There have been a couple of things pootling around my head lately, on this bumpy old Path.
I was having a conversation the other day about forgiveness. This is not an unusual occurrence just now. In my experience, when there’s something you need to assimilate, it throws itself at you with such insistence and regularity that resistence proves futile…
So, the concept of forgiveness is one that I have been grappling with for some considerable time.
My first observation is that we need to detach from the story. And by story I mean ‘Victim Story’. The concept that anyone else has any control over the life we are living now is, frankly, skewed. The only person with any control over your happiness is you. Nonetheless, people are successful at self-control to greater and lesser extents, and it is a sad fact that if we are unable to relinquish blame and attack, we are likely to be very negatively motivated. And who needs that in their life? Happiness is dependent upon your thoughts, on which of them you believe, and on how positive (or otherwise) they are.
So, while it is not only possible but vital to learn to forgive, it will not always lead to a healing in your relationship. That part is very much dependent upon the relationship between you and the person you are forgiving. After all, if you are forgiving a past hurt, and there is a genuine change of heart, or behaviour, then your relationship has great hope of being healed. If, however, there is no change of heart or in behaviour, you may need to give it up. This I have mentioned many times before: if you can’t say ‘no’ within a relationship, you may have to say ‘no’ to the relationship. None of which is easy. Until you understand, that is.
Until you understand. It isn’t about looking backwards and becoming mired in the past. That’s already been and gone. It is about moving forward, the lessons assimilated, your heart and mind open to new experiences. Which will surely come.
In short, then, it is not difficult – once you have taken the decision – to forgive. It will set you free. Sounds trite, doesn’t it? But it’s true. All the while you have been holding a grudge against your ‘violator’, you have been keeping yourself locked up. That is the biggest and saddest irony of all.
As far as forgetting is concerned, I’d argue that it is important to forget the hurt, but I would argue that it is just as important not to forget the lesson. “Hurt me once, shame on you. Hurt me twice, shame on me”. It’s rather a blunt way of putting it, and leaves out the possibility of any wriggle room in between the hurts, doesn’t it? But it holds merit all the same. There’s a message in it. You don’t need to keep going back for more. But you don’t need to hold onto the hurt or the resentment or the blame. You can let that go, too.
On a much lighter note, I was listening to Wayne Dyer the other day (just how many times have I written that?!) and he was talking about singing a song with his little daughter many moons ago. The song, and we all know it, is Row, Row, Row Your Boat
And this is what he said (I’m paraphrasing):
Row, row, row your boat.
Not my boat. Not someone else’s boat. Not a boat someone else has told you to row. And don’t let anyone else row it, either. Row your boat.
Not angrily. Don’t force it. But go gently. With compassion. And… gentleness.
Down the stream.
Don’t row your boat up the stream. That will just bring you difficulty. Row your boat down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily.
Keep cheerful. Row with joy. Not sadness or unhappiness. But with a merry disposition.
Life is but a dream.
It’s fleeting, isn’t it? And here Dr Dyer quotes Henry David Thoreau. I cannot remember the exact quote, but here’s another of his that fits the bill perfectly:
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
So here we are again, eh?
Row your boat.
And enjoy the journey.