On a (very) stoned walk, my mind turned to someone I resented. This person had not grievously wounded me but had imposed upon me a bit, taken advantage of me. It was odd, I realized, how often I thought angrily back to that episode. I wondered why, and then it came to me.
There was something about the situation I had not yet forgiven myself for. I had allowed myself to be used in a careless way. So what was unresolved in me was not my anger toward the other person, but the judgment from which I had not yet released myself. Seeing this, naturally, afforded me the choice to release (or not release) the judgment.
Following the insight further, I realized that – without exception – all of the unforgiving places inside me are, themselves, the unforgiven places. On the most basic level, it’s only me I cannot forgive. If I could forgive myself completely, I could forgive anyone for anything.
Does this seem like a stretch? Well, I was stoned, I grant you. Life has taught me that it’s a dubious policy to embrace all my stoned epiphanies uncritically.
And yet it makes sense upon reflection. Saint Francis of Assisi once said (according to Daniel Ladinsky, in the book Love Poems from God):
Can true humility and compassion exist in our words and eyes unless we know we too are capable of any act?
If this is true – and I believe it is – then any unforgiven act represents a lack of forgiveness for a potentiality within ourselves, on the most fundamental level.
God, I love pot!