Wednesday, May 30, 2012

“If I develop bad feelings toward those who make me suffer, this will only destroy my own peace of mind. But if I forgive, my mind becomes calm...I now have full conviction that destructive emotions like hatred is no use”.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama: The Wisdom of Forgiveness (2004).

Willing to Look

Our conversations this week concerned themselves with the practice of forgiveness; we discussed why releasing hostility toward someone whose behaviour we find frustrating is both helpful and necessary.

We all know someone from our past that we hold grievances against and find difficult to see as whole and innocent. As students of A Course in Miracles we have found that a crucial part of our practice is to be steadfast in using the felt sense to notice uncomfortable sensations arising as a result of our fears.

The person that irritates us is really only a projection of our own mind. Connecting deeply to our discomfort only shows us where we still have some healing to do. This is why the person is our greatest teacher and healer. They set us free from the deep hurts that we cling to by bringing our awareness to them.

It is not only a regular practice, but a discipline too. Projecting anger and resentment can really feed our need to feel self-righteous and superior. It takes commitment and the support of others to turn the ship around and choose love instead of fear. We are mistaken when we believe these thoughts keep us safe in some way.

When we forgive ourselves for believing in a seeming reality that is not true we reap the benefits of a calm mind and heart. We detach from our irritations by refusing to buy into them. We take Pema Chodron’s advice and “don’t bite the hook”.

Over time we begin to notice a deep peace transforming our consciousness and a tendency to laugh with compassion at our attempts to judge ourselves and others. It gets easier to spot our ego (the false self) at work and we are quicker to step in with forgiveness. Where doors to our spirit were once shut tight, another place of open-ness and healing reveals itself.

When our minds become calmer in the face of a former hatred, we can sink even deeper into the heart where the work of true alchemy takes place. From here the person who showed us the places we were hurting becomes “a saviour, come to set us free”. Who else could show us the depths of our seeming hurt so it can be brought to the light of transformation? Be glad and send them blessings.