Showing posts with label forgiveness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label forgiveness. Show all posts

Monday, March 23, 2020

New content on UU A Way Of Life Patreon community - Essay and discussion guide on the four psychological and social steps of forgiveness

How was forgiveness done in your family of orign?

How do you do forgiveness currently in your life?

Are there steps that can be gone through that facilitate the achievement of forgiveness?

Use this discussion guide for your own edification, or discuss it with a few family members or friends, or maybe is a small group discussion.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Lenten Reflections, First Tuesday of Lent, Forgiveness

Day Seven, First Tuesday of Lent

Matthew 6: 14-15
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Forgiveness is a big deal. Many teachers of spirituality teach it is the main deal.

In Christianity, Jesus teaches that we cannot be forgiven if we do not forgive others and some might turn it around and say that one cannot forgive others until one, him/herself, feels forgiven.

One of the ideas about forgiveness from A Course In Miracles is that forgiveness is the willingness to give up making other people responsible for your unhappiness.

Forgiveness is the work of the Atonement where the illusion of separation is replaced by the miracle of awareness of Oneness. This miracle is the vehicle of healing.

In Unitarian Universalism some preachers have taught that the path to salvation is gratitude and recognizing our radical dependence on others and an experience of gratitude for how our lives our sustained by the assistance of others is key to enlightenment is a profound idea and insight. But human nature being what it is we don’t feel gratitude until we exercise the choice of forgiveness for all the people and things that have disappointed us, neglected us, abandoned us, rejected us, and abused us.

Human beings are wired to play the victim when we have been harmed or neglected by others on whom we are dependent for need fulfillment. The resulting fear, anger, resentment, grievance can, at times, seem all encompassing and overwhelming. Jesus says as He is being crucified, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” And they didn’t and we are still talking about it 2000 years later.

If Jesus can forgive his torturers and executioners and, perhaps, laugh at the absurdity of the situation, what about us and our grievances? Can you rise above them a little bit and have the presence of mind to see the torment and injustice and make the decision that the harm being perpetrated will not define you and influence your interior peace and joy?

Forgiveness, not making other people responsible for our unhappiness, is an attitude and competence difficult to develop and sustain, but it can be done and we have countless examples around us if we are looking for them.

When we find ourselves angry, resentful, upset, we are encountering a “forgiveness opportunity.” Will we seize the opportunity or play the victim?

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Is there graitude without forgiveness?

Here's a little tip.

There is no gratitude without forgiveness.

We can pretend to be thankful which is better than not, but if there is grievance, resentment, anger, guilt, fear in your heart you can't experience and extend genuine gratitude.

So before you give thanks, consider first whom you have to forgive for making you unhappy. Recognize that you are not a victim but a beloved child of God. Give up you willingness to make other people and situations responsible for your unhappiness.

Having given this up, then reflect on your blessings and give thanks.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

What does a life of gratitude look like?

Jesus said that in order to pursue and bring about the reign of God one had to be in the world but not of the world. It is an interesting idea.

We are captured by a political discourse, an economic discourse, a religious discourse, a legal discourse and others. I am using "discourse" to mean system. We all are captured by and participate to various extents in these various systems. We, unfortunately, from a spiritual perspective, give value to our standing in these systems. Jesus reminds us, as does the Buddha, that this is all nonsense. Our standing in these systems will all pass away. These systems have very little to do with what Jesus called the Kingdom of God.

What is the Kingdom of God and how do we bring it about? The Kingdom of God, I believe, is very similar to what the Buddha called enlightenment. The Kingdom of God and enlightenment involves our becoming fully realized, fully conscious human beings and that we participate in life in a peaceful, compassionate, and generous way.

To what extent does Unitarian Universalism inform its members ability to achieve the "Kingdom of God" or enlightenment in their lives? Jesus says that the way to the kingdom is to "love as I have loved". As Galen Guengerich says in his sermon on Gratitude, the Jewish answer to the question of how to get to the Kingdom is through obedience to the law. The Muslim answer is through submission to the will of Allah. Rev. Guengerich suggests that the Unitarian Universalist answer might well be "gratitude."

The way to the kingdom in Unitarian Universalism is to cultivate and practice a life of gratitude. Interesting idea. What would a life of gratitude look like? Is that an attractive way of life for people to pursue? What obligation and discipline does it require of us? How does one build a life on gratitude? What are the implications for each of us in terms of our personal development and in terms of the health and quality of the communities and world we live in? Would the practice of a way of life based on gratitude bring about the fulfillment of human kind?

