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Henry Bates

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The Way to a Wonderful Life, Sunday, September 23, 2012 

          "We are told that God will forgive us after we have forgiven others.  This is a direct statement and one that we should ponder deeply.  Can God forgive until we have forgiven?  If God can work for us only by working through us, then this statement of Jesus stands true, and is really a statement of the law of cause and effect.  We cannot afford to hold personal animosities or enmities against the world or individual members of society.  All such thoughts are outside the law and cannot be taken into the heavenly consciousness.  Love alone can beget love.  People do not gather roses from thistles.
        The Father who sees in secret will reward us openly.  Shall we not learn to enter the "secret place of the Most High," within our own soul with gladness?  We are to fast without outward sign, but with the inner mind open and receptive to the Good alone.  Our treasure is already in heaven, and our thought can take us to this treasure only when it is in accord with divine harmony and perfect love."
- Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind

Yom Kippur is the holiest day on the calendar for those of the Jewish faith.  It is observed as a 25-hour period of fasting and prayer focusing on atonement and repentance.  Yom Kippur atones only for the sins between man and G-d, not for sins against another person. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible. That must all be done before Yom Kippur.  Yom Kippur is a complete Sabbath; no work can be performed on that day. It is well-known that you are supposed to refrain from eating and drinking (even water) on Yom Kippur. It is a complete, 25-hour fast beginning before sunset on the evening before Yom Kippur and ending after nightfall on the day of Yom Kippur. This year it begins at sundown, Tuesday, September 25 and continues until nightfall of Wednesday, September 26th.  We don't have to be Jewish to take advantage of this opportunity to be "conscious" of clearing our mind and spirit with forgivingness.

      One of my "carry-overs" from my years as a practicing Catholic are the words of the "Confiteor":  "I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do ..."  And in these simple words I often reflect on the words, "and what I have failed to do" ... for in this, I believe, we recognize our being "unconscious" or even perhaps being so "self-conscious" that we fail to be conscious of our words and actions that affect other people.  As we see "sin" as "missing the mark" ... in other words, falling short of what our best would be, we may often find that it is in what we fail to do that we miss the mark the most.  As we are conscious of how we have "missed the mark" we have options; but what these options are will come to our awareness only as we have a sincere desire to forgive.

". . . Jesus clearly explains the meaning of divine forgiveness.  He says that we should forgive until seventy times seven.  This is but another way of saying that forgiveness is eternal and ever available." - Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind

     In Jesus' instruction to "forgive until seventy times seven"  he is telling us that we must "give it up" ... eliminate it from our mind and this means to do whatever it takes to release the residue of it from our mind, or spirit.  But, this does not mean the giving up of the "sin" itself, but the consciousness.  We often see examples of people who "ask for forgiveness" from others for what they have done or failed to do; especially those in politics and sports, but no one can forgive us but ourselves.  And, forgiveness is not often an immediate action in our mind but a "process" of changing and healing the consciousness that "caused" the whatever it is that we must forgive, that is, give up.  Without the change in consciousness, the "cause" is still active.  This is why Jesus, who realized the broader implications, used the words seventy times seven ... we must have a "renewing of our mind" ... a transformation in the way in which we see ourselves, see others, and also our relationship to G-d and the world in which we live.  And we must establish this higher ideal in our consciousness.

     It is wisdom to be consciously aware of what we think we need to forgive ourselves for.  Is it something that is heavy on our heart or something that moves through our mind that takes our peace away?  Or, is it something that perhaps someone else thinks we have done or failed to do?  We don't forgive others nor do we have the ability to receive forgiveness from others.  Forgiveness is an "inside job" ... if we are waiting for someone else to forgive us and make us feel better, then we will be waiting a very long time.  Someone else telling us that we are "forgiven" may soften our feelings of guilt or shame momentarily, but if we are to give it up, it must come from within our own heart and soul.

     Far too many of us allow other people to instill within us the need for forgiveness.  This is always a mistake.  "What You Think Of Me Is None Of My Business," is the title of a book written by Terry Cole-Whittaker.  Worrying about what others think of us, is in reality, something within ourselves seeking to be validated.  And this can be for approval or otherwise.  There is a school of thought that what others think of us is not personal to us, but there is a "gray area" here that is important for us to understand.  If, someone else's opinion or perception comes to our awareness and affects our thought about our self or the other person, then it is something personal to us ... but, it is also for our good.  Either it comes to us for a correction in our consciousness or it comes to us to validate our progress towards something greater in our life experience.  Yet, it is important to realize that it is "not personal" to the person that acted as a channel in bringing it to our awareness ... it is ours ... we own it.  It is personal to the other person or persons, only to the degree that they continue to hold it in their own mind as either a negative or a positive.  This is why all too often it is much easier to forgive others than it is to forgive ourselves.  What others say or do to us is momentary, most of the time, but whatever it is, is held in our consciousness until we believe something differently about it.

     We don't have to be Jewish to go on a 25-hour fast of forgivingness.  If we choose to do so, the cleansing of our mind and thought through forgiveness contains the possibility of opening up our consciousness for wonderful and amazing new experiences, inspirations, and a greater receptivity for the good that we desire to experience.  From Dr. Frank Richelieu's book, "The Art of Being Yourself" we find these words that we can say to our self right now:  "I have the power of choice and I use this power to steer myself in the right direction.  I steer in the direction of my desire.  I direct my life.  I meet any problems which present themselves with the calm knowing that if I see and respond in the right manner; I shall become stronger and wiser.  I choose the path of personal responsibility and power."  Let's know this as our truth right now.


Keep the faith!
. Henry Bates

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