To Forgive is to Release


Finding Access to a Better Way to Live

Recently as a meditation settled deeply upon me, impressions arose about the ways we find wrong in ourselves, in others and in the world. It is so very easy to find fault or wrong, and so very hard to release it once it has been established in our perspective. Who has not struggled with forgiving a perceived wrong, or to stop condemning? Whether with others, or ourselves?

Yet the greater problem may be with actions that are based on our perspective of the wrong. Whenever we believe a wrong has been perpetrated, whether it is true or not, we act it out in some way. However its typically quite difficult to see how we inflict it. Especially it is difficult to see when it is misdirected, for example when an outer wrong results in self-punishment, or fear is expressed through injuring others. 

The only option is to first find the grievance within ourselves. While this is often said to be "forgiving," it may be more useful to think of it as "releasing.” In order to do so, we must move beyond the wrong we perceive, and look to the nature of how we hold onto it. Often, we must look at unpleasant facts about ourselves. For example, some of us take great pleasure in our victimhood, or in our justifications for acting badly.

Once we see the grievances or how we hold onto it, and find ways to address our attachment to them, we have the opportunity to grow still further. I refer to the opportunity to see and change inner beliefs so that we see no wrong in the first place. That’s only possible through understanding that others always act in what they perceive to be their best interests. They are not “bad,” though they may be ill informed, or misguided, or spiritually sick. Or they may just see things differently. 

The ability to perceive no wrong is serious medicine for what ails humanity. So too is the ability to release grievance and wrongdoing.

Seeing True

To release others from the judgment we place upon them is to free ourselves from ourselves.

Seeing True in Action

Often people seek the means to forgive. Yet rarely do we look to the nature of how we are bound to a grievance. Setting aside the actions or inactions of another, because there is no solution external to us where we are aggrieved, a few questions can sometimes be quite fruitful in producing release.

What is it within me that put me at risk of being injured? Does this seem to be a familiar pattern for me? Is there some reason that I cling to the hurt? What is the emotional or psychological payoff for me? 

The strangest thing about releasing is that we actually do not need to find a way to do so. We only need to see how we are attached. Getting a good look at that is often magically effective in letting go and moving on. 

Updated September, 2018