Step Two: Forgive Your Perceived Shadow Maker



Chapter V 

Love And Forgiveness

The World Trade Center was reduced to a grotesque monument to madness the day after I began writing this book. Thousands perished in that terrorist attack; millions watched, and the horror of that scene is indelibly imprinted on our national psyche. Arguably, it has been visually reviewed more often than any event in our nation’s history. There is a certainty among us that America and the world will never be the same again. We are at war with a ubiquitous, invisible enemy. The battlefield is the mind, our minds, and “they” have won the first battle. The wounds inflicted are fear, anger and helplessness. Our old sense of security and invulnerability lies dead under the rubble of the Twin Towers. The invisible, deadly substance in the air is not biological. It is psychological. Death that seemed so foreign has moved in to live with us, and we don’t know how to evict this dreaded guest.

The Light Of Love On Our National Shadow

This terrible, dark cloud, however, has more than a silver lining. Lights, unexpectedly bright and steady, have turned on as a result of these events. Prayer has been reinstated as a worthy and needed private and public practice. There has been an outpouring of love for God, country and the world. Selfless and heroic service has lifted our spirits. It generated an international solidarity that seemed dead before “nine­eleven.” In France, the day following the attack, a sign was seen on a Parisian street, “Today we are all Americans.” In the midnight of our shock and grief, no light shone more brightly than what blazed out of the cell phone conversations from people about to die in the hijacked commercial aircraft and the torched Trade Center offices. The callers were speaking to those dearest to them. Their messages varied. Most were aware that in minutes they were going to perish. What was telling was the consistent content of their goodbyes: “I love you.” “Remember that I love you.” “I love you and I’ll always be with you.”

Love ­ The Deathless Reality

The dominant theme of these calls was, “I love you.” There was little hysteria. Nor did they take time to indulge in emotions that implied, “I’m mad as hell and get even for me.” In those final moments they knew what mattered most: the love they shared. What they were reflecting in their final moments was not sentiment but reality. Love is the one reality that death can’t touch. Facing Eternity, Reality was  real to them. There was no room for hatred, the bastard child of unforgiveness.  As we move toward Eternity, this is what we need to learn from those cell phone messengers who were soon to move into It.

Forgiveness > Love = Light

Our journey through this life is too brief, too precious to waste on hate. In the midst of routine living we must learn what it means to love and to forgive. our life, our children's lives and the world to inherit from us, will be blessed to the degree that we learn these two principles. It will be cursed to the degree that we don’t. The equation for stability, personal and global, is:

For instability it is:

        What lies behind this formulation is the fact that light is to the physical world what love is to the emotional/spiritual world. At the speed of light ­ 186,240 miles per second ­time ceases to exist. Time ceasing to exist makes no sense to our sense directed reason, but it is a scientific fact. A more amazing truth is that at the point of Love, separation ceases to exist. That makes no sense to our ego­dominated minds. However, it is an infallible spiritual truth. As with time ceasing to exist at the speed of light, you are free to not believe it. You are not free to make it untrue. Light and Love are changeless realities in a changing, unstable world of darkness and separation. As we look at why forgiveness is essential for peace and happiness, we take a step further in the correlation of Love and Light.

The Nothingness of Death

An early mentor, Dr. Glenn Clark, took the ancient affirmation of the Psalmist, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil...” and explained it with this twist: What is a valley? It is a nothing between two somethings ­ mountains. And what is a shadow? It is a nothing, made when an object moves between a light source and another object. With this understanding, we have every reason to fear no evil. Now the affirmation would read: “Yea, though I walk through the nothingness of the nothingness of death, I will fear no evil....”

Cell phones in hand, the 9/11 callers were about to walk into that shadowed valley. Light shone in the darkness. Love saw no darkness. Darkness and shadows have no reality. They are an absence of a reality, light. They are nothing! When Light appears, darkness disappears. The beloved callers walked through the nothingness of the nothingness of death into Life. This is the truth we need to bring to the experience of forgiveness.

