I am inspired by this beautiful Mark Twain quote, that I just heard Wayne Dyer use, to take a look at forgiveness. Recently, I chose to forgive someone that had been the object of a lot of my anger for a long time. I foolishly convinced myself that my “grudge” was justified and not affecting me in any way. In reality, the thought or mention of the person sent a cascade of negative physical, mental, and emotional sensations rippling through me. I would shut down automatically, a brick wall would immediately rise up around me, and it would take a while for me to snap out of it and come back to normal. But then… a yoga teacher encouraged me to consider what I was holding onto in life. At first, I could honestly think of nothing. It, literally, took days of considering that question to see how my grudge was still going strong. Over time (and lots and lots of yoga), I realized that at the root of my grudge wasn’t anger, it was jealousy of her and insecurity within myself. Isn’t that really all that’s behind anger anyway? So, I began to let it go. I set the intention of letting it go in every yoga class and spent time meditating on letting go each chance I got. All of the years of watching Oprah streamed back to me…all of the experts, all of the advice, all of the wisdom. I even wrote an email telling the person that I let it go. Forgiveness works like a boomerang. When you give it out, it ends up sending back peace of mind, healing, and comfort. What do you really prove by staying angry? Does it prove you were right and they were wrong? No! Maybe you think that forgiveness is like telling someone what they did was ok? No! Forgiveness is an act of choosing to live in the present moment and leaving the past where it belongs…far, far away!
The past is your psychological enemy when it ‘teaches’ you that old hurts, wounds, humiliations, failures, and obstacles are relevant to the present…you cannot will your past to go away. Everyone drags around the burden of memory…Memories, for good and ill, are woven into your personal self…The more your awareness expands, the lighter the burden of the past. You find spontaneously that your attention is focused on the present, from which all creative possibilities emerge.
Deepak Chopra, Spiritual Solutions
Maybe Wayne Dyer is right, could it be that this person was sent into my life to teach me how to forgive and let go? Holding on to anger continually replays and repeats the hurt. The person doesn’t even have to do it anymore, you are doing it to yourself! I saved myself a lifetime of bitterness and hurt by opening my heart enough to let my anger, insecurity, and jealousy go. Now that I have practiced forgiveness once, perhaps I am prepared for a larger act that may be asked of me someday. Who knows? This is how the universe works.