While falling