Thursday, November 3, 2011

Forgiveness (IV)

Overwhelmed. That’s what I feel. Just too much to get my head around.

It’s El Dia de los Muertos, so I take the little altar Holly gave me last year and build my own ofrenda.  There’s an angelita muerta on the top step. Candies, coins, rose petals. A photograph of a little girl we found in the church. And a candle. May any good spirits of West-Park be with us today.  

Tonight is the last night of the Forgiveness series. Again, a good group has gathered, including a young musician new to the neighborhood who just saw the sign and walked in. A lot of tonight’s discussion begins with the case of Kathy Powers, the early 70’s radical convicted in a bank robbery in which a police officer was killed. She was just the driver, was she truly guilty? Was her anger at generals and politicians who ran the  Vietnam war just displacement? Justifying herself? Was her desire to be guilty itself a sign of arrogance? We’re not quite sure. 
One member brings up metapractice in Buddhism in which one meditates on:
  • May I be  happy
  • May I be healthy
  • May I live safely
  • May I be free
And then  want that not  only for your self, but for family, friends, a difficult person,  and finally, for all beings everywhere.  What would that really feel like, to truly want that for yourself and others?
We note the difficulty when you want, need, to forgive someone and they don’t even understand what it is they have done. How complicated it gets in relationships. 
We speak of needing to be aware of our own responsibiity in situations where we have been hurt by someone. With the exception of small children, most of the time, very few of us are truly innocent victims. 
We  conclude with the movie’s final scenes, the words of Helen Whitney that there is almost something primordial about forgiveness. That it has to do with our connection with humanity. That it is a choice. That one person forgiving another is at the very heart of our shared humanity.  That it involves the memory of lost possibilities, an ache for what has been and is no more. That the search for forgiveness is a search to move past the fear of nothingness.
I feel the accumulated weight  of a number of experieces, broken relationships. I hope, but what is possible? That’s what’s going on inside of me.
In the end, we reach no conclusions. Nor did we expect to. But there is great appfecation for what has gone on here these weeks. Eleanor has doen a great job bringing to life Katherine’s vision for a program/exploration. It has been exactly what we want for the Center. And as I said last week, this truly has been a shared sacred space. 

Talking about forgiveness

Katherine and Eleanor

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