Forgiveness is pardoning or overlooking a debt. It begins as a mental disposition but it is truly a disposition of the heart. If we don’t forgive, we are the ones that truly suffer. We must learn to forgive ourselves before we can forgive others. When we sincerely want to become better we will be quicker to have insights that will allow us to forgive on a spiritual level. Remember your mistakes and learn from them but don’t let them get you down. It is like the expression “Don’t cry over spilt milk.” You want to remember the lessons constructively and not destructively. Forgive and forget but learn.
There are many levels of forgiveness including mental, emotional, and spiritual. With mental forgiveness we arrange our thoughts in a way that allow us to forgive but this is extremely superficial. When you forgive on a mental level you will still have feelings of bitterness, it is superficial to just pardon someone. A seed of suffering will still remain deeply planted within us. With emotional forgiveness we arrange our emotions in ways that allow us to forgive. If someone hurts us it is because of the way WE see things. It is usually hurting our pride or our ego – a collection of thoughts we have about ourself. Spiritual forgiveness comes with insight we learn from the experience. It allows us to see the Divine nature of things and our hearts are full of compassion. There is no trace of emnity and forgiveness is real and not superficial. Real forgiveness is very rare; it comes from mercy and compassion. Love others as they are and don’t be a fault finder. Most likely the faults you will see are your own. (It takes one to know one!) When you love others as they are it doesn’t mean that you see their shortcomings and love them anyways, it means that you see them as Divine. Spiritual forgiveness is not instantaneous, it will take much time. The pain we experience when someone hurts us serves a purpose for us and the spiritual insight comes when you look upon the situation.
It is said that if you die and still have not forgiven a person then you will have to work out that karma in the next life. For example, if you die and are angry with you parents, in the next life the roles will be reversed and you will be their parents. When you are drawn to someone there is a karmic lesson waiting for you and it requires work. Most of us don’t like work that much so people don’t get very far and once the infatuation is over they say “bye-bye!”. This causes the karma to remain instead of being worked out.
Practice forgiveness and you will become mentally strong, noble, and slow to anger. Mental strength is the amount of stress we can handle without becoming irritable. Forgiveness is the antidote for anger because it destroys it at the root. You will become slow to anger because you will not be looking for others faults, a trait that can trigger anger. When we ask for forgiveness we are actually trying to ease someone’s anger. Once you forgive, truly forgive so that it cannot be recalled again – there should be no resentment.
I find the more compassion you have, the easier it is forgive. Compassion takes time to develop but like anything else, practice makes perfect! When I awake in the morning I use the following meditation:
As I awake this morning, I smile.
Twenty four brand new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully present in every moment,
looking on all beings with eyes of compassion.