Last week it came up again. I was doing a talk and guided meditation on “forgiveness”, and it always comes up when the subject turns to forgiveness.
“So I’m just supposed to act like it didn’t happen?” or “So I just have to be okay with it?”
These are typical questions, and understandable at that. Forgiveness can be one of our biggest challenges in life. Here are a few things to keep in mind about forgiveness;
– Forgiveness has nothing to do with excusing unacceptable behavior.
In her book “Practicing Peace In Times of War“, the Buddhist teacher Pema Chodrin explains that “while we may have to incarcerate someone in order to ensure the safety of the people, this does not mean that we have to close our hearts towards the person. She is talking about boundaries. We as a society have boundaries, and we as individuals can have boundaries too. Boundaries are good. The point is though, that we can enforce our boundaries, and our hearts can still remain open.
– Forgiveness has nothing to do with the other person
Having a closed heart towards someone, no matter what was said or done, means that we have a closed heart. This hurts no one but our own selves. It is not in my best interest to have a closed heart towards anyone. This has to do with me and my lack of acceptance. Sometimes I am feeling down about myself, and I need someone to help me feel more superior. Whatever the case may be, when my heart is closed, I am the one who closed it, and I am the one who hurts. I can only change my self.
– Forgiveness means changing my self and my perception
The only way I ever truly was able to begin to forgive, was by learning to understand. The Saint Francis Prayer has a line in it that caught my eye many years ago, and it was the cause of a major shift for me. The line is “Grant that I may seek to understand, instead of being understood.” In order to forgive, I have to seek to understand a situation in a new way. My perception has to change.
It is time to open your heart! Listen to my talk and guided meditation HERE