Monday Moments: Meditation & Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a powerful tool.  As a not-so-simple man said eons ago, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

In those simple words I am constantly reminded that forgiveness is not just an essential part of being human, forgiveness is a very powerful tool for letting go.

Forgiveness plays a part in every major religion out there. It is also a crucial part of the human condition. But we must also remember, forgiving others is just one step along the path of humanity. The next step lies in your ability to forgive yourself.

The dictionary definition of forgiveness is the complete and unabsolved release of past transgressions without any expectation of payment in return.

It is an interesting definition; but it leaves out two key elements that are important in the modern world. First, it fails to include the act of self-forgiving, and second, it fails to account for transgressions that may happen in the future.

After all, forgiving yourself is a key part of getting rid of the regret and remorse you most likely carry with you from the past. Forgiveness is also an important part of starting over and starting anew. If you are always thinking about something someone did in the past, how are you going to trust them in the future?

The answer to both lies in your ability to forgive…

“You ripped my heart out, but I forgive you” “you cheated on me, but I forgive you” “you hurt me, but I forgive you.” Do these sound familiar? At what point will you say, “I forgive you, but enough is enough, and this time we are going to do things differently.”

How many times have you found yourself berating yourself with words like, “I am so stupid, I can’t believe I just did that””, or “I am so out of my league, what am I even doing here? We are going to fail miserably.” As versus how many times have you heard yourself say, “Okay, so I messed up. What happened, happened and there is no way to get it back. So, I forgive myself, let’s let it go and move on.”

The truth is, no matter how much you forgive publicly, you still harbor some guilt or shame or resentment on the inside. Until you forgive yourself and those around you completely, your words will  never have the power they should. And in the end it will sound more like “I forgive you, but you’re still kind of wrong,” or, “Okay, I forgive myself, but I’m still an idiot for not seeing the truth.”

Either way, it is still okay. Forgiveness is such a powerful part of who you are, that even partial forgiveness will help to clear the air. Just do not forget to act on it.

If you truly want to get ahead of the game, learn to forgive unabashedly and completely; and yes, even for things that have yet to occur.

You know what your own faults are. You also have a pretty good idea about the faults of those around you. Why carry them around? Why not forgive them in advance and let it go? You might be surprised at how good it feels, freed from the weight of anticipation.

Starting now, forgive yourself of the inevitable. While you are at it, forgive those around you.

That does not mean you have to accept things as they are, you simply have to welcome them as a very real part of being human, and focus your energy on fixing them, rather than holding blame.

With forgiveness, you will quickly find how much easier life can become.

When you stop anticipating what others might or might not do, and just let it happen, your temper will flair up less. When you forgive yourself for whatever slips may occur, you will find that voice of doubt will take its leave.

Learn to acknowledge life as it is for all its faults, and it will simply begin to flow.

And isn’t that what you want?

Be well this week, and forgive.

 

 

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Monday Moments: To Err is Human

The other day, I heard a father tell his son, “Do what I say, not what I do.”

His son asked him why, and he said, “Sometimes daddy makes mistakes. I do things the wrong way, and I don’t want you to learn my bad habits.”

At first I was taken aback. I could feel a touch of anger rise within me as I thought to myself, “what a minute, as a father he’s not allowed to do the wrong thing. He should always set an example for this children.” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he just had.

He admitted his own frailties. He admitted that none of us can be perfect all the time, but we can be honest about who and what we are. We can lead our children by example; so they don’t worry about being perfect all the time.

If we can just pass that lesson on to them half the job of parenting would be done. If we can just help them be more aware of who they are, and who they are not, we can help them build the character they need to make the right decisions in their lives. And isn’t that what parenting is about? Not necessarily being there all the time, but giving them the tools they need to do the right thing.

We all know that life is not a hallmark card of picture perfect holidays and Facebook ready moments. Life is all those sloppy, misbegotten events that lead to scraped knees and bruised egos. The kind that teach us to reach out for help when we need it most and to trust in the people we have around us. Life is about becoming better people, and we rarely learn those lessons if everything keeps going our way.

So the next time you start beating yourself up for not being perfect. The next time that voice in your head admonishes you for something you did or did not do, stop, breathe, and take a moment to realize that perfection is not why you are here. It is the lessons you pass on to your children that will help them the most.

We learn through our imperfections. Lessons like forgiveness, compassion, and the value of family and friends, come from those who help us in times of need. So don’t be afraid to show them your human side.

After all, as I remind myself from time to time, to err is human. To forgive, divine.

Both others, as well as yourself…

Be well,

Jeff Cannon
Simple Truth Project

 

 

 

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…and you? What are you grateful for today?

When I was young and upset my mother would say,
“Ten fingers, ten toes, be grateful for those.”

As she lovingly touched each one, distracting me from whatever or whomever it was , and the hurt went away.

It was a meditation of sorts as her fingers touched my hands, my toes, my heart.

It was a reminder that led me to what was right in the world, rather than what I had to be sad or upset or angry about.

It still reminds me to this day, to ask myself “what am I grateful for today?”

