Recently my amazing Son-in-law, Jared Edwards, wrote a Blog post about the subject of forgiveness and the idea of forgetting it. One of his points being that if one truly forgets it, it opens the possibility of becoming someone’s doormat.
As always, I found his post to be honest, open and insightful. But it also stimulated me to thinking about the “Buddhist” perspective on forgiveness. What insight or wisdom could I possibly share with him on this topic, if any?
As always, I turn to thoughts of my teacher, Bhante Sujatha. Thinking of his example of loving kindness that he walks, talks and lives fully, each and every day. And although I would like to tell you that I hold no hurt feelings from anyone, I am fully aware that some of these feelings still linger in my thoughts. And this becomes most apparent during my meditation. And although I am sending unconditional loving kindness to everyone, I can feel my physical body react when thinking of someone who has hurt me or caused me harm. But in my practice, I have also learned to accept this without judgement or initiating a storyline to accompany it. The awareness of these negative feelings are the first sign of mindfulness. Breathing in lovingly and out lovingly shares that very breath with the person who has hurt me. Gently, I begin to feel how this person is no different than I am. I am not better or worse, not superior in any way. We are both human beings, and doing the best that we can today. With this awareness, I begin to see that not a one of us is defined by a single thought, word or action. Each of us has made mistakes, hurt others, even hurt the ones we love the most. But does that define all that we are?
With this kind of practice, I am finding a softening of my heart. As I accept and love others, the love and acceptance of myself also grows like a flower opening to the rays of the Sun. I can feel the benefit of this kindness and compassion towards other human beings, and increase my awareness of our connectedness. And I begin to see that the suffering is purely a product of my own mind, my clinging to the past, and the desire to control others. And this clearly is of no benefit to the self or anyone else.
So do we forgive and forget? I think perhaps it may be more beneficial to forgive, accept, and embrace. Embrace this life we share with gratitude and joy. Today we all have the chance to do it. Thank you my Son.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.