“Forgiveness” Is Not What You Think
By Art Ramsay, Ph.D.

Over the years, studying metaphysics and spirituality, I have found other definitions and use of forgiveness than the one typically exploited. One definition comes from the Aramaic language that Jesua (Jesus) spoke. The Aramaic meaning of the word translated as ‘forgive’ is quite different from the one typically used. The most popular person using forgiveness this way is Dr. Michael Ryce.

 The interpretation of forgiveness used by most of the world comes from the Greek concept of letting people off the hook. It is an outer use of the process, rather than an inner one. A Course In Miracles uses forgiveness in a similar way as Dr. Ryce. Forgiveness here means to cancel. You are canceling the thoughts that caused you to feel someone did something to you.

 Most people in the Western world look at ‘forgiveness’ this way: ‘he/she did something to me I did not like and I have a choice to ‘forgive’ or not’. Wikipedia loosely defines it this way: typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.

 The above come from a place of first, taking something personally, and then having the arrogance to believe you can forgive or not. I have discussed ‘taking things personally’ in other articles, so won’t go deeply into it here.

 Since everything comes from a belief, taking something personally comes from some belief that is triggered by what a person said or did. Not wanting to deal with the unconscious belief, you instead blame the unwanted feeling on the other person. Since what happened came from within you, there is no one to forgive, unless you think you need to forgive yourself for getting angry.

 Enough said about taking things personally. Since I mentioned forgiving yourself, let’s look at that. Forgiving yourself might be the next step ‘up’ from thinking you can forgive someone else. Here you are putting the blame on you rather than another person. You are taking responsibility for what happened, instead of pushing it off on another person.

 But you are still thinking that forgiveness is needed. What if you made just one little tweak? How about ‘letting the situation go’, cancelling the thoughts, instead of having to forgive it? Here you have still taken something personally, but decided it is neither worth your angst nor time to deal with it. Now this may depend on how big the occurrence is perceived by you.

 If someone hurt your child or animal companion, either accidentally, or on purpose, you have a different charge on the event than if someone insulted you. Even so, the way it is viewed is the same. The response is what I am focusing on here. Going back to the Aramaic concept of to cancel, you could merely cancel the thought of the ‘bad’ person, or your need to be ‘right’ or perfect. A Course In Miracles says “would you rather be right, or happy?” The pain of seeing something done to a loved one by another person is still there, but is felt within instead of hurled at some else.

 I know for most of you, the above sounds outrageous and even if believed, impossible to accomplish. I agree. So then why am I writing this? Because I have, for the most part, accomplished it. If I can do it, so can you. I am not saying you must give up getting angry, what I am saying is to give the need to hold on to the anger; to install resentment into your unconscious mind over the event. Do I still get angry? Yes. Do I hold resentment? No.

 There are, of course, steps to take. It will not be done in a day. First, you must recognize that everything in your life is run by your beliefs, or your ego mind. That whatever goes on between you and another person comes from those beliefs. Next, recognize that ‘taking things personally’ is totally belief-oriented. Finally, decide to take full responsibility for your life.

 I know that each step above is a complete lesson of its own containing dozens of subtopics. I have written articles containing these subjects and you can find them in the Archives. You can even start this process by going through your current forgiveness routine. I have an excellent one I use in my workshops and classes. If you want to use it, email me and I will send it to you. You can also visit Dr. Ryce’s website at  to download the free book and also worksheets he has for working with the process.

 The main aspect of this whole process is to move to a state of mind where Love is the only way you can possibly feel. Begin by loving yourself. True Forgiveness as Dr. Ryce call’s it, begins with True Love; first for yourself, and then with everyone else. This may sound contrary to the way many of us were taught, but if you cannot love yourself, you cannot truly love another.

 You can also go to Bryon Katie’s website and explore the work and her 4 questions at It is an excellent place start the process.

 Summarizing the process let’s list some steps. Remember, they do not have to be completed one at a time. This is a process, not a step by step procedure. There is no particular sequence; use whatever feels right for you.

  • Truly love yourself and others
  • Release beliefs that are not working in your life
  • Take control of your life by taking responsibility for your actions
  • Stop taking things personally; realize it is your beliefs messing with you

 I know I am making this sound easy; it is not. It takes commitment and perseverance. It takes a willingness to make this a must by doing something every day to leave the need to forgive by taking things personally. You can do it. Just hang in there and do the work.

 Learning to let go of this habit is essential as we move into the New Age of Love and Oneness.

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