Sanatana Dharma
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Sanatana Dharma

Forgiveness — Part 1

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

It’s not a practice, it’s understanding ‘you’.

Forgiveness is the most talked about subject along with Meditation. There are many articles written on forgiveness, and so many talks on social media with countless opinions, and solutions. The funniest one is “Follow 8 amazing steps to learn how to forgive”. Every religious book has a section about forgiveness. Surrender to God, he will forgive you and your sins, but he also punishes you for your wrongs. The other one is, that if you can’t forgive others and yourself, you can’t go to heaven.

No Heaven?? That’s a bummer! You are thinking, “I must go to heaven, I can’t go to hell, that’s for bad people. I am a good person. I must forgive others and myself! But I don’t know how”!

I always get these questions from so many people. “How to forgive?” and “How to let go?” The answer is the same for both these questions. If you can let go, you know how to forgive and vice versa.

In forgiveness, there are two categories

1. Forgive others

2. Forgive yourself

Classic examples: I have been cheated on, manipulated, abused, used, and so on. There are a million ways, people hurt and harm each other, and destroy lives and families. Every single time, for doing or doing, EGO is involved.

Even, after receiving an apology, somehow our ego doesn’t allow us to accept it. We can’t forgive. We keep on caressing our egos and ignore our hearts. The circle of hate starts growing bigger and bigger. One day, it grows so big, that there is no space for your heart, to absorb love and peace.

What does hate do then? It gives you sadness and grief. You become miserable, and now you are suffering.

As our hate grows bigger, our heart becomes smaller. Then comes the outburst of sadness, either converting into violence (resentment and vengeance) or we just shut down completely, and start victimizing ourselves. Either way, it still doesn’t take that pain away. Grows more, throbbing every second, mocking your life and making you feel miserable, small, and worthless.

You just wish, it goes away and leaves you alone. You were happy before this crazy negative feeling came into your heart.

I am not just talking about forgiving other people, sometimes we can’t forgive ourselves. We say harsh words, make mistakes (knowingly or unknowingly), make unacceptable choices, considered wrong by others. Then we start developing this guilt in our hearts. We try to ignore that voice in our heads. But it starts popping up, again and again. We can’t make it shut up! And then, we know, we are having a hard time forgiving ourselves.

Then you think, Ahh! I wish I could just forgive and the pain will go away. I just need to make this mind quiet, so I can enjoy my life. To ignore that feeling, you turn the Netflix on and try to watch a movie, but all you have is that nagging negative voice, hate in your heart, that you don’t want. You just want to be in peace and watch that movie on Netflix. Every task becomes a punishment.

Your mind is convincing you, constantly blabbering, how it was not fair, how badly you were treated, and how to mean that another person was. And, how could he/she use me like that? Maybe I shouldn’t have done that, I am so angry; I will never forgive that person. And, the mind changes its sides, now your mind is complaining and saying, Oh! That is so painful. , I am so sorry I don’t want to be like this… Blah.. blah.. blaa

And, then you think, just ones may be, you can forgive and let go.

Then, as the wisest person, you google “forgiveness”, you order books on amazon on forgiveness, or run to the closest book store, and buy a pile of books on self-help. Now you have all the knowledge of the world to learn, ‘how to forgive’. With all that intense reading and research, you can get a Ph.D., but alas!

You try mindfulness classes; you try compassion groups! Finally, you find a 30-day meditation program for forgiveness; you are feeling positive now. That’s what you needed! A perfect solution to your problem. Now you can learn the art of forgiveness in 30 days.

You are intensely following the meditation, the candle is on, and you are sitting straight, breathing in and breathing out! Listening to the audio about forgiveness. It’s day 29 now! Tomorrow, for sure, you are going to completely forgive yourself and everyone. You are ready to move on with your life. Day 30 comes, and you do your meditation. You are happy. It’s done! I have forgiven, I learn the art! Wow! I am one step closer to enlightenment. Divine, here I come!

And, then, after a few days or so, you see that person’s picture on your phone or social media or somewhere! Your thoughts are triggering, your mind is chattering, and the mind is reminding you of all the negative things. And you hate it. Your mind starts mocking you, “You still can’t forgive, you are stuck, meditation, nothing works!”

You can’t forgive others nor can you forgive yourself!

Now, you are doubting your commitments and your dedication to spirituality. You are thinking, “Where did I go wrong? I am a nice person, I am kind, compassionate, and mindful. I did complete 30-day forgiveness meditation. I even read books on forgiveness and follow all the rules and eight points of forgiveness as suggested. I watched those boring (sorry) but informative inspirational videos on YouTube. I didn’t eat onion and garlic for the last 30 days, so I could purify my body from the inside, and that was hard. I did everything correctly. I even donated money and time for voluntary work for the last three weekends”.

Now the question is “Why can’t I forgive”?

Please click here for Part 2

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