Of course, gratitude cannot arise without forgiveness and forgiveness in the spiritual sense means giving up making other people and situations responsible for our unhappiness. Once we forgive others and situations then we open the path to gratitude.

Friday, June 14, 2019

People who forgive refused to be defined by injustice

Stephen Gaskin says that forgiveness is getting straight with people. I think he is on to something. I also think there is something more to it that just getting straight.

Forgiveness is many things. True forgiveness is a decision on the part of the victim to put the unjust behavior of the offender into context. Forgiveness requires a perspective and attitude that humans have a hard time cultivating and rising to. Our primitive reptilian brain wants vengeance, retribution, to kill or eliminate the perpetrator of the injustice against us. To overcome these powerful, primal instincts takes tremendous self awareness, courage, patience, understanding, love, and in a positive way, self abnegation in the sense of being able to rise above the hurt, the pain, the indignity, the lack of respect which injustice entails.

Forgiveness does not give up accountability. Forgiveness is not the same thing as pardon or reconciliation. Unjust behavior has consequences, it sets loose a karma in the world which cannot be recalled but can be redeemed. Reconciliation may not be desired by the victim or the perpetrator and yet forgiveness, peace in one's heart, can still be attained.

The victim forgives first and foremost for the benefit of oneself and only secondarily for the perpetrator and others.

Forgiveness is a power we all have to live happy and free instead of bitter and depressed defined by the injustice perpetrated against us. People who forgive refuse to be defined by injustice and victimhood. They realize they are much more than that. They realize they are beloved children of God in spite of how they have been treated by ignorant and dysfunctional others.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Today's lesson - My happiness and my function are one

Today's lesson, number 66 in A Course In Miracles, is "My happiness and my function are one."

We have already learned that our function is forgiveness. Remember that forgiveness is rising above the perception of separation and joining with Cosmic Consciousness, the Oneness of the Divine.

Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote the respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part, and the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

Some UUs say that they are first and seventh principle people because they have come to realize that their happiness and function are based on these two principles.

If our function is forgiveness to heal the separation, then happiness and peace are automatically experienced in the carrying out of this function. This fact is the basis of today's lesson that "My happiness and my function are one."

Friday, February 15, 2019

Today's lesson - God is the Love in which I forgive.

Today's lesson is number 46 in A Course In Miracles which is "God is the Love in which I forgive."

It is written in this lesson, "God does not forgive because He has never condemned. And there must be condemnation before forgiveness is necessary."

God is a Universalist. God condemns no one. God loves all of God's creation unconditionally.

Forgiveness is necessary because we think we have sinned and thus we judge and condem. It is further written in this lesson in ACIM, "Those who forgive are thus releasing themselves from illusions, while those who withold forgiveness are binding themselves to them. As you condemn only yourself, so do you forgive only yourself."

We are told repeatedly, in a thousand different ways, "let it go."

"Let it go" does not mean to deny, to sweep under the rug, to pretend that the illusion is not there. The illusion must be recognized, acknowledged, understood for what it is, bull shit, and then risen above as not being really consequential on the path of celestial reality.

Jesus, as He is being executed on the cross, says, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." This takes a very big person, with an awesome perspective, to rise above the nonsense and drama on the path of the ego and to forgive the attack on His body. His Spirit is inviolate.

Unfortunately, we see ourselves as victims constantly under attack from all angles, and we experience pain and suffering because we give the attacks credence. Don't take the attacks personally. The victim attacked is not who you really are. Realizing this we are able to experience the Love of God which is experienced through remembering the Divine Love and we call this remembering "forgiveness."

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Today is Yom Kippur the day of forgiveness

In the Jewish tradition, today is Yom Kippur, the day we ask God for forgiveness for our sins. There is nothing similar to this in the Unitarian Universalist tradition and it is a shame. We all are defective and inadequate in some way because we have separated ourselves from the Divine to create our own ego, our own false self apart from God.

It is this separation at our birth which caused all the problems. Would it have been better if we had never been born? Life is suffering the Buddha teaches and we are here to learn how to become consciously aware of shedding our egos and uplifting our Divine nature.