~~Forgiveness As The Path To Healing Reality

Think for a moment about a dark event in your life and the perpetrator behind it. If you haven’t forgiven them, they are still in your mind, haunting you, still capable of making your life miserable. They are still raining on your parade, clouding your happy sky. The memory of their behavior, remembered or not, leaves you wounded. You now are inflicting the wound on yourself, resurrecting a long dead corpse every time your sub­conscious or conscious mind embraces it. Your unforgiveness maintains the corpse in the graveyard of your mind. By default, you neurotically or psychotically live with these shadowed hosts, or in a bizarre effort to live more comfortably with them, you struggle through years of psychotherapy. Without the experience of forgiveness, you can read a library of self­help books, go to every possible lecture on how to deal with emo­tional pain, all to no avail.

Until one learns to turn on the light of forgiveness, none of these sincere efforts pay off. You can have authentic spiritual and meditative mountain top experiences only to find yourself down the road in a dump of ugly emotions. Seeing this happen to good and sincere people led me to look for answers in spir­itually oriented psychology as to why this happened. Initially I didn’t know  that I had this corrupting dis­ease within my own mind. I did, and I found healing in this truth: To find inner peace your life must be rooted in Reality and forgiveness as the only path to that Reality.


The Ego’s Ploy In The High Profile Villain

It is an ego ploy to protest that some people don’t deserve to be forgiven. To support this idea we create a rogues’ gallery of high profile bad guys. In my youth the unforgivable villain was Hitler. A more recent candidate is Saddam Hussein. After the horrific events of September the 11th, the poster boy of hate was Osama Bin Laden, master­mind behind the World Trade Center holocaust. As tempting as it may be to join this chorus of hate and vengeance, it would be a costly mistake. This popular attitude, malice toward a global bad guy, is a smoke screen, a diversionary tactic to keep you from dealing with the only “enemy” standing between you and peace: your ego­driven self. Don’t waste your energy wrestling with shadows “out there.” Don’t get caught up in the seductive arguments about bringing “evil doers” to justice. Although this appears to be moral high ground, it is delusional self­righteousness.

What would have happened to the Viet Nam vet if his goal had remained to bring his father to justice or to get even? I am fully aware that what is being presented here is a challenge of the first magnitude. Once it is faced and con­quered, it will prove to be a priceless treasure.

The road to inner peace leads through your heart alone. A vigilante mentality must be abandoned. Your goal must never be to “string up” the Darth Vaders of the world. Rather, be vigilant to deal with your inner Shadow. That is the only tyrant able to successfully attack and destroy your inner peace. At this point you stand before the second step to peace, learning to forgive your perceived Shadow maker. This requires that you look at the experiences that hurt you with the same vision shift the Viet Nam vet activated as he took a forgiveness­illumined look at his father’s demented behavior. He moved toward forgiveness as he changed his perceptions.

Twenty­first Century Science and Forgiveness

The miracle of healing forgiveness is the miracle of transformed perception. Perception is not seeing objective­ly. Perceiving is rendering a complex of judgments based on what we think we see. Again, 21st century science weighs in on the side of this long held spiritual truth that once seemed so irrational. Quantum Physical research has discovered that the objective world is not at all objective. If you are a true believer in the most popular religion of the 20 th centu­ry, science, be informed that the foundation of your theolo­gy, objective observation and empirical evidence, is being trashed. The unlikely culprits aren’t some wild­eyed reli­gious fundamentalists. The pillars of your temple are being torn down by your own high priests ­ scientists. The clergy of quantum physics are the ones who are calling into ques­tion the validity of perception. These respected scientists, going to the edge of the envelope, state that by a collective mechanism they have not yet discovered, what occurs on the physical plane is initially composed by some mental process in what they term the “implicate universe.” It is then manifested on the level of our sense experience in the “explicate universe.” If this sounds like medieval alchemy, it gets worse.

