For most of us, today’s world is full of many conveniences and luxuries. We no longer have to face the harsh conditions and the threats to survival that our ancestors once did, and we spend most of our time in comfortable, safe environments. Yet, life still seems hard. We experience a lot of stress, and many of us struggle with emotional issues of various sorts.
The reason for this is that, although we have largely solved our hardships with nature, we still haven’t perfected how to solve our hardships with each other. In other words, we human beings hurt each other—both intentionally and not—through our words, actions, and attitudes. Sometimes, these things are small and easy to forget; other times they linger with us, damaging our self-esteem and leaving us mired in negative emotions. So how does one heal from such experiences? There is only one way that really works—forgiveness.
The Healing Time Machine
In a way, forgiveness is a time machine. When you are wrapped up in anger and resentment over conflicts you have had, you are essentially living in the past. Some large portion of your energy is going toward feeding them and keeping them alive. They remain lodged there in your mind, and thus in your energy system, making it difficult to experience the goodness life has to offer. Also, you block yourself from moving on to the next lesson in life, whatever that may be.
Forgiveness places you back in the now, in the present moment. Whatever happened in the past is placed, through forgiveness, where it should be—in the past. The past is already gone, so focusing on it is a futile waste of energy. The present is the only place from which you can move on toward your goals and dreams. The present is also the only place from which we can love others unconditionally. If you hang on to the shortcomings demonstrated by people in the past, you will never see the True Self shining through the eyes of others in the present. Since everyone demonstrates imperfection at one time or another, forgiveness is the only path to genuine love.
A Self-Administered MedicineForgiveness is like a medicine that heals the hurts of the past, but it is a self-administered medicine. Only you can truly forgive another person. It is sometimes easy to say, “I forgive you,” but only you can know how genuine that statement really is. Usually, like any medicine, it takes many doses before healing is really complete. You may feel that you have completely forgiven, only to find that resentments later bubble up to the surface from somewhere deep inside. If that’s the case, you must return again and again to give it another dose of forgiveness medicine.
Because it is a self-administered medicine, forgiveness does not rely on anything external. It cannot be dependent on receiving an apology from someone else, and it is not something someone else can demand from you. Often, people are blithely unaware of the damage they do to others, and while you can express how you feel, it is not up to you to fix them or to make them sorry for their actions. Their spiritual processes, including their own processes of forgiveness, are up to them, not you. Although it might help them heal if you offer forgiveness, forgiveness is ultimately something you do for yourself, not for them.
A View for Growth
It is very important to understand why you struggle and why conflicts arise. It’s not because the universe is randomly cruel or that human beings simply have a bad nature. Rather, there is a grand design behind everything that happens, both positive and negative.
If we were all perfectly aligned with our True Selves, we would have no conflicts and no hurt. But this is not a journey of experiencing perfection; rather, it is a journey of learning, of moving toward growth and completion. Every meeting you have, negative or positive, is orchestrated for your spiritual growth and is, therefore, a sacred meeting.
The conflicts you experience are perhaps the most sacred meetings of all, for these are the ones in which we must make the decision to love or hate, and to forgive or resent. So, use them for gaining a better perspective on your trials and tribulations; know that whatever it is, no matter how hard it is, it is all there for you and your growth. Forgiveness, then, becomes the quickest path back to alignment with your highest self, the quickest path back to peace and harmony, and the quickest path back to love.