The popular word these days seems to be "asshole." It appears in the title of many books. It seems to attract people because of the smile of recognition and use of the word seems to sell books. Even if the word "asshole" is vulgar, it seems to sell books and be used on a regular basis to curse people who irritate us and disgust us.

What's the opposite of being an asshole? It is being a mensch, a wise person.

Yom Kippur is the day that we pray to God to assist us in giving up our asshole ways and to move toward the ways of wisdom, which is to say, to become One with the Will of God.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

What is the purpose of our lives?

The Unitarian Universalist preacher said that UUs don't believe in getting people into heaven but heaven into people. It was cute. People laughed and nodded knowingly and that was it. She didn't say how that was to be achieved.

UUs have a lot of sayings and slogans that upon further analysis, unpacking, and deconstruction seem to have little substance. Unitarian Universalism has a very thin theology. To find the answers to the significant spiritual questions, the seeker has to look elsewhere, to what UUs call their six sources none of which belong to Unitarian Universalism itself, but which they have sometimes attempted to colonize.

The three primary existential questions which all humans must deal with are: why was I born; what is the purpose of my life; what happens when I die.

A Course In Miracles provides answers to these three questions but the ego does not like these answers and blocks our awareness of Love which is our natural inheritance.

We are born to become consciously aware of the Atonement. Prior to our birth we were a part of the Atonement but not consciously aware. Birth gives us that opportunity.

The purpose of our lives is to achieve forgiveness which is the recognition that the separation is an illusion of our own creation and that beyond this illusion there is a reality of Love and Peace which is more than we can comprehend.

The important function of forgiveness is to align our individual wills with God's will and let the Holy Spirit lead the way. It is in recognizing, acknowledging, and joining in the Will of God, the Tao, the Oneness that authentic Life lies.

The perennial psychology tells us that we are sleeping and to experience life fully, we must wake up. This waking up can be achieved in several ways, there are many roads to Rome, but the destination, the becoming one with the All is the same experience regardless of the road taken to get there.

The way in the Course In Miracles is forgiveness, first ourselves for our mistake in thinking the path of the ego was the way to happiness and fulfillment rather than the path of the spirit, and then, when we get on the right track, extending this same forgiveness, awareness and intention, to others.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Did you ever think that life is absurd?

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning and then get tired of the search. They are looking in the wrong places. Truth and meaning is not external, it is internal. And strangely and unexpectedly, the primary activity of the search is forgiveness.

Forgiveness, as the term is used in spiritual discourse, is not the pardoning of an offense, or asking to be excused for a harmful act or mistake for which we have regret and may now feel ashamed. Forgiveness, in the spiritual sense, is the recognition that all the drama and nonsense on the path of the ego is not real. It is a figment of our  imagination.

Jesus says as they are killing Him, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do," and they didn't and we are still talking about it 2000 years later. We could say the same for most of the stuff that happens to us and that we do to others. "Father, forgive us for we know not what we do," or as my 13 year old friend, Jackson, says, "It's ridiculous, just ridiculous!" And Jackson is expressing Jesus' forgiveness. Jackson and Jesus have the same understanding and Love.

Practicing forgiveness is this shifting of gears from the path of the ego to the path of the spirit. It is a rising above and not taking the drama seriously. It is a deep and hearty laughter at the absurdity and incongruity of life.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Will you choose to forgive or condemn?

Unitarian Universalism doesn't say much about forgiveness and yet it is key to the spiritual life. How could UUs ignore something so important? Is it because they have denied the imperfect aspect of humanity which has arisen because of our separation from the Divine? Some UUs even deny the Divine. Former UUA president John Buehrens is said to have asked atheists what god it is that they don't believe in.

If we substitute the word "Life" for the word "God" how could anyone not believe in Life? And if by "Life" we mean the nondualistic Oneness how could a part of the Oneness condemn and attack the whole?

Would you choose to forgive or condemn? People either act out of love or they are making a call for love. The choice we can make in this world, which is our classroom, is to condemn and attack or  forgive and connect.

When we respond to attacks with counter attacks we confirm that there is something to fear. We have sided with the ego and not the Holy Spirit. Politicians do this constantly. President Nixon said, "The best defense is a good offense." President Trump and his administration provides us with a morality play daily of counter attacking and playing the game of "What about ________!" It is a childish game of "he hit me first!" and "look at what she did!"

