Unconditional Forgiveness Is The Answer
Forgiveness means that we must release the pain, anger, and grudges that suffocate us, wrenching out our life force. Forgiveness allows us to breathe, live, and love freely. When someone hurts us – knowingly or unknowingly, purposely or accidentally – we have three ways of dealing with that hurt.
Expression: We can express our anger, hurt and pain if we can do so calmly, articulately, peacefully, and in a productive way. But, typically, the expression of anger quickly degenerates into shouting, tantrums, and revenge. Blinded, we can see only the hurtful act. Years or decades of love – as well as our inner calm, balance, and peace – get left by the wayside of our consciousness as the steam engine of fury plunges ahead.
Further, expression of anger becomes a habit. We become accustomed to immediately giving voice to our wrath and rage. Slowly, we become the slave of our intractable anger, unable to contain it, restrain it, or reign it in, and it becomes a hurdle on our spiritual path. Each time we express it, we deepen the groove of anger in our own psyche, making it more likely that we will lose our temper in the future. Just as river water flows into the channels carved through years of erosion, so our emotions and behaviours flow in the pathways laid down by our own life’s patterns.
Suppression: We feel the pain and anger but – due to societal, cultural, or psychological factors – we do not express it. The pain is real. It lives within us, feeding on every thought of vengeance, playing and replaying the wrong that has been perpetrated upon us over and over again on the screen of our consciousness. We are able to squeeze our lips shut, preventing the venomous words from spilling out, but our ire festers within us. Suppressed anger causes depression, anxiety, and stress as well as myriad physical illnesses. Further, it distances us, day by day, from our deep, inner Self.
Forgiveness: The only other option is to forgive. Many people misunderstand forgiveness to be a pardoning or exoneration of the act committed. It is not. Every wrong act will be punished by the law of karma. Isaac Newton discovered that “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” We simply call it karma. Every action you perform is like a boomerang. It comes back to you – if not in this life, then in later lives; if not directly, then indirectly. Whatever pain we cause to another, we will experience ourselves. No one is free from the law of karma.
It is crucial to understand that forgiveness does not mean we absolve someone of their karma. That is God’s role, and it is not one that we have the power to play even if we wanted to.
Forgiveness means that we are able to separate the person from the act. It means that the act may be deplorable, but the person who committed the act is still human and therefore has strengths and weaknesses, good and negative points.
Forgiveness means that we are ready to move forward, that we do not want to stagnate and freeze in the moment of the inflicted pain. When we hold on to our anger, it immobilises us, precluding us from blossoming into the people we are supposed to become and achieving all that we are supposed to achieve.
Excerpt from ‘By God’s Grace’ edited by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Mandala Publishing.