A couple of years ago I met a dear old lady who I will call Annie (not her real name). She was 97 and very frail and unable to walk but with a mind as bright as a button. I only knew her for a few short weeks before she passed on but I felt I knew her for a lifetime. We shared so much of ourselves in that short time and I feel very blessed to have known her. I was closer to her than my own mother who had passed on some 14 years previously.
I attended Annie's funeral and it was there that I received the first part of a profound enlightenment. When the eulogies were being given, I suddenly experienced what I call "the God feeling" very strongly. (This intense feeling of total love goes way beyond anything mortal and it has often accompanied major "aha" moments, especially in the early days of my relationship with God. I soon came to understand that God wanted me to know that the new insight or piece of wisdom came from Him. The knowledge that I have acquired during these moments I call "absolute knowings" because I have known beyond a shadow of doubt that these learnings were absolute truth.)
It became apparent to me that God wanted me to listen very carefully to what was being said. Annie's son was talking at the time about the way that Annie totally accepted everyone she encountered in her life, regardless of their situation, belief, habits or attitudes. She truly did know that we are all one and treated everyone equally. And I thought to myself, "What is the lesson here? I do endeavour to accept everyone! This doesn't seem to be anything that I haven't already learnt."
It was a few days later before I realised that it was myself that I had to learn to accept unconditionally. I already accepted others as they are (along with their faults) but I have always been very hard on myself for the slightest little mistake, misdeamour or oversight on my part. It was okay for others to be less than perfect but I couldn't accept that in myself.
It never ceases to amaze me how different events in our lives (and past lives) fall together to create a complete story. Shortly after Betty's funeral, I had a thought that kept popping into my head that I had done a terrible wrong to a friend of mine in another lifetime. I didn't want to think about it because it was really a very big transgression but my thoughts kept returning there regardless. And then I had a dream (something I don't do very often as I am more likely to have "waking dreams"). In the dream I was the victim of the same transgression and the perpetrator in this instance was someone I also know very well in this lifetime.
As I was thinking about how these events were related (and also feeling rather bad because I knew my previous transgression was true), I felt what I call "the voice feeling" which is hard to describe. I don't audibly hear actual words but I "feel" the words instead (and I have to admit that I am just a little envious of Neale Donald Walsch and Barbara Rose who do actually hear God's voice audibly). And the "voice" said to me, "Do you judge the one who wronged you?" And I thought no I don't, it doesn't make any difference to the way I feel about this person at all. And the "voice" said, "Well why are you judging yourself so harshly for your wrongdoing when you can accept it in another?" And that's when I realized that all of these events occurred so that I might learn to accept myself as readily as I accept others. It is not a lesson totally learnt even now and I do still tend to berate myself for not doing everything I set out to do but I have definitely made some progress and have somewhat relaxed my expectations of myself to a level which is more humanly achievable.
As an extension of these events and realizations, it also became apparent to me that in three different lifetimes, one can be the perpetrator, the victim and the observer; a trilogy of human existence to aid divine understanding. By "observer", I don't mean that one physically watches a transgression or crime taking place. I mean that one comes to an understanding of how it all fits together. There is no room for blame, shame, regret or judgement. Learning includes the bad as well as the good. We are all in the same boat living as we are in a duality existence here on Earth. We are all comprised of good and bad, generous and mean, sharing and selfish. When one understands and accepts that no one is better than another regardless of the way people act, then we are beginning to understand the necessity of duality and can rise above it towards enlightenment.