Wednesday, October 27, 2010

30 days: forgiveness of others

4/30. something you have to forgive someone for.

“The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.” A Course in Miracles

I’ve been thinking about forgiveness for over a week now. The dimensions of this practice seem so great – not only can it be an act of self-healing, but it seems like an act of creation, expansion, and allowing. Forgiveness as a force for social change… for building unity versus destruction. It requires a selfless kind of trust, a suppression of the ego, and seems to me the ultimate statement of optimism – a communication of allowing between the forgiver and the Force of creation. It is a statement of equality with others – a recognition that we are all imperfect.

It’s been a powerful mediation just to think about what we offer in service to humanity when we choose forgiveness over resentment. In fact, this meditation has plunged me into the idea of forgiveness so deeply that I wonder at its vastness. Are there hints of wrongs needed to be consciously forgiven that drag on us throughout our lives, blocking us from forward motion? Do I need to be more reflective about resentments I might be unconsciously fostering?

I don’t feel like I hold on to a lot of blaming thoughts. Like everyone, I have been hurt by others in my life; the deepest of those hurts took me years to overcome, and through that path of reflection, sacrifice, and deliberate work, I learned that forgiveness is really only the first step. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean the pain is gone – it doesn’t lessen the impact of the hurt caused by whatever the act happened to be.

I’m sure there are many acts of forgiveness waiting for action within my mind and heart. Forgiveness for insensitivities of others, for assumptions made and expectations levied, forgiveness for misunderstood intents and traffic behavior, forgiveness to our leaders, forgiveness for systems and institutions that direct our lives but were not built on a foundation of justice, forgiveness to our Creator for obstacles and pain seemingly placed in my path. .. the list is long, isn’t it?

‘Abdu’l-Baha counseled people to “see with the eye of forgiveness,” and practitioners of mindfulness practice “Teflon mind.” Rather than out people or situations that need my attention in this post, I’m going to take this day of truth as a lesson to myself. A day that lasts longer than a day, and becomes a practice. I’ll loosen the energetic grip of shallow (and deep) resentments and begin to consciously forgive – I’ll breathe more and swear less, pause and give space before rushing to a judgment. I’ll think of my sons and the forgivenesses I pray they will extend to me, and use that wish as a model for myself.

Come, come, whoever you are
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving
It doesn’t matter
Ours is not a caravan of despair
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come


Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

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