A reader wrote me a heart-breaking email about her very painful past few years where she was cut down to the ground ruthlessly by someone she loved deeply and served selflessly for years, she was sectioned in a mental hospital for six months because she suffered a breakdown, her painful crawl back to normality (being kicked down several times by the same person) and how she is unsteadily standing up again today, looking out to the future with her children, trying to rebuild her life. She asked me to write about forgiveness.
I am doing family constellation with a beautiful, insightful Swedish psychologist who told me that there is no concept of forgiveness in his model, only acceptance. “We do not have the right or the moral high ground to forgive someone,” he tells me. “We just have to make peace with our past and all the people in it, honour them and let them all go. It’s all part of the complex energy net that we live in, and everyone has a role to play in it.”
Hmmm. I find it easy to forgive because of the abundance in my life, but what my psychologist is suggesting (“To be able to lie side by side in peace with your perpetrator”) is kind of challenging. I have no intention of seeing or having anything to do with hurtful people again, thank you very much.
If, like me, you find this difficult and would like to find comfort in forgiving (more reasonable to my Catholic brain), here’s something beautiful.
From Thich Nhat Hanh, the renowned spiritual teacher and Buddhist monk, a very powerful prayer on forgiveness:
In understanding and compassion, I bow down to reconcile myself with all those who have made me suffer.
I open my heart and send forth my energy of love and understanding to everyone who has made me suffer, to those who have destroyed much of my life and the lives of those I love. I know now that these people have themselves undergone a lot of suffering and that their hearts are overloaded with pain, anger, and hatred. […] I pray that they can be transformed to experience the joy of living, so that they will not continue to make themselves and others suffer. I see their suffering and do not want to hold any feelings of hatred or anger in myself toward them. I do not want them to suffer. I channel my energy of love and understanding to them and ask all my ancestors to help them.
To the brave lady who wrote to me, “Sometimes, there are no answers; you have to stop asking yourself why he did what he did to you. He DID but it’s over now, thank God. May your day today be beautiful and peaceful.” ❤ ❤ ❤