Father Richard believes that true forgiveness is only possible through a larger transformation of consciousness within us: We cannot sincerely love another or forgive another’s offenses inside of dualistic consciousness. In our habitual, dualistic way of thinking, we view ourselves as separate from God and from each other.
The “vine and the branches” is one of the greatest Christian mystical images of the non duality between God and the soul. In and with God, we can love and forgive everything and everyone—even our enemies. Alone and by ourselves, we are seldom able to love in difficult situations over time through our own willpower and intellect.
Nondual consciousness is a new way of seeing. Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye” (Luke 11:34). Spiritual maturity is largely growth in seeing. Full seeing seems to take most of our lifetime. There is a cumulative and exponential growth in perception for those who do their inner work. There is also a cumulative closing down in people who have denied all shadow work and humiliating self-knowledge. This is the classic closed mind and heart that we see in some older people. The longer we persist in not asking for forgiveness, the harder it becomes.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.John 15:5
Lord, thank you for helping me see I’m no better or worse than my neighbor and giving me a just heart to love