Saturday, July 21, 2007

Revisiting the Shootings in an Amish Community

I have been reading a lot articles lately about forgiveness and began thinking about what took place in the aftermath of last year’s shootings in Nickel Mines, Pa. The lessons we can learn from this event are so profound and perhaps lost because of their depth. Forgiveness is a voluntary act in which you make a decision to see a situation differently. You chose not to see the situation through the lens of anger, guilt or fear but through the eyes of compassion and understanding. So instead of getting stuck in your own emotional baggage you can now see the situation differently with greater wisdom and understanding. That is forgiveness.

The Amish have an enormous capacity to see things differently. This is because forgiveness is woven into the fabric of the Amish way of life and the more we are willing to entertain the thought of forgiveness, the more we too can experience it. What makes what the Amish did so remarkable is that they never lost sight of the fact that above all else Roberts was a human being, like all of us. They where able to see past Robert’s actions and recognize his humanity. I call this seeing with spiritual sight. This gave the Amish the ability to sympathize with his family for their loss and move forward with compassion and not vengeful hate. This is one of the keys to learning how to forgive. It is seeing past the outer behavior to the light that is within all of us. Another way of saying this is that the Amish never lost touch of the essence of who we are as human beings. For some this is expressed as our spiritual essence or the divinity within us. Forgiveness is about bringing us closer to that beautiful essence within us and as we do, we will experience a greater joy and love in all aspects of our lives and truly know divine presence.

Dr. Eileen Borris
Author of Finding Forgiveness

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