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May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Sunday, January 17, 2010

About Forgiveness


Real forgiveness is unconditional. When something happened and we felt hurt, angry and unhappy, but we don’t want to be unhappy, and want to be free from anger and being hurt, we need to be able to forgive and let go… In unconditional forgiveness, we do not expect other people to be sincere to ask for forgiveness from us, or be regretful for what they had did, but, we forgive everyone including ourselves for being imperfect, and let go of any anger and hatred that arised and accumulated due to we cannot forgive and let go of what had happened…

Practicing unconditional forgiveness or to forgive and let go unconditionally, is initially about being kind to ourselves, and then is about being compassionate towards other beings who had intentionally or unintentionally inflicted the anger, pain or unhappiness in us.

Usually when someone intentionally inflicts unhappiness or generates tensions onto somebody else, it is because he or she is very unhappy and is suffering from anger, hatred and dissatisfaction. We should be compassionate towards them, show them peace and loving kindness, share love and happiness with them, and not being angry with them.

If somebody unintentionally inflicts unhappiness or generates tensions onto somebody else, then why do we still want to be angry and unhappy about it, since it is just an intention-less act comes from beings without the awareness that their action might cause somebody else discomforts… We should be compassionate towards them and show them peace and loving kindness, share love and happiness with them, and not being angry with them as well.

And so, whether anybody had intentionally or unintentionally inflicted any unhappiness or tensions onto somebody else, we should be compassionate towards them, and show them peace and loving kindness to ease their painful suffering that had caused them doing such ignorant action, and not being angry and hating towards anybody at all…

If we are being angry and unhappy about somebody or some undesirable happenings, we are the first one who is getting hurt and will bring harmful effects into our body and the mind. And if we extend this anger or unhappiness onto some other people, we will be hurting other people too. If we don’t know how to forgive and let go, we are actually hurting our own self, and bringing painful suffering to ourselves and others as well.

If we can forgive other people’s imperfections and wrong doings, we actually prevent ourselves and other people from getting further harms into the body and the mind. But first of all, we need to be able to forgive ourselves for our own imperfections and mistakes, then only we can forgive other people’s imperfections and mistakes.

In order to be able to forgive ourselves for being imperfect and accept ourselves as we are, we need to know how to accept ourselves as we are for what we can do and cannot do; for what we had did and haven’t done yet; be able to let go of the past instantly without any judgments, comparisons, criticisms and expectations. We also need to know how to not attach to all the names and forms, and know what is renounce from the fruit of our actions; not identify with the thoughts, feelings and sensations; know how to observe all the thoughts, feelings and sensations without associate with them or react to them, and let them go. We need to be able to accept ourselves as we are, without judgment and expectation, then only we can accept other people as they are, without judgment and expectation… Not expecting other people will be the way that we want them to be.

In order to be able to accept ourselves as we are and accept other people as they are, we need to know how to accept everything in the world as it is; not trying to interfere with the law of nature; not trying to control anything to be the way that we want them to be. At the same time, we also need to allow both “good” and “not good” things to be exist in this same space of the universe. We don’t possess the universe. Everyone and everything has the rights to be exist in this space of the universe just like ourselves being here.

And to start with, we practice observing the natural breath. Just be aware of the natural breath. Be aware of the air coming in and going out from the nostrils during the inhalation and exhalation. Accept the breath as it is. Not trying to interfere, or to control, or to change the pattern or the rhythm of the breath. Let go of any judgments, comparisons and expectations towards the breath and the result of observing the breath.

After inhalation, we have to exhale. After exhalation, we need to inhale. If we try to just inhale and not exhale, we will be in suffering. If we try to just exhale and not inhale, we will be in suffering too. If we try to not inhale nor exhale, we will be in great suffering. What we can do is, allow the breath to be what it is, allowing the inhalation to happen and allowing the exhalation to happen naturally. This is the law of impermanence. Having birth, we need to allow growth, old age, decaying, illness and death to happen, and accept all the different changes in our body and in the mind as it is, from moment to moment. Sometimes we feel good, sometimes we feel bad. Sometimes we have negative thoughts, sometimes we have positive thoughts. Sometimes we experience comfortable sensations, sometimes we experience uncomfortable sensations. Sometimes we act and speak selfishly, but sometimes we act and speak unselfishly. Sometimes we are wise and clear minded, but sometimes we are ignorant and confused in the mind.

Know that we are not the body, we are not the mind. We do not identify with them, and not generate reaction towards what the mind and body is experiencing from moment to moment, nor associate with them. We stand as a witness towards all the changes that is happening in our body and in the mind. We let all these phenomena manifest themselves; stay for a while; they will change and disappear – unceasingly arising and passing away. And then we extend this practice of being an observer, observing all the happenings out there in the world. Everything happens for a reason. If there is no such cause, there will be no such effect. If there is such effect, it is because there is such cause. We all are responsible for all the happenings in our lives and in the world.

