Again, annie posted a quote from Henri Nouwen on Emerging Universalist the other day that I took notice of because it goes along with what I have been writing about lately.
Healing Our Hearts Through Forgiveness
Forgiving the other is first and foremost an inner movement. It is an act that removes anger, bitterness, and the desire for revenge from our hearts and helps us to reclaim our human dignity.
Hmmmm....and some of what Eckhart says in A New Earth mirrors this thought. He talks a quite a bit about forgiveness and grievances and grudges. He sees it as one of the main egoic structures of the human mind.
A long standing resentment is called a grievance. To carry a grievance is to be in a permanent state of against and that is why grievances constitute a significant part of many people's ego. Collective grievances can survive for centuries in the psyche of a nation or tribe and fuel a never ending cycle of violence.
Perhaps this grievance thing is one of the reasons the 4th Step asks us to go beyond listing only other humans we are ticked at/resentful of. We are also asked to consider institutions and principles we harbor resentment towards. Also, while I am on the subject...I found, as I read AA literature over the past week or so...that they refer often to "self" and "self will"....which is just another way of saying egoic mind. The unconscious "me, me it's all about me" part of us. These old grudges and grievances are poison...
A grievance is a strong negative emotion connected to an event in the sometimes distant past being kept alive by compulsive thinking, by retelling the story in the head or outloud of "what someone did to me"
"A grievance will also contaminate other areas of your life.
How so? By getting all wrapped up in your "they done me wrong" story....by dwelling on it, you see events that are happening in the present through the eyes of the past. You know, as in "my perception is my reality"? Everything is filtered through this preconceived, possibly distorted perception. Thus...you will react to someone with whom you have a history of conflict, through the eyes of conflict.
And about forgiveness...and this ridiculous criteria Jesus sets up for us when he talks about 7 times 70. What do we do about those people in our lives who do really nasty, mean spirited things that hurt us. What about physical abuse...emotional abuse...people who steal from us, lie about us....etc. etc. etc. What do we do about that? Well, we might have to take practical steps to protect ourselves, but the key (according to Eckhart) is not to turn them into enemies. Because ultimately when we have an "other" to rail against...when we have an enemy to fight, we are the one who pays the greatest price. We are the one who suffers the most...as we nibble away at that poison waiting for the enemy to drop dead.....