Making Peace

 Today I had an interesting day that ran the gamut from a hopelessly happy time with one person, to a simply hopeless experience with another. Though the latter experience, after hard work on both our parts, resolved in peace, it was still difficult. There were times in the past when I was such a finite being that difficult experiences had the power to throw me so far out of the character of love that I would not be able to find my way back for long periods of time. If I had a problematic encounter with someone, I carried it with me throughout the day, unable to be free.

I’ve changed, and I no longer carry such loads. Maybe, by the grace of God, I’ve managed to come to a faith that makes burdens light, and the yoke of faith easy. Or maybe today I was better able to appropriate grace. In either case, my conflict brought to mind the difficulties of navigating human relationships, and how necessary it is to cultivate peacefulness, lovingkindness, and joy in life. Many times, including today as I worked through the conflict with my loved one, I am reminded that mercy and forgiveness do, indeed, triumph over judgment.

Forgiveness is necessary to peacemakers, and it’s difficult to make peace when one has been hurt. One of the best means of facilitating forgiveness that I’ve learned came from Buddhism. Maybe it appeals to me because it speaks in a language that’s not as familiar to me as Christianity, because certainly both religions teach the same sort of forgiveness, compassion, and lovingkindness. But his forgiveness excersise resonates with me, so I thought I would share it.

 

Forgiveness Meditation

Allow memories, images and emotions for which you have never forgiven yourself to come up in your mind.

Can I accept that I am just an ordinary human being with some bad and some good qualities?

Did I not suffer enough from these actions?

I have learned and grown, and I am ready to open my heart to myself. When ready, say:

I forgive myself for whatever I did, intentional or unintentional.
May I be happy, free of confusion, understand myself and the world.
May I help others to be happy, free of confusion and understanding.

Now imagine yourself in front of a person you love and want to forgive.

Can you accept this person as a human being with bad and good qualities?

When ready, say:

From my heart, I forgive you for whatever you did, intentional or not.
May you be happy, free of confusion and understand yourself and the world.
Please forgive me for whatever I did to you, intentional or unintentional.
May we open our hearts and minds to meet in love and understanding.

Now imagine yourself in front of someone you have hurt.

Can you accept the other person as an ordinary human being with bad and good qualities?

When ready, say:

Please forgive me for whatever I did to you, intentional or unintentional.
May you be happy, free of confusion and understand yourself and the world.
Please forgive me for whatever I did to you, intentional or unintentional.
May we open our hearts and minds to meet in love and understanding.

Now imagine yourself in front of a person you feel very negative towards.

Can you accept this person as a human being with bad and good qualities?

When ready, say:

Please forgive me for whatever I did to you, intentional or unintentional.
May you be happy, free of confusion and understand yourself and the world.
Please forgive me for whatever I did to you, intentional or unintentional.
May we open our hearts and minds to meet in love and understanding.

Lovingkindness Meditation

May I be healed of problems, dissatisfaction and pain
May I be able to forgive myself and find peace
May I be able to live from my heart
May I be happy, with only good thoughts and experiences”

May you all be healed of problems and pain
May you all forgive yourself and find peace
May you all be able to live from your heart
May you all be happy and give happiness to others

10 responses

  1. Pingback: Dream Analysis: The Sphinx « The Third Eve

  2. Tiv, it sounds trite to say, “I feel your pain,” but I at least see it and comprehend how difficult and painful this must be for you. It seems just as difficult to the ‘other side,’ from my viewpoint as an observer.

    Maybe we should leave the blogsophere and go have a cup of tea right now. That sounds pretty good to me. What kind are you having?

    I’m going to have ye olde regular black pekoe, with a side of James Hollis’s The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife. What a great little book; the black cover will match the black tea! ;o)

  3. Charlotte, I know I feel awful when I’m stuck in anger, yet I also know that I nearly always feel it’s someone else’s fault.

    I hate that! LOL.

  4. Too bad we can’t sit down for tea, but in brief, I don’t hate these people, I just want them to stop lying about me and leave me alone. I can’t discuss this with them because they have demeaned me to nonhuman status by cutting off all communication. I tried to wish one of the peripheral ones well, and she pretended by comment didn’t exist. If I’m being treated as invisible, I can’t very well “work”on a relationship. They sent me hate comments overnight, anonymous. I can’t ignore that. I just want them to go away. I wish them well, just somewhere else.

