Learning Forgiveness

I found an amazing bit in Jack Kornfield’s book Meditation for Beginners that reads:

Forgiveness is not about condoning what happened. […] Forgiveness is also a matter of letting go of the past and knowing that even though something was wrong, the way to go forward is to start over.

It is also important to understand that the practice of forgiveness is a practice, which means you might do it fifty or a hundred or more times before achieving an authentic sense of forgiveness in your heart. Some part of the process may involve rage and outrage, and some of it will probably involve grief and sorrow. Sometimes what arises in this process is that for the first time we fully come to understand how much anger we still carry and how deep our pain is. One cannot just paper over this pain with spiritual platitudes about forgiveness and extending love to others.

I don’t have anything deep to add to this. It just hit so close to what I’m working on in therapy right now that I wanted to share it with you. The idea that we have to practice the skill of forgiveness is so wise, and so rooted in reality. It’s not just about making a decision to forgive ourselves or others. I think we’ve all realized that that doesn’t work. It’s like meditation itself. It takes work.

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