Max Planck, the father of quantum physics, began the hierarchy of our cosmos with “matter,” which finds its foundation and conclusion in “spirit.” The heresy becomes more blatant. A colleague of Planck’s, Nick Herbert, posits that material observation is quite other than it appears. He goes so far as to challenge the authenticity of what you and I were certain was the basic physical stuff of everyday life. He contends that behind what our senses have frozen into the observable world is always “a radically ambiguous and ceaselessly flowing quantum soup.” Some of that “soup” is being served to us in the new generation of computers which further bring into question the former certitude that what you see is what you get. The experimentally opera­tional Quantum Computer is literally capable of speed of light calculations. The heart of the system is a processor that makes the most advanced Pentium chip obsolete. Instead of a chip, it uses “twinned” electrons. This twinning causes one electron to rotate in a clockwise direction and its twin to rotate counterclockwise. Now, hang on to your objective hats. The scientists who created this technology tell us that these two electrons are traveling non­locally (that is, every­where and nowhere) in all directions at the same time until observed. Only then do they operate in counter movement in a particular place in time and space. That is a revolution­ary statement. It affirms that the mind, somehow, directs the condition of the physical universe. Supporting this premise, these same scientists have discovered a particle of matter, the Anomalon, which in the laboratory always follows the theory of the experimenter. The scenario goes something like this: Three different scientists in three different labora­tories in Berkeley, London and Moscow have three differ­ent, conflicting theories about the Anomalon. Each one sets up a series of experiments to prove the validity of his par­ticular theory. As though following a directive from the  sci­entist’s mind, the particle behaves differently in each exper­iment, proving each theory correct. This propounds through a scientific discipline the fact behind all perception: we see what we want to see.


Doubting Your Doubts About Creating Perceptions

What has all of this to do with forgiveness? Just one important thing. Hopefully, these scientific insights about the delusional nature of “objective observation” will help generate the necessary humility needed for forgiveness. We need to doubt our doubts about the power of our mind to create whatever we perceive. Put another way, we are cer­tain that we have been offended by others and that some of them have crucified us. And we have the wounds they inflicted to prove it. What might be termed quantum heal­ing says that there is another way of looking at life’s ugly moments, one that can remove all sense of being wounded by others.


Believing Is Seeing

Perception is the product of what we think we see. Seeing is not believing. Perception is another smoke­and­mirrors trick of our ego. It sees what it wants to see, what it expects to see. Thus believing is seeing. When this capaci­ty is given to our Inner Advisor, the Holy Spirit, the anger and fear­inducing perceptions are changed into moments filled with beauty and healing. Seeing on the level of your soul is faith. Jesus said that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. Today he might have said, “the size of a molecule.” It did for the hate­immolated veteran intro­duced in the first chapter.

Returning to his story, he found a visual sword forged in the white heat of his rage. With it he acted out feelings he had felt throughout his life. He “destroyed” his father. Moments later his Friend bathed the dead body in Light, restoring it to life. The forgiveness process had begun. He could never have seen his father alive again unless he had been willing to change his perceptions. The mind is the creator.

A Miracle Of Transformed Perception

As the man visualized his father now lying on the floor in front of him, I asked, “Do you know anything about your father’s childhood?”

“Yeah...his dad was a drunk. Used to beat the shit out of him. A lot.” It was here the faith factor took over. His soul was about to show him what ego perception refuses to see.

“Can you see that beaten, frightened little boy inside your dad?”

“Sure, I see him. He’s a scared little kid.”

“That little kid you now see, was the one who used your body so insanely. A grown man doesn’t want a little boy. Only an insane child would want another child’s body.”

“Sure, the kid didn’t know what he was doing to me, did he?”

And I heard inwardly another voice speaking from another cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

This young man was seeing things very differently. Transformed perception was his. It was at this point that I asked what I related earlier. “Can you forgive your father?” to which he answered, “Of course I can.”

I don’t know the details of his earlier spiritual experi­ence. I didn’t ask. I do know that in my office, because of his determined will to find the Truth, he was “born again.” To be sure, that phrase has become a threadbare and abused cliché. In this context it is nothing of the kind. Weeks later we received a letter of thanks from his wife. She wrote that his nightmares never recurred and his rage was gone. Her nightmare in the home, she assured us, was gone too.

Unforgiveness And Past Flawed Perception

An essential element in the veteran’s healing was the correction of perception. That raises the questions, “What is perception?” and “How can one creatively correct toxic per­ceptions?” Simply stated, perception is how one subjective­ly “sees” a situation or a group of related events. The world you think you see is not the same world anyone else sees. There isn’t one world in the universe of perception.  There are as many different worlds as there are people. The world we perceive is only the world we have been led to believe it is. All the billions of past personal perceptions dictate what we think we are seeing and, therefore, what we are feeling and, therefore, how we react to a given experience. Unforgiveness and the anger and hurt it sponsors, never arises out of some objective offense. Every painful percep­tion and the object of our blame for that pain, is a pre­dictable disaster waiting to happen based on our past flawed perceptions.


