Re-Imagining Forgiveness: Fierce Compassion for Self and Other

Stevens, Kimberly (2009) Re-Imagining Forgiveness: Fierce Compassion for Self and Other. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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An ability to engage anger and grief toward reflexivity and compassion represent pivotal capacities within practices of forgiveness. The study posed the Research Problem: In what ways might ongoing practices of forgiveness assist in transmuting affects of anger and grief within experiences of forgiveness? The research hypothesis was: Ongoing practices of forgiveness necessitate acknowledging and attending to painful emotional patters, and thus offer a path to transmute anger and grief into fierce self-care and compassion. The Literature Review explored resources in religion, psychology, and imaginal approaches. Significant gaps revealed an absence of subjective understandings, occurring within practices of forgiveness. Within participatory research, Imaginal Inquiry methodology evoked experiences of anger, grief, and compassion. Qualitative, interactive interviews inquired into ongoing forgiveness practices and affect transmutation. The Cumulative Learning was: Reflexivity and disidentification from the subjective positions of victim, offender, and the righteous one, create the psychological v space in which a breakthrough of imagination can occur, which in turn can lead to the creative action of forgiveness. Learning One: Experiences of extreme, overwhelming suffering, rooted in adaptive identity, such as loss of marriage or profession, health, marital betrayal or abuse, addiction, and chronic or terminal illness, can serve as a necessary prelude in choosing forgiveness as a primary transformative practice. Two: The ongoing practice of forgiveness depends upon a practice of reflexive awareness towards emotional patterns, especially anger and grief, and is sustained by prayer, meditation, and contemplation. Three: The practice of forgiveness requires an ability to disidentify from subjective positions of victim, offender, and righteous one, and to extend compassion for all three positions in oneself and the other. Four: Disidentification from anger and grief allows a psychological space for a breakthrough in imagination, in which images of compassion and fierce self-care can coalesce. Five: Ongoing practices of forgiveness generate a sense of personal liberation within the forgiving individual and inspiration toward generative acts of forgiveness and compassion in the wider world. Research re-envisions forgiveness as a complex, transformative practice building upon reflexivity, compassion, and re-imagination, sustained through prayer, meditation, and contemplation. The mythic lens of King Oedipus illuminates the process of forgiveness.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Kimberly Stevens
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2017 18:57
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2017 18:57

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