Conscious Forgiveness

I was contemplating “grievances” recently – with my clients and for myself – those treasons and betrayals that break our hearts and wound our spirits… and I came across this Longfellow quote in a Jack Kornfield piece:

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.”

And I thought a bit about the treasons and betrayals I have committed – and the treasons and betrayals committed by others… and found, at their core, a well of profound fear or anger or loneliness.

When I look back at some of the wrong turns in my life, the missteps, the bad behaviors, I like to believe that if I could have done it better in the moment – if I could have had the clarity to move past my own pain or insecurity or jealousy or woundedness – I would have.

Can’t we all say that about our lives at some point?

If we could have done it better in the moment – we would have.

And if that’s true for me, maybe it’s true for the people who hurt me as well.

While knowing this doesn’t necessarily “disarm all hostility” – it helps I think take away the sting… It opens the door to find “conscious forgiveness”… Not “forgetting what happened” (because there is wisdom in that place) – but – allowing for a deeper, more nuanced, understanding of the story.

It directs my gaze, if not on the path to forgiveness, at least towards it – for myself and for others.

And in freeing myself – I can perhaps free “them” – and you – and we can all… begin again.