and they do so many mean things to you. You have to see beyond that and say, "God, I love you and I'm so sorry you're so miserable and God loves you." and... breathe, or something.

Bob D: I sometimes feel like forgiveness and understanding are somewhat related or synonymous. When you can't understand someone it becomes difficult to forgive.

Lori: Now I feel like it's acceptance more than understanding. There's so many things about people I can't understand and I don't feel like I'm capable of struggling with understanding, but I do feel like I'm capable of accepting. I don't have to go as far to say I like it, but I can accept it.

Bob (Visitor from N. Idaho): I'm going to do the exercise and stare at the diet coke can. I'm going to ask for forgiveness and this is going to be a long distance call, because I'm going to be speaking with Mike Flanigan who passed away in 1988

Mike, you and I were, from the age of three, as close as two people could be. You were the fat one. I was the thin one. They say together we made the number 10 and we did everything. You called my mother Mom and I called your mother Mom and we were almost interchangeable except for clothes. You chose to go a different route through education. And then one horrible day when I came home from college you went from 250 pounds to 180 pounds. In my eyes, that was overnight because I didn't see the gradual loss. You looked good then, and then the next time I came home you could fit in my clothes... and then you went from 150 pounds to 130 pounds. You lost your jobs. I took the gun out of your hands one Christmas Eve, the pills the next year, and then in 1986 I took a job and moved away... not that far, only an hour. I had your number and I just let you go. I wasn't brave enough to watch you die and I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I guess an answer will come in its own time.

Bill: I want to just say, that I had a thought. Jesus was very angry at sinful behavior. But he accepted the sinner, the person doing it. He made that distinction. There is a philosophy that whatever happens is okay. One of my friends believes that everything that is, is just fine the way it is, but I don't believe that. I don't believe that at all. On the other hand, Jesus didn't get angry at people who sinned. He was willing to forgive Lucifer, but his mercy was spurned. That's hard for me. I'm not God.

Bob (N Idaho): It was a whole lot simpler for me. I forgave from my soul, not theirs.

Lori: Does it help that as a parent I had really worked on not being angry with my children, but with the act, the behavior. So I do feel really grounded, able to separate, because I've been doing that for six years.

Virginia: I hear all of this and I believe that you can accept that person and that's going to help you to forgive, but I also believe Jesus was a model for us. Going back to what Marty said about how far do you go in exposing yourself to that person again and is it going to be the same thing, can't help but think of Jesus when the person of Herod came up and Jesus called him "That fox" because Herod had not been true when Jesus was asking for the money that he owed his father Joseph. I think we don't have to expose ourselves to that continual negativity that you're working on to forgive.

Cathy: Well I expected to see my dad out there because I've been having a lot of bad feelings about my dad lately but it's my mom. And I guess what I want to say to her is that I'm still so angry at you for dying. You died too early because you smoked those @&$#=* cigarettes and damn it, I needed you this week.

I really needed you. You're missing out on two beautiful grand kids and that pisses me off that you chose to die. And I don't know why I have a hard time letting that go, but man, she smoked those smelly things my whole life and it just really hurt tonight when Lori was talking about her dad and when she asked him to quit smoking he did. How many times did I ask you... over and over and over? I guess I'm done.

Ken: We've had several emotions here this evening discussing this, some of them pretty raw and tough. The person that I visualized is a very beautiful person and I know at times I have hurt this person. So what I'm asking for, of course, is forgiveness from this person.

As I listen to all of you talk it brings back a lesson that we had when we were asked about our feelings towards others. The words that came out of that lesson was 'unconditional love'. It was at Debbie's home. And what we're asking for tonight is unconditional forgiveness. As mortals, as creatures of time and space, I don't think we can give unconditional love or unconditional forgiveness, yet we can give forgiveness to people. As Bill quoted Christ Michael's attitudes toward the sin, but not the sinner. He gave unconditional forgiveness to the person that committed that sin. This person that I feel I have erred against, I feel will give me a very close unconditional forgiveness. I have tremendous respect and love for them.

