Monday, December 1, 2014

The Hulk on Forgiveness

 People who seek forgiveness
have yet to release the anger from their hearts.
~Soph Laugh

There are very few people unfamiliar with the notion of "forgiveness". Expressions such as "I am trying to forgive" or "Please forgive me" make up a large part of the world's vernacular. But what is forgiveness, exactly, and how does one give oneself something he or she already possesses? 

Imagine you are a judge. 

A smallish, conservative-looking man walks into your courtroom charged with a crime. You look at the man and admittedly find it difficult to imagine the scenario brought before your bench. The plaintiff lays out the charges against him. All seems in order. Then, one final summarization offers that the man guilty of said acts was a large, greenish hulk of a person. You double take. This isn't the same man; or is it? 

When we forgive others are we ourselves?
Are we ourselves when we refuse to let go of resentment? 

Is Bruce Banner the Hulk? His self-identity seems to differ, just as our self-identity differs when we are in or out of a state of forgiveness (a state of jubilation, a state of frustration, etc.). 

Perhaps it is that the essence that animates the body is visiting at varying times. A more evolved aspect of that essence is animating the body when forgiveness is a harmonious resonance, when a peaceful aspect of acceptance is the ruling sentiment. In the same respect perhaps it is a less evolved aspect of that essence traversing through the myriad-a-verses animating the body at that given time, a time in which the essence is less evolved. Perhaps the essence that animates the body comes and goes with different aspects of its own growth igniting the human mechanism along the way. 

So how would others know with which essence they are interacting? And can the human mechanism be responsible for the acts of essence perpetrated through it? Could the defendant claim damnum absque injuria, stating that the damage was done unintentionally and thus not responsible?  

Do many not claim that they when in an altered state of displeasure didn't quite know what they were thinking or doing? This sounds like the more evolved essence speaking for the human mechanism. This is the essence that recognizes the imprints upon the host material but was not present when they were made. Nevertheless this essence takes responsibility for these moments as if they were their own. Why? Because it is the essence occupying the space/form at that given moment who is custodian of the system and responsible for its performance. 

But who is responsible? Is the essence responsible? Which aspect of self-identity is the ruling force? or Does the human mechanism have a separate will apart from a given essence animating it? These are the types of questions philosophers ask when they ruminate on the Hulk on Forgiveness. 

Human beings serve as judge and jury, prosecutor and defendant, in a myriad of situations. We put others and ourselves on trial for crimes we interpret violate our shared humanity. But if we do not know from whence we came nor where we are going, nor what many changes of form may or may not be occurring within ourselves at any given moment, nor even if there is a "we" who can decide, then how can we judge? How can we even know which aspects of self are present in our own selves at any given time? and Is there such a thing as harmony? Is there a natural harmonious state in the many changes of form we witness emotionally, physically, intellectually, or otherwise? 

We generally never question whether the physical body, despite its many changes, is the same body. But who is in charge of that body? Who is responsible for our own thoughts and actions? Clearly there are differences in how we think, act and feel that continue changing throughout the entirety of our lives. If today I am not the same person I was at age three, then who am I? Is there an I? How could anyone measure such a thing? 

I resemble myself from ten years ago, twenty years ago, even thirty years ago, though admittedly one might have to look a little closer to recognize the "me" today in baby form. Looking at my grandmother's photographs from a time when she was young to what I remember of her as a child and teenager differs, but my imagination makes her the same person. 

Is it thus our imagination that is the ruling house? If our self-identity changes form in and out of a state of forgiveness, or any other altered (positive or negatively perceived) state, then is it that the imagination only is the force that binds together all these aspects of self, all these varying aspects of self-identity or different aspects of essence? 

I really don't know but when I sat down with the Hulk to talk about these things, he calmed down considerably when pondering these ideas. And he wondered where he went when Bruce Banner appears. 

I wondered, too. 

I wondered if the atoms were different. To grasp the differences I wondered which brain would be doing the considering. I wondered if I might consider this very same question under the influence of creative inspiration, frustration, concern, annoyance, jubilation, joy, reverence... under the myriad of emotions the human being experiences. For under each state I feel a different aspect of myself ruminating on all the information my human mechanism is processing. Just like in the dream state, I utilize different aspects of myself from which to consider moments. This brings diversity to my dreams. 

We bring diversity to ourselves when we recognize our many altered states. However, it is probably easiest to live in the world if there is a common thread: be it imagination, love, entitlement, acceptance, etc. that acts on behalf of all these altered states. Of course, love, entitlement, and acceptance are altered states as we do not approach everything we do with love (brushing one's teeth, activating/deactivating our alarms, etc.). 

If the human body is in a constant flux, evolving through many states of altered perceptions, then is it the human mechanism traversing the many circuits available to it or is it an essence embodying those sentiments that flows through us, with the human body merely mirroring and reacting to a given presence? 

It looks like Truth, Justice, and the Socratic Way of exploring these thoughts bring us no true answers. Thus the best we can do is perhaps what is in our hearts. And true heroes are often the ones who listen to their hearts, first ... and also ultimately. 

When the heart is injured, it is often times something we convince ourselves we need to protect rather than use. We forget that we have erected a shrine for our hearts and that until we utilize rather than revere them, we can only pay distant homage to them. This is the concept of false idolatry, when extreme admiration, love, or reverence is given rather than experienced or shared. The only way to act from the heart is to use it. Protecting our hearts separates them from beating in harmony with others. 

It is important to remember that forgiveness is regaining connection with our hearts, with that part of us that wants to walk hand-in-hand with others as they learn their own life lessons. Sometimes forgiveness is making amends for things we have done to others. This is equally important as it helps others hasten the reunification of their hearts and minds. 

Returning back to the judge's bench. Was it Bruce Banner who smashed the car or was it the Hulk? If the Hulk disappears when Bruce is sentenced, who is paying the price for the crime? Mild mannered Bruce or the Hulk? 

Seeing the many forces impinged upon our life journeys makes us less apt to judge and more apt to ask questions, allowing our minds to wonder. 

When we wonder rather than judge, forgiveness is a non-issue. Wonderment softens the hardening of the heart and so renews openness. Here it is an open courtroom, instead of one person judging others (including self), all come together in genuine desire to question and resolve so that everyone leaves the room a free soul. 

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