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    The earliest programming of consciousness is dominated by our gene’s survival of the fittest, fight or flight perspective.  Our first symbols emphasize “fortakeness.”  They are the mental expression of nature’s repertoire of physical behavior.  Symbolic dominance and aggression are mental alternatives to physical dominance and aggression.  Physical might is replaced by economic, political, and/or religious symbols of power – money, expensive “toys,” titles, “beauty,” approval, patriotism, “rightness,” a promise of a marvelous afterlife, and a variety of symbolic rewards limited only by our imagination.  Hatred, resentment, jealousy, greed, and the like become the symbolic replacements for fighting to attain dominance and to survive.           

     Would you now envision that in just the manner instinct and tradition design our symbols to dominate and control others, this same resource is available through self-mastery and wisdom to create forgiveness, love, cooperation, sharing, philanthropy, happiness, peace of mind, and yes, even peace-in-the-world?  These positive qualities of self-mastery are quite difficult to create when we are occupied with the manner of thinking nature first provides us.  Forgiveness is a basic mental strength that allows us to move on to those “magical” uses of symbols that express constructive use of our aggressive energy.  For this reason, we may consider forgiveness our most powerful mental asset.

     Forgiveness, like mature love, is deficient in our world compared to our preoccupation with the fortakeness expressed in the various forms of harmful aggression mentioned above.  Each of us may acquire skill in directing our thinking to love and forgiveness.  The secret is to practice self-endorsement.  We will continue to have great difficulty giving to others what we lack in ourselves.  This is why this collection of wisdoms emphasizes practical strens on self-endorsement.  We are as fully capable of manufacturing love and forgiveness as creating resentment and hate.  However, directing our mental energy to constructive aggression is a skill that must be cultivated, unlike the destructive bent that is pre-wired into our thinking by our genetic history.  Forgiveness is a high-energy product.  I hope this stren will motivate you to attend to the skills of love and forgiveness.  I, and you, and our world benefits by every individual who converts their mental energy manufacturing plant to the production of love and forgiveness instead of harmful aggression.