Monday, December 22, 2008

The Forgiveness Room

Just as I might cultivate a rose garden on the land, I pledge to cultivate forgiveness in myself. This morning I started by waking up early and forgiving everyone who came up as I thought about the desire to forgive. And I allowed them, in my mind’s eye, to forgive me, too. My heart softened pleasantly as I did this. I imagined a room inside myself, and invited different instances from my experience to be forgiven.

Later, when I was on the train, I imagined that the car I was on was an extension of my forgiveness room. And if anything might come up that would ordinarily annoy me—like if someone were to talk loudly on the cell phone right by me—I intended to invite it to meet my forgiveness right away. I had a pleasant ride. As I walked to the yoga studio I imagined that everything I could experience outside at any given moment was a part of my space of forgiveness. I had a pleasant walk.

Then, when I taught the first private yoga session I imagined that the room I was in was the room of forgiveness. I needed to forgive myself for a couple things I said, and I did it right on the spot. I forgave my judgmental mind because it wasn’t so much what I said, but an internal judgment of, “stupid,” that needed to be forgiven. I’m hard on myself, and I can forgive my critical mind.

The mind must open to forgive. The heart must open to forgive.

But, an angry or resentful mind closes down to defend a position. An angry mind can’t see clearly. It judges harshly. An angry mind is stuck going round and round in the same place. An angry heart hardens into a little ball. An unforgiving mind demands or cries, “Why can’t you see me?”

And a forgiving mind can listen—even to anger and resentment. The forgiving mind can see hot emotions without loosing itself. A forgiving mind can learn. A forgiving mind and heart can love someone and see his or her limitations. The heart is expansive. And a forgiving and confident mind might say, “I see you, and I’m comfortable in myself.”

A mind that forgives can grow. A mind that forgives can relax. A mind that forgives can love freely with warmth and support from the heart.


Anonymous said...

Nice one Brooks.

A while back I wrote this post about forgiveness:

Sure, its a cliche, but sometimes cliches are true. Forgiveness allows the release of a great deal of pent up energy that creates movement, possibility, openings.

I really like your idea of a forgiveness room and then extending that outwards. Its a beautiful image.

I also wrote a train-related post a while back called "Light on the train" where I learned a great deal about compassion.

I think the two - forgiveness and compassion - go hand in hand.


Linda-Sama said...

so true, so true. I carried a lot of rage inside me for about a year because of treatment I received from a yoga studio owner....and it was not until I sat a 10 day retreat and really do a lot of inner work on metta and forgiveness that the rage left me.