The morality play broadcast daily in our media demonstrates the futility of the games of the ego. Symptoms of distress emerge in rising suicide rates, mass shootings, protests, and increasing divisiveness. Underlying fears fuel racism, mysogony, xenophobia, and state sanctioned murder with drone strikes, torture, and threats of war.

Kenneth Wapnick writes in his book, Christian Psychology In A Course In Miracles on page 27, "The Holy Spirit's correction is the miracle of forgiveness. It is this that replaces guilt with holiness, illusion with truth, and darkness with light. It is holy because it reflects Christ's love."

The challenge of the times is a whole new way of thinking and understanding of our human experience. Jesus said we should love our enemies. On the path of the ego this injunction is insanity. On the path of the spirit it makes perfect sense. We are all part of the Oneness. We are all in this thing we call Life together and no one gets out alive.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

What is true forgiveness?

Unlike other religions, Unitarian Univeralism is not big on forgiveness. It is rarely mentioned as being necessary for salvation. It is not only downplayed, it is ignored and repressed. UUs do this at their peril, because forgiveness is the key to gratitude, healing, and wholeness. The forgiveness being referred to here, though, is not the forgiveness discussed on the path of the ego. True forgiveness is the recognition and understanding of what never really existed except in the hell of our own minds.

In A Course In Miracles, there is an unusual definition of forgiveness. To understand this definition there first must be an understanding of the metaphysics upon which the Course is based.

The first important idea in A Course In Miracles is that the primary problem we, as human beings, experience is the fact that we have separated ourselves from the Oneness which is God. This separation is the Original sin although the Course does not speak of "sin" but of "mistakes." So the separation was our first mistake.

The second important idea is that during the separation from the Oneness we have created a world of illusions within which to live. In other words, the experience on the path of ego is a figment of our mutual imaginations. None of it really exists. It's all make believe. In the Oneness, the world we have created on the path of the ego is filled with mirages which constantly change like dreams in our sleep. Most of the time, viewed from mindful perspective, they don't even make sense.

The third important idea is that if what we are experiencing are mirages of our own illusional making, there is nothing to forgive. As Kenneth Wapnick puts it in his book, Christian Psychology In A Course In Miracles on page 22, "The Course has an unusual definition of forgiveness: we forgive others for what they have not done to us." A little further, Wapnick explains that if we forgive others in the usual way on the path of the ego we see ourselves as "better" while the others are "worse." Wapnick writes on page 23, "Our sense of separation from them is thus increased rather than healed."

Forgiveness, as taught in the Course, is a rising above the situation not a letting go. We come to see mistakes for what they are on the path of the spirit which is simply illusions. Jesus demonstrates this understanding when He says, as He is being crucified, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." And they didn't, and we don't, because if we did, we wouldn't do it.

Love is never having to say you're sorry, Unconditional Love, that is, which is part of the Oneness which we experience on the path of the spirit. How could the drop say to the ocean, "I'm sorry?" And what would the ocean say? "Welcome home."

True forgiveness is a healing brought about by an understanding of what has never been.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Forgiveness is the first step on the path of the spirit

Forgiveness means pursuing a better way

Unitarian Universalists, in their living tradition, have missed the boat, because they have failed to understand and teach the importance of forgiveness.

Perhaps, because of their root in Universalism which believed in God's unconditional love, the idea of forgiveness does not fit with their theology.

The Universalists didn't understand that it's not God's forgiveness we humans seek, for a God of unconditional love knows nothing of forgiveness, but it is our own human forgiveness that is necessary, first for ourselves for our stupidity and ignorance, and then for one another because there is plenty of human stupidity and ignorance to go around.

Can you forgive " a little bit?" Are there degrees of forgiveness? Some people say, "Forgive but don't forget" and this means forgiveness is not complete. It is not freely given. We say we forgive but we hold on to some resentment, some sense of grievance, some little fear that we can be hurt and attacked again.

True forgiveness is a complete letting go and a shift, a re-routing, from the path of the ego to the path of the spirit. On the path of the spirit there is no attack, no resentment, no grievance, no guilt, no fear. On the path of the spirit is only peace and bliss.

On the path of the ego shit happens. Even more, mega shit happens. And like Jesus, as He was being crucified on the cross, we think, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." And with this awareness comes what M. Scott Peck, the author of Road Less Traveled, calls a "therapeutic depression."

