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Monday, July 07, 2008

Forgiveness allows life to resume its flow

Thomas Moore’s column in the May-June issue of Spirituality and Health, "Finding Freedom in Forgiveness," may be read online after free registration on that site. In this column, Moore suggests,
"The capacity to forgive reveals a soul that is free of anxiety, one that is mature and equal to the complexity of human interaction. Forgiveness requires what Aristotle called "a great soul" and is captured in a virtue often ignored and not appreciated — magnanimity. The Greek philosopher said that this power lies between the extremes of vanity and timidity. That’s exactly where I think forgiveness is to be found — that place uncovered when we get over our "too big" sense of self and grow out of our smallness of mind and spirit.

The Greek word for forgiveness means release. When you forgive, you release yourself as well as the other person. You allow life to go on, to bypass your exaggerated sense of virtue and your worry about being offended. As long as you sit on your power to forgive, you suppress your joy in life. You also limit yourself: If you keep those you love within tight boundaries of behavior, you have to bind yourself as well lest you be a hypocrite."
He describes several scenarios that illustrate the power of forgiveness before concluding,
"Some aspect of your imagination may have to shift before forgiveness is possible. In that case, the effort toward forgiveness heals you and opens a valve that allows life to flow. The sense of release is the sign that forgiveness is at hand and you may now come back to life."

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