The Heart to Forgive

The Heart to Forgive

By S.B. Keshava Swami |

How do we find the heart to forgive someone?

The goal of life is not to remember all the terrible things that someone has done to you, but rather to remember all the wonderful, divine things that are happening to you every single day. But while we’re hijacked by these negative thoughts, emotions and bitterness towards others, we don’t have the headspace to fully acknowledge the beauty in our lives. Forgiveness is essential because it frees up room in our consciousness. The spiritual knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita gives three essential insights which help us to forgive.

Firstly, we develop a deeper vision of ourselves. We are spirit souls on a journey through different chapters of life and all of our current experiences are connected to previous acts. This is a not a chapter of life which is in isolation. So, when someone sends some negativity towards us, when someone seemingly does something unreasonable, illogical, impulsive and hurtful, we know there is a higher reason why I’m going through this. It helps us avoid imprisoning ourselves into victim mentality. Other people are the messengers of our karma, delivering us lessons that we need to learn. Rather than holding them responsible for my difficulties, I instead take that responsibility myself.

Another insight that facilitates forgiveness is when we look at ourselves and realise we also made many mistakes. We have been unkind to others. We’ve also fallen prey to the human weakness of causing harm and anxiety to others in small or big ways. Thus, we appreciate that people are weak. We can’t be judges for other people’s mistakes and then lawyers for our own. There will be times when we will make mistakes and we will require the broadmindedness of others to forgive us.

Finally, forgiveness become easier when we appreciate that the world is meant to be uncomfortable and frustrating. The world is meant to be imperfect, but the Bhagavad-gita explains it’s ‘perfectly imperfect.’ In other words, all the problems and discomfort of this world are meant to remind us that we’re not made for this realm. We can thus forgive, because we can appreciate that whatever we went through is ultimately an impetus moving me towards eternal freedom.

Forgiveness, empowered by these deep insights, becomes much more possible. The greatest personalities in our tradition were able to forgive even the greatest injustices, because they were empowered with this broad vision of reality.

(Excerpt from the upcoming “Tattva2: Old Words Open New Worlds”)