Tag Archive: Forgiveness


imageThe U.S. experienced two extreme discussions regarding racism. The week began with Rachel Dolezal and her belief in being black and ending with nine (9) shot dead at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The entire discussion of race seems so narrow. In reality, people with ancestors from Northern Europe or Japan tend to have lighter skin than people whose ancestors are from sub-Saharan Africa or Australia. The reason for these differences may have to do with the amount of sunlight in each place and how much melanin you have. The versions of the skin color genes tell your body how much melanin to make. All of this means that the difference between dark and light skin is only a few changes in DNA!

Yet with all these changes, the world uses skin color as the basis for discrimination, hatred and genocide.

Dolezal, who admittedly overstated and embellishing her childhood and ethnic identity, has been the dart board of the internet and television. From Buzzfeed reports to NBC’s Matt Lauer querying her upon whether she was a ‘con artist’ and or ‘Blackface.’ Others attacked her credentials, her family, her life and her accomplishments as if everything of one’s life could be claimed null and void.

Then came Dylann Roof, a bigoted man whose use of racial terrorism was violently displayed. Roof’s actions were designed to strike terror and fear. Yet, what ultimately occurred was a lesson of courage and grace. One relative claimed:

Everyone’s plea for your (Dylann Roof) soul is proof that they lived in love and their legacies will live in love. So hate won’t win.

So who’s crime was worse? Dolezal or Roof?

What Dolezal critics missed is that by comparison to Roof, Dolezal claimed to have felt a spiritual, visceral, this feeling of central connection with black, embracing its beauty and wanting to celebrate that experience.

Her critics also negated her love and work.

They really don’t know what I’ve actually walked through and how hard it is. This has not been something that just is a casual, you know come-and-go sort of identity you know, or an identity crisis. It’s something that I’ve paid away.”

And through all the media and web mud slinging, has any journalist reported of her accomplishments?

“I don’t think anything that I have done with regard to the movement, my work, my life, my identity, I mean, it’s all been very thoughtful and careful, sometimes decisions have been made for survival reasons or to protect people that I love,” Dolezal said.

Many have struggled with questions of how to forgive those who carry out those horrendous acts. In a time of such deep grief, how do you forgive the unforgivable? Forgiveness is a spiritual practice. As such, forgiveness has been taught by Jesus, the Buddha, and many other spiritual teachers.

Practice forgiveness for our own sake, to be unlocked from anger, fear, and resentment. Doing otherwise gives those who wronged you an even greater victory than their original act. The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church family members and vistims embraced forgiveness in a beautiful act of selflessness, something that can attempt to stop the seemingly endless cycle of hatred.

Ethel Lance’s daughter said:

“You (Roof) took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you. And [may God] have mercy on your soul.”

Myra Thompson’s relative, Anthony Thompson, told Roof:

“I forgive you and my family forgives you,” he said.

Forgiveness is poignantly illustrated in a well-known Tibetan Buddhist story about two monks who encounter each other some years after prison release where they were tortured.

Have you forgiven them?” asked the first.

I will never forgive them! Never!” replied the second.

Well, I guess they still have you in prison, don’t they?

In the spirit of forgiveness, it’s time to forgive Dolezal. Let her continue the mission of rights equality.

Equanimity In The End

DeathAs you may know, one can often find me meditating in the wee hours of the morning. It is here, where I often find peace and harmony with the world and with God. So, in this sense, I offer the following story occurred February 11, 2014 between 2:45 AM and 3:30 AM.

————-

W. Get up and meditate. I want to talk to you.

Uughhh,” looking at the clock. “2:26 AM Ms. K. I am tired today.”

…. 2:39 AM ….

W.! Get up and meditate. I have a surprise for you.

Ughh…. Ok, Ms. K..” Stumbling about. “Can I use meditation music?

No. No meditation music.

Glancing at upon my clock … 2:42 AM.
Within several moments of starting my meditation, I seemed engulfed by a powerful presence. There, standing in front of me was Ms. K., my friend who passed late last year. Standing in spirit form, she stood beautifully. While there was no physical body, her face, eyes, lips
 and hair was identifiable, but appeared gleaming by a warm soft light.

Everything about her was translucent. It was the strangest thing ever. I could see her, but see through her. She lived, but was different, beautiful, radiant and swarmed by golden light. 
While her smile was deeply moving, what captured me was this deep sense
 of love and peace. And aside from Christmas Eve 1978, this was perhaps the most powerfully
 expressive amount of love I have ever experienced. Ms. K’s touch peacefully
 penetrated my body. We embraced and our
exchange was filled with an overwhelming sense of acceptance.

Ms. K guided me through her new home. It was a world not unlike our own. At first glance, the grass was green, but each blade
 echoed a similar golden hue, a drop of dew and glistened from warmth surrounding everything. Each tree leaf was illuminated with a sense of deep purity. It was a most peaceful and accepting world where a light humming form of music I cannot adequately describe. There were no musicians, no choir, no rap, no reggae
 or jazz. It was harmonic.

W., this is the hum you hear at night. It is the music of the universe. It’s god’s
love. You, as do many others, hear the harmony of life.”

Before I could respond, we suddenly stood overlooking a city. The city seemed
 small and quaint, but it was hard to say. Every building was surrounded
 by golden aura, emanating from every wall, every roof and each window. Suddenly, without notice, a tall man stood before me. Adorned in white,
 I was embraced and a rush of ever present love streamed
through my body.

You are forgiven.”


I am forgiven?” I queried.”

You are forgiven. Whatever you have done, you are forgiven. I forgive you.

Just as quickly, Ms. K. and I were alone.

Was that God?

Yes.” K. replied as she smiled. “I told you I had a surprise for you.

…. 3:30 AM …. Meditation ended.

Everything written is an abbreviated account of my forty-five minutes in heaven (at least I can only relate it as being in heaven).  Being a meditation practitioner for years, I can honestly state I did not fall asleep, did not dream this vision, and did not enhance any part of the story.  I tried as a best as possible to accurately reflect the events.

In real life Ms. K. and I were not true friends. Outside of an occasional business meeting, we did not spend any non-work related time together. However, every since learning of her passing, I have had several “telepathic” conversations. Most of my persistent queries have surrounded what is “Heaven” like and what is God like. The other key part of my conversation centered upon many of my personal failings (adequately described herein this blog).

I can only presume after much pestering she found a way to answer my query.

I want everyone to know that this conversation has not converted me to conservative, Biblical quoting scholar.  In truth, much of my life will remain as the Buddha once described:

Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.”

In other words, our life goes forward and each of us must life it.  Some may claim this vision is a proclamation of my impending death.  Truthfully, that could be true.  But then again, I wasn’t supposed to live this long anyway.  Yes, I have Multiple Sclerosis and my circulation system kind of really sucks at this moment.  But I hope to tarry on for another 100 or so years. Ha! Ha!

I offer only two points.

  • First, I am not unique. I am not superhuman, overly blessed or specifically chosen.  And I still have no understanding why Ms. K. has chosen to communicate to me. But I am honored by her presence.
  • Secondly, I simply offer this story to say that any one of us can be forgiven. If we live in love, breathe in love and give love to others, any one of us can have the same wonderful experience.

If my story offends anyone, I am truly sorry. But I really hope my story brings each of you some peace or hope; that my story offers each of you something positive. If I can be forgiven, any of you can be as well. The real gift Ms. K. provided me was a process. It’s a process that allows any of us to live our days and allow us a degree of equanimity towards the end, looking at that black, implacable wall of death, to allow us a degree of peace, a degree of non-fear.

And I want in.

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