I have always known that forgiveness is important. Forgiving and being able to allow something to be in the past is important for being able to be in the present. Not being able to forgive can destroy relationships.
Carrying the burden of anger and hate makes us toxic to be around and depletes our energy. Most importantly, it destroys our relationship with ourselves. We lose our inner peace.
Knowing you need to learn forgiveness is a lot easier that actually doing it. The person we tend to be the most unforgiving towards is ourselves. We all have a mean spirited inner voice that criticizes us for not being even more perfect than we expect others to be. It relentlessly terrorizes our thoughts.
So maybe forgiveness starts within ourselves. When we can let ourselves be human and flawed, we are more ready to offer that same compassion to others.
When I began meditating, I realized that I maliciously attacked myself every time I attempted it. I beat myself up because thoughts and emotions kept coming up. I told myself I wasn’t a good meditator and I believed I would never get it “right”.
I have since learned that I am completely normal. There is no “right” and my mind will never completely stop having new thoughts arise.
Now I use the practice of meditation to acknowledge my grasping at perfection and my human inability to achieve it. This is what meditation is. It is forgiving oneself over and over each time a new thought arises. In doing this, the thought releases and floats gently away.
Of course, new thoughts do arise. And then I get to practice being forgiving and loving with myself again. I have learned to release a thought without the condition that it not return.
When I decide to cling to the outcome by having conditions, I almost guarantee the thought will return. Instead, I lovingly understand that my mind is doing what minds do. It is not the enemy. I am not trying to defeat it, only to work with it.
Of course there are those particularly important thoughts. The “what ifs” that some part of me feels must be solved, the item on my to-do list I have neglected three days in a row or that amazing new revelation that I am afraid to let go of lest I lose it completely.
The truth is sometimes I give in to them. Especially to the amazing revelations! But most of the time it is more constructive to allow that the thought may have merit and promise to give it more attention at another time. And I stick to that, sometimes making mental appointments with myself to focus on that issue for a few minutes at a later time.
By doing this, I have learned to be patient with myself, allowing myself to have what I need and to be what I am. I am practicing forgiveness, releasing myself from the domineering voice of shame.
In recognizing my own humanness and imperfection, I have been able to be more easily in the flow of understanding the imperfection of others. Not only that, I am learning to appreciate it.
But it is a practice and as such, I must keep doing it. Sometimes we don’t practice to “make perfect” but for the sake of the practice itself. Someone dear to me once told me that life is about “progression, not perfection”. With forgiveness and meditation, this is certainly true.
As I experience human frailty in myself, I am able to understand that we are all doing the best we can with what we know at that given moment. Forgiving allows for more progress rather than demanding perfection. Meditation has taught me the importance of continuing to forgive as a constant practice, with the recognition that we are all learning our own lessons, at our own pace.
- The Lesson that Transformed My Meditation Practice (psychcentral.com)
- Meditation: The Presence of Mind to Let Go. ~ Dana Gornall & Catherine Beekmans (elephantjournal.com)
- “I Don’t Feel Anything.” How to Get Benefits from Meditation. (elephantjournal.com)