MC: [Graeme Richards]
One of the questions that was posed is, “If forgiveness is difficult for you to begin with—forgiving someone else is hard enough—turning it inward to the person that you know better than anyone else, the person that you probably judge more than anyone else—how do you forgive yourself?”
Well, that’s a wonderful question. Because that is so important, to be able to forgive yourself. And let’s just not even bring “you and somebody else” into the picture. Let’s just talk about forgiveness, what “forgiveness” is.
And a lot of people think “Forgiveness is granting license to mediocrity, granting license to somebody’s mistake.” That is not forgiveness. “Forgiveness” is to sever the relationship with that action that is dragging you down.
So, now, whatever—and, you know, somebody did something to you that was terrible. And that happened a long time ago. But, that person still has a clutch on you. They still have a clutch on you. Because every day that you wake up, perhaps, and in a solitary moment, you curse that person; you think of that person; that person is still connected to you.
And forgiveness is saying, “No more. You will not have control over me. I want my life back. I want my life back, and I do not authorize you, any more, to haunt me.” That’s what forgiveness is.
So, it’s not going around saying, “Oh, yeah, I, I, I know you, you....” I mean, uh! And this is the way I see it. This is the way I see it. I mean, one time a horrible thing happened to me. And then, every time I would think about it, it was like, “Oh, my God, oh, my God, oh, my God.”
And then I just said, “You know, that little punk still has control over me. And I’m not even in his country anymore. And I’m not going to let him have control over me.” And I said, “That’s it. Gone!”
That’s what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is very powerful. It’s really saying, “No, I’ve got my life. Thank you very much.”
Regaining—it’s regaining. Because, if you don’t, then the clutches will still be there. And what it does to you—what this clutching does to you, these claws that are buried inside of you, to infuriate you—it causes anger; it causes fear; it causes you to shut down; it causes you to stop moving forward; it stops appreciation.
And you live in fear. You live in fear! And that person is gone, but the clutches are still there. And it’s saying, “No more, thank you!”
And when you start to look at forgiveness that way, it takes on a whole different meaning. Because, up till now it’s been, it’s like, “Oh, uh, I, I forgive you, and you know, it’s okay. Eh, and you did this to me, and it’s like....”
But you know, there are things that can happen to you in this life that, if you are talking about acceptance of somebody’s actions, it’s not going to happen. It’s just not going to happen! Because you cannot accept some of those actions. They are so heinous!
And you cannot allow yourself to be a victim. Some of the things, you will never be able to say, “Oh, yeah, I’m fine with that.” But! It’s up to you whether you allow the talons of that person and that activity still to be gripping you. Because if you don’t, then use the sword of forgiveness and free yourself. You move on.
So that’s how I see forgiveness. Not saying, “Oh, yeah, okay, you did this.” Because, some of the actions are so heinous! And you see that. You see that happening, so many places.
Another way to understand this is, one day Buddha was out walking, and all these people were saying very bad things about him. So his disciple who was with him came back, and he said, “Buddha, all those people were doing terrible things, saying terrible things to you. Aren’t you affected by that?”
And Buddha said, “Okay, well, see this bowl? Whose bowl is it?” It was Buddha’s bowl. And he said, “Yeah, it’s your bowl!” So then he took the bowl and he scooted it towards his disciple a little bit. He says, “Whose bowl is it now?” The disciple said, “It’s still your bowl.” He scooted it a little closer. “And whose bowl is it now?” Scooted it in a little closer. “Whose bowl is it now?”
He kept going like that, and then finally he took the bowl and put it in his disciple’s lap. He said, “Whose bowl is it now?” He says, “Buddha, it’s still your bowl.” He said, “Exactly. Exactly! I don’t have to accept this. The day I do, it becomes my bowl. But if I don’t, it’s still theirs.”
You know, and I understand—I mean, sometimes these stories are easier said than actually translated into your life, but at least, if you begin to chisel away....
I mean, maybe the rope is so thick that you won’t be able to cut it in one day. But at least, you start severing it, start understanding the dynamics—that you have the power to sever that rope, that this is what forgiveness means.... That, ultimately one day you will weaken that rope; that it will, it’ll be severed.
But you need to begin. You need to start understanding that.
- Prem Rawat