- When you think of forgiveness, is it usually with a slightly superior attitude? You may decide to forgive because it is the “right” thing to do, or because that is what your religion teaches. External forces compel you to take action, instead of an inner compulsion or desire.
- So what is true forgiveness?
- It is so simple that most people miss it, or don’t believe it. It has become over-complicated, over-analyzed and over-done. Forgiveness has morphed into a concept of manipulation and purpose, instead of it’s true reason d’etre.
- So what is true forgiveness?
- Forgiveness is the simple act of release. You release the other person from your story and as a result, you release yourself from the effects of that story.
- Let me give you an example. When I was just a kid, I used to ride my bicycle around in circles on the driveway. Usually I would sing and dream while the world swirled around me. One day, my older brother decided to stand in front of my path and when I stopped, he took my bike away from me. Crying and screaming did nothing to change the immediate situation (until our Mom got involved).
- Even though that incident took place many moons ago, I carried that strong feeling of unjustice, anger and resentment with me for years. It affected my adult relationship with my brother, as well as forming the basis of a material possessiveness of which I am not proud. I finally realized that by carrying my anger and resentment with me for years, I would project it onto someone or something else in an effort to get rid of it. My projection had the opposite effect – it bound me even tighter with my anger and resentment. Subconsciously, I tried the same thing over and over, and I kept getting the same results.
- The only way out for me was to break the cycle of anger/resentment/projection/anger/resentment. Since I was the cause of the cycle (because I held onto my anger), I was the only one who could break it. My brother did not hold the key – it was my decision to give my energy to those strong emotions. And every time an incident popped up that was similar to the original one…I let loose with all of the pent-up anger that I did not realize I had!
- How did I get out of this vicious pattern that caused me distress and disturbed my peace? Were costly therapy lessons involved, sitting in a chair and reviewing every detail of the original incident? No, it was much simpler than that.I decided to just let it go.
As Gerald Jampolsky noted, “Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions.”
Look over your life and see the areas where forgiveness will release you from the grip of the past. Sit quietly and imagine what you would feel like without your “story” about that incident, then choose to release it. Breathe the peace into your heart and mind and feel it settle over you like a soft blanket. Relish in this feeling and carry it with you after you open your eyes.
Forgiveness is as simple as what I just described. If you do not believe me, then prove it does not work. But to do that, you have to try it!