I have heard from several of you that our discussion on forgiveness came at the right time and was very supportive. I agree. Forgiveness through the lens of Dharma is so liberating.
For the benefit of those who were not at Sangha last week, we discussed the way Buddha separated forgiveness from reconciliation. Forgiveness practice is a private, personal matter. It is giving yourself permission to let a wrong go. All wrongs, hurts, betrayals, unfairness – harms of any type – come soaked in negative energy, tension, pain, aversion. There’s no way to change this because there’s no way to un-ring a bell. But forgiveness practice, like Metta, enables us to tap into the more universal state of openness – allowing us to choose not to retaliate or seek revenge.
I asked people to say the practice (see the handout), which takes a couple of minutes, every night before going to bed. There’s no need to do anything. Just say the words and allow your heart to do what the heart does normally.
A word about reconciliation. Reconciliation is about returning to an amicable relationship with another person. It requires an admission of wrongdoing and a promise to refrain from repeating the behavior in the future. Reconciliation may or may not be possible. Forgiveness, releasing oneself from suffering, is always possible.
This Thursday I will be at SIMS to hear Larry Ward. Capitol Hill Sangha will still meet. Spencer and Sheila will be holding the space so please join them.
I will be back the following Thursday and we will continue our exploration of forgiveness. We’ll talk about what prevents or blocks us from forgiveness.
I hope your practice goes well.