People that I have felt have hurt me, I sleep on it overnight, try and put it in perspective, and true, I try not to bring it back up when they do it again. But it's hard for me to give unconditional forgiveness. I can't do it. I always take the wait and see attitude, if they do it again and again. try though, and I ask for understanding and that my heart be opened to that individual, that I can understand and possibly forgive them. Damn, that's hard to do. I'm through.

Virginia: Ken you brought up an important thing, that of love. I have taught the kids in the classroom that love is really wishing the best for that person. I can't think of anyone that I know that I could not wish that for. Even those that we might be afraid of walking down the hall. So forgiveness... I'm not sure, but that kind of love that wishes the best for someone else, I think I can do that.

Bill: I'm thinking right now, what is the process that we get hurt? God is not hurt when we offend against his will.

Ken: He doesn't have an ego.

Barbara: He doesn't have the expectations. I think we're hurt when our expectations are not met.

Bill: Yeah, I don't disagree with that Barbara, but somehow there's a dignity issue here. It isn't hurt that I'm not being treated as a valuable person. The person I am imagining in this exercise, I realize that my anger is that I think I know why this person acts the way they do and what I think is the reason is not a very generous one. In other words, I'm giving him sort of like bad motives. It’s very complicated.

I believe like you said Bob, that most people do things from good motives. I'm not sure that everyone does. I base that on my experience as a psychologist. In this case I'm choosing to think it is the worst motive rather than another one. I realize that I'm being judgmental and that's part of the reason that I'm having trouble with forgiveness of this individual I don't feel so much personally hurt. I'm angry at the behavior of people that hurt others, including myself when I've done it. I'm having trouble letting go of that anger and I'm not sure I should let go of it, based on what Jesus taught and did.

Bob: There's one way to look at it also and that would be, is your anger accurate? That's the biggest question, I would think. Are you rightfully hurt or is it a figment of your psyche that perceives you've been wounded? That's the biggest thing that most of us deal with who are injured, is how much is real versus how much is perceived and I think that's the biggest difficulty in our state. We really, without having the larger view, do not know. We can't know the motives of another person. I think the Urantia book touches on this, that at absolute, there is no need for forgiveness because God already knows. So with understanding, forgiveness isn't necessary. But when you can't understand, forgiveness is like a bridge to that state because at our level we do get hurt because we do have expectations, because we do have egos that can get fractured, and so in a sense we have to learn this capability to move past it and to accept somebody beyond it. But it also tells me that there's a state of being somewhere in the universe where you cannot even have to have forgiveness. When Ken said unconditional love, something hit me. It was that unconditional love is never having to forgive, and so I think to the degree that we can't forgive somebody is the degree to which we can't have unconditional love. That was something that struck me hard when you said that.

Ken: Yes, that was brought out in that lesson.

Bill: Well we've all shared haven't we. Except Pat... (Laughter) . ..I don't mean to pick on you Pat.

Pat: That's okay Bill. I'm not going to share. (More laughter)

Bill: So much for all my manipulations. Then are we finished?

Bob: I think they want to tie it up. (Finger pointing upward to symbolize the celestials.)

Virginia: I think so too.

Closing

Daniel(Virginia): This is Daniel. I truly am your friend, teacher, and older brother. The sharing within this exercise is beneficial to each of you where you are and as you go this week, your assignment is to give that person, whether living or dead, all the love that you can send. It is true that if you love unconditionally you have no reason to forgive. It is true that your expectations, yes, even our expectations, are what limits our love. Do not be hard on yourselves as you recognize this, because the mortal, though able to grasp meanings and reach for higher values, is not capable of the perfection one desires. Keep reaching this week, desiring that good for the other person and know that the spirit within you will send that love in a way you cannot possibly know or recognize. Thank you again for all you have shared tonight. It has also caused each one of your unseen friends to grow also. Goodnight.