Christmas is coming and it is nice because it is time off and it is a celebration. And usually, especially in the West, we eat quite well, spend time with people we love and are able to take some well-deserved rest.
And all this is great.
But Christmas is also so much more than that.
It is a reminder of the birth of one of the most beautiful and amazing world teachers that ever lived. And to me, from the many things that Jesus taught, one of the most amazing things he ever said (and one of the most beautiful things ever said in the whole recorded history) is: forgive them, for they know not what they do.
This by itself, even if we take all the religion out of it, is so beautiful. It is so amazing to be able to say something like that from the heart, to really mean it in a moment of agony and extreme pain and sorrow.
The word forgiveness in Aramaic, the original language of the Bible, is to untie.
When we have an ‘account’ about another person, when we have a problem with somebody else, we are tied to that person.
Maybe the other person did something that hurt me either physically or emotionally. And by keeping this ‘account’, we are not free, we are slaves to this ‘account’; we are attached. And to forgive is to cut that attachment.
Now, what does it mean to forgive?
To me, forgiveness means to understand that there is no evil, to understand that a person does not hurt another being out of evil but out of ignorance, the ignorance of a higher, more beautiful reality.
This higher reality can have many names. One of the names I like to use is Love, but not love as the needy love we often see in movies and literature but Love as the recognition of the unity that exist underneath the apparent separations that our senses see and perceive.
Our senses see and perceive blue in the sky, but this does not mean that blue is there.
Our senses see and perceive 100 years as a very long time, but this does not mean that 100 years is actually a long time. It is with reference to a single body, but it is definitely not with reference to the universe.
Our senses see and perceive solidity in matter, but now we know that actually what is out there is mostly empty space.
Our senses see separation and diversity, and this vision is useful and necessary for living a practical life. But if we are ignorant of the hidden unity that exist beyond this apparent separation and diversity, then we are missing the reality that world teachers have been pointing out from the beginning of time.
It is not knowing that ultimate reality what I call ignorance.
One can be a professor at a very important university, one can be a genius in mathematics, or a great neurosurgeon, but if one does not ‘know’ this ultimate reality, then one is in ignorance.
And when we are in ignorance, when we are blind to this Love, to this higher reality, then we may act in ways that appear to be evil. And this is how we hurt other people. We may not hang a person in a cross or start a war for personal gain, but we may hurt even people we love; I mean, how many times we say or do things that later on we regret or feel ashamed of?
And we do this because we are blind, at least for that moment, to the reality of Love.
And to forgive, to forgive ourselves or other people, is to understand that when we do things that hurt, we do them out of blindness, and not out of evil. And the reason we forgive is because we understand that we cannot condemn blindness.
Forgiveness does not mean we have to like the other person, it does not mean that a person that did something wrong may not have to go to prison, but it does mean that even if we don’t personally like the person, because we see beyond the surface, we still feel love and compassion for that being.
I know this is not easy to understand, especially when somebody else, or even ourselves, do things that are truly horrible or morally wrong.
But to me, this is precisely the meaning of our lives, this is exactly the reason why we are here: to rise ourselves up to the vision of Love.
And to me, Christmas is like a reminder of this higher vision, one that can be reached, if one has the deep desire for it.