Neville writes about forgiveness several times. About forgiving others and forgiving ourselves. In his story of forgiving himself, he sees a beautiful creature and an ugly creature, and tries to fight with the ugly creature, but the creature just grows stronger. Finally, he begins to feel pity for the creature, and the more he feels for it, the more the creature starts to disappear, until Neville realizes that both the beautiful and the ugly are parts of himself, and only by forgiving (feeling pity for) the creature in front of him, can he get rid of that part of himself.
I wanted to have that experience. To see two beings and with Neville’s experiences in hand, I would know how to react. So, of course, that’s not what happened.
My experience started while I was meditating a couple days ago. I came into God’s presence, but God had my face and my body, and I was disgusted. Over the years since I got married, I have more than doubled my weight, and seeing God as all of me was a shock. To be honest, my reaction surprised me as well…it’s not how I’d treat anyone else, but seeing myself outside of myself, the only way I can describe my reaction is disgust.
The reaction pulled me out of the meditation, and like Mary, I pondered these things in my heart.
Today, I had no idea where my mind would go when I started meditating, but I’ve been pondering the Promise lately. This time, in my meditation, my mind went to my spirit. Neville describes his spirit without a face. I don’t know if mine has a face or not, but in every vision I’ve had, on mine, the body is undefined. It’s there, but there’s no solid shape. As I was pondering this, I once again came into God’s presence, and I realized that I need to forgive. Now, I traveled to every person who has the power to hurt me; every person that my heart is connected to. “I forgive you,” I told Nony, and I felt a weight fall off. Marriage is not always easy, and there are things that build up over time, sometimes without anyone realizing it, although most of the time at least one of you is aware that they’re there. “I forgive you,” I said again, and as I said it, I saw the issues we’ve faced and felt my forgiveness go into them and remove their power. “True forgiveness has to mean forgetting,” was the thought that came to me as each of these clinger-ons turned into vapor and drifted away. For a few minutes, I pondered that if God didn’t forget our sins when they were forgiven, we’d be carrying a LOT of weight around.
I visited my mom. “I forgive you.” I told her. A little weight fell. Not like with Nony, because I’d already forgiven her, it was probably The Thing that really pulled me into studying Goddard, realizing that the thorn in my side (that Paul writes about), for me, my inability to forgive my mom, was gone, that I had truly forgiven her.
“I forgive you.” I told the man who hurt my entire family with his words years ago. From him, I learned how hard and difficult it can be to truly forgive someone, and how it keeps trying to sneak back again. Again, I felt a small weight fall off, dripping like a melted popcicle. I have been working on forgiving him for over 10 years now, and most of the time that forgiveness is complete.
I traveled to each person, wherever they were. Even if I couldn’t think of anything that needed forgiving, I still told them, “I forgive you.” And I’d feel small drips of things I mostly hadn’t even realized I’d been holding, falling away.
And now, I saw Jesus as me. “I forgive you,” I said to myself. And then I was inside my body. Separate, but inside it. I went to my stomach. “I forgive you,” I said to all the weight that I’ve found for years around my tummy. Weight that wouldn’t leave even when I starved myself. “I forgive you.” And I felt the weight melting away, pouring off like snow on the roof when the temperature warms up.
I traveled over my body. “I forgive you,” I said to my legs, to my feet, to every part that might have let me down or hurt or been weak or didn’t live up to my expectations. “I forgive you.” And then there were 3 parts left. My heart, my lungs, and my brain. I wanted to go to my heart, but when I said, “I forgive you,” nothing happened. I needed to go to my brain first, I knew, and so, reluctantly, I left my heart and went to my brain. But my brain didn’t appear as a complete entity, or perhaps I shrunk, because I could see the individual areas of my brain. “I forgive you,” I said over and over, looking at part after part. But there were so many. I traveled around my brain, forgiving and forgiving, and the weight fell like a waterfall. “I forgive you.” I said, over and over. And finally, the shear number of parts overwhelmed me. I saw an overlay, the brain as a nearly infinite number of parts, and the brain whole and complete. “I forgive you,” I said to the whole, and then I was at my lungs.
For years, I have had issues with my lungs. If I catch a cough, it lingers forever. If I try to climb a hill, I nearly pass out from not being able to catch my breath. Even in high school and perhaps earlier, I’d have periods where I struggled to get enough breath. “It’s asthma,” I was told then, “here’s an inhaler.” Later, “It’s not asthma, we don’t know what it is, here’s a steroid inhaler. Oh, and keep your other inhaler.”
“I forgive you,” I said to my lungs, traveling over them as I had my brain, forgiving them in their essence and in their entirety. And as I did so, it made sense to me that the medical issues weren’t solved by going to the doctor, because the issues weren’t there to be cured by a doctor. “I forgive you.”
I thought when I came to my heart that I would experience a feeling of weight pouring off as strong as that of my brain and lungs at least. But I didn’t. It didn’t break down into a multitude of sections, even though I tried to force it to. It was there and I forgave me, but it stayed whole, even when I tried to go to the various valves and forgive them individually.
After, I felt cleansed. From the inside out, like my prayer times when I used to just hang out in God’s presence, before I got married and I could go hide in my literal prayer closet and get lost in prayer without the household getting active around me. And now, it’s just been a short period, and I’m writing this because I wanted to write it while I carried the feeling of just coming out of that state.