We always have something to forgive.
Each one of us, at any given time, someone out there or within us, to ourselves.
When we realise that we are not alone in this, that it is a natural part of our every day life, we can release the drama of it. We can move the spotlight of our own pain in being hurt by someone we have to forgive on to the rest of the world and in that understanding begin to realise that our pain must be similar to what others around us experience. That way our pain becomes more bearable. And that, my friend, is compassion.
Then one step further, if you are willing to open your heart, just by using common sense you’ll soon realise that your ‘enemy’ that needs to be forgiven also feels the pain of being hurt, just like the rest of the world. And if you can get to that point, your own compassion will find a way to forgiveness without any hard work.
Forgiveness is not about giving permission to the wrong doing of the other person (or yourself if you need to deal with your own forgiveness).
Forgiveness is all about acknowledging the experience, understanding what it means for YOU and letting go.
Before my Tibetan Buddhist life as a student and teacher, I struggled with the concept of letting go. I didn’t understand where was I supposed to let that anger (or hurt or sadness or resentment) go. How do we forget the pain?
You see, we can only forgive something we fully understand. Only then can we let go and stop re-visiting the place of pain.
This is where Buddhism brought light to me, and I am sure it does to everyone since we all suffer from the same emotions. Our stories are unique, yet our human suffering is universal. So it will resonate with the wise part of you.
According to Buddhism, we live karma. Karma is like a dance of action and reaction, or better known as what-goes-around-comes-around. Karma is a process of our human living where we planted a seed and the tree then grows one day. The trouble to grasp this kicks in with the theory that we lived past lives, which you might or might not accept as being truthful. Yet, according to Buddhism, we all live numerous lives and as such, bring our previous karma with us. Which, in the contest of forgiveness, means that you might have planted a seed and the tree grew just now so you have no recollection of that seed planting.
Why is karma important for forgiveness?
We get what we give. Our actions come back to us like a boomerang. The wrongdoing to us that needs to be forgiven is actually one of our karmic debts to be paid. In Buddhism, there is a concept that teaches us to be grateful to the ‘enemy’ for helping us clean our karma. And I say this with a lot of compassion.
Each time someone hurts us, we paid a karmic debt, yet they created a negative karma for themselves which they will get a bill for eventually. And that realisation helps the universal law of fairness, which definitely helps us to calm down when we are in pain.
I look back at people who really hurt me that I cannot even describe. It affected a decade of my life, my existential security, my mental state. Yet karmically, I feel compassion for them, I cannot grasp with what experience will they have to pay that debt off. And it’s in these moments that I let go. I send them compassion knowing that it will be painful. And I don’t wish anyone to suffer.
To let go, to forgive, and to stop re-visiting the place of the pain is to understand that the experience is not in vain, so long as we understand what the lesson for us was. Our karmic debt, something we had to learn, something that will help us become more compassionate with others that feel similar, maybe a motivation that will be born out of it.
Join me in forgiveness. Be kind to yourself, try to see that everyone no matter how hurtful they appear, are trying to find their own inner peace, their own happiness. Sometimes people get it right and sometimes they might not have enough wisdom to develop kindness so they mess up. As long as we understand this and open our hearts, we might find the peace we seek so much.
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