The power of forgiveness lies in the fact that without forgiveness there is no love therefore forgiveness is the most essential key to happiness. Whether it be forgiving another or forgiving ourselves, human suffering continues until we are able to forgive.
This comes at a very apt time when in the past week I have had a death in the family. Like many families, conflict is no stranger in my family and on both sides of my family members have been estranged. In my view, death can be the perfect opportunity to resolve past hurts and anguish and to find a sense of forgiveness especially among family members. I mean really life is too short right?
However this has not been the case with this most recent death that our family has experienced. It saddens me that such conflict can occur between blood and that human nature continues to accept fighting and anguish as the answer to resolving ones hurt and pain rather than peace and forgiveness. At the end of the day we are all human, on this earth wanting one thing…..to be loved.
But somehow we go about it in the wrong way, attaching ourselves to illusions of fear and anger, hurt and pain, and choosing to run from this standpoint rather than making a different choice. For in every moment we choose to forgive, we awaken from our own suffering. Every attack we give to another we are attacking ourselves, holding an invisible sword above our own heads and continuing our suffering.
At times I find these concepts difficult to grasp especially when I have been harmed or violated by another in an abusive way.
I struggle with the concept of forgiveness when it comes to an abuser, or someone who had been vindictive, or who has stolen from you. However when we allow ourselves to become tied up in the emotions of resentment, fear, anger and negativity, towards others it is not only the person we are projecting those emotions onto that we are harming but essentially it is ourselves that we are harming more so.
Forgiveness at times does not come easy and its not to say that if you have been hurt that you are supposed to immediately turn to forgiveness towards that person, however, I believe that actively moving towards some sense of forgiveness rather than dwelling in the emotions of hurt and anger will not only release you but will release the other person as well.
I do this exercise often, especially when I am struggling to forgive someone who has hurt me. I close my eyes and I imagine that they are sitting on a bench (often in a forest or on a mountain top). I come and join them and sit next to them and look them in the eye. As I look at them I say all that I need to say in a kind and compassionate way. I tell them that I forgive them on a soul level and that I release them from my hurt and anger. Often it is useful to hear them talk back and to allow them to forgive you as well. I find this exercise can be extremely powerful and healing.
Forgiveness of self is a whole other ball game. Forgiving ourselves can be one of our biggest challenges. When we are unable to forgive ourself feelings of guilt, shame and fear become toxic in our being. These emotions further increase our suffering. Making the choice to forgive, not only releases us from our pain and hurt but moves us closer to our truth, closer to our happiness and closer to the love that we have been bought on this earth to feel.