Monday, May 18, 2009

The Power Of Forgiveness II

I was hoping that someone would take me up on my offer – see my previous post – and share with us his or her experience of “forgiveness” but since nobody seems so brave, here I go again with my life story.

My father was an alcoholic, as most men in the old country did – a little dirty secret of the communist society – he was also a violent, abusive man – another quite common and accepted practice.

“What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?
Nothing: You have told her twice already!”
Growing up that was considered a funny and appropriate attitude towards women.

Fortunately for me, my mom divorced him before I was one year old and I got to live my early childhood with my grandparents, so the damage of the dysfunctional marriage was kept to a minimum.

I grew up a very angry young man.
I felt entitled to my anger and my pain and I flaunted them as a badge of honor.
I never forgot my father for deserting me and what he did to my mother and I always hoped one day I would have my revenge, although I never new exactly what that might entitle.

I even kept my pain and my anger after my father died - of his alcohol abuse – although it did not make any sense to hold a grudge to a fictitious, non existent person anymore.
I would probable kept my pain and my anger to this day if something very unpleasant had happened into my life.

Growing up I had a hard time holding a healthy relationship – that being said in the nicest way possible – but actually the sad and hard truth was that I was turning into my father.
I was turning into what I hated most - the man that beat up my mother.

So you see, it is not enlightenment or my Buddhist believes that have changed my life, it is my life that has forced and pushed me on the path of forgiveness.
I realized that my pain and anger are controlling my life and that if I wanted to change I had to get red of them.

My break through was the realization that I was turning into an asshole just like my father and that meant one thing; my father was just an ass hole like everybody else!
Not expecting him to be the perfect father that I dreamed of, taking him down from the pedestal I kept him on, was the first liberating step.
What can one expect from an asshole?

And that my friends is breaking the “You owe me” chains of your abusive relationship.

As I grew older and continue to make more mistakes – even though I kept a vigilant eye on my actions – I hit another point of my enlightenment; I have stopped judging people.
Not only my father but every human being I have ever encountered.
I am just to imperfect to pass judgment on another human being :)
And that brought me to my final step: I have embraced forgiveness as a path for my redemption – I’m still working on my own forgiveness – probable that is why I am writing this blog – who knows?

And thus step by step my life and my believes have converged together into one:
I am that I am.
Whatever you express; pain and anger or love and forgiveness is what you become.
The life that you live is the life that you have.
And that is the choice you have to make :)


Brigit said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Hopefully your story will help others understand their own situations more.

I have a friend in here in Australia who had 3 daughters murdered in a house invasion back in the 80's. He believes strongly in the power of forgiveness. As he discovered, and as you have said you become what you express.

He has since changed the lives of many people teaching people that their lives can change:

Ted Bagley said...

If you're giving up passing judgment then it not redemption you're doing as forgiveness let's you still own the judgment from the other side.
You're experience of you're father was the experience of you're family. Yours was an image given meaning to later as giving by your family and kept as your own. As far as you're position there is no one to forgive.
Blame or not blame is still all the same blaming way.
Maybe repentance is the Buddhist way?

Talon said...

We live what we learn and when we are children we are powerless. When we grow up and see how to live differently and decide we want to live differently, that takes a lot of work, courage, and research - finding out about a better way. I think it would be the rare person who didn't have some residual emotional issues tied to their childhood.

molly said...

Wonderful post, Buddha of Hollywood. And if you've truly mastered nonjudgement for every person (except yourself), kudos to you, because that is not easy.

Buddha said...

@ Brigit – Thank you for sharing and for your kind words!

@ Ted – Here in USA we play the blame game better than anybody in the world, but it doesn’t save anything.
Repentance? I don’t know…
I think some personal responsibility might work better. IMO

@Talon – I think you are onto something.
We live in a very dysfunctional world and it had affected all of us and the children we are raising.

@ Molly – It is hard to forgive one self, but it has to be done.
The only love there is, is unconditional love.

Anonymous said...

Great that you HAVE chosen to live a life that was different to all that you knew. So many don't and the cycle continues. We are all dysfunctional and non-judgement and forgiveness are the only ways to break free.

Ted Bagley said...

"I think some personal responsibility might work better."

Maybe you're right. It's about being a better self after all.
Except I think forgiveness supports my self as be wronged with guilt about not forgetting and repentance cuts off that constructed self with remorse for blaming the other, that wasn't there, for my constructed sense of self.
Maybe even atonement is a better word?

LLnL said...

You are right to say that it takes a brave person to share their story. They say that forgiveness is more for you than it is for the person who you will forgive. I took a long time to understand that because I don't allow myself the room to get mad in the first place. Anger is a normal response to inconsiderate or abusive behavior. However it needs to paired with resolve and forgiveness to remain healthy.

I also don't not pass judgment on people. I'm not free of judgmental thoughts but I have the ability to realize to remember that I am flawed and imperfect and have a strong desire to receive grace, so I give grace where I can.

Great article I will have to read the first one.