  5. Tiv, I usually find that when I angrily point to the bottomless hole in another person, my own bottomless hole is crying out to be filled.

    This is not to say that there are no other bottomless holes besides mine; there are. Yet because of my world view, that bottomless hole that belongs to the other is also my bottomless hole; and my bottomless hole that they decry is yet their bottomless hole. I might even be playful and call it a bottomless, eternal WHOLE, because that’s what I’m talking about.

    In Buddhist practice, they have people always begin with forgiving themselves. We work on that until we can forgive ourselves and understand that we are, after all, mere mortals (like everyone else). Only after we can forgive ourselves do we move on to meditate on forgiving a person we love, then like… then on to strangers…then on to someone with whom we are very angry, or of whom we are afraid.

    It’s those last bits that are so daunting. Like many other people, I struggle to meditate a long time, sometimes, before I can forgive a person who scares or offends me deeply.

    Once when I was in my 20s I was at a Bible study, and I actually asked people to pray and agree with me that another woman who was persecuting me mercilessly would suffer some judgment from God that would shut her up. An elderly lady, a matriarch in the church, looked me square in the eye and said, “Jesus taught to love your enemy, to do good to those who mistreat you, and to pray for them; I am not going to pray that harm or judgment comes to this lady who is persecuting you. I’ll only agree to pray with you if you pray for her blessing, freedom, peace, and joy.”

    I burst into tears with shame that second, seeing how far I was from the ideal of love and mercy, and recognizing that I was possessed with the very same hatred of which I accused my enemy.

    But I started praying for her every day, and some time later–months later–I noticed that a tiny seedling of love and compassion had grown in my heart; I changed and I wasn’t bitter.

    This woman remained an antagonist in my life for many years afterward, but she didn’t cause me pain or bitterness any more. She did cause a lot of suffering for others, and this bothered me; but I didn’t carry it, and I felt a lot of compassion for the others she was hurting, too.

    Last year, this woman put a gun to her head and killed herself. I attended her memorial service and there wasn’t a person in the room who seemed able to say that her life had been a good life. Her life was a terrible example of what not to do with pain, because the pain she carried eventually killed her. In fact, one time I saw her shouting at another person she was arguing with, “Your bitterness is going to kill you!”

    If only she had seen that her bitterness was killing her, she might have done something to save herself.

  6. Good morning, friends. Lee, I love what you wrote because it’s true: everything I project out there with my pointing finger is about me, and what I’m not conscious of. I’ve lost my inner compass because of something someone else did, so I blamed them. Yet if I change what’s amiss inside me, what the other person does no longer has any power. Loss of balance that arises only from the real, transcendent self is exactly what the problem is. So thank you for reminding me; your comment weds practice with spirit, so to speak.

    I’ll go look t the I Ching, thank you for that, too.

  7. This is really lovely. I never have any problem forgiving loved ones. It’s strangers who have harassed and harassed me to change things I’ve written and then used the things I took out and claimed I called THEM those things, that kind of truly psychotic distortion that I know I will never untangle that just makes me throw up my hands in frustration. These people want attention, not forgiveness. I’ve know people like that. They are a bottomless hole. Think what you will.

  8. It really does begin with self-forgiveness, doesn’t it? Because, basically, what we find intolerable in another’s behavior is the fact that it keeps bringing us back to our own loss of balance. To the pain of feeling inadequate to the circumstances. “He/she made me SO angry” – in other words he/she reminded me that I am not the totally-together person I want/aspire to be. If I don’t forgive myself for being less-than-perfect in my handling of a situation, there’s no way I can let go because I have to prove to myself that I can handle it.
    (Of course, it’s a lot easier to say when it isn’t one’s self-esteem at stake…)
    P.S. Hexagram 44 of the I Ching also has some pretty powerful advice on the topic from the perspective of meeting darkness and negativity in a balanced way.

  9. How beautiful. Thank you. Anger, hurt and sadness do keep us stuck, don’t they? This is a way to work through those feelings and move forward.

    I’ve just sent the meditation to someone I know who is very stuck. I hope it helps her to open her eyes to her own role in things and realise that without forgiveness, she will always feel pain.

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