The Beginning of the Perception Correction Process

The perception correction process begins when you get tired of the pain caused by unforgiveness. At this point, you start scrambling for some relief. You search for it in God or anyone else. You are willing to see things differently and in that moment Light is given. Whenever one allows a little willingness to surrender their Mr. McGoo distortions to the Light of Love, the ugly and unforgivable becomes a life­transforming vision of beauty where there appeared to be a beast. Now the offender is not only forgivable but loveable. Does that sound miraculous? It is.

To illustrate the magnitude of this process, imagine entering a darkened room. There you see a woman lying prone with a man about to drive a knife into her chest. He is wearing a mask. How should you respond? It appears you’re witnessing a potential homicide! The likely response is fear followed by an adrenaline rush. Why? Because with­in seconds your mind is scanning past information, past per­ceptions of similar scenes from television, motion pictures or a mystery novel. You possibly even witnessed an earlier stabbing. So, murder, you thought.

Now imagine you find a light switch. Instead of scream­ing and running from the scene or grabbing an available pis­tol and emptying a clip of bullets into the knife­wielding man, you flip the switch and the light turns on. In the illu­mined room you see what is actually happening. What appeared to be a knife is a scalpel. The mask is a surgical mask. The man is not a killer but a surgeon! The woman isn’t a victim but a patient.

The hypothetical “crime scene” describes what we do when we judge another human being. Our judgmentalism turns the Light off. This makes it impossible to see our per­ceived antagonist or the situation clearly and in our myopic midnight, our fear and anger seem justified. Our “air­tight case” supporting our malice is just a light­starved illusion. We are sure we are right although we are dead wrong. We are letting past negative perceptions determine our present responses. This, in turn, assures that our future will be a journey down the valley of perceptive shadows leading to certain suffering and death. Until we are willing to turn the Light on.

We Relive What We Don’t Forgive

Present judgment always assures future pain because,

whatever we don’t forgive, we are doomed to relive.

The unforgiving mind is masochistic. Unless we lay aside all judgment of ourselves and others, we repeatedly face the same lessons. Until we get it right. The sword of anger can­not become a scalpel of healing until we abandon ego judg­ment for soul vision.

One of the ugliest words in the human vocabulary is “rape.” It connotes the darkest expression of manhood. When I received a call from a friend of many years who told me she had been raped, I was shocked. She is a profession­al. A man she met in her business came to her  after hours. She was working alone. Big and strong he overpowered her, seized her by the shoulders and threw her to the floor. As he ripped her clothes off, she felt like a rag doll. She thought she might die. As in slow motion, she thought of her fami­ly and then his. She didn’t really know this man; he could be capable of anything. In her fear and confusion, she silently began to pray. I knew she was spiritual, but I didn’t realize the depth of her spiritual maturity. As she rose above the shock of the moment, she was able to tell him, “If this is the only way you can discover the love of God, I forgive you....” That is the last thing a rapist wants to hear. He jumped up, hastily closing and buckling his pants, and was immediately out the door.


The Rapist Did Nothing To Her

I asked her if she had told her husband. She said, no; she was afraid he might kill her assailant. Had she sought post traumatic stress counseling? No. Why? “Because I don’t need it. The experience momentarily devastated me, but as I prayed, I realized that what happened was only flesh against flesh. He didn’t do anything to me.” I have coun­seled others who have endured the madness of rape. I never expected such a response. I would still seek to empathize and comfort any woman caught in the nightmare of such a seeming tragedy. But here was a woman who saw things in Light from another world. She was living the truth that she has a body but is not that body. Through prayer and an act of the will, she saw the event through different eyes. It was this vision that allowed her to forgive. One may not feel up to that level of spiritual heroics, but it remains our potential and will become our experience as we continue to will to see through our spiritual vision.

The Choice To Be Right Or Happy

Our testing ground probably will be more familiar ter­rain, like a domestic spat. I recall several times when I felt my wife was wrong. At different times it was different “wrongs:” what she said was wrong; what she did was wrong; her attitude was wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. On one occasion, Sandra and I were standing in the kitchen of our retreat center with Lorraine Cook. She and her husband were managers of the center. We were into a silly argument. However, it didn’t seem silly at the time. I knew the “facts” supported my position. In the midst of my madness, Lorraine said in the sweetest spirit, “Cliff, would you rather be right or happy?” She was quoting straight from “A Course In Miracles.” She knew that I am a student of that spiritual discipline and that I take its concepts seriously. My deflating ego had just enough hot air to get out, “I’d rather be both.”

