Recently, I was in a stress management program where the speaker was teaching us a method of Yoga meditation. During the short practice session, he made us close our eyes and asked us to recite a few lines, and in the midst of his instructions he said “forgive yourself for all that you have done wrong”. Really, I thought, forgive myself? No one has ever said that to me before. I have never thought to say that to myself before!
If you happen to be Catholic like I am, you would have gone to numerous confessions, at the end of which the priest would have blessed you and asked god to forgive you. But never had I encountered this request to forgive myself. And yet it was the truest sentence I had heard in the longest time. I have confessed many times, I have done lots of penance, handed-out and beyond. But while I am sure the most merciful Lord has forgiven me, had I, have I really forgiven myself? I think not. For there are numerous deeds, and I am sure, each of us would have these, that none are aware of, and that are deep in the past, forgiven and gone into the eternity or maya of time, and yet somehow, they come alive, like ghosts of a wicked era, when the wretched in us ruled, and they fill us with guilt and shame. Yes, guilt for these deeds serve a good purpose, they make us human, and humble when the urge to sit in judgment is strong. And when we think we have forgotten our wicked pasts, they open up, like reflective animal eyes in the dark of a silent night, as eerie reminders.
Sometimes I feel it is this nagging guilt, which none know or care to remember, for each have their secret to carry, a burden getting heavier in time, to hold. Sometimes a tiny sleeping pill, a relaxing smoke, a tiny tipple can make the difference between sleep and a wakeful night. And guilt has just found a new path to let itself out.
Forgive yourself. How simple, yet so profound. Forgive yourself, so simple, yet, can you, will you, should you? How strong is your morality? Is it going to infest you, infect you, consume you like a parasitic plant or will you locate a deeper philosophy of spirituality that lets you send the ashes of your dead past down a holy river to the sea, for oneness with eternity, oneness in forgiveness, oneness in healing.
Often the guilt of our deeds, instigate us to torment ourselves. We deeply believe we are wretched, and should live and be treated as such. And so we treat ourselves shabbily, shoddily, hurting ourselves, and through this hurting others. If each of us could have it in us to forgive ourselves, I think there would be much less pain in this world. Forgive yourself.
If we forgive ourselves, the law that governs this universe will forgive us. If we forgive ourselves, the law that governs the universe will let us heal. If we forgive ourselves, we get an opportunity to make amends, to do things differently. If we forgive ourselves, we are in perspective to forgive others – the holiest image of ourselves. Forgive yourself.