When Buddha achieved enlightenment, so the story goes, he was able to leave the earth plane for nirvana, but he decided to say on the earth plane a while longer so he could help other human beings reach enlightenment as well. Because of his decision, the Buddha was nicknamed, "The compassionate Buddha."

When we forgive we want to help others leave the path of the ego and embark on the path of the spirit with us. It is this awareness that there is a better way that Jesus and his apostles called "the good news."

During this Lenten season, as all through the year, we are prompted to remember which path we tread. The most important step we take in shifting from the path of the ego to the path of the spirit is forgiveness because we become aware that we ourselves, along with our brothers and sisters, have been treading the wrong path and in this journey we have created hell when we could, with a shift in awareness and a better decision, walk the right path of peace and bliss.

Forgiveness is the first step on the road less taken and it can make all the difference.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Do you need forgiveness?

Charles Williams said, "Many promising reconciliations have broken down because, while both parties came prepared to forgive, neither party came to be forgiven."

Without forgiveness we have nothing

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth..." This acceptance is based on forgiveness. Forgiveness comes before acceptance. Without forgiveness, acceptance is not possible and illusory.

Forgiveness is the giving up of the path of the ego for the path of the spirit.

Forgiveness is turning from idols to Love.

Forgiveness brings gratitude and gratitude brings peace, what some might call contentment. We are happy at last at what is.

Based on the ego's law of scarcity we always want more. We are constantly grasping and clinging and thereby create our own hell.

We need to give it up. We need to forgetaboutit and be grateful for today, Today is a gift, given for free.

Friend to me, "How are you doin?"

Me to friend, "Happy to be here."

Friend to me, "And I'm happy and better now that you're here."

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Love your enemies - how?

In Unitarian Universalism we covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person as well as justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. What does it take to implement and apply these two principles? Ultimately what it takes is forgiveness.

In Murray Bowen's model of family systems, the concept of the cut off is very significant. Bowen's model is trans generational and he points out that cut-offs can go on for generations as was the case of the Capulets and the Montagues in Romeo and Juliet, or the Hatfields and the McCoys here in the United States that lead to the deadly blood feud in which many family members were killed.

Cut-offs, "estrangements," is the more common word, are very common. These estrangements are often bitter, resentful, full of grudges and recrimination, and often vengeance and retribution. Jesus, God bless Him, says that we are to love our enemies. Goodness gracious! How are we to do that? These others are bad, mad, and/or disloyal. How, in God's name, are we suppose to love them?

The first step is to recognize and acknowledge that in spite of the problems, they have inherent worth and dignity. God loves them as part of God's creation as much as God loves us. Hard to believe but true.

The second step is to be kind to them, that is civil and polite, even when we have our differences. This civil and politeness, even if not accepted and reciprocated, is its own reward because we have recognized the divine spark within the other and intentionally have made a decision to join with it.

The third step is to turn our intention over to the Holy Spirit for guidance and correction. At this point, we let go and let God. We do our best and God will do the rest. It is comforting to approach people with compassion and an open heart when our fears lead us to defend ourselves, close off our hearts, and even attack.

In the Christian prayer, the Our Father, we pray in part "...forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us......."

The fourth step is forgiveness, which simply means, to raise above and change our attitude in a loving direction in spite of what we perceive the other person as having done or is doing. Jesus says as the Romans are torturing and crucifying Him, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." If Jesus can forgive his torturers and executioners as they kill his body, it demonstrates that we, too, are capable of doing the same. They killed Jesus' body, but they couldn't kill His spirit nor can anyone kill yours unless you let them.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Forgive and forget

One of the major theological problems with Unitarian Universalism is it does not have a strong value of forgiveness.

Much has been made in UU of gratitude which is all well and good, but gratitude does not arise until people are able to forgive their perceptions of injuries.

When people say "forgive but don't forget" they still have not forgiven because there is a reservation and fear that prevents healing. The separation continues.

For healing to occur, it is better said, "Forgive and forget," rise above the injury and understand that it never really occurred on the path of the spirit. The imagined injury occurred on the path of the ego because no one can be injured on the path spirit.

Our injuries are an illusion because no one and nothing can injure us when we are consciously aware of our true nature.

Forgiveness, which is a miracle, is a shift in perception and awareness, from the path of the ego to the path of the spirit. Jesus says as they are killing him, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." The same could be said of all our injuries.

