Forgiveness: The Key to Happiness & Freedom | Self-Help Podcasts

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Now, on to today’s reading, which was edited and adapted from The Ideal Made Real by Christian D. Larson, published in 1909.

To forgive everybody for everything at all times, regardless of circumstances, is the first step towards complete freedom. In the past, many have looked upon forgiveness as a virtue; but, in reality, it is a necessity.

We have often given our highest praise to those who possess the spirit of forgiveness and have thought of such people as being self-sacrificing in the truest sense of the term — because we did not know that the act of forgiving is the simplest way to lighten one’s own burdens.

According to our old conception of forgiveness, the person who forgives denies themselves a privilege, the privilege of indignation and revenge; for this reason we have looked upon them as heroes or saints, thinking that it could not be otherwise than heroic and saintly to give up the supposed pleasure of meting out revenge to those who seemed to deserve it.

However, according to our new view, the person who forgives is no more saintly than the one who insists upon keeping clean, because in reality the act of forgiving simply constitutes a complete mental bath. When you forgive everybody for everything you cleanse your mind completely of every wrong thought or negative mental attitude that may exist in your consciousness.

This explains why forgiveness is a necessity and why the person who forgives everything emancipates themselves from all kinds of burdens. It is therefore profitable, highly profitable, to forgive everybody, no matter what they have done, and this includes also ourselves. It is just as necessary to forgive ourselves as to forgive others, and the principal reason why forgiveness has seemed to be so difficult is because we have neglected to forgive ourselves.

We cannot let go of that which is not desired until we have acquired the mental art of letting go, and to acquire this art we must practice upon our own minds. That is, we must learn to let go from our own minds all those things that we do not wish to retain. When you forgive yourself completely, you wash your mentality perfectly clean. You let go of everything in your mental system that is not good. You emancipate yourself completely.

Whatever you held against yourself or others you now drop entirely out of your mind; in consequence, you are freed from your mental burdens, and when mental burdens disappear all other burdens will disappear also.

The ills that we hold in mind are the only things that can actually burden our lives.Therefore, when we forgive everybody for every ill we ever knew we no longer hold a single ill in our own minds; we thus throw off every burden and are perfectly free.

When you have trouble, forgive those who have caused the trouble. Forgive yourself for permitting yourself to be troubled, and your troubles will pass away. When you have made a mistake do not condemn yourself or feel upset; simply forgive yourself, and resolve that you will never make the mistake again. As you make that resolution, desire more wisdom, and have the faith that you will secure the wisdom you require. “According to your faith, so shall it be.”

There are many who may think that the practice of forgiving everybody for everything will produce mental indifference and thus weaken character, but it is the very opposite that will take place. To forgive is to eliminate the useless, everything that is not good; and to free the mind from obstacles and adverse conditions is to enable the mind to be its best, to express itself fully and completely. This will not only strengthen the character, but will cause the greatness of the soul to come forth.

No person can forgive everybody for everything until they desire the best from every person and from every source. In other words, we cannot forgive the wrong until we desire the right. We cannot eliminate darkness until we proceed to produce light, and it requires only this one act to remove the one and bring forth the other. From these facts it is evident that when we let go of the wrong, we gain more of that power that is right, and we thus increase the strength of our character.

To eliminate all ill feelings, all hatred, all wrong thoughts, and all false beliefs from the mind will increase the power of the mind and place every mental faculty in proper condition for higher development. The same effect will be produced in the character. And all awakened minds know that the greatness of the soul can begin to come forth only when we have completely forgiven everybody for everything.

The person who finds it easier to forgive than to condemn is on the verge of superior wisdom and higher spiritual power. They have entered the path to real greatness and may rapidly rise on the scale by applying the laws of true human development. Instead of producing weakness and indifference, the act of absolute forgiveness will produce a more powerful character, a more brilliant mind, and a greater soul.

Try this method for a year. Forgive everybody for everything, no matter what happens, and do not forget to forgive yourself.

You will eventually conclude that forgiveness, absolute forgiveness, is not only the path to complete emancipation, but is also the key to a better life, a larger life, a richer life, a more beautiful life than you ever knew before. You will find that you can instantaneously remove burdens from the mind by complete and unrestricted forgiveness; and you can in the same way steadily recreate yourself into a new and better being.

Forgive the imperfect, and with heart and soul desire constantly the realization of the perfect; the imperfect will thus pass away and the more perfect will be realized in a greater and greater abundance.

