Forgiveness – such a noble concept, yet it can be so elusive in our human existence.
Why is the practice of forgiveness so hard?
Approximately 6 weeks ago, I felt like I was punched in the gut when I was on the receiving end of what I perceived as sarcasm, and hurtful words by someone who I would have hoped to be part of my support team. The not-so-kind words written to me through several text messages came out of the blue – a true “what the heck just happened?” kind of moment.
My initial reaction was shock, then a deep hurt settled into my heart. How could this person possibly believe that I had negative intentions, when my actions are truly coming from a place of love and caring for someone I am deeply bonded to? How could this person not see that my family and I are committed to taking care of my elderly mother as she waxes and wanes in her physical and mental health? How could she not feel some kindness towards me? Why did this show up now?
When I received the “out of the blue” text messages, each one went from bad to worse and tears quickly came to my eyes. I tried to tell this person how sad I was feeling during this communication exchange but to no avail. The individual was not interested in hearing about my feelings because she was so focused on giving me a piece of her mind. It was when I read the last hurtful text message from her that the emotional pain and sadness, turned into anger.
I deleted all of the text messages from this person because I knew that if I hung on to them, I would continually re-read them which would only make matters worse. By the time I came home from work that day, I was deep into emotion, vacillating between crying jags and venomous full-on anger. I was so distraught from being personally attacked, that I was in the fight or flight mode of human nature, and I wasn’t going to run away, I was ready to fight.
I felt like I had been walking along quietly when someone suddenly jumped out of the bushes and began stabbing me for no reason…
I took my anger home and my poor husband had to listen to the rant of a madwoman. Then my brother called to be the peace-maker and was at the receiving end of my tirade about how horrible this other person was. I could not think rationally because the negative emotions were overriding any sense of calm thought.
The next morning, I woke up sick – literally. My head was congested, my lungs were blocked, and my stomach was so upset that I felt like I was ready to throw up any minute. I knew that I had allowed my vibration to plummet and my inner light to dim.
As a practitioner of qigong, I have learned that emotions are the number one cause of energy blockages. Extreme emotions can block the heart system, anger can block the liver system, deep sadness can block the lungs, and long term anxiety and worry can block the stomach system. All of these emotions and energy blockages can deplete the kidney energy system which is critical for health.
The only way that I could truly shine my inner light, was to find forgiveness in my heart – much easier said than done. Every time I thought of the situation, I would either cry or get mad. Several times a day, the memories of that awful morning would surface and I would question why? I also felt bad because I did not handle the situation with love and grace.
Calling on my Master for assistance
I have learned through my qigong teachings and practice, to prepare myself by calling upon the unconditional love of the universe (God) and then I call upon my master(s). With great respect, I ask my master(s) to join me and support me with their pure energy and love.
After trying so hard to release the sadness and anger from my being and it not working out so well, I called upon my masters, asking for help in truly finding forgiveness in my heart for the situation at hand. In this instance, I called upon Jesus because if anyone knew how to forgive others, I figured he certainly did.
Ask and you shall receive
Later that evening when I had asked Jesus for a little help in the forgiveness department, I plugged in my earphones and readied myself to listen to Master Chunyi Lin on a live call that he does every Tuesday evening. Each month he has a topic which he divides into four weekly subtopics. Wouldn’t you know it – this particular evening, the talk was on Forgiveness! Seriously, how could this be pure coincidence? I guess Jesus sent a message to Master Lin, asking him to step in as my master to help me on this day!
I have such deep respect for Jesus and Master Lin’s wisdom. They learned forgiveness through their own experiences. For Master Lin, his anger at the people who had betrayed him and his family had moved him to a critical point in his life and his health. For Jesus, the betrayal cost him his physical life.
It was through the act of forgiveness where they both found unconditional love for themselves and for others.
Master Lin said something in his talk that was my AHA moment, when he said that we can pretend to forgive and it works just as well! I liked that idea because I was having great difficulty finding honest forgiveness in my heart. I was even starting to judge myself on my lack of the ability to forgive wholeheartedly. I felt like I was a fraud because I have taught my children to be forgiving, I have written a chapter in my book about forgiveness, and I have done public speaking on this topic, yet I could not find it in myself to easily forgive this person.
Master Lin also talked about how to forgive and his words once again hit home. Forgiving ourselves is critical in order to forgive others. We need to love ourselves unconditionally, in order to love others in the same way.
We all do things in our lives at one time or another that can cause harm to another, whether it is intentional or not. Master Lin talked about how every step we take can cause harm to an innocent being. One step can crush an ant, a blade of grass, or the ground that covers our mother earth.
Healing myself meant that I needed to be honoring of myself and stop judging my behavior and lack of restraint when I was so deep into my upset.
As I started letting go of the judgement of myself, I found that I could look at the other person and see that perhaps her anger and frustration is about her feelings of lack of control… her feelings of inadequacy… or possibly feelings of guilt. I accepted that her feelings were hers and not mine.
I can now envision her as a little girl who just wants to be noticed and not left on the sidelines. I can now see her as a little soul who has come into my life to help me learn to be forgiving. I can now thank her for allowing me to be authentic and to really learn this lesson.
Have I totally forgotten what happened? No, I haven’t. Do I totally trust her? No, not yet. Can I still forgive and not forget? Yes, I can. What happened did happen and is part of my memories so I most likely will not fully forget. However, my goal is to allow the memory to continue to fade and not hold any negative charge anymore.
I will leave you with this beautiful Buddhist prayer of forgiveness:
If I have harmed anyone in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through my own confusions, I ask their forgiveness.
If anyone has harmed me in any way either knowingly or unknowingly through their own confusions, I forgive them.
And if there is a situation I am not yet ready to forgive, I forgive myself for that.
For all the ways that I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself, judge or be unkind to myself through my own confusions, I forgive myself.