It is not our job to judge and punish error. That should be left for the Holy Spirit. It is none of our concern what has contributed to the errors of our brothers and sisters. Our job is simply to rise above the errors on the path of the ego and recognize our well being on the path of the spirit and wish the same for our brothers and sisters that they may join us there.

So, by all means, forgive and forget and get on with your life. You deserve to be happy and enjoy a high quality life and a simple request of "Father, forgive them and me for most of the time we know not what we do" will add tremendous healing to the world and hasten the realization of the At-One-Ment when everybody loves every body all the time.

Friday, September 22, 2017

From whence does forgiveness come?

UUs covenant together to promote and affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. This is quite different from traditional beliefs of many religions especially Christianity which has taught that human beings are sinful and only acceptable to God because of Jesus death on the cross to atone for our sins.

Carl was so full of shame for what he had done in his past that he thought he was unlovable. "What should I do?" he pleaded not so much to me but to life in general. He seemed inconsolable. My providing a shoulder to cry on seemed to make him feel better because he calmed down as he expressed his anguish. What does one do when one feels lost, when what has happened seems unrepairable, when the harm is so great nothing, it seems, can ever make things right again?

T.V. Smith gave a lecture back in  1955 at the Social Welfare Forum conference called, "Solve, resolve, absolve." He pointed out that some problems are solvable, some are resolvable, and some there is no solution for or any resolution for, only absolution. And how is absolution obtained? Confession and forgiveness. The balm for our souls is forgiveness and from whence does forgiveness come? Forgiveness
comes from a change in our minds, a change from the ego plane to the spiritual plane. Forgiveness comes from the recognition, acknowledgement, and awareness that the drama on the ego plane has no effect on the spiritual well being of God and God's creations. This insight, this joining with the Love of God, disregards the drama of the ego plane and rises above it.

Our anguish often brings us to the point of break through where we realize that our lives our unmanageable and we have to surrender to our Higher Power whatever we conceive our Higher Power to be. We move from darkness to light and we are filled with the hope that not only is salvation is possible but it is here right now and we can know it when we clear away the blocks and obstacles to our awareness of Love's presence which has never left us. We just got too caught up in our own ego drama to become aware of it. We realize we have been dreaming a really bad dream and we need to have awoken to a new reality which is God's love for us and our love for each other.

Carl, in his desperation, finally admitted that all the judgmentalism he had been taught about himself and other people was not true. He, with great sadness, said that the game he had been taught to play in his church where he was told he was a sinner and going to hell unless he did this or that or the other thing not only wasn't true but nothing that Jesus actually taught. Jesus, rather, told us that His Father in heaven loves us abundantly, that is unconditionally. Jesus, taught, in so many words, that there is no drama in heaven. Heaven is a place of love wherein, as Jesus said, "love as I have loved." And so Carl had a growing sense of peace. Maybe the things he had been taught and thought were not true. Carl said to me, "I think I am losing my faith." I said, "It sounds like you are and you are sensing everlasting life."

Here is what T.V. Smith said in his lecture about absolution:

"How, therefore, to absolve oneself from this excessive sense of guilt? I do not say from a mere sense of guilt, that is being too romantic; but how to contain this sense of guilt within its proper compass. We have on the one side the pathway worn by centuries of religious pilgrims who have undertaken through rites and creeds to load onto shoulders stronger than theirs burdens which they could no longer carry. We have in modern times the psychoanalytic couch. Neither of these is available to all men and women in our generation who must carry the weight of the world's causation upon their own shoulders. What are we to do? Is there a philosophy of life that when one has contained it will give him a curative sense of perspectives? I do not doubt but that there is. While this is not the occasion to present the remedial philosophy of life, let me call your attention to two attitudes, either one of which can enormously lighten the load of sensitive men and women whose chronic pablum is to feed upon the woes of other men and women. In the first place, this philosophy of life of which I speak would be characterized by a very robust sense of humor; and second, this philosophy of life would be characterized by what I may call "piety," in the old Roman sense of the term; identity with the world in which one lives, with the natural world and with the social world, in such fashion that one has perspective upon the world and does not feel himself to be alone. As a matter of fact, humor and piety are much closer together than most people think. Both of them are effective ways of getting perspective in terms of which we can recover our balance when the world or its tasks prove too much for us."

To summarize T.V. Smith's suggestions:
1. You can either laugh or cry
2. Keep the faith in God's unconditional love for God's creation.

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