I have attended many workshops and read many books in the zone of self help and motivation. What I have seen is that the one principle that makes us feel must better and by extension, the world around us better is forgiving others for what they have done.
“Lord forgive them as they know not what they have done,” said Jesus and founded an entire religion based on this key principle.
The religion was born but have we imbibed its principles and those that teach us the same thing in their own way ? I truly do not know if we have as we are looking out for whom to blame almost all the time.
How then can we learn to forgive? This is possible only when we understand them. This understanding can come only if step into their shoes and look at the world from their perspective.
This is beneficial for them and most importantly for us too. For, in the journey of life, not forgiving others impacts our mind so intensely that the body too rebels.
When someone errs inadvertently or knowingly, if we bless them with equanimity, there are definitely more chances that change could take place in the whole scenario. Even if the situation does not change as we would like it to, we can be at peace only if we learn to forgive.
There are many techniques people use to forgive. Writing their names and throwing water, so on and so forth. What makes most sense to me, however, is to forgive people as we and they are dynamic beings who change all the time. I would like to end with a favourite story of mine in this context.
The Buddha was sitting under a tree talking to his disciples when a man came and spat in his face. He wiped it off, and he asked the man, “What next? What do you want to say next?” The man was a little puzzled because he himself never expected that when you spit on somebody’s face, he will ask, “What next?” He had no such experience in his past. He had insulted people and they had become angry and they had reacted. Or if they were cowards and weaklings, they had smiled, trying to bribe the man. But Buddha was like neither, he was not angry nor in any way offended, nor in any way cowardly. But just matter-of-factly he said, “What next?” There was no reaction on his part.
Puzzled, confused, the man returned home. He could not sleep the whole night. When you see a Buddha, it is difficult, impossible to sleep anymore the way you used to sleep before. Again and again he was haunted by the experience. He could not explain it to himself, what had happened. He was trembling all over, sweating and soaking the sheets. He had never come across such a man; the Buddha had shattered his whole mind and his whole pattern, his whole past.
The next morning he went back. He threw himself at Buddha’s feet. Buddha asked him again, “What next? This, too, is a way of saying something that cannot be said in language. When you come and touch my feet, you are saying something that cannot be said ordinarily, for which all words are too narrow; it cannot be contained in them.”
The man looked at Buddha and said, “Forgive me for what I did yesterday.”
Buddha said, “Forgive? But I am not the same man to whom you did it. The Ganges goes on flowing, it is never the same Ganges again. Every man is a river. The man you spit upon is no longer here. I look just like him, but I am not the same, much has happened in these twenty-four hours! The river has flowed so much. So I cannot forgive you because I have no grudge against you.
“And you also are new. I can see you are not the same man who came yesterday because that man was angry and he spit, whereas you are bowing at my feet, touching my feet. How can you be the same man? You are not the same man, so let us forget about it. Those two people, the man who spit and the man on whom he spit, both are no more. Come closer. Let us talk of something else.”