Forgiveness is a sensitive subject. It brings up memories, emotions and desire in many of us. The journey to forgiveness is a sacred one and the most powerful medicine I’ve found to heal the human heart and make sense of our human condition.
Many of us go through really hard times, often tragic ones. My hardest time was when my son, Conrad, was murdered in Hout Bay. He was 23 at the time. Contact with God (The Universe) was the only thing to keep me sane, despite the devastating effects his death had on me and so many around us.
It has taken a couple of years to make sense of his death. It’s been hard work and I still miss his gentle presence in my life. I often wake thinking of him, wondering what he’d be doing now if he were alive today?
Through forgiveness I have learnt the power of grace and even now I cannot claim to have completely forgiven. I learnt my son’s love was perfect as it is, and even though he is dead I can still feel his love in my life. It echoes from the day Conrad was born.
So what is forgiveness? How do we get to that quiet place. I sometimes think of forgiveness as a jump into the River of Love. On this river we can float to a deeper place of serenity, and release all sadness and hurt. In this river we find joy and freedom, knowing we are never alone. Many others have had to face death, hurt, tragedy. By committing to the search for this inner River, we relax into the safety of the Divine.
In the traditional view of forgiveness, a common theme is that a crime occurred. If there was no crime, there is nothing to forgive. If you feel that forgiveness is what’s next for you, you’ll need to find the crimes in your life story. By crime, I mean, any transgression that seemed to cause you pain, sadness, anger, fear or any other emotion you did not want to feel at the time.
I say, “seemed to have cause you pain,” because it’s never events that cause suffering, but rather how we understand a situation. It’s possible for one person to feel great anguish, while another doesn’t mind at all. We have a choice about how we interpret our surroundings and the intentions of others. We can choose to feel fear or love.
Forgiveness is the inner work we do to experience greater freedom. It brings us into the World of Divine Truth.
There are many benefits to forgiveness.
Lower blood pressure; stress reduction; less hostility; better anger management skills; lower heart rate; lower risk of substance abuse; fewer symptoms of depression; reduction in chronic pain; more friendships and healthier relationships.
As you start your journey to forgiveness consider these questions:
How do you currently view forgiveness?
What is your commitment to learning to forgive?
What do you want from forgiveness?
Are you waiting to be forgiven? From whom?
What emotions come up for you as you meditate on forgiveness?