Whatever our place in life may be, we must eliminate every burden of mind or body, if we wish to rise on the scale, and the first step in this direction is to forgive everybody for everything. When you begin to practice forgiveness on this extensive scale you will find obstacles disappearing one after the other.

Those things that held you down will vanish and that which was constantly in your way will trouble you no more; your pathway will be cleared. You will have nothing more to contend with, and everything in your life will move smoothly and harmoniously towards greater and greater things.

This is perfectly natural, because by forgiving everybody and everything you have let every form of evil go. You have invited all the good, and have therefore populated your own world with persons and things after your own heart. Through perpetual and complete forgiveness, your mind will be kept perfectly clean. Not a single weed will ever appear in the beautiful garden of your mind.

Since forgiveness is a necessity to all who wish to eliminate the lesser and retain the greater (or in other words make real the ideal), it is highly important to present the simplest methods through which anyone may learn to practice this great art. It has been said that to know all is to forgive all; but it is not possible for anyone to know all. Therefore, if we wish to forgive absolutely, we must proceed along a different line.

When we ask ourselves why people live, think, and act as they do, we meet the great law of cause and effect. In our study of this law, we find that every cause is an effect of a previous cause, and that that previous cause is also an effect of a cause still more remote. We may continue to trace these causes and effects far back along the chain of events until we are lost in the dimness of the past; but what do we learn by such a process of analysis, nothing whatsoever.

We fail to find anything definite about anybody, and consequently cannot fix the blame for anything. It is not possible to justly blame anybody when we cannot fix the blame for anything. Therefore, we have only one alternative, and that is to forgive.

We can never find the real cause of a single thing. We may first blame the individual, but when we discover the influence of environment, heredity, and early training, we cannot wholly blame the individual. If we blame the parents, we must find the reason why those parents were not different, also why previous generations were not different.

The more we try to find the original cause of anything the more convinced we become that to look for sin, or the cause of sin, is nothing but a waste of time. Every individual is themselves a cause, and their life comes constantly in touch with a number of other causes; therefore, it is never possible to say which one of these causes (or combination of these causes) produced the original action. Back of every action we find other actions that lead us to the one that we are now considering, but we do not know how those other actions were produced.

To trace them back to their original source simply leads us into what appears to be a “beginningless” beginning. For this reason, it is the height of wisdom to let the “dead bury its dead,” to let the past go, to forgive every sinner and forget every sin, and to use our time, talent, and power for the building of more lofty mansions in the great eternal now.

To look for the blame is to find that we are all more or less to blame, and also to find that there is no real fixed blame anywhere. We may then ask what we are to do with this great subject; are we to talk, theorize, speculate, condemn, and punish? We know too well that all of that is but a waste of time. The sensible course to pursue is to forgive everybody for everything, to drop ills, mistakes, wrongs, disagreeable memories, and proceed to use those laws of life that we understand now in making life better for everybody now.

To absolutely remove our hatred for the wrongdoers in the world, we must cultivate a higher order of love, that love that loves every living creature with the true love of the soul. And such a love is readily attained when we train ourselves to look for the ideal soul of life that exists in everything everywhere in the world.

Some people may declare that these methods are in advance of our time and cannot be carried out at present; therefore, it is useless to even talk about it. However, be that as it may, the fact remains that forgiveness is a necessity of the true life, the emancipated life, the superior life, the ideal life. For that reason every person who desires to make real the ideal in this world must begin to practice absolute forgiveness at once.

If we can forgive everybody for everything now, we should do so, whether the world in general can do so or not. The person who wishes to move forward must not wait for the human race. It is your privilege to go in advance of the race; thus you help prepare the way for millions. When enough of us have demonstrated by example that there are better ways of living, the race will follow.

What the few can do today, the many will do tomorrow, but if the few should wait until tomorrow, the many will have to wait until the day following, or possibly longer still. Be what you can be now. Do what you can do now, no matter how far in advance of this age such actions may be.

If you are capable of greater things today, you owe it to the human race to demonstrate those greater things now. You sprung from the race. You are composed of the finer elements that exist in the race, and should consider it a privilege to cause those elements to shine as brilliantly as possible. And one of the greatest of all demonstrations in this age is that of absolute forgiveness, to demonstrate the power of forgiving everybody for everything at all times and under every possible circumstance.

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All transcripts from our inspirational podcasts are edited adaptations of the original work and copyrighted by LivingHour.org.