As I touch each digit while breathing slowly, deeply, evenly into myself.

 

And you? What are you grateful for today?

Monday Moments: Art of Listening

There is more to listening than simply turning your ear in the right direction.

To truly listen is to turn down the volume on your own thoughts. To stop anticipating what is to come, and to just allow whatever song or conversation is happening to simply unfold on its own.

There is a saying that I often heard an old teacher of mine say in class, “before you can sip, you must first empty your cup.”

It is deceptively simply, but not so easy. For to empty your cup, you must lower your defenses, let go of your ego, and prevent the auto-responses that our old brain puts up to protect you.

If you are not sure what that sounds like, just wait until you start hearing that loop in your head play back to you. Yes, that loop that wakes you up at four a.m., or that interrupts your thoughts when you least expect them. Listen to it for a moment before you allow it to grow in volume. then gently place your attention on a sound, a sight, or upon your own breath as you let that though go.

That thought, and others like it are the interruptions that prevent you from truly listening to what is going on around you. When you free yourself from your own opinions and your own ego, you prevent yourself from discoloring whatever it is that is being said.

Free from that bias, you can prevent yourself from being misled by your own mind, so that you can truly hear what is going on around you. Free to hear a voice that can spark an idea or cause you to miss an opportunity for something truly wonderful; and why would you ever want to do that?

After all, it is YOUR life.

Why not live it YOUR way?

Thank you in advance and be well.

 

 

 

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Monday Moments: Let it Go/Let it Be

Every window and every door is a reminder.  Or at least it should be throughout your day.

It should remind you that whatever happened on the other side of that door is over. It is gone. It is now in the past, and that there is nothing you can do to get it back. It should be a reminder to Let It Go, and to Let It Be.

It should also be a reminder that even though it is in the past, that does not mean you are powerless to do something about it.

Yes, the moment you pass through a door is the moment you move forward  toward the next opportunity in front of you. It is also an opportunity for you to look back, and to ask yourself, “is whatever it is that happened just now worth revisiting, worth carrying with me as new baggage, or should I just Let It Go?”

If someone shot down your new idea in a meeting, is it really worth going after them? Or should you just Let It Go and get on with your day? If someone cut you off on your commute, is that space you have opened up for them, really worth it? If not, and I doubt it ever is, then Let It Go and do not dwell on it.

If, however, that event keeps happening, that person keeps berating you, or the affections you have for someone continue to be unreturned, then you have to ask yourself, is it worth pursuing knowing that they will not change. Or, should you yourself be the one to change and just Let It Be.

Let them go about their lives without you, or with only a limited part of you? Because that is the other half of letting it go. Knowing when enough is enough, and knowing when to walk away.

Tell your ego to be quiet, let the anger subside, and get on with your day. As fun as it may be to think up awful ways to get back at someone, all you are doing is giving them a home within your heart. You are giving them fertile ground in which to drop a seed. And that seed, with enough attention, will grow into a weed with the potential to suck the life out of you.

So stop it before it starts. Smile to yourself and breathe. Feel that smile radiate across your face and follow your breath down into your heart. Let the glow within your heart spread across your body as you push out whatever anger or ego was trying to arise, as you Let It Go and/or Let It Be.

Then get on with your day as you walk through the next door that awaits.
I hope this helps you.

Be well,

A Meditation on Self Thought – Buddha’s Kalama Sutta

Do not believe in anything just because:

  • It is accepted by many,
  • It is written in books,
  • It is spoken by teachers and elders,
  • It is handed down in tradition.

But if, after analysis, it is found to accord with reason, and to result in the common good, then accept it, and live up to it.

(Kalama Sutta)

 

Most of you know the Kalama Sutta, even if you may not know the name. It is a formal meditation on self thought as set by The Buddha.

To many it is seen as a carte blanche to do whatever it is they want to do; for following one’s own sense of right or wrong, or as a justification for going against a proscribed path of action. In reality it actually sets our a far more rigorous path to follow. One of study, of reflection, of contemplation and of true understanding. The Kalama Suttra is associated with the Buddha and states that we should, no must, disavow outside opinions, even our own opinions, at times:

  • Traditions are not to be followed simply because they are traditions.
  • Reports, or historical accounts or news, are not to be followed simply because the source seems reliable.
  • Even one’s own preferences are not to be followed simply because they seem logical or resonate with one’s feelings.

Instead, the Kama Sutta tells the reader to actively pursue knowledge on their own. That any view or belief must be tested by the results it yields when put into practice; and — to guard against the possibility of any bias or limitations in one’s understanding of those results — they must further be checked against the experience of people who are wise.

The ability to question and test one’s beliefs in an appropriate way is called appropriate attention. The ability to recognize and choose wise people as mentors is called having admirable friends.

In today’s era of misinformation, both online and in the mainstream media, I think it is more important now than ever before to be reminded that it is not just today’s media that misleads. It has always been thus. And it is up to each of us to make an informed decision based on the facts at hand.

 

 

Credit for the original concept of this must be given to the translator:

Kalama Sutta: To the Kalamas

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

© 1994

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an03/an03.065.than.html