Do you find it difficult to forgive? Forgiveness is something that we are often told we need to do to help to heal – ourselves. It is a purely selfish act. Contrary to popular opinion, to forgive is not something that benefits exclusively the “transgressor” – if at all. Instead, the act of forgiveness is something that helps us to get rid of the “darkness” that enters into our life, and to find the “light” instead. As the cliche goes, the “light at the end of the tunnel”.
The difficult with being unable to forgive, is that it can figuratively harden our hearts. It can lead to a pile up of resentments, these hurts which if not dealt with, can take on a life of themselves, if we let them! And as the physicians and medical doctors will tell us, our emotions will in fact have an impact on our physical body – whether positive or negative. While it may be “default” or feel easier to take on the victim mentality – this way of thinking does not serve us in the long term.
Whether or not you are a believer (of whatever faith), or a spiritualist, or an agnostic, or an atheist, this applies universally, that to heal ourselves from the torment of past hurts, we need to make a conscious choice to forgive, so that we can move on with the rest of our lives. To take advantage of the wonders of this world that are available to us. To take the opportunity to choose to live an abundant life that is filled with joy.
Any pain that has hurt us, if unsolved can become a block. And we need to heal ourselves too, for allowing ourselves to get hurt, and for allowing ourselves to hurt others. The Rev. Cindy Paulos has given a talk with affirmations and meditation, called Healing with Forgiveness which you can view on Insight Timer.
A forgiveness meditation that I have really enjoyed listening to lately is by Jack Kornfield, that you can listen to on Insight Timer.
Tara Brach has given an interesting talk on anger, approximately 1 hr, that you can listen to on Insight Timer. Brach explains that we all experience anger, whether that be personal or on a societal level. But she explains that when you get “stabbed or pricked” what happens inside you? How do you deal about that? If someone disparages you. If someone hurts your loved one. Do you instantly go into a blame mode? Some of us go into resentment mode. Some of us lash out.
Brach says that “Anger is natural, intelligent and necessary for surviving and flourishing. Yet when we are hooked by anger, it causes great personal and collective suffering. This talk explores how to transform patterns of reactivity by bringing a mindful and compassionate attention to the unmet needs that underlie angry reactivity. When we learn how to pause and connect honestly with our inner experience, we are then able to respond to others from our full intelligence and heart.”
“Getting angry with another person is like throwing hot coals with bare hands: both people get burned.”Buddha
Brach says that anger is letting us know that we’ve hit an obstacle and that we need to act. Brach cautions us that we can get hijacked when we allow ourselves to get caught up in the suffering and resentment. If we learn to pause, then we can transform our lives to get profound freedom. To bring our attention within ourselves, to respond in a powerful and compassionate way. Take 100% responsibility for your experience, when we take a “U-turn”. We are not responsible for the outcome of a relationship. We are not responsible for how others behave. But we can be responsible for the way that we behave.
Tormenting ourselves by ruminating on past hurts can also lead to anxiety. Brach has produced a video on Anxiety on her YouTube page which you can view below.