On Healing and Forgiveness
“Profound healing requires profound forgiveness.” Read this statement again and perhaps a third time or more until it truly sinks in. To forgive is to unchain yourself from the past; it doesn’t mean that you’ll forget the trauma you encountered. Rather, it allows you to move forward with light and positivity instead of allowing negative thoughts to fester and sprout roots. As heavy as the journey towards forgiveness may seem at the start, it feels lighter as you move forward, eventually allowing the ego to surrender and ending up in a state of relief. Anger and resentment fuel a burden which just isn’t worth the pain and toll it will take on you emotional and physical bodies. Remember that we let go and forgive for our own sake, not theirs.
Guru Ashokananda states “forgiveness is such an interesting topic”, something which I started to meditate on after a loved one disappointed me in a way I never saw coming. Humans are complex beings: we’re shaped by our previous experiences in this life as well as past ones. When someone errs in judgement rather than possessing a character flaw, does that mean it’s easier to forgive them? To be quite frank, not necessarily; forgiveness isn’t easy, which is exactly why it’s such an fascinating concept. There are levels to betrayal (for lack of a better term). Forgetting to water the plants but saying you did and telling others something deeply personal when you have been sworn to secrecy are completely different things, of course. However, anything that violates a relationship’s contract of mutual trust and respect can have long-lasting detrimental effects and repercussions. Just because you choose to forgive someone’s wrongdoing doesn’t have to mean that you’ll let them back into your life again. You can heal through forgiveness without picking up from where you left off, it is completely fine to love someone from a distance should you wish to do so. The other party will most likely feel the sting of losing you, they’ll feel guilt and shame for their actions, though it isn’t your responsibility to help them forgive themselves – that’s their cross to bear, you are only responsible for your own ability to forgive. It’s also your choice to continue a relationship with a person who once broke your trust. You have to choose the path that feels right for the good of your soul. Meditate on how you truly feel and allow your higher self to guide you on the path of forgiveness.
I had practiced meditation and yoga for over a decade when this particular incident happened. I was in a great place where I felt grounded, my chakras were open, and I was truly content. My friend’s betrayal was so incredibly left field, it took me a while to fully grasp what had happened. It knocked me completely off-course, to be quite honest. Here was a person I loved and trusted, and I operated on the basis that we had a mutual exchange of respect in our relationship. I found myself unable to go about my day-to-day in the wake of this betrayal: a reaction which took me by surprise. I attempted to meditate, practice yoga and even contacted a therapist but I continued to feel imbalanced, as if my world had been turned upside down and it was becoming more and more difficult to stay present during my daily practice. I assumed that I’d be able to move on to the forgiveness stage much sooner than I did and as a result, I became increasingly more frustrated with myself. I wrongfully expected that all these years of spiritual work had permanently crushed my ego (heads up: your ego will never be completely crushed, it’s a constant work in progress). My friend did their best to apologise through calls, messages and emails but I simply hadn’t arrived at a point where I was ready to forgive. These gestures fed my ego for a split second and while my intuition told me that they were genuinely sorry for their mistake, I wasn’t able to comfortably forgive them yet.
My frustration grew because of this. I genuinely wanted to reach a point of forgiveness, but I simply didn’t feel ready even though it was eating me up inside. I became irritable, anxious and started to lash out. I encountered a version of myself I hadn’t seen in years which frightened me. Was I regressing into the person I used to be before I embarked on a decade-long journey of spiritual cleansing? After weeks of grappling with intense emotions of anger, shame and a deep sadness, a good friend and yogi asked the following “do you believe that this incident happened due to a character flaw or an error in judgement?”. This question triggered something within and as I meditated on it, I felt a great release. Because I had held my friend in such high regard before this incident, my ego had been activated and I momentarily chose to wallow in negativity before starting a profound healing process. Once I learned to forgive, I immediately felt lighter, my mood changed, and I started to feel like myself again. The message I received from my higher self during a meditation was that this incident signified a shift in my personal growth, it allowed an old wound to heal and ultimately made me more aware of my ego as well as ways of working to manage. I eventually found a way to reconnect with my friend, allowing my intuition to steer me in this direction – it felt like the right thing to do. The road to recovery was certainly quite rocky but after making it out on the other side, we rebuilt our friendship and we both believe that it’s stronger than before. Forgiveness is indeed an interesting topic.