Once we understand this, and are able to accept everything as it is, then we can accept ourselves as we are and accept other people as they are without any strong attachment towards all the conflicts and unhappiness that is happening among us and other people, or in any relationships. We are able to forgive and let go. The past is already gone, we can’t go back to the past to change or undo what had happened. Let them be and let them go. The future has not arrived yet, it doesn’t exist in the reality of this present moment. The present moment now is constantly changing from moment to moment.

If earlier I felt very bad, it doesn’t mean that I will continue to feel bad forever. If I was very angry earlier, it doesn’t mean that I will be angry forever. Either I will become more angry or less angry, and sooner or later this feeling of anger will disappear. Especially if we divert our attention onto something else. We can try and experience the truth of impermanence. Try to stay sad and angry for a long time. It will be so tiring and the intensity will becoming less and less. It doesn’t stay constantly the same unchanged. It’s the same for any happy feelings and excitement. They all don’t last long, and will change and disappear. Even the state of calmness is impermanent. If we know how to transcend these three states of the mind (agitation, depression and calmness), we will be free and be at peace all the time.

If we know the truth of impermanence, and able to accept the law of impermanence as it is, we will not have any attachment towards any names and forms, including both happy and unhappy events. We also won’t have any judgments, comparisons, criticisms and expectations towards ourselves and other people.

Once we let go of judgments and expectations towards ourselves and other people, we will be free from anger, irritation, frustration, dissatisfaction and disappointment. And thus we don’t even need to forgive anybody for any unhappy events, or against-our-wish happenings. If we know how to accept the reality of everything as it is, we don’t need to forgive anyone or anything. Because there is nothing there that we need to forgive or need to be letting go. It is only when we cannot accept the truth of thing as it is, because it is not the way that we want it to be, we will be angry, upset, dissatisfied and unhappy.

But if we still be disturbed, affected and determined by all the qualities of names and forms, and still have anger, unhappiness, disappointment and getting upset about someone or something, then we need to cultivate forgiveness to heal ourselves, to be kind to ourselves, and be compassionate towards all beings including those who had inflicted pain and suffering onto us, intentionally or unintentionally…

What is the meaning of being so upset or unhappy about some other people doing something wrong and bad, and make ourselves be in misery due to other people’s ignorance? We don’t have to. Let other people’s wrong doings and ignorance be with their respective owner, and not carry other people’s unhappiness and ignorance into our hearts. Be happy and let go. Life is too precious to waste our time and energy in conflicts, unhappiness, anger and hatred.

Whether other people sincerely ask for our forgiveness or not, we should forgive all and everything that had hurt us intentionally or unintentionally. This is actually being kind and compassionate towards ourselves and other beings. Wish all beings (including ourselves) be free from anger, hatred and guilt, and be at peace…

If we cannot forgive and cannot let go, we will never be in peace… Why do we want to hurt ourselves by being unforgiving and refuse to let go? Free ourselves from anger and hatred is true liberation… Whether other people want to forgive us for our imperfections, and free themselves from anger and hatred or not, even after we asked for forgiveness from them sincerely, that is their own freedom and choices, if they want to continue to be angry and unhappy, and don’t want to forgive and let go… We should respect their freedom to be angry and unhappy, and allow them to be angry and unhappy. We don’t have to feel unhappy and guilty if other people cannot forgive us and cannot let go of their anger and hatred towards us… Let them be what they want to be… When we ourselves are free from anger and hatred, then only we can share love and peace with other people…

If we ourselves cannot forgive and let go, how can we expect other people to forgive and let go? And if we can forgive and let go, then we won’t be bother about what other people did and didn’t do, and whether other people can forgive and let go or not. We can’t be angry with other people who are angry with us for what we have done and cannot forgive us… They have the rights to be angry and unforgiving, and be unhappy and not peaceful… It is their own responsibility to cultivate compassion and be compassionate towards themselves, and practice compassion towards other people, and to forgive and let go, and be in peace…

It is our own responsibility to be compassionate towards ourselves and other beings, to forgive and let go, and be in peace…

Be happy.

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Know thyself. There is no existence of 'I'. Everything is impermanent. Be free, be peaceful, be happy.

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Pantai Cenang, Langkawi, Kedah, Malaysia
My husband and I run ongoing yoga retreats in Langkawi Malaysia. We teach traditional Hatha Yoga - a combination of Asanas (postures) and Pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, that has given benefit to millions of practitioners over thousands of years. Our yoga studio is situated in Langkawi. We also run yoga retreats in Europe and India.

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