Eckhart Tolle in his book A New Earth uses the example of two ducks who are on a pond and get into a fight. The fight doesn’t last very long and then they go on their way releasing their surplus energy with a flapping of their wings. After that they go on as if nothing happened.
He goes on to suggest that if those ducks had human minds, they would keep the fight alive by story making in their heads. They would imagine the motives of the other duck and create a story in their head something like.
“The nerve of that guy. Who does that duck think he is? He thinks he is King of the pond, that’s what. He got into my space. The nerve of that guy. If he thinks he can run this pond he’s got another think coming.”
And on it goes and then the duck will share the story and emotions with its friends and try to turn them against the other duck, and maybe they even create factions on the pond, with distrust and lies and stories about that duck and its friends…. and maybe there will be wars between one side and another.
The point is that the human mind has this capacity to keep a fight alive for weeks and months and years. To take a painful story and not only keep it alive, but let it grow in intensity and meaning, is the way the human mind can seek to draw others into the drama and create sides with allies and enemies. And this is how most humans live.
According to Eckhart Tolle we are a species that has lost its way. The point of the duck story is that we need to listen to the ducks and flap our wings and “let go of the story,” and move on in the present. But for most of us we are seemingly unable, but more correctly unwilling to let go of the past. Imagine life where you can never put anything down or let go of any pain, stress, conflict, moral quandaries, guilt, grief, wounds, emotional scars and the like.
And every new pain, or stress just adds to the accumulation. And you understand what this world is like for many, many people, who carry burdens around all the time. Maybe, it is one of the reasons that Jesus said: Come unto me all you who are overburdened and I will give you rest.
I also think that when Jesus said that if we forgive the sins of another they are forgiven, but if we retain the sins of another they are retained, that Jesus was talking about the same idea. If we don’t forgive sin, we will end up retaining the sin. When we do not forgive, when do not let go, the sins and the hurts and the wounds take up residence within us. And we retain them. And that is why it is so vital for us to forgive. It is not just matter of loving the other, it is a matter of our own health.
If we don’t let go of our negative energy it will hurt us and others. So my advice is to take all our negative energy and give it to Jesus. Pour our hearts out to him. Tell him about our wounds, our hurts, our grief, our anxiety, our grudges and let it go. And when we tell Jesus about our wounds…when we touch the nail scars in our own hands, the wounds in our sides…the rejections, the betrayals, the misunderstandings, the bitter words, the blows… and let them go… When we forgive everyone who has hurt us… We will become a healer…and those wounds in us, which heal, will become our source of energy. To give out positive energy.
To love, to forgive, to share, to turn away anger with kindness…to have compassion….to understand those who cannot let go of their inner hurt.
Grace and Peace to you
First Presbyterian Church, Edmonton