Forgiveness, Inside and Out
This is my sixth post in a series, where each Monday I will post about a point of reflection or insight that I will use to reflect and meditate on during the week. In order to make it a bit more focused and interesting, I will attempt to do this with topics beginning with letters from A to Z. I have often found that having a specific topic to reflect and/or meditate on during the week really lends itself to interesting insights and growth, because you not only have several days to reflect and meditate on the topic, but you have several days to put any lessons and insights that you discover to work in your every day life. For those that follow me on Twitter (@JasonLivingNow) I will try to write updates as the weekly topics come up during meditations, moments of reflection, or just during every day life. To view the current and previous entries in this series, please visit the: Reflections and Insights A Through Z section.
F= Forgiveness, Inside and Out: Learning forgiveness is an essential tool in living a truly happy and fulfilled life. Every one of us has had past experiences that have caused us hurt and pain, forgiveness involves releasing the power (control) that the memories from these experience have on us. We cannot change negative events from our past; however, we have the power to control how that event will shape and effect us in the present, and in the future. We may never be able to “forgive and forget”, but at the very least we can rise above those past experiences, and not let them continually cause us to feel hurt, pain, anger, and resentment.
Holding onto negativity from our past is a serious roadblock to personal and spiritual development. By hanging on to past experiences, you are only hurting yourself, because continually holding onto anger and resentment is not hurting or effecting the person that caused you pain, instead it is only causing pain to yourself. Also, if you continually focus on the past, you will never be able to fully live in the now, and enjoy your life fully and completely. You must be able to release the past, and forgive those that have caused you pain.
This is something that I have had to really work on over the past few years, because instead of truly forgiving people and events in my past, I merely covered them up and tried to simply “move on” with my life. However, this never truly works, because until you truly examine past experience, and forgive those that caused them, they will continually lurk beneath the surface, only to continually break through into your dreams, waking thoughts, and emotions. I may decide that I don’t want anything further to do with an individual that purposefully caused me pain, but I can forgive them for their actions, and wish them well in their life.
I have found it easier to forgive people, when I realize that their conscious or unconscious actions to cause me hurt or pain was, according to Buddhist teachings, out of their own suffering and ignorance. Each of us suffer in one form or another, because of insecurities, attachments, etc., so negative actions are born out of those sufferings. For example, if someone is feeling insecure, in order to boost their self perception they perform negative actions such as putting down, harming, or making fun of someone else. This does not make their actions okay, but if you understand where those actions are coming from, it is easier to forgive the person, and hopefully respond with love and kindness as the great saints from every religion have done.
“Holding on to anger, resentment, and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache, and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness of your life“. – Joan Lunden
Practical Tip: If you find yourself drifting into negative thoughts or feelings because of something in your past, don’t simply try to cover it up. Examine why you are allowing that thought to continue to have control over your current thoughts and emotions. Remember that the past only exists in your mind, and since it only exists in your mind, you have the power to control how it will effect you.
I would love to see comments on forgiveness, and what you have done to practice forgiveness in your life. If you wish to use the topic of forgiveness as a point of reflection during the week, I would love for you to share any insights that come up.
Please come back next week for the next installment of this series, and as always if you enjoyed what you read, please share on social network sites, subscribe to this site, and share this site with others!
Also please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click on the book cover to view on Amazon.com)