2021-09-01-Patience (4 of 6) Forgiveness
4:16PM Sep 1, 2021
So that guided meditation was meant to support the topic I'll talk about now. Another aspect of patience or this Pali word Kunti. And that is forgiveness, forgiveness of insult. And forgiveness is held up as being a great ideal, wonderful thing to be able to do. And of course, it's not easy. And there can be protests, all kinds. And there can even be some ways of practicing forgiveness, which is not so healthy, not appropriate, even. So in the Buddhist sense of forgiveness, forgiveness involves two things, two primary things. It involves letting go of resentment, letting go of anger, towards someone or that has hostility for others. That's the first thing. And the second thing, it involves opening up our goodwill to others, opening our hearts becoming friendly or well wishing for others in a genuine way. And we don't have to be loving. That's why maybe loving kindness can seem like a little bit too high of an ideal. You know, it's hard to love everyone. But it's possible to open our hearts and have goodwill to wish people well, maybe from a distance. And those two movements are letting go of anger. And then opening up the heart to include let other people be in our heart to be a heart open to them to have this goodwill. And the first one letting go of anger is, you know, one of the reasons to do it is for your own sake. So that you don't harm yourself. Resentment is simmering. Suffering is a simmering injury that we do to ourselves. And anger Canada, anger towards someone anger because someone has done something to us that maybe it's you know, long past the actual event. It's we kind of injuring yourself. There's a story that jack kornfield sells of to former prisoners. And one of them says to the other. Have you forgiven your captors? And the second one says, No, never. They did horrible things to me. And then the first one says, well, then they still have you in prison. So this would be to be trapped in anger. And resentment is a kind of prison. And it limits ourselves. And I've known people who've had resentment for years, until they realize that the person they're resenting had gone on with their life, and be maybe even forgotten who they were. And, and so the only one who was being harmed by the resentment was themselves. And they said, Wait a minute, this doesn't make any sense. To live this way, in some ways, I'm doing my enemy a favor, by continuing to put salt in the wound or something. So learning to let go of anger, or at least put it aside, learning to let go of being a victim, or at least not being the victim not inhabiting it, making that our identity that I am, you know, you know, that the whole whole definition of who we are, becomes around the injury that we received. And, and so this idea of meditating as a way of reclaiming of fullness of being of reclaiming a large pneus and we discover in meditation, how much our thoughts, ideas, concepts, judgments, that we have, makes us smaller, limits us, keeps us in check keeps us bounded, keeps us caught and sometimes even in prison to kind of prison. And so to be learned to let go of thoughts learn to See thoughts and let them
move aside or learning to kind of become more embodied more fully alive, a fully embodying inhabiting our life. So that maybe we still have resentments and angers but they get pushed a little bit to the side, they are a little bit appendages to we are who we are, not who we are. And they become, you know, maybe like a jacket we wear, it still has a role and is present and we can't deny it, it's there. But, you know, we don't we don't, we're not we are not our jacket, we are so much more. And so to begin to shift our relationship to anger, to resentment, so that we're not caught by it. And this, of course, is a slow process is not done automatically or quickly. But even the idea, even the wish, the dedication, to no longer be caught by anger, resentment, to work with it and find a way through it is the beginning of becoming larger, it's the beginning of becoming free. So and to appreciate that out there is there's with some freedom, there's some taking agency, there's a stepping away from it and becoming more. So this idea of ability to let go of anger and resentment. And there might be all kinds of thoughts, these other thoughts, or they're being thoughts that keep us trapped in the anger, like, you know, I'm doing the, you know, I can't do them, the the person who hurt me, I can't, you know, do them a favor, or I can't, I can't condone them or I can't get a get let them get off the hook for what they've done. And, and all those might be true in some ways. But it doesn't mean that we have to close our heart to them, it doesn't mean we have to stay with her anger, or wisdom or understanding a memory of what happened might lead us to behave a certain way around the person and like say, Well, if you continue that kind of behavior, I can't be with you. Or I have to be cautious with you because I was hurt before. or something you know, who knows all kinds of things have to happen in the world. But, but we don't have to be trapped in the anger. So forgiveness in Buddhism is letting go of our resentment and anger. And the advantage of that to the word forgiveness is forgiveness kind of implies we're giving something to someone else. And that makes it a little more complicated the social relationships and the nature of the injury and what happened and and maybe we maybe we're not ready to give anything to people. But we can let go for our own sake, let go of the anger. The second step is this loving kindness, this goodwill is because if we keep our hearts close to other people, we're also in some ways limiting ourselves. We're injuring ourselves. And to really appreciate that gives us a reason to have goodwill. That's not an argument that they deserve to have our goodwill and where they don't deserve it or something independent of whether they deserve it or not, which is maybe a silly, silly topic. You deserve you to not be limited by your thoughts by your contractions by how you are limited. And so for you to open up, the heart works so much better. When there's goodwill, it's freer, it breathes easier. So then to come and find that's not it's not easy to do this. But this is a practice to find that docuware Can I have the goodwill. And if those three things can be done letting go of anger and having goodwill, in shorthand, we can call that forgiveness. And, and then the forgiveness practice of Buddhism, maybe is more accessible. So sometimes we forgive others for how they've harmed us. And some people will do that in meditation practice and even have a words they say that classically would be something like for whatever harm others have done me, intentionally or unintentionally. I now forgive them. And now when you hear that word, forgive you understand that to be letting go of anger and opening your goodwill. It's also can be a beautiful thing to request forgiveness. There's often we have to be large enough, big enough to let go of our conceit. Let go of our of our
our Even some hurting kind of negative pride to ask for forgiveness. And, and so it's a beautiful thing sometimes, you know, for whatever ways that I have harmed you intentionally or unintentionally, please forgive me. And then the person we're asking, maybe they can understand what it means is, please don't hold your anger against me. It isn't that we have to approve what I've done or didn't, you know, somehow get me off the hook entirely for what I've done that might have hurt you. There might be consequences. But it's kind of like asking, Please, could could you accept me again without your anger, and then offer some some level of goodwill as we find our way forward with the challenges we have. And then also towards oneself. For whatever ways that I have harmed myself, knowingly and unknowingly, may I forgive myself. And for some people, this is the most difficult one. But the eye that does the Forgiving, is the eye that is beginning to discover how not to be limited, small, being the victim, but actually begins to breathe freely and openly and holds everything, make space for all of who we are. It's coming from a place of strength, of largeness of great capacity to be present for our experience without being caught in it. And so as we practice mindfulness, we are slowly over time developing a greater capacity, greater strength, greater sense of, of unlimited quality and confidence here, that all the things that detract from that. They don't necessarily go away. But they become smaller they become appendages, they become something which we take into account, we're wise about we're caring about, we're compassionate about, but we're not defined by it. And to not be to be defined by the things that limit us is a fantastic thing. And maybe it helps us to live a life of where we're ready to forgive, ready to let go. Do not live in the anger or not live with resentment, and to open to Goodwill for the world. And what a great thing to become someone who's safe for others. They don't have to be afraid of our resentment. They don't they live with our resentment, but they live with our goodwill. May we live in this world, offering goodwill to all that we meet. Thank you.