Monday, June 13, 2011

Letting Go

"Forgiveness is primarily for our own sake, so that we no longer carry the burden of resentment. But to forgive does not mean we will allow injustice again."
-The Buddha

I keep returning back to letting things go because I am an angry person. I found the above quote on Facebook this morning. Ah, such wisdom in one sentence. The Buddha(Gautama) was such a great teacher. I probably knew this but could not put it in one small sound bite, one small sentence. Yes, I knew this but didn't.

I remember years ago wrestling with the ethical question of whether or not to forgive those who hurt me in the past. I was with others who were hurt as I was and some who were abused worse. It was the consensus of that meeting that we did not have to forgive. We thought we were taking the high road. I always felt uncomfortable with that decision, and wish I could go back to that group and explain how wrong it was at least to me. Forgiving isn't for others. It is for the self.

I have seen films and read of abusers who have gone back to their victims and asked for forgiveness and expected their victims to make them feel better. The abusers often felt angry when the victims reacted with anger to them. The bullies were still mired in their egos and still wanted others to take care of them. The victims have no such obligation. The abusers needed to make peace with themselves and do the work and not expect others to do it for them. They still have some miles to travel on that road.

I had a remarkable dream yesterday during a nap. I dreamed that I was with two people who were friends a very long time ago. I was at a place that was a combination of several universities that I had attended and graduated from and also several work sites that I worked in for some years and left. Those places were important to me and felt like I had undergone life changing events.

In the dream, the two friends were leaving, as I was, the job site and I was asking what they had been doing since I last seen them many years ago. I told them that I now lived in Portland, Oregon. I also said that I did not have a writer's block anymore. They told me what they had done. The two left and as I was walking down some stairs, someone walking up said to be careful or I might fall. I thanked her for the advice. I watched as I stepped down the stairs that resembled the ones that are outside this building.

In a way, it seemed as if I was leaving those events behind me. I was finally able to forgive the people that seemed to have done the most hurtful things to me in the past. Those things dropped off of me like a coat. I had reached a point that I had forgiven them. Maybe, I had forgiven my part too. That did not mean I was going to allow the injustices to occur again for I am not. But, I am going to detach from those events and let them go and start my life anew. I am getting on with my life without the anger I had been feeling, the resentment that I have been carrying. I think it is time.

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