Wednesday, Jan 16 2019
Forgiveness - 16 Jun 2014
Forgiveness is defined as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance towards a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the need for revenge and releasing negative thoughts of bitterness and resentment.
Generally, when an injustice happens to us, we want to take revenge. A lot of times, people feel that if they forgive the person who hurt them, then those people will continue to take advantage of them or not take responsibility for their wrongs. To be more honest, we’ll admit that we usually want the person who hurt us to pay for what they did. This is revenge. We want to get even when someone does us wrong. Consumed by anger we think in our minds “I’m not going to let that person get away with this.”
"An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is the strategy that shoots across our minds when the fire of revenge burns within us.
However, revenge reduces us to our worst self. It brings us down to the same level of those spiteful people who hurt us. The negative feelings of anger, hatred and resentment, rob us of our sleep, appetite, health and peace of mind. It is like drinking poison ourselves and waiting for it to kill our enemy.
I would like to deviate from this often treaded path and share with you what Swami has to say on forgiveness. Swami says, 'Forgiveness is Truth itself, it is Righteousness, it is the Veda. It is the Supreme virtue in this world. Hence, all people should develop the quality of forgiveness’. Swami says that love lives by giving and forgiving. Forgiveness is that quality in a human being that separates him from the animals.
Let us understand what happens when we learn to forgive.
1) When we forgive, we free up and put to better use the energy that was once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wound. To better understand, can we reach for anything new, if our hands are still full of yesterday's grudges, and revenge? Forgiveness is about starting over, and not about getting even.
2) We feel happier & lighter after forgiving someone because that burden is no longer there.
3) Forgiveness helps us lead a longer & healthier life: When we dwell on grudges, our blood pressure and heart rate increase and we show signs of stress, which is all detrimental for the body.
4) Forgiveness sustains relationships: Sometimes when relatives or friends inevitably hurt or disappoint us, holding a grudge makes us less likely to sacrifice or cooperate with them, which undermines feelings of trust and commitment, driving us further apart.
5) When you forgive, you take back your own power and you are the one who is in control of yourself.
The truth about forgiveness isn't about the other person. It's always about us. It's about allowing ourselves to heal, to move on and to let the experience change us in a positive way. There will always be love and light if we open that door. Forgiveness is not forgetting or pretending it didn’t happen. It did happen, and we need to retain the lesson learned without holding onto the pain. This doesn’t make you a doormat to anybody. You’re just refusing to act in a destructive way. You just want to find peace. When we allow ourselves to finally forgive, let go and make peace with a situation, we get peace of mind and free ourselves from corrosive anger.
Preaching forgiveness is a simple task but to practice forgiveness in real life is the essence of life. Only a person with extreme humbleness imbibed within and a feeling of compassion is able to practice forgiveness. Mahatma Gandhi says, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” That is why it is said forgiving someone is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness. Moreover, it is also more stressful to bear grudges. There is no resolution without forgiveness. It is the only way to our anguish and to find peace of mind. Mother Teresa says, “If we really want to love, we must learn to forgive.”
From all these examples, we can see that we don't forgive someone for their sake. We forgive someone for our own sake. As long as we focus on the person who has hurt us, they control us. We don’t want anyone who has hurt us in the past to control us in the present. We want only Swami to control our life. There is a saying, 'What you dwell upon, you become' and hence, it would be pertinent to dwell upon our Swami than the person who hurt us.
The Bible says, “Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for He has said that He will repay those who deserve it.” The first step to forgiveness is to commit, not to take justice into our own hands. Let God be the impartial judge. When Jesus was asked how often we should forgive someone who sins against us, he said 70 times seven. Or in other words, it means that we just keep forgiving.
Have we ever wondered how much Swami has forgiven us? If he took the same amount of revenge on us as we did on others, life would be impossible to live. Bearing this in mind, we should all strive to be like Swami and forgive everyone.
How do we do that? We should put our heart right, reach out to Baba, then face the world again, firm and courageous. Then all our troubles will fade from our memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more. “How does one know if he/she has forgiven? One tends to feel sorrow over the circumstance instead of rage; one tends to feel sorry for the person rather than angry with him; one no longer dwells on it, and does not talk about it.
So, forgiveness is like a gift you give yourself. Justice may say, “An eye for an eye”, “If you do that to me, I’ll do it to you.” Forgiveness says, “I could do it, but I won’t.” Do not repay evil for evil. Overcome evil with good. “I remind myself that I forgive not for them but for me and that it’s easier to forgive than to hang on to so much anger, hurt and betrayal”, says Sarah Clark.
In conclusion, darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Similarly, revenge cannot drive out revenge; only forgiveness can do that.
Today, I sincerely pray that Swami grants us the strength to become a forgiving person.
JAI SAI RAM
Bro Poshaan Gulab