Have Compassion & Forgiveness To Heal

Joanna Rogers Macy, Ph.D a scholar of Buddhism general systems theory and deep ecology writes, “ Compassion literally means to feel with, to suffer with. Everyone is capable of compassion, and yet everyone tends to avoid it because it’s uncomfortable. And the avoidance produces psychic numbing — resistance to experiencing our pain for the world and other beings.” Compassion is a human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering. It is often, though not inevitably, the key component in what manifests in the social context as altruism. In ethical terms, the various expressions down the ages of the so-called Golden Rule embody by implication the principle of compassion: Do to others what you would have them do to you. It is a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Similarly, forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offence, difference or mistake, and/or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. It is defined as ‘to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offence or debt’. The concept and benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven and/or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In some contexts, forgiveness may be granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, apology, and/or restitution, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive Forgiveness: to grant pardon to (a person). It is granted to

cease to feel resentment against someone. The great leader, Mohandas K. Gandhi defines, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Similarly, Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian says, “Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime, Therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; Therefore, we are saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone. Therefore, we are saved by love. No virtuous act is quite a virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own; Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.”

Compassion and forgiveness have tremendous power to heal your grief. In this reference, we remember a short story reading as below. The story is about Smith’s mother. Smith has a friend, Bolt. One day, Bolt was being chased by Police. When Bolt reached at Smith’s house, he knocked at Door. “Please hide me”, he pleaded to Smith’s mother who let him in and gave refuge. When the police, following close on Bolt’s heels, arrived, Smith’s mother peeped out of the window and asked, “Sergeant, what’s the matter?” The policeman asked: “Did you see Bolt? He came this way”. “No, Sergeant, I haven’t seen Bolt”, she said. After the policeman left, Smith’s mother went to the backyard, and helped Bolt to escape. She did so, even after the police informed her that Bolt had a massive fight with Smith, in which Smith was killed. Bolt was her son’s killer. She felt that Smith died accidentally for which Bolt’s anger was responsible. Since he came to her refuge, she owed the duty to save him – it was of no use to hand over him to Police as that act was not going to give life to his own son. She forgave.

Initially, the story seems boring and meaningless. But a second thought over it strikes as inspirational and revealing. Look around, TV serials, movies, fictional thrillers are built around the theme of vengeance, revenge, hate, sex and blood, to some extent even glorifying abysmal characters. In such an ambience, where our cultural icons have fallen from grace, this childhood story, of Smith’s mother, taught as a character-building primer, brings fresh perspective. It upholds that rare spiritual quality, forgiveness.

It is not so easy to forgive. It requires great strength of character. What made Smith’s mother forgive Bolt? Inborn compassion? Perhaps compassion and forgiveness go together. One has to be compassionate enough to be able to forgive.

In our lives, we come across awkward and difficult people, who at some time or the other, wilfully cause time or the other, wilfully cause harm, hurt and emotional damage. Nursing the wound or waiting to ‘hit back’ can only generate negative energy; destroying peace of mind and obstructing clarity of thought and perception.

All those nice, good people who in their desire to be exemplary in the social eye, often claim with a certain degree of vanity, that they have forgiven so and so. The ‘so and so’ may be the boss, the bosom friend or a non-entity. But scratch a bit, and you get the universal statement ‘It is easy to forgive, but difficult to forget. If the memory lingers, it means forgiveness is not total. A bit of the hurt, of the wound still remains embedded in the subconscious mind. In letter, Ekundayo wrote: To err is human and to forgive is divine. Forgiveness is seldom practised. Some may say they have forgiven but they often talk to others with bitterness about the wrong done to them. This is not forgiveness, for true grievance is still present.

Bitterness leads to frustration and emotional imbalance. Gurus have been inducting the therapy of forgiveness. This therapy is a sure panacea for peace of mind. It leads to expansion and that awareness brings the joy of love. Forgiveness is a cleansing and a purifying process. It elevates. It is a peace pill. Forgiveness has the power to heal.

Forgiveness is not a one-time affair. It is a continuous process. It is a process which takes the beautiful form of an everyday prayer, where hands are folded, forgiveness sought and forgiveness given and where that all fulfilling connectivity with the universal soul is resumed. Forgiveness makes life beautiful.

Be Happy – Have Compassion & Forgiveness To Heal


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