Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Forgiveness While listening to a cd that attempted to answer the question, “Why meditate?”, I was left wondering whether I could ever attain some perfect meditative state. Would I ever reach that point of peace that I could tap into as needed, simply by mastering a meditative technique? Would it allow me to drift or sail through or make sense of those very quiet, boring times when I am faced with the aspect of doing nothing or of having nothing to do? Would it calm my engines then? Could meditation pacify my need to feel I am involved with or doing something meaningful?

Those daunting questions cut across a trail to a larger concern. Would climbing into a meditative state be like crawling into a comforting cocoon that would insulate me from the world? If so, would I feel less and less connected to those forces that drive my writing, those causes that I deem demand real justice?

At issue is that singular human trait, forgiveness. If nothing bothers me, if nothing disturbs me when I reach my calm center, does that mean that I’m more open to and more willing to welcome into my life those unrepentant few who, in the past, may have done me harm?

If so, need I be concerned that I’d be engaging in a kind of meditative self-immolation? Indeed, what I’ve read about Stockholm Syndrome comes to mind. In other words, at what point does forgiveness become sacrificial?

How possible is it to save the world by forgiving the likes of Hitler or Stalin or Osama bin Laden? Perhaps another kind of wisdom should be blended with meditation’s warm embrace of human frailties. That’s just this: consider that what has been done has, indeed, been done of one’s free will. May I not assume that any salient being must know that almost any voluntary act aimed at another individual has an impact, whether positive or negative.

For the positive, we’re generally appreciative, for the negative, at best, wary. When we’re badly treated, what happens to trust, to that basic human assumption that we may have relied on too heavily, that all people are good at heart?

Do we teach our children to forgive an abuser? Do we ignore psychological harm that we’ve suffered because we believe in the power of forgiveness? If our belief is strong enough, will that change a person who sees forgiveness as a weakness? If so, there is the possibility of provoking death by meditation.

What seems to be more realistic is that, over time, people forget even the sharpest pains. They may outgrow harmful effects of life’s mishaps. However, there seems to be a point where almost anyone must say that they can make peace with a terrifying event. Every Holocaust survivor has had to do that. However, to forgive such an atrocity goes beyond what any human should be expected to do. That is the work for a higher force in a realm that deals with final answers.

Meditation, soothing as it may be, is something I never do without my protective third eye, always open.

B. Koplen 8/16/11

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