I don’t particularly remember addressing forgiveness in the past, perhaps it is because I didn’t feel as if I truly grasped it for myself. Let alone actually forgive myself for things I have done knowingly and unknowingly that hurt or offended others. This time around feels different. And, what sums it up for me is written from an excerpt of Eleanor O’Hanlon’s “The Eyes of the Wild” out of ‘Parabola: The Search for Meaning’ publication from October, 2019:
“The usual categories of understanding, based on the separation between human consciousness and the consciousness of the whale, are made meaningless by the power of their presence – life meeting life, consciousness meeting consciousness, in recognition and peace.”
‘In recognition and peace’ Eleanor writes.
How profound, to recognize the Grey Whale, the bear, the eagle, our neighbor, the convict, the attacker, our parents, our selves in recognition and peace. To let down the illusion of separation.
Khalil Gibran put a similar sentiment in such a poetic way:
“Oftentimes I have heard you speak of one who commits a wrong as though he were not one of you, but a stranger unto you and an intruder upon your world. But I say that even as the holy and the righteous cannot rise beyond the highest which is in each of you, so the wicked and the weak cannot fall lower than the lowest which is in you also. And as a single leaf turns not yellow but with the silent knowledge of the whole tree, so the wrongdoer cannot do wrong without the hidden will of you all. Like a procession you walk together towards your god-self. You are the way and the wayfarers.And when one of you falls down he falls for those behind him, a caution against the stumbling stone. Ay, And he falls for those ahead of him, who though faster and surer of foot, yet removed not the stumbling stone.”
Out of his book “The Prophet”, from the excerpt when one of the judges of the city asked for him to speak of crime and punishment.
When reading this it truly gives me a sense of responsibility with forgiveness and what true forgiveness could have in effect upon relationships; relationship to One’s self, relationships with others, and societal relationships between countries and groups of people. We have a responsibility to pick up the stumbling stones of fear and of not knowing each other, that mystery and misunderstanding due to no true connection. We have a responsibility to listen to our own heart and the hearts of others so that we can see each other in the Sameness and Oneness of love.
Diana D., one of our Journey to the Peak members asked the beautiful question, “what would be possible through forgiveness? And, how quiet the mind of a society would be if forgiveness was modeled.”*
What if forgiveness was modeled more? How can I model forgiveness? How can we model forgiveness? One place we could model forgiveness is incarceration here in America. I just watched a bitter sweet video the other day of a father returning home from over 25 years in prison. He was welcomed deeply into the arms of his own son, who is now a father himself. And, yes, these are black men and black families who you see crying in deep love for each other. Renewed connections on soul levels. Seeing each other as who they are in that very moment. Wanting love again, to be with each other, to laugh again, play again, and have peace.
*”Peace is a quiet mind.”
Ragunath Campo (A link to his forgiveness podcast that shares this quote is noted at the bottom of the blog).
It was my own mother who reminded us in this past Sunday Morning Special class that through the Christian faith, God does not remember your sins when you ask for forgiveness. And I thought how beautiful that God meets us right where we’re at. Just like yoga meets us right where we’re at when we come to the mat. Yoga is not holding a grudge against us when we step on our mat! Yoga meets us for who we are at this moment.
What if we met each other with such intimacy and immediate presence just now? And what if we offered the same thing to our self?
Mark Nepo writes from his book entitled “The Book of Awakening”:
“We are the stage and all the players.”
… But just as germs must run their course, all the players in our dramas must be voiced before they will leave us be. Just as we keep trying to get what we never got from someone else who doesn’t know our game, we also keep the trespass alive by re-enacting it on others nearby until we can humbly know what is to be hurtful — the first step toward forgiveness.”
He goes on to write:
“The pain was necessary to know the truth but we don’t have to keep the pain alive to keep the truth alive.”
… “What it really comes down to is the clearness of heart to stop defining who I am by those who have hurt me and to take up the risk to love myself, to validate my own existence, pain and all, from the center out.”
… “Forgiveness has deeper rewards than excusing someone for how they have hurt us. The deeper healing comes in the exchange of our resentments for inner freedom. At last, the wound, even if never acknowledged by the other person, can heal, and our life can continue.”
..”It is useful to realize that the word forgive originally meant both to give and receive — to “give for”.
Anodea Judith writes, from her book “Eastern Body Western mind”:
“Forgiveness is said to be the ultimate step in healing. Forgiveness uses the compassion of the heart to understand situations in terms of the forces that were acting on both ourselves and others.”
