The need for forgiveness arises when a person or people take actions that hurt us physically, emotionally, mentally, or energetically.
You trusted your best friend and shared with her your deepest secrets and then she used it against you. As a result you FEEL you got hurt.
Or, as a child, your vulnerability as an unprotected member of the tribe was abused, and as an adult you keep FEELING hurt.
Or when the nation or other organizations use their power against you as a minority, again, you FEEL hurt.
Forgiveness is the action of letting go of the emotions (anger, hate, resentment, bitterness asking for revenge.) we hold against the person or people that hurt us and instead replace it with compassion and tolerance.
The reason why often it is hard for us to forgive is that when we get hurt by others we feel “we are right”, which gives us the illusion of being in power. The combination of being “right” and being hurt often turns us into “victims”. By forgiving, we will have to let go of our “story” and the position of being victims that often brings us lots of sympathy from others.
The tool for forgiveness is to shine light on the person or people that are the cause of our pain and distress by expanding our perception and seeing the limitations of the ones that hurt us.
To be able to do so we have to develop the understanding that we all perceive reality from our own limited perception only. That means we all have our personal movies that may not always synchronize with other people’s movies and way of seeing reality. When you are aware of this fact you embrace tolerance. I do not say you need to follow everybody’s movie or agree with it, but at least you are aware of where they come from.
You may be angry at your parents and can not forgive them for forcing you, manipulating you, or pushing you to go and study for a career your heart never cared for, instead of going and pursue your true passion, whatever it was at that time.
You forgive your parents because you are aware that in their “movie” it was all about making sure you will have a “good” and “safe” future by having a good job that will enable you to get a life time mortgage so you can buy a house, which in THEIR movie is the ultimate goal . In this case, forgiveness is about knowing that your parents didn’t know better.
The other aspect of forgiveness is being aware that different people have different capacities to perceive reality. This is a tough one to practice but possible. When you see human beings doing horrible things to each other you may not accept it or support it but you forgive, as you are aware of their limited capacity to experience oneness with all.
It is easy for us to apply it with children. Most of the time we understand they have limited capacity to perceive reality because they do not know better, but when it comes to adults we expect that everyone will see and experience reality as we do.
If you see a man kicking a dog, you may act according to the moment, stop the man from doing it, save the dog, or nothing if you can do nothing. But if your heart is full of hate for the man, in a way you are not different from the ignorant man that has no capacity to experience oneness with the dog. If instead you understand that different people are in different states of spiritual evolutions and as a result have different capacities to experience reality your heart will always be full of love, compassion and forgiveness, which are different shades of the color of love.
Few days ago a lovely woman posted on FB a story about how a man badly judged her sick sister she loves so much. She was very angry and ended the story declaring she feels lots of hate toward this man, and asked everyone to share the story. The story had a powerful point to it about how often we rush judging people, but because it ended with a declaration of hate, in a way she asked everyone to “share” hate. Forgiveness for this man could come from an understanding that he didn’t know better.
One of the most inspiring stories of the Dali Lama is about his childhood friend monk that was tortured physically for many years in the Chinese prison after Tibet was invaded by China . After he was released from jail, old and wounded, Dali lama asked him: “what was the most scary moment for you in jail”? His old and wise friend said: “the moment I almost lost my compassion for the ones that tortured me”.
As you walk through life try to keep in mind that different people have different capacities of consciousness and upon this state they will live, act, and experience life.