The Challenge of Forgiveness


What does forgiveness mean? It is letting go of grudges or hurts and guilt’s from the past. It is realizing that every thing, every event in life can be seen to be for your good.

What will letting go of the past give you? Release from guilt, freedom from its hurt – peace and compassion for the errors we all make. I have pieces of memory in me that say, “I’m guilty” and I see that it is time to release it and let it go.

Everything is presented before you to teach you to grow – to teach you to let go. What is buried in your past that carries guilt, regret, upset of some sort? Consider what it is doing to you. Consider that it shuts away your full capacity to love and be at peace.

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Hello. I am Ellen Sutherland. Here we are Being Spiritual.

Months and months and months I have been doing this. It is quite a journey to carry on with a blog. It is not that I am not constantly thinking about my spiritual life and practicing, I am. To articulate it and put it into words and to give it to you back and to offer you some of the things that I’ve learned and that I find important, has been very interesting.

I have spent the last couple of weeks just writing. That has been helpful. I do miss the spontaneity of just looking at you and sharing. So here we are, back again being spiritual.

I want to talk a little bit about forgiveness. Forgiveness is a huge subject. I know in my book

People have said why didn’t you put lots and lots in there about forgiveness. It is because it seems to me that everything in it is about surrender. Surrender is just another word for forgiveness. Loving “what is” is just another phrase for forgiveness. Both of those themes are woven into the book.

Forgiveness. Forgiveness. What does that mean? It seems like such a highfalutin’ idea when you are in the middle of wanting to throttle somebody because they have hurt you. You really believe they hurt you. Or what about the times when somebody’s run over your cat or somebody’s broken your heart. All those events that happen in our life and that we believe are real impact us.

There is a line in spiritual practice where once you cross it, you get it. Everything is for your good. People do not do things to you instead they offer you opportunities to release, to let go, to surrender – to see the world as unreal. But before you get to that line, forgiveness is a big issue.

I was thinking about this topic. I know that there are a number of people in my life, two men in particular. One was a friend, and the other was a husband that I know – i know I am not certain that they have stopped disliking me, or hating me or being angry at me (at the very least.) This was from a long time ago. That is none of my business. Maybe the have, maybe they haven’t. What I realized was, that if I think that, (that I don’t know if they have) inside of me is some guilt. Inside of me is something that says, you really did that awful thing. You really didn’t listen to him or you really did disagree with him and that pissed him off. Whatever. That I have pieces in me about those two people that say, “I’m guilty,” which is before the line that says everything is an opportunity. Everything is presented before you to teach you to grow – to teach you to let go.

And there is the best part of focusing, or learning about forgiveness. There it is. Right there; right there.

One of the pitfalls of being in spiritual life is that we learn all these things – all these things we are supposed to do, supposed to feel. Once we have learned them, they become concepts in our head, and from then on, well we would be guilty if we were caught not doing them. If it were that easy, (to just read about and memorize spiritual tenets) billions of people would be clear. Because billions of people are practicing their spiritual lessons and exercises. They are not clear. It is tough. It is tough. This world seems real. People hurt you it seems real that they hurt you. You hurt others, it seems real that you hurt others. Forgiveness provides an opportunity to say it doesn’t serve me to hold this in my heart. It doesn’t serve me to hold guilt in my heart. For example, am I doing anything for those two people? No. In fact,

I am actually clogging up the energy between us, that should ideally and optimally be love. That is one reason you could look at for forgiving. One reason is that holding resentment/guilt stops your flow of love, whether they did something or you did something to them.

At what point, my brother said to me once (in reference to forgiving a parent) even when they put somebody away for murder it is 25 years…has a time limit. If you have issues inside you that go back to when you were a little kid. Whey you were a little kid and mad at your parents, that’s 20 years down the road, think about it, are they still “in jail” as far as your heart goes? I realize I am still in jail as far as my heart goes; that I have condemned myself by holding on to guilt.

I am willing to deal with that. I don’t want to hold guilt in my heart. I invite you to think about that, work with that idea. Sometimes just thinking about whether you want to hold guilt inside of you is enough to shift that whole energy and make you willing to let it go or at least willing to step on the path that says I’m going to forgive this issue.

I hope that is helpful.

Peace to you.

About ellen

Ellen Sutherland shares her work through her sites:, and her book: "At Your Heart's Pace",
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