Richard Smoley in his article entitled “Why forgive?” out of Parabola writes:
“Then, too, much of what passes for forgiveness is little more than sanctimonious egotism. You “forgive” out of a sense of noblesse oblige — It is an act of condescension, a favor bestowed upon an inferior. From this position of lordliness we bestow forgiveness as we might toss a coin at a beggar.”
He continues later in his article about the law of karma suggesting one answer in why we should forgive…
“The law of karma suggests one answer. A given cause has a like effect; Good begets good, and evil, evil.” … “The philosophies of India have intricate explanations for why this recompense is not instantaneous: they speak of samskaras, “seeds of karma,” that will sooner or later blossom in the right circumstances, in this lifetime or another.”
I wrote about samskaras and forgiveness in my blog that I mentioned earlier if you would like to go back. Samskaras are the mental imprints and impressions we have, and they can be pleasant or negative.
Jodi Picoult wrote,
“Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying “you’re not important enough to have a stronghold on me”. It’s saying, “you don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future”
I forgive myself for all the energy, mental space, time, and emotional output that I have spent replaying past events that have hurt me and to the people who offended me. It is our choice how long we give our energy to something and it is our choice what we give our attention to, very much like the drishti of yoga. Where am I going to put my attention and focus, my inner ‘gaze’? As I put my attention towards love, compassion, and loving kindness, it is easier for me to forgive and then live into peace.
Robin Sharma wrote: “Forgiveness isn’t approving what happened, it’s choosing to rise above it.”. I wrote in my previous blog on forgiveness, as taken off of this quote that, “I began to speak to how forgiveness is not only not needing to approve what happened, but that forgiveness does not require that we forget either. And that perhaps in some cases, to forget would not be the best thing because there was a lot of learning from the experience.”
It was Oprah Winfrey who said,
“True forgiveness is when you can say, ‘Thank you for that experience’.”
Desmond Tutu wrote,
“Forgiveness is not weak. It takes courage to face and overcome powerful emotions.”
He also wrote out of the Parabola publication, “To forgive is not just to be altruistic. It is the best form of self-interest. It is also a process that does not exclude hatred and anger. These emotions are all part of being human. You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things: The depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger.”
Thank you so much guru Tutu, your words give so much freedom inside of me and allow me to experience all that I do feel!
And thank you so much for my journey to the peak family and community and those who joined in the Sunday morning special on February 20th, 2022! You helped me see deeper into what forgiveness is and a process to which I can support myself in offering forgiveness to myself and others.
You reminded me that forgiveness is “refusal to hold ill will against someone”- anonymous
You reminded me that “I can’t forgive until I have fully feeled”! -Randi
He shared with me that “forgiveness acknowledges change”.-Diana
I’m thinking of the song “I’m not ready to make nice” by Dixie Chicks…
Catherine shared the saying “hurt people, hurt people and healed people, heal people”.
To me I almost cried when in the physical practice Patrick asked us to hold our own foot with our hand, fingers between our toes, as if we were holding hands with ourself. And I nearly came to tears because it felt as If I could be the one to hold my own hand. Just like a parent picks up a child who has fallen and scraped their knee, I can offer my own love and compassion to myself, hold my own hand through whatever is troubling and painful, and say to myself that we will get through this together.
May you step on your mat today, and meet yourself as who you are right now! Just as the mat meets you, Yoga meets you, Source meets you. No grudges, no assumptions, no expectations, just open love, compassion, loving kindness and joy.
Breathe and Believe.
Here’s Ragunath and Kastuba Das podcast ‘Wisdom of the Sages’ episode:
carving out a little sadhana routine / yoga is reclaiming our freedom from the mind / material sound is exhausting / push through the flavorless period to develop taste for sadhana / withdrawing the senses / make the mind a friend / transcending the modes of nature through meditation on Krishna / put up a roadblock on the path of revenge / the universe is held together by forgiveness / forgiveness is a quiet mind / forgiveness is the highest virtue 3.28.11
* duration: 57:11, Played: 55:29
* Published: 11/19/21 6:50:53 AM
* Episode Download link (26 MB): https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/wisdomofthesages/0584_A_online-audio-converter.com.mp3?dest-id=1755320
* Show Notes: https://traffic.libsyn.com/secure/wisdomofthesages/0584_A_online-audio-converter.com.mp3
* Episode feed: Wisdom of the Sages – https://wisdomofthesages.libsyn.com/rss