Thursday, April 29

quality music ... in a garrage

on forgiveness

In ultimate analysis, your choice to make is between being right and being happy.
(excerpt from "The Book of Utnapistim", which is not yet written)

Forgiveness is not something you do for another but something you do for yourself. I am talking here of the exact moment when you let go of all the pain, of all the anger and resentments and your shoulders drop suddenly. You all of a sudden feel very relieved and ... possibly happy again.

It is a moment of great release.

This kind of forgiveness is not about accepting everything that happens to you, or letting someone walk over you - in fact you should remove yourself from a situation where you get hurt as soon as possible. What I am talking about is not clinging to the pain after you've been hurt.

Forgiveness is the awesome power to let go of what happened, to be fresh again in the next moment. This is one of the keys of lasting happiness.

When seen from this angle, forgiveness is the opposite of letting someone walk all over you. It is a way of saying "my life is not about <whatever hurt me>". In fact, what happened matters so little that I have already gotten over it - it just doesn't matter in the long run.

In the end, this king of forgiveness is simply the right perspective to go with.

This forgiveness begins with acceptance - with the unconditional acceptance of the situation as it is now. If you were hurt, accept you were hurt. If you are angry about it, accept your anger.

Accepting means that you will stop rationalizing it, justifying it, thinking about what happened, spinning it, reinterpreting and going over it again and again, thinking <what ifs>, and <I should have>s, making scenarios, explaining it in your head, and generally all that jazz*.

We do this all the time: some event makes us feel pain, then we spin it in our heads for minutes (the lucky ones), for days (that would be ... me) or - in the worst cases - for years to come. Instead of moving on, your whole existence becomes "about that".

I don't mean that it's bad to keep it going, or that you should or shouldn't or any such crap.

It's just that this kind of suffering comes from what is basically clinging to your own pain and what you get out of the whole process is just more pain (although while you're at it, it may look like some kind of "justice", some form of "I was injured", or "poor me", a settling of accounts or proving yourself right). In the end, clinging to your pain is just more pain (just like getting revenge, in the ultimate analysis is just more pain).

In the end the key to forgiveness is this: look at all the hurt and face it like an upstanding human being (to the degree that there is such a thing as an upstanding human being). Embrace all the pain you may feel with all that you are at this moment.

When you do this, your tension towards it is gone, and you may come to realize something startling: you're not actually that hurt, it's not as bad as it seemed while you were fighting it and it is in fact quite small; You may even discover it's insignificant.

When you are here, forgiveness has already happened (and no, nobody walked over you in the process).

* Come to think of it, jazz is actually quite nice. Don't go starting to associate it with mental pain now.