The problem is, I can’t have it both ways and neither can you. If I insist on being right, I must make you wrong. Our happiness goes south the moment we hold the position that we are right and the other person is wrong. What I give to you I give to myself. There is no wiggle room for my ego. It is a clear and simple choice: I can choose to be right, or I can choose to be happy. One or the other, but never both. 

The Meaning Of “Right” Forgiveness Gives

The flip side of this truth is that when I seek to make you “right” I will also be right (because what I give to another, I give to myself) and I will be happy. This defini­tion of “right” has nothing to do with behavior. It means that I affirm the unalterable goodness of your soul. You are a Son of God. No behavior can change that. It is a state of mind depicted in the lovely East Indian tradition called “Namaste.” You have seen it. As a person greets another, they clasp their hands together much as is done while pray­ing in our western tradition. Loosely translated, the act is meant to convey the thought, “The consciousness of God in me greets the consciousness of God in you.”

Why You Are The Son Of God

If you are a woman you may have reacted being described as a Son of God. This appellation has nothing to do with chauvinism or sexism. The term “son,” in its mas­culine role, describes the part of every mind that is active generative. In the more recent studies of brain function, this has been identified as the “masculine” aspect of the brain located primarily in the left hemisphere of the brain. The right hemisphere holds a passive creative­productive “fem­inine” role. The feminine subconscious receives what you give it from your masculine consciousness. You think a thought. That is a conscious, therefore, “masculine” func­tion. If you hold that thought as true or necessary for your well being, you impregnate your subconscious with it. The feminine subconscious receives what it is given without determining its validity or value. It always gives birth to what penetrates its consciousness. It is your inner masculine that makes the choices in life. These choices decide your destiny. The masculine side of your consciousness holds the power of the will in its hands. It is “wed” to your feminine subconscious that has the power to give birth to your thoughts as feelings and emotions in your inner world.

When this feminine energy is lifted to the level of the soul, it becomes the glorious Sophia of Wisdom literature or the divine Mother of the Christ as reflected in the exalted position of Mary in Christian tradition. When imprisoned in the subconscious, it becomes the slave of the ego and the co­dependent spouse of the perverted male chauvinist mas­culine. What liberates the feminine in a man or woman is the will dedicated to the Love of God. As a conscious, voli­tional being you reflect the active generative Creative Force we call “Father.” To make your way Home you assume the responsibility of the Son­of­that­Father in your mind and actively undertake the disciplines of that sonship. Discipline is tied to the will and the will is activated and directed from the conscious, masculine part of your mind. What you feel in the moment decides nothing but what you responsibly will decides your destiny.  Jesus’ statement, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect,” meant: God, as Perfect Love, is perfect and you must rediscover this part of you that has been yours from your creation as His Son. That perfection is manifested through the active generative aspect of the Creative Force, the Father of Creation. We are perfect because we are the same as our Source, created in that Image. But we will never manifest that perfection until we will to see our brother as God’s Son. Again he was teaching the forgotten truth that what we see in another is what we see in ourselves. Our perfection is regained by willing to give it away to another. This seems like such a simple act; however, it demands utter dedication to its application.

The Power Of Perfection’s Vision

The Nobel Peace Prize winner who has shown the world the power of this vision is Mother Teresa. When asked how she could work among the poorest of the poor in Calcutta and remain joyous, she said, “I spend the morning meditating on Jesus. Then I go out and find him in everyone I meet.” Her soul was in charge. The vision it held allowed her to see Jesus in the destitute, dying Hindu, the ulcerated Buddhist baby, the blind beggar seeking food. She didn’t try to change them. Seeing them as Christ she changed the world in which she lived. Calling such a discipline imprac­tical blinds one to the power of spiritual vision. The mil­lions she helped knew how practical she was. Her service to humanity didn’t begin with mighty deeds. As with every dis­ciple of love, she began with a little willingness. She began with a little willingness to see the divine where others see depravity. She confessed, “I don’t do great things. I do little things with great love.” And there is no greater act of love than to will to see as holy the person your ego would despise.



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