Hello and Welcome!
Finding forgiveness is one of the single most difficult aspects of human interaction and personal growth.
It’s a search that takes us inside and out, around, and through so many aspects of our lives, our experiences and relationships.
In the Jewish tradition the time between Rosh Hashonah the New Year and Yom Kippur the day of Atonement, is a transition time to go within and search your soul. It’s not just atoning for transgressions, it’s also and firstly atoning with each other, and I think this is the genius of the transition time.
It’s like a time-cocoon to discover if there are events for which you need to ask forgiveness or people of whom you need to ask forgiveness and the most difficult task I think, to find your own forgiveness.
Ten days to review your last year and in some cases the years before that. To avail yourself of the acts of letting go and forgiveness and transformation. Ten days while working, playing, and living to find your way into the underworld and back. It’s a large task.
In my experience there is a perfunctory approach to this, by many participating in the high holy-days in the jewish tradition, not because they do not take it seriously but rather because they are unable or unwilling to delve into those deep areas.
This is the most spiritual and enlightened aspect of this tradition – to make peace. To actually create the world anew every year through this process of forgiveness. It is mindfulness at it’s best.
- A common style of dealing with hurts is to cut yourself off from the profound feelings that are attached to the pain you have endured. This has its price too, it keeps you stuck in the past.
- Unforgiveness leads to a diminishing of your personal power, a rigid world view and a truncated personality in relationship. It leads to the opposite of mindfulness.
- In order to forgive, that pain must be felt and then a resolution, an understanding, a paradigm shift needs to take place. This action of forgiveness and shifting releases or unlinks the pain of the event, from the event and the actor. With this new understanding, the outcome of the event, actor and experience can be put into proper perspective and into your past, freeing you to move on into the present moment of your life -> as if it is a new world. Forgiveness releases you from a historical habit reaction pattern, especially in how you relate to another or others. It allows you to engage in mindful present moment behavior, action and understanding.
To forgive another a deeply painful act, betrayal, or action is difficult.
To see, and accept responsibility for, how you have hurt another is also difficult.
These two actions are the intention of the Day of Atonement in the Jewish high holy day tradition, sometimes due to the difficulty in the task some simply state the words and make an internal promise to do better in the future.
For a real shift to take place, the spirituality behind the inner search is paramount and can result in transforming events.
How do you forgive someone for that act which in your mind changed you forever? Or even for betrayal of your trust or your sense of innocence?
Finding forgiveness requires grace.
It requires a willingness to let go of the thing that may define your stance in the world. It is fraught with deep feeling and an inner journey to your center.
Certainly paradigm shifting, figure/ground perspective, and the attitude of gratitude are helpful activities. Mindfulness allows you to see a way to unlink the act and the person, the act and the circumstances surrounding the act, and the intention and the act.
But even with these unlinkings and increased awareness and perspective there are difficult betrayals and experiences to transcend in order to get to forgiveness.
This is especially true when the betrayal continues. When the action requiring forgiveness continues. For this kind of betrayal or transgression it is best to forgive the past and make an effort to change how and in what ways you continue the relationship in the now or the future.
Forgiveness, compassion, and acceptance are partners in this atonement procedure. Some people you must forgive and accept that they may betray you again, due to their internal character. Therefore you simply change how you relate to him or her in the future. This releases the power of the betrayal and builds your resilience and compassion muscles.
This is part of the intended process, you make peace at this time the best you can and then move into the new world with as much faith as possible that the new world will remain.
It is an interesting and deeply educational process about yourself, others, and your humanity. It increases your capacity for love, understanding, compassion, patience, forgiveness, and grace. It may be that this is the gift to be given, the opportunity to develop these qualities within yourself to practice seeing others as self so that you can extend your empathy muscles
I keep finding forgiveness. And this transition time allows for an opportunity to create peace and create the world anew.
You may want to create a structure for developing a formalized transition time to incorporate elements of this tradition to view and re-view your past year and develop the qualities of compassion, mindfulness, and forgiveness.
Attach it to a structure that is already part of your life. Consider doing this on each new moon, or each full moon. You can also attach it to the solstice or equinox periods. You may have such a tradition in a spiritual practice you already follow. However you choose to create a structure, the practice of reviewing your own acts or how you are holding onto unforgiveness will increase you capacity for living mindfully in the moment and experiencing healing in your relationships.
It may seem tedious and difficult at first, but the rewards are great and for the most part this ritual increases intimacy, connection and a sense of strength in ourselves and our relationships. It is mindfulness at it’s best with a sense of grace that all things pass and move into well – being. Namaste, L’Shana Tova, in love and light, bg