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Namah Journal

Mental Health

Forgiveness and reconciliation

Denis Capdeville


This article looks at the ontological nature of a thought as a concrete object, though on a subtle level. Thinking consistently over the same topic is nourishing a unique thought, which is empowered and thus becomes autonomous. Whenever it is a thought of worry towards another, it hypnotises us in return, preventing us to forgive. Once one is under the power of such a thought, forgetting becomes nearly impossible. To overcome this pattern of non-forgiveness, one should acknowledge this occult reality of nature and power of a thought. Afterwards, one should shift this morbid tendency to obey to this thought, that was initially created, to the pioneering way to let it go. Some tools may help us in this innovative behaviour.

Carrying versus letting go

You may know this story of the two monks and the woman. While preparing to cross the river, two Zen monks meet a woman who also wants to cross but who is afraid. One of the monks takes her on his shoulders and carries her to the other side. The other says nothing but is furious inside because what the monk has done is forbidden! A monk must not touch a woman. And not only did he touch her, but he also carried her on his shoulders. After many kilometres, they reach the monastery. Going through the door, the angry monk turns to his companion and says to him: “Well, I’m going to have to tell the Master about this matter to let him know what you did because what you have done is forbidden.”

The first monk looks surprised and asks, “What are you talking about, what is prohibited?” 

“Have you forgotten everything?”, asks the second monk. “You carried this woman on your shoulders!” The first monk laughs and replies: “Yes, I carried her. But I left her by the river, miles and miles back. But you, you are still carrying her!” 

Thoughts are objects on a subtle level, and carrying a thought is similar to carrying a physical item. It may become heavy, burdening and prevent us from moving easily and comfortably. Carrying something for long, be it a thought or an object, is not the usual and free way we should be moving through life. We may have to carry something from time to time, from place to place, but it should only be for a given purpose, for a defined period of time. Whenever the distance is too long, or the time lapse too big, we may feel tired and exhausted. 

Being light and moving freely, without carrying unnecessary thoughts or items, should be our natural and spontaneous way of living. In fact, it is our natural way of living, whenever we forget to be upset or burdened. We may, all of us, have experienced when, forgetting our grievance towards someone, we spontaneously go up to him/her with a smile or a gentle word. A bit later, remembering our previous and still pending concern, we suddenly feel awkward. Later, we may struggle, facing this incoherence of our behaviour, meaning being upset towards someone and still be kind with him. Perhaps, we decided to continue to be upset whereas the door was open to forget, forgive and reconcile. 

When my son was 10, he already unconsciously knew this state of mood and possible future pattern. Whenever we had an argument in the evening, before he went to sleep, he very seriously said to me: “Dad, tomorrow morning, please remind me that I am supposed to be upset with you, because I do not want to forgive you!” 

To overcome the pattern of not wanting to forget or forgive 

From a behavioural perspective, there are two main reasons for not being capable of forgetting and forgiving. 

The first is to be found in our subconscious a morbid tendency to favour the insane over the sane, the evil over the good. When behavioural science states that five good thoughts are needed to balance one evil, it is due to this reptilian brain which warns us, unconsciously but steadily, against any threats or adverse attacks. This unconscious reminder finds its origin in the first prehistoric men who were constantly facing dangers from the wild nature. This ‘old’ pattern invites us to permanently refer to the possible dark side of an event, in a totally unconscious manner, which is very difficult to neutralise when we are not even aware of it. 

The second is to be found in this ego that has so much difficulty in accepting and letting go of things. What is the purpose of not accepting, not forgetting and not forgiving, but reinforcing this ego that has so much craving for adversity, for self-justification? The ego has only meaning in separateness, and anything that may increase this feeling of separateness is welcomed by it. 

On the contrary, whenever one relates to the higher inner divine spark, which aims at unifying all sparks in the same sun, everything that is human business appears so much as human. In that perspective, relating to the Divine helps us to distinguish clearly what belongs to the Divine and what belongs to the human. This inner struggle between divine and human may frequently be illustrated by this incapacity to forgive and accept. That may lead to sleeplessness, stress, loss of appetite and other behavioural troubles. 

The power of thought 

Passing away or, on a daily level, falling into deep sleep, leads us to a field of consciousness in which nothing that is human will remain. Things are so difficult to let go, because of this part of humanity within us which can never accept to disappear to the profit of the Divine. A German proverb says that the last shirt has no pockets, meaning that human stuff has no purpose on the other side, be it an object or a thought. 

Having some disagreement with someone is the natural way ego relates to ego, and the more we are close to someone, the more the grievance may be important or, seemingly, insurmountable. That is why family issues are so difficult to overcome, because, since we love someone so much, we expect a lot from him/her, and we are so desperate when the behaviour doesn’t fit our expectations. Afterwards, surely, we will have grievance for as long as we or the person is alive. And then? Shall we take this grievance with us, in this shirt without pockets? 

“Think as if each thought was written in letters of fire in the sky, because it is indeed what happens!” says an esoteric proverb. A thought is an object, though on a subtle plane, and each thought of criticism or evil gossiping towards another is a stone that we launch to the person, but which may harm our respective subtle body. 

Disagreement is likely a natural way for humans to relate, as we are all unique and possibly capable of expressing differences. That doesn’t mean that disagreement should lead to conflict, because conflict always nurtures the conflict and leads to endless confrontation and inability to forgive and reconcile. To overcome divergence, let this divergence remain in the state of consciousness to which it belongs, the human one. But let us aim to reach and abide in the higher state of consciousness where we aim to belong, the psychic being’s one. Whenever we relate to the Divine, consciously and consistently, everything that is human remains human, and instantly disappears from the state to which we try to refer: the Divine. 

A few useful techniques 

• Relate our self to the higher state of consciousness, which is spiritual, and in which nothing that is human remains important, particularly any conflict. 
•  Refer to the psychic being, whatever happens in our daily life.
•   Stand for the Truth, whatever happens.
• Start to forgive on our side, even though the other is not ready. For that, relate to the higher part of ourselves, in which the previous problem has vanished, since it belongs to the lower state and has no place in this higher one.  

Every process of reconciliation is wel-come, and there is no such thing as little reconciliations, be it between two partners, members of a family, or an individual and a community, etc. There is no need to wait for huge turbulences in a community or for a Christmas truce to finally initiate a process of reconciliation. Every moment is a good one to start! 

Denis Capdeville (Dan) is an NLP and hypnosis practitioner, working at Santé, Auroville, India.

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