I recently read Urban Monk’s post on forgiveness and it brought thoughts of my own, some of which I commented on there.

statueOne of the disagreements I have with what some people write about forgiveness is the idea that it??s about letting go of hatred. ?Hatred, in that mindset, is an evil which must be expunged. ?To me, that??s a misguided idea of what hatred is.

Forgiveness is simply letting go. That??s it. ?No more than that. ? And by this, I don’t mean “getting rid of”. ?Letting go means a positive non-attachment. ? It beings being ok with things being there, but letting go of the need for anything to change. ?Being fine with the present moment – whatever it is. ? Hatred can still be there. Hatred is not incompatible.

When we think hatred has to go for forgiveness to exist, we pretend forgiveness.

If forgiveness has to look a certain way, of course we’re going to fake it. ?We want to look that way too.

I went through years of wondering about forgiveness after my childhood of abuse. ? “I shouldn’t be feeling hatred”, I thought. ? When I expressed pain or hatred about my mother, the suggestion to forgive was often automatically given. ?The word ??forgiveness?? was a word used against to me that meant ??those unpleasant emotions should not be there??. ?What I was feeling was wrong, somehow. And yes, there was hatred in there.

What I learned, after some time, was that deep inside hate is beauty. ?What hatred really says is ??I want distance??. ? If there’s something incredibly unhealthy going on, hatred results, because the body and soul speak up about it. ?The flower hates the volcano, in its own way, because it cannot live near the volcano. It doesn??t dwell on it, and there is also love there ?? but it still wants distance.

Does hatred feel bad? ?Not always! ?Not when there’s acceptance of it. ?As I said, hatred is not exclusive of love. ? Just like anger doesn’t exclude love. ?I love this table of the seven levels of anger. ?What’s interesting about it is that while the first level, the most separate, is fairly destructive, the final level of anger is essentially love. ?The anger is still there, but when it shows up it comes out in harmony.

In my experience, every emotion – including anger and hatred – is a fundamental, unchangeable energy of the universe with a wide spectrum of manifestation. ? ?That’s sort of theoretical, so let’s put it this way. ?Hatred Is. ?Anger Is. They are here, within us and everyone, and there’s nothing we can do to rid ourselves of them. ?What we can do is allow them completely so that their manifestations are more ?flowing, peaceful, and respectful.

It??s very loosely analogous?to ?the levels of energy in ??Power vs. Force??. ? In that book, each emotion, person or perspective has a basic energy level. ? To me, emotional love can manifest as clinging or it can be utterly accepting. ?Anger can be rage or it can be used for a loving, positive change, like Gandhi. ?Hatred can be used to do violence (which involves a certain us-vs-them ?perspective) or it can be used to generate positive distance (from a more accepting, flowing perspective). ? No matter how it looks to others, it??s the same fundamental life energy of the universe appearing in each of those emotions, albeit manifested differently. ? As anyone seriously hurt knows, the hurt never goes away – but it can manifest very differently and even lovingly. ?The energy of hurt is expanded and flowing, or contracted and blocked.

Most people see different ways an emotion appears as being very different emotions. ? Our minds likes to do Aristotle’s trick of separating and categorizing. ?That makes us feel in control. ?But if you watch – really watch – someone when they’re talking about something in which they are very emotive, you can see the beautiful fluidity of it all. ?I began to see that it wasn’t a battle royal of emotions, each one jousting for supremacy, but instead an oceanic maelstrom that comes from the oneness of the deepest soul. ? All those different emotions were simply different faces of the same energy.

How does that help? ?It has helped me let go of some judgments, I suppose. ?Because when I try to use the knife point of categorization, I find I do violence to myself. ? Just like violence is done to others when I try to counsel them to deny real but painful parts of themselves. ? When I try to say hatred has to leave me for me to forgive, that is violence. ? And even more hatred within myself is the inevitable consequence of that violence.

But the times in which I’ve surrender – and forgived at the same time – to my own emotions, the process doesn’t make them ?go away, but instead makes the same energy manifest differently. ?It makes it feel more loving to others.

From experience, I know that any attempt to say that an emotion, like hatred, should not be there, simply creates intractableness. We end up fighting ourselves to be that image of forgiveness. The goal is wholeness, which includes everything inside ourselves, even the parts we don’t think of as “good”.

Forgiveness is not achieved in spite of hatred, but through it.


  1. shirley aka beautiza February 20, 2010 at 3:19 am

    that's just wonderful.. i agree with you..

  2. williambishop22 March 30, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    nice way to put it… getting rid of is a form of resistance isn't it… I agree we love to hate sometimes – most succesfull plot line at the movies

    I have tried to write a childrens story in which forgiveness was the theme – and the story is exciting – this is hard – hate and destruction plot lines are easier

  3. lady2b August 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Thank you!!!!!! This means so much to me because while forgiveness must be done, the process of getting there has been truly difficult. And the feeling that I will never get there is almost as bad as the hurt itself. Thank you for understanding and for kind and wonderful words of wisdom.

  4. lovingawareness August 30, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    There's the saying that you only forgive yourself. You never need to forgive others. In fact, focusing on forgiving others can lead away from true forgiveness.

  5. Patricia Singleton November 2, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Tremor, I remember reading this when you posted it. I didn't comment because a lot of it I didn't understand and wasn't sure if I agreed with it or not. Emotions have been such a struggle for me to open up to in my journey with incest. I was disconnected from my body and my feelings for so many years.

    Thanks for posting the link to this post on my blog post on forgiveness. I do agree that the way to forgiveness is by going through the feelings. I am not sure that I agree with the idea that hatred or anger can share the same space as love. I will have to do some thinking about that for awhile.

  6. carrotwax November 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Patricia, sometimes I write because I am learning it myself. I'm still coming to terms with anger and hatred. I was made wrong for it for so long – and yet I know that they arose from an innocent, loving child.

    My mother wrote to me today for the first time in months. I've been ignoring her for a long time now. She always pretends nothing ever happened – and wants to continue to do the same things that were very hurtful. I felt hate again. I didn't write back or dwell on it, I just tried to recognize it means I am right for keeping her very, very far away.

  7. Patricia Singleton November 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    To me, forgiveness doesn't mean, I won't ever get angry at the person again, especially if the person is still doing abusive behavior toward me or those I love. Forgiveness isn't about doing it once and never having to do it again. I never allowed my dad back into my life. He was never a safe person for me to be around.

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