A couple of days ago, I was having a conversation about forgiveness as a way to lighten your load. Sometimes the burdens others have laid upon you place a very heavy load on your shoulders. Forgiveness removes the burdens and liberates your soul.
In the conversation about forgiveness, I explained that we carry the burdens that others have given us. We hold grudges, or we are angry or frustrated with the other people, or we feel badly about ourselves based upon what had been said or done in the past.
I explained that ultimately, proceeding forward this way weighs us down. That is what I realized in my recovery. Whoever I was not forgiving was in charge of my life and my recovery because they were in charge of elevating my negative emotions. At that point, unconditional forgiveness became necessary and easy. Forgiveness lightened my load and set me free.
And then a story came to me that I had heard some time ago:
Two monks are on their way back to the monastery, an older monk and a younger monk. They come upon a river and a woman is standing at the edge of the river.
The older monk asks the woman is she needs safe passage across the river and she says yes. Without another thought, he scoops her up in his arms and walks across the river with the younger monk by his side.
On the other side, he puts her down, she says “thank you,” he say, “you are welcome,” and the monks continue their remaining walk to the monastery. As they are walking, the younger monk begins his protestations:
“I cannot believe you touched a woman. And not just any woman, but a peasant woman with torn clothes and no undergarments. You could see her breast hanging out of her top, and when you lifted her to carry her, all of her private parts were showing.” And he continued on and on and on with his complaining.
As the two reached the gate to the monastery, the older monk stopped, turned to the younger monk, and finally spoke: “A woman needed passage across the river. I picked her up, carried her across, and put her down on the other side. You are the only still carrying her these last three miles.”
Whoever hurt you with whatever they said or did, remove the burdens of the past from your shoulders and put them down. They belong to the wrongdoer and are not your burdens to carry. You have carried these burdens way too long. Put the burdens down, offer forgiveness, lighten your load, and liberate your soul.
You can do this.
You are worth it!!!
All my best,
Ty this is such a beautiful reminder
As always it is very useful
Thanks, Howard. This reminds me of a story from my own experience. After you introduced me to the Recipe for Recovery, I got very interested in learning more Qigong because I always felt better doing the medical Qigong exercises. I found a local Qigong instructor and began attending classes. There was a woman in our class who one day, after class, went on and on about a contractor who had not done what she expected him to. She was adding more details about just how terrible he was and as she spoke she kept getting angrier and angrier. Our teacher said, Very calmly “For yourself, for your own wellbeing, you need to forgive him.” She replied that he “doesn’t deserve to be forgiven” because of all the ways he betrayed her trust.
Seeing this self-righteous anger in another person helped me to see it more clearly in myself. My sense of fairness demanded that I not let someone who harmed me “off the hook.” After watching that exchange between the teacher and the other student, I realized that I was the only one ON the hook. I was like that student, whipping up my anger again and again, replaying my version of the story to my own audience of one! The other person actually didn’t know or care. I was me I was not letting off the hook. It was hard for me to let go of that, and to free myself. But I’m getting better at it over time.
This is very helpful. Why do we in the first place carry that burden all the time with us?
Howard, thank you so much. We are grateful for all your help.
Sharon in North Carolina
Respected Howard sir,
This is genuinely a very relevant point in recovery. I want to share an incident which happened yesterday with me. I am an Ophthalmologist. Due to Parkinson’s disease, my efficiency to examine patients is a bit reduced in term of speed. One of my patients came yesterday, who himself is also a doctor. He went to my colleague’s office for consultation and then came to say hi to me. Initially I felt bad, but then I counseled myself and forgave him for not understanding the situation. I felt better. It is always better to give our load off by forgiveness. Regards, Mona
Sound advice Howard. Don’t forget to forgive yourselves as well. The wrongs we have committed in our past need this forgiveness so that we can carry on with our lives with less burden. Peace-Andy
I broke up with a woman I had been dating to pursue a relationship with the woman I’ve been married to for 30+ happy years. I felt bad about hurting the woman I was dating because I offered her a lame, hurtful excuse for breaking up. She subsequently married a fine man and they’ve been happily married for 30+ years. One day I finally realized that it was my breaking up with her that paved the way for her to marry into a happy situation. So I forgave myself and we all lived happily ever after.
P.S. She had forgiven me ages ago.
Great, dear Howard, thank you!It always is very helpful to get new advices to go forward!! Thanks to all warriors here too who are writing personal stories. We like it to see how you handle it, thanks!
As usual, sound advice from Howard.
Forgiveness is an asset that we humans should have to move forward in life.
I believe it is an important factor in our recovery.
Stay blessed and be happy.
In a course in miracles, they say:
If you see it negative (out from the ego mind) choose again (from the heart). I realize how I’m used to negative thinking. And how much effort it needs to change this automatic pilot. Choose again and again and again all day long. To bail the water out of the boat as Howard says.
I’m at a place too where I feel the strong need to replace negative habit thinking with positive habit thinking. I’m using lots of meditation and recitations from Howard’s corpus to work on this.
Best of luck and blessings,
Thanks so much for this important message, Howard…when we take on others’ judgements about ourselves, we not only do a disservice to ourselves, we also do a disservice to the other person. Empathy is key, I think…initially it may serve us to offer empathy to ourselves in considering and evaluating the words or actions coming our way (perhaps we are longing for understanding, respect, and caring for example)…then, if we choose to respond to the other, even if we don’t agree with their words or actions, we are more resourced to experience a peaceful outcome.
Forgiveness is the single most act of kindness you could show yourself and others. It says I believe in you and still love you. We are our own toughest critics.