Forgiveness and the Ego

Raphael Reiter
July 16, 2023

This was not meant to be a blog article, but rather a personal contemplation on forgiving my parents. This is indeed a question that many of us ask ourselves: Should I forgive my parents? In this contemplation, we try to tap into or realization of Ego, in order to establish how forgiveness should happen, and indeed, if it should happen.

I was pondering on forgiveness, and there are a few thoughts that I had.

First, we need to establish layers of the process to be tuned to our life as pure consciousness. But, at the same time, we should not recluse ourselves and forget that we also live in a society of 7 billion relative realities that we need to live with daily.

It is not wise to learn to live with ourselves in solitary confinement. It is, instead, a duty to spread, not with words but with radiating examples of who we can be when at peace, when joyful, and so, when aware of the big illusion (that our self is separate from the surrounding consciousness).

So let us first establish the first layer:

I was thinking about forgiveness and how forgiving my parents would feel.

My issue has never been to forgive my father for being the narcissistic sociopathic asshole that he is - my problem, or question rather, is:

How can you forgive someone that doesn't change?

My mother is not aware that she has been a horrible mother or a horrible person. Therefore, nothing has changed within my mind to make peace with her. Otherwise, it would have to be a daily practice. She was a horrible person yesterday and today still, so it would be a never-ending loop of actively trying to make peace with her.

There is another dimension to this: Not only is her behaviour driven by her ego, but my ego also makes my response to it. And since we are not our ego, we are not associated with the thoughts of "I" or "her" or any other person.

All of this belongs to the relative world governed by ego, by automated and uncontrolled thoughts, ideas, pre-assumptions, sub-real conditional hypotheses, and so on. And then, it is pretty much the same on my side, in my relatively authentic interpretation of the way her ego was guiding her to be.

So not only are the past experiences in the realm of egos and sub-real, relative and interpreted events, the act of forgiveness itself, for it to be at least slightly effective, should not be a thought.

It usually is, and so this could be the first challenge.

As long as forgiveness is an action that has been thought of, the ego is in there. And so, the thought of forgiving, and the act of forgiving that follows, is interpreted and therefore flawed from the get-go.

So you should not forgive; forgiveness happens by itself.

If it is thought of, if there is a "conscious act" of forgiving - especially when we are talking about a spouse, or a parent, or a best friend - there can not be true peace.

Time heals all wounds

We often say that time heals wounds. And in some way, it is because time has the capacity to let forgiveness happen effortlessly.

Ok, but now we might contemplate the fact that maybe there is not a lot of time. My mother is old, and because she continues to behave in hurtful ways, how can I let time do its thing and release the tension, the suffering, for forgiveness to be put in place in a non-active way?

Is it possible to do so?

More questions arise from these questions.

The first question is:

Do we need to make peace or forgive a person, who's body is still alive? If we believe in pure consciousness and think that energy is not created and cannot vanish, that it just is, that is already an indication that forgiveness needs not to happen when a person is alive.

Does real forgiveness happen when the person dies because the memories of her malicious actions become blurry as they vanish through time?


Is there a truth to all this?   

Is there a "solution"?

How can we apply this in our daily lives?

I am not sure there is a truth, and I am not sure there is a way. There are multiple truths and multiple ways.

I don't believe that forced forgiveness is the solution. I don't believe in just forgiving or forgetting with the sentence "that person is just human".

I believe that there is indeed a way for us to be more than the product of our humanly corrupted minds. Hitler was a human. Trump is a human. Should we forgive them simply because they are part of the most evolved category of big apes? No. That does not make sense to me.

We must be careful because, again, there is this false sense of obliged (and heavily relative) sense of righteousness in the act of forgiving.

Jesus forgave us for corrupt souls. Therefore, we should have the strength and wisdom to forgive everything and everyone that hurts us, directly or indirectly. This must be done with effort (or we lose the righteousness). This must be done promptly (otherwise, we don't act with righteousness, but time acts for us - you cannot be passive and righteous is what we are meant to believe). Of course, you have guessed that I use the word righteous in its most pejorative way.

Is there some conclusion to this article?

Yes, and no.  

What will I do with my parents?

Will I forgive them?

Can I forgive them?

Should I forgive them?

This is not a question for you to answer because even "I" cannot.

But we must, at some point, tap in the other layers that I talked about before. There must be a decision made now, for practical human reasons.

It is not because we do not forgive that we must be cruel.  

I do not pity my parents; I feel sorry for them. They have created an existence where they have lost the opportunity to be loved by their children.

This is already a more significant punishment than I can ever imagine, but of course, they will never know that, which is the thing with sociopaths. They don't feel things the same way we do. They are completely asleep. It is tough to wake up when you have been a slave to your ego for 60 or even 70 years.

I have always thought that when my father finds himself alone on his deathbed, he will have some epiphany.

I thought he would have an epiphany already when I forbade him to see my son. That did not happen, of course, because when he was not victimizing himself or insulting me, he forgot we even existed. So there is very little hope for him. But that is not what is important for me.

What is essential for me?

I need to relieve myself of all suffering from the times that he mentally and psychologically tortured me. I don't need to forgive myself, as some pop psychologists might think, but I do need to let it go.


I went a long way in that regard since I started practising mindfulness and meditation for the last few years.

Philosophy, Stoicism, Taoism has helped me so much to realize certain "truths".

What helped me the most was the birth of my son. I was, of course, anxious to become a father, having never had one for most of my life, and when I did, being tortured by it.

My son taught me so much, simply from opening his eyes for the first time. He is 18 months old at the time of this writing; he teaches me so much about consciousness, joy, worldless communication, contemplation and meditation, posture and biomechanics.

When you love your son so much, that love teaches you to effortlessly become a good father. I used to think to be a good father, you must first and foremost love the kid's mother. That bond, that unconditional love that happens naturally when you are kind to a small child, makes you a better father and a better man.

My son is the only thing that is important to me. Everything else, including my mortality, takes way smaller significance.

As I said before, it is not because I do not forgive that I should torture or take revenge. And so, if I feel that it creates suffering from my parents not having access to their grandson, I will act accordingly. That in itself can be defined as forgiveness. My mother, for example, has communicated that she wants to see her grandson, and it appeared to be sincere. Maybe it is for the wrong reasons because she is completely alone and abandoned by all. Still, her need to meet and see Benjamin appears to be genuine, and so, when travelling to France becomes safer (I am writing this in the time of the pandemic), we will go and see her for a week or two. Maybe forgiveness will take place then and there; perhaps it will not. It is important not to anticipate forgiveness for it to be effortless and genuine.

On the other hand, my father doesn't want to see his grandson as much as he wants his grandson to see him. The way he expresses himself makes me defensive, in the sense that I won't allow him to see my son because I believe that it would jeopardize his emotional safety. Forgiveness doesn't seem to be possible anytime soon. Maybe years after he has passed away, time will do its thing. But, again, it is important not to anticipate these things for them to be genuine and authentic.

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