Part 1 | Part 2
Often we are not taught how to forgive, although we are often told that forgiveness is very useful for inner peace.
Forgiveness can sometimes seem very difficult, since our minds become so attached to the story of "he/she/they" and "me", as well as the anger or resentment that come with it.
How to forgive is best discovered when we see that the story in the head is just a collection of thoughts, and that the only purpose of holding on to the story is to maintain a false identity, keep us trapped in time, and trapped in pain.
There seem to be two types of forgiveness –
- forgiving something or someone from the past.
- forgiving something or someone arising in the present moment.
This article will cover both.
How To Forgive The Past
If there is an event that has past, that is no longer present in your life, then why are you still even thinking about it? A better question would to be: is it you who is still thinking about it? Find out for yourself – can you witness the thoughts of the past events arising? Can you witness the “me” that feels wronged, betrayed or hard-done by? Can you witness the emotions that come with the story and mind identity?
If you can witness these things, then are they really who you are? You are the pure silent witness, so remain as that for a moment. Let the feelings and thoughts of the past be there, but do not identify with these things, since they will come and go. Remain as the witness.
Be aware of the space that the story of the past arises within. Is the space affected? Is it moved or upset? Does it even care about the mental/emotional story? Be fully aware of this still, silent space that your internal dialogue arises within. Give your full attention to this space, since this space will not leave you or harm you.
If you fully believe in the story that your mind tells you about a past event, then forgiveness is very difficult. True forgiveness comes from beyond the mind, where the sense of separation and personal identity do not exist. The reason forgiveness seems so hard is because the mind has taken over.
Forgiveness will often not make sense to the mind. As long as the mind has a story of “me”, “he”, “she”, or “they”; then it has an identity, an occupation to keep it alive. Do not be fooled by the mind. Go beyond it and dwell as the space in which it arises.
Then forgiveness is not even necessary, since the story is no longer given authority. Rather than a “me” having to forgive someone else, you realise that the past has no effect on you, no power over you, so there is nothing to forgive.
The final tip on how to forgive is this: how helpful is not forgiving? Does it feel nice? Does it feel bad? Is it both? When you see for yourself that holding on to the past is futile, that it only leads to more suffering and a congested sense of self, then it will lose power by itself. Realising the futility of the behaviours of the mind will lead to automatic transcendence.
How To Forgive Yourself
The phrase of “me forgiving myself” is a common one. Yet, it does not make sense. Who is the“me” forgiving, and who is the “myself” that is being forgiven?
- They are both self-concepts. Fictions of the mind. Both of these “selves” come from thoughts and imagination. You are the witness of both.
These self-concepts arise when we identify with the actions of our body and minds, and when we believe in the reality of the past. The past has past, identifying with it is to create a false identity, or in other words – to hold on to the ego in you. Leave the past alone, it does not want to be touched.
You are here, witnessing all that arises. Realise this for yourself, and see that what you thought needed forgiveness is just a collection of thoughts that were previously given power through your own identification.
This is true forgiveness – seeing that what you thought needed forgiveness, is not real.