Virtue Series – Part 6

FORBEARANCE – is self-possession and serenity of mind under any provocation and conveys the patient lack of a desire for retaliation. It is the overcoming of revengeful reaction to personal affronts and injuries. The nursing of grudges only breeds bitterness and psychosomatic illnesses. Forbearance is an attitude of non-resistance and a bending with the situation. Knowledge of karmic law provides the comfort that one’s desires for retaliation against an offender is pointless in light of the natural law of action and reaction. The offender will suffer karmically without our engaging in destructive thoughts; thus forbearance breaks the circle of repercussions typical of feuds. Forbearance becomes an exercise in humility; for personal pride and the need to uphold self are common causes of reactionary instincts.


A long time ago I read that our purpose here is to grow, and in that growth we increase our overall Mastery of Life and that resonated for me. To grow toward Mastership. The mundane aspects, the standard challenges, the stressors that can beset me, I am to grow in mastering.

That always resonated for me and I believe that is actual truth. Universal Law if you will. I want to be clear, a long time ago I did not apply that to my life. It was only an abstract thought. It took recovery for me to start down the road of application.

Recently I was driving at night and a bit lost and late and that lead me to ….gnash my teeth, you might say, and I began to laugh at my feeling of lack of mastery.
This article, Researchers say the average American suffers 40,000 bouts of ‘tech rage’ over their lifetime, really triggered my laughter and thoughts of this. When the computer “eats” something I have worked on I lose all sense of spirituality.

The thing is, it’s not the mundane aspects of contemporary life that truly beset, it’s the internal emotional. Here’s a succinct review, of a book, ‘Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman’that I believe is accurate and helpful.

A quote states, “The ability for an individual to have a healthy focus on a specific task in the middle of distractions is one of the most important predictors of success and excellence in a career. The key ongoing nemesis of focus is not noise and activity, but emotional distress.”

“Since focus demands we tune out our emotional distractions, our neural wiring for selective attention includes that for inhibiting emotion. That means those who focus best are relatively immune to emotional turbulence, more able to stay unflappable in a crisis and to keep on an even keel despite life’s emotional waves”

Which sends me to a quote from a loved one, “You can’t be totally free until you forgive everybody.”

Such a statuesque truth.

Easier said than done, hard to accomplish nevertheless I like having goals and visions and that’s a penultimate one. Forgiveness grows personal power that aids in “for the greatest good of all”.

This reminds me of my core take away from the AA Big book. To me the book can be distilled down to; once you’re past the booze (and rest assured you can get past the booze, though maybe what I mean is a topic for another time), it’s all about resentments.

From the Big Book:

“It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. …..with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. If we were to live we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison.” {emphasis mine}

This is a window into a core fact. Hanging on to a past pain only keeps my energies out of the present. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”, said Nelson Mandela. The more I heal the past, the more I can be present in the moment, the more I focus, the greater success I have in anything I do. The path to achievement and success is that simple and that hard.
Healing is not stuffing it down to forget but truly making that epic o-so-lengthy journey from the head to the heart in acceptance and surrender.

I know the Big Book can get flack for its quaint if not antiquated writing. It was written in the later 1930’s during a crushing depression when numerous Americans were in danger of starving and we dug our way out partially by entering WW2, the most destructive war in human history. It introduced key spiritual principles into a world feeling bereft.

I believe this is not “a luxury of normal men” but a core truth from my experience, true for all humans. We are at a crossroads where this is essential.

To forgive all is to be free. Recovery is all about leaving enslavement (of any kind including mental) behind and growing freedom.

A short answer, from much study which has inexorably led me to the conclusion that; for those of us who have suffered from addiction, no matter what we think, for so many of us, the hardest most foundational forgiveness is to ourselves.

Really it’s like a loop.

We need to forgive ourselves and others and ourselves and others round and round. This issue often begins in childhood.

Which somehow manages to bring me to a comedy I want to recommend. An alternately tender, sweet, sometimes sad yet triumphant movie, ‘Ghost Town’.

I want you all to have a wonderful holiday and this little gem is my attempt to add to your winter joys. I myself will be headed to a bit of a vacation and need to pick a past newsletter to send when I’m gone. A golden-oldie if you will. So, hey like you I’m busy. So I’m going to skip the search for smashing adjectives and just tell you to see this movie. Ok?

Wait, I take it back. Let me try.

A lovely cast beginning with the oft times hilarious Brit import Ricky Gervais and the talented Tea Leoni. The movie ad says, “Bertram Pincus is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts. Even worse, they all want something from him, particularly Frank Herlihy, who pesters him into breaking up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen.”

By the way, while we are at it; Are you looking for a reliable Santa? Try LinkedIn.

Cool now we can get back to the next task at hand which for me is to;

Keep forgiving out there and have a fun holiday!

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