8-26-18 The Act of Forgiveness

The Act of Forgiveness

Anger makes you smaller, while forgiveness permits you to grow beyond what you were. 

We all find ourselves angry at times, and occasionally our anger is justified. While it is important to feel our feelings, we addicts cannot afford to get stuck in anger. We must push forward and neutralize it. This is done through practicing forgiveness. Anger makes us smaller, rather than running the risk of becoming even smaller, we need to learn to forgive. We begin by the turning the person, place, thing (or situation) that we are angry with over to our Higher Power. It is then that we must act in a forgiving way toward them–not in an angry way. For some of us this is difficult. Anger can be a high, in and of itself. But, if we are to grow and recover, we cannot afford to harbor those negative, destructive emotions.                      

Conscious Contact: Daily Meditations for the Chemically Dependent

Forgiveness is an essential ingredient of bodhichitta (awakened heart/mind) practice. It allows us to let go of the past and make a fresh start. Forgiveness cannot be forced. When we are brave enough to open our hearts to ourselves, forgiveness will emerge…..We will also learn self-forgiveness…..We will discover forgiveness as a natural expression of the open heart, an expression of our basic goodness. This potential is inherent in every moment. Each moment is an opportunity to make a fresh start. 

Pema Chodron Comfortable with Uncertainty

Forgiveness is a letting go of past suffering and betrayal, a release of the burden of pain and hate that we carry. Forgiveness honors the heart’s greatest dignity. Whenever we are lost, it brings us back to the ground of love. With forgiveness we become unwilling to attack or wish harm to another. Whenever we forgive, in small ways at home, or in great ways between nations, we free ourselves from the past.

Without forgiveness our lives are chained, forced to carry the sufferings of the past and repeat them with no release.

“We begin the work of forgiveness primarily for ourselves. We may still be suffering terribly from the past while those who betrayed us are on vacation. It is painful to hate. Without forgiveness we continue to perpetuate the illusion that hate can heal our pain and the pain of others. In forgiveness we let go and find relief in our heart. 

Sometimes this means finding the courage to forgive the unforgiveable, to consciously release the heart from the clutches of another’s terrible acts. We must discover a way to move on from the past, no matter what traumas it held. The past is over: forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past.

Forgiveness does not happen quickly. For great injustice, coming to forgiveness may include a long process of grief, outrage, sadness, loss and pain. True forgiveness does not paper over what has happened in a superficial way. It is not a misguided effort to suppress or ignore our pain. It cannot be hurried. It is a deep process, repeated over and over in our heart, that honors grief and betrayal, and in its own time ripens into the freedom of       forgiveness.

Finding a way to extend forgiveness to ourselves is one of the most essential tasks, just as others have been caught in suffering, so have we. If we look honestly at our life, we can see the sorrows and the pain that have led to our own wrongdoing. In this we can finally extend forgiveness to ourselves: we can hold the pain we have caused in compassion. Without such mercy, we live our own life in exile.”                   

Jack Kornfield: Bringing Home the Dharma

Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all of us love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour-unceasingly. That is the fellowship of the weak, that is the human family.  

Henry Nouwen, Christian mystic

There is no such thing as wise abuse or enlightened harm. This is the core truth of harm: it always comes from confusion. Anger, violence and all forms of abuse and betrayal are always motivated by an ignorant or confused intention. When the mind is unconfused, it cannot intentionally cause harm. The awakened mind acts with wisdom and compassion. 

My experience with forgiveness is that it, like everything else, is impermanent. While some resentments seem to vanish forever, others come and go. The most important thing to remember is that we must live in the present, and if in the present moment we are still holding on to old wounds and betrayals, it is in this moment that forgiveness is called for.  Noah Levine  Against the Stream

As we come to love ourselves, our imperfect selves, unconditionally, we find we can release ourselves from the weight of self-doubt and needing to have validation from others. We are completely valid and deserving, just as we are. 

As we cultivate our loving-kindness towards ourselves, the ability to forgive others is merely a natural step in continuing to love ourselves. 

I know that anyone that has injured me in the past was in confusion and pain, and had been inured by others. The injury was done to me, but also to themselves.

Healing replaces resentment, peace replaces anger, as forgiveness grows inside me, my heart lightens. Filling me with a sense of wellbeing & acceptance, I embrace forgiveness, the great healer of hearts.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for.

Heart Of Recovery web site    fcheartofrecovery.com