Manifestation of Commonality and Forgiveness

My theme this week is Forgiveness. What is it, and how does it manifest in the stories of our lives. What leads us to forgive and why is it important?

A poem by Emily Dickinson


My heart was heavy, for its trust had been
Abused, its kindness answered with foul wrong;
So, turning gloomily from my fellow-men,
One summer Sabbath day I strolled among
The green mounds of the village burial-place;
Where, pondering how all human love and hate
Find one sad level; and how, soon or late,
Wronged and wrongdoer, each with meekened face,
And cold hands folded over a still heart,
Pass the green threshold of our common grave,
Whither all footsteps tend, whence none depart,
Awed for myself, and pitying my race,
Our common sorrow, like a mighty wave,
Swept all my pride away, and trembling I forgave!

Commonality & Forgiveness

Dickinson’s poem moves from the heavy-hearted wanderer, the victim, to the liberated strength of the forgiver.

Through placing herself in the context of humanity as a whole she recognizes that she, like those who wrong her, is subject to the same end in death.

I think the strength of this poem is that it gives us  tool we can use to cultivate forgiveness:  Commonality


Commonality comes from the word common or community meaning “the common people” and is defined as shared features or attributes; a sharing of features or characteristics in common; the possession or manifestation of common attributes.

I think it is the manifestation of common features that ultimately enables us to forgive someone.

We can manifest these features through our own self-understanding, our compassion, and our empathy.

I’m not saying we should be common, or that the goal is to be normal because that would be a more of pacifying or prohibiting self-expression. Common in the sense is finding the essence of human experience in ourselves and the other and developing a sense of a community not based on normalcy or sameness but on the shared experience of being human ie. we are all born and we all die and we suffer and we rejoice.


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