Of all the qualities that make for a happy, healthy life and a progressive spiritual path, forgiveness is one of the most basic and important. Genuine forgiveness is not a common attitude of heart. It requires too much honesty and too little ego for the average person. It is a deep and solitary process known to the individual and God. Its ramifications are highly beneficial and, sometimes, miraculous. To have an ongoing practice of forgiveness is to extend one’s health, beauty, and agelessness, ever increasing one’s ability to face life with freshness and energy as one grows in wisdom and loses the burden of resentment. If one learns to become aware of hidden resentments and releases them then one will glow with lightness all through the years. The passing of years will have minimal effect as it is the accumulation of hurt, not the passing of years, which ages people most rapidly.
The commitment to forgive everyone, in all situations, without exception, including ourselves, is an intensely transformative commitment. The nature of forgiveness is such that it cannot be pretended or intellectualised. It is a practice which involves deep surrender to God and sincere humility. Surrender and humility are the two qualities which will advance our evolution most significantly. The practice of forgiveness brings quietness, stillness, peace, and happiness. If we want to be happy we must be willing to let go of that which is most painful to us. The ego will put up a vicious fight, reminding us of how justified we are in holding onto all those things. The ego gets its life force from such resentments and so it is hardly going to co-operate with its own demise. However, with a sincere desire for happiness and peace, one finds the ability to let things go. The end result more than compensates for any temporary discomfort.
We must be honest with ourselves. When honesty is cultivated to a sufficient extent then we begin the process of looking at everything that we are upset about with a willingness to let it go. When we consciously enter the path of forgiveness we, initially, work diligently on all our current matter. We do not have to choose what to work on. The soul does that for us automatically. The higher Self instinctively tries to heal itself. In this way, we gradually improve the state of our current experience of life so that we are not carrying around heavy bundles of hurt in our mind, heart, and body. The process is beautiful in its simplicity. Healing is inevitable. The time it takes is directly proportionate to our sincerity. The more sincere we are, the more honest we will be with ourselves and the more humble we will be. It is a sacred and holy process.
Nothing is Left Hidden
Within our daily spiritual practices, we cultivate a desire to bring forgiveness to everything which comes up as a sticking point. All annoyances and resentments are brought to the table of forgiveness. In this way, we not only relieve ourselves of the burden of angry, resentful thoughts but we progress in our soul’s development. Our consciousness becomes more refined. This is the way to God. Reading books and doing courses is well and good at certain stages of our development. However, it alone will never get us very far. The true practice is very inward, individual, moment-by-moment. It is transformative, radical, reaching deep into every corner of our very being. Nothing is left hidden. Nothing is withheld.
It seems difficult enough to forgive the small things in life but how do we forgive the larger things, those things where we feel so justified in our anger at the perceived atrocity? One of the sayings in Alcoholics Anonymous is, “There are no justified resentments.” Don’t you find it interesting that in healing the lives of those addicted to substances, the release of resentments is a requirement of progress? Certainly, those first attending A.A. find the idea preposterous. However, the idea is so powerful for all who continue with the path of healing that it slowly becomes part of the fabric of life.
Freedom in Forgetting
If all else fails, we can be like the sloth in the Disney movie, Ice Age. The sloth discovered that his good friend, Diego the tiger, had been planning to betray him. Instead of carrying a grudge and seeking revenge, he said to his friend, “Ah, Diego, you know I am too lazy to carry a grudge!” Forgetting saves us a lot of stress and emotional turmoil. It gives us back our freedom. In the end, life is as it is. Many things seem to be unfair and unexplainable. We only have to look at the world media to see how unfair things can really become. However, if we don’t focus on what other people should or shouldn’t be doing and if we are grateful for the gift of life then our grievances have a tendency to fade into their native nothingness.
There is a well-known story of Buddha’s radiant forgiveness. One day, while moving around the countryside speaking of enlightenment, one of his detractors spat at him. He did nothing. A favourite disciple became enraged by the offence and asked Buddha why he let such an ignorant person do that. Buddha replied, “If a man spits at me, it is like spitting into the sky. It will all come back into his own face.” This is karma. No one gets away with anything. Let God keep track of the karma score. It is far less tedious that way. We let Life judge itself. Life is wiser than we can be. One cannot interfere with or manipulate the laws of Life. They are part of existence and cannot be altered or deceived. It is best to let Truth, itself, be the guide.
This article is from The Love of Devotion