Spiritual practice becomes both broader and deeper the moment we can truly forgive. This includes forgiving others as well as forgiving ourselves. Typically our defenses work as attacks against perceived external threats, but it’s “the second arrow,” as Michael points out, that is released from our bow inward. What would our lives be like if we totally forgave ourselves. This would invariably lead to a deeper comfort in our own skin, where we uncoil upward and outward, releasing to the perpetual stillness that extends both beyond and through the ego.
At the same time that we open to the options afforded by forgiveness, it is critical, according to Michael, that we not mistake this deep surrender with “giving in.” Letting ourselves get hammered by others, or the world at large, only points to our attachment to confused stories that we tell ourselves about what it means to forgive. This apparent paradox, when seen through, allow us to move more freely in the world.
Click on the player below, in order to listen to Michael McAlister’s talk.