August 29     

Today's quotation:

To be able to forgive, we must come down from the citadel of pride, from the stronghold of hate and anger, from the high place where all emotions that issue from one's sense of being wronged shout only for vengeance and retaliation.

John Hess

Today's Meditation:

Forgiveness is often difficult, not because of any outside influences, but because of what's going on in our minds.  Any difficulties in forgiving someone else for something that they've done are internal, not external.  If I've been wronged, then I can think of tons of reasons not to forgive the wrongdoer, and pretty much all of them have to do with my own self- righteousness instead of any sort of logical, reasonable reasons.  I can use logic to rationalize my self-righteousness, but that doesn't change what it is.

It's kind of difficult to conceive of a lack of forgiveness being our problem, for after all, someone else has hurt us.  But that hurt and the forgiveness are completely different things, connected only by happenstance.  If we refuse to forgive, that means that in our hearts we want the other person to suffer as we feel we have suffered, and a lack of forgiveness is often the only weapon we really have to inflict a hurtful wound on someone else.

When we allow pain to continue, though, and we even try to add to the pain with our own refusal to forgive, we're not exactly contributing to the positive energy of this world.  Rather, we're leaving wounds unhealed and we're perpetuating the pain and anguish that we could easily erase from existence if we only were able to forgive.  I really don't want to be responsible for any more negativity than absolutely necessary-- heaven knows I've made my share of contributions to the negative side of this world, and I hope that I'm able to contribute much less as time goes on and I grow (hopefully) a bit wiser.

We want to do good in this world, and holding on to a grudge isn't doing good.  Harboring resentment isn't doing good.  Remaining angry isn't doing good.  Forgiving is doing good.  Is it possible that it's really that simple?

Questions to consider:

What kinds of thoughts and feelings can keep you from forgiving?

Do most people hurt others on purpose?  If they didn't harm you on purpose, then what good will refusing to forgive them do?

How is forgiving someone doing good for the world?

For further thought:

Learning to forgive is much more useful than merely picking up a stone and throwing it at the object of one's anger; the more so when the provocation is extreme.  For it is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for yourself and others.

The Dalai Lama

more on forgiveness



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