1- Why should we forgive?
2- How to forgive
It is very difficult to forgive but the rewards for doing so are enormous.
As we all know, we can spend years, even decades, caught in the web of our suffering, and our anger, unable to find a way out of the grievous harm done us.
Sometimes we refuse to forgive. It feels as if justice will not be served, the injurer will “ get away” with what they have done. Moreover, how will we then relate to our victimizer if we release them? Will we have to talk to them, to like them?
For those seeking retribution picking at our scabs to make sure the wound does not heal, we sleep with one eye open and live our lives with a part of ourselves caught in bitterness and regret. All of our relationships are tainted and constrained, especially the relationship to ourselves.
A wounded victim can never get enough payback, and if he/she keeps seeking satisfaction, the wound becomes the organizing principle of the individual or collective consciousness.
The victim more often than not suffers long after the original wound, while the perpetrator’s mind is often free of regret.
But how to forgive?
Forgiveness essentially means letting go, cutting the ties that link our fates to our victimizer. Mostly we don’t even know how to go about it, even when we recognize that resentment and anger are eating at us and negatively influencing our lives.
It is very difficult to forgive, however necessary it is for both individual happiness and communal well-being.
While it is difficult to convince yourself to let it go, forgiveness can nevertheless be achieved with far less strain and confusion than we imagine. An effective method for freeing ourselves from the persistent clutches of anger, and the desire to even the score is the consistent practice of compassion, which can be learned. Forgiveness then emerges simply as a by-product of compassion.
In the course of a lifetime we each are capable of doing terrible things in a state of ignorance and blindness. We must see ourselves for what we are and what we have done, recognize that others, can do these same terrible things. We must recognize their humanity–their ability to do bad and good — and recognize these potentialities in ourselves. This recognition and kindness to ourselves and others, this acceptance of our own humanity and the humanity of the others, starts the process of Grace.
Compassion recognizes our shared human condition, our tendency to error and bad action arising out of ignorance and anger. A review of our own misdeeds allows us to be kinder in our judgement of others, indeed to be kinder about ourselves.
And what are the rewards?
Compassion releases you from the negative attachment to the one who caused you pain, as well as to the pain itself. You may not have noticed how much mental and physical exertion is tied up in your anger, but you will notice the release –the relaxation, a surge of energy, a freedom of thought and action that refocuses the attention from the past, and places it on the present where your attention properly belongs.
Forgiveness then follows simply and easily.
The practice of compassion does not mean that you have to feel affection toward the one who harmed you. In fact, compassion allows you to see clearly and do what is necessary. In other words, judgement and holding on to anger is replaced by the ability to see clearly (discrimination) and by detachment, (the ability to see the truth but feel no hatred).
Recognizing error and being kind about it, detaches us emotionally from the grievance, the aggriever and from being aggrieved. This is a deep and complete release, for it arises from the recognition of our own humanity and the humanity of the other. This is a deep kind of forgiveness, for it arises from the recognition of our own humanity and the humanity of the other.
Compassion is the highest form of wisdom.
How to go about it?
Compassion can be achieved through properly directed thought at the offender and the offense. Whenever the thought of pain and or vindictiveness arises, stop for a moment, see the offender as a human being, filled with their own dilemmas, look at yourself and your confusions and pour kindness on the two of you –for your suffering and for the blindness of the other.
Generating compassion can be helped by self observation and through the consistent practice of MediSounds vibrations.
If you wish to learn how to practice the Sound for compassion, to raise your vibratory awareness write me at firstname.lastname@example.org Your name will be added to our mailing list for announcements.
You may also read my book Kabbalah of Prayer Sacred Sounds and the Soul’s Journey, for a full series of MediSounds practices.
This practice will enhance all of your relationships and change your life for the better, in the moment as well as over the long term.
© Shulamit Elson 2014