Paryushana: How to foster forgiveness practice
I confess in my spiritual journey forgiveness was hard. It brought about mixed feelings but today I see how it took me to the next level of evolution and most importantly make me understand the concept of oneness.
Practiced in all religion and faith, forgiveness is beyond powerful. Its where ego melts and we strip off all the tangible recognition, fame and glory to know one of the universal truths – we come from dust and we go back to dust and as we go back, how do we want to complete this circle of life? How do we want to make peace and close all chapters? The reverberating inner voice said, “Letting go and forgiveness”
Yes, it is hard – stuff has happened for real. Pain and hurt has been felt. Lives have been affected so how do we forgive ourselves and someone else? This is a practice and not a one time deal so if you want to step into the circle of forgiveness, be prepared for determination and daily effort.
While there are various forgiveness practices, three practices that I swear by:
- a) The 2 monk questions: Complimenting forgiveness is humility, so when someone hurts us or gives us pain, we often label that person to not be a good human being. We don’t have the best things to say about them because of course, the situation disturbed us terribly – we felt it was unfair. Most of us have faced this and some of us are still holding on to such situations. When I faced this, I always remember the ‘2 monk questions’ –
1) What is that one thing bad you did to others
2) What is that one thing good someone else did to you?
We will have a million answers! Key is to know that we too have, through our action hurt others and maybe in a different scenario and time, but we have. This makes us humble and we realize that all of us at some point or another have hurt someone AND at the same time have received love and good deeds as well. Humility is the first step and oneness is the next one – then forgiveness becomes a lot easier.
- Micro-forgiveness: I practice this every night where I go through the day and check all my micro-actions. Times when I was agitated and snapped or when I was irritable and said something rude or mean OR vice-versa – this happens almost daily in our lives. It can happen with our partner, our child, our colleagues or friends or family members or staff or even strangers! The idea is to close the loop at night – feel the reason behind our or someone else’s action and find compassion there – in this compassion, find a way to forgive yourself or someone else. This is a daily effort as we see ourselves change as well! We often don’t even go through these situations of the day and just dismiss them. However, science has shown that daily forgiveness practice can make your brain equivalent to a monk’s who has meditated for 25 years or more! So think about how powerful it is!!
- Same journey; different routes: Either you are the prime minister of this country or a CEO or home-maker – at the end of it we all want peace and happiness isn’t it? So we are on the same journey but have taken different routes and in this route, people are at different awareness levels. So if we keep this in mind at all times, we won’t try to see someone as inferior or superior but understand the humanness of it. That can instantly soften us and help us to feel more empathy.
Try these practices to foster forgiveness in small and big situations. At the end of it, this is only going to help us clean our hearts, be light and move forward!
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