In his book The Authentic Tarot: Discovering Your Inner Self Thomas Saunders describes a person’s life as a “play” in which growth toward self-knowledge should unfold through three great “acts” of experience. Act Two, in which one’s inner conflict and conditioning is reflected out into external circumstance to be resolved, is where some get stuck.
“The only way we get off this eternal, spinning and not so merry-go-round of Act II is to begin the process of forgiveness. This means forgiveness of mother, father, sister, brother and everyone else in our life, which ultimately means self-forgiveness. Only when we are released from the burden of blame, playing ‘victim’ and this meretricious obligation that we must make a gift, will we be able to complete the play. Otherwise Act II will still be unfinished when we come to the end of this life.”
Pretty scary thought: to come to “the end of this life” without having accomplished what this life is for. And surely it is not “for” making money, achieving success or accomplishing grand things, although these may occur incidentally.
It is for being whole, for becoming who we truly are and always have ultimately been. And forgiveness is the key.
Such forgiveness is of a different order than what one normally imagines by that word. It is not merely voicing sentiments, however genuinely felt, but rather releasing others of their obligations to us. It is freeing them from the unilateral commitment we made on their behalf that they would become “better,” which is to say, able to meet our conditions.
Of course this unspoken commitment is mostly unconscious. We don’t speak of it; we only feel vaguely unsettled and upset. Perhaps we have deeply held residual anger, a smoldering grudge whose flame never dies because of wounds received at someone’s hands.
We are convinced that this supposed assailant needs to apologize, needs to try to “make things right” with us. But maybe they won’t or can’t, or even if they did it would not be enough. Their words of apology would be as ineffectual in soothing our souls as our words of forgiveness in soothing theirs.
At the same time we know that others expect the same of us – the apologies, the groveling humility, the fruitless attempts to make things right by somehow becoming BETTER.
Thus, we all endure an ongoing and perpetual sense of both owing and being owed. For how can any of us pay off our “creditors,” and how can they pay us off? How can anyone prove that they merit unconditional love?
Maybe leaving Act II of life's play begins when a person suddenly “gets” that such proving is impossible. What is owed simply CANNOT be paid back - by anybody, to anybody.
Like the parable Jesus told of a king frankly forgiving a subject who had no means of repaying his vast debt, the only real option is to write the whole thing off.
But this kind forgiveness is not a “word” thing. Nothing needs to be said at all. It happens silently when we decide that no one owes us what we thought they did.
In a serene glimpse of how things really are, we understand that no one needs to pay us back at any time, in any form. We no longer expect an apology, acknowledgement, appreciation . . . or even love.
This experience of forgiveness changes everything. Those we had held under obligation are allowed to go, to totally leave in every way. Contracts are negated, Commitments absolved, agreements released, ties cut, karma unwound.
They can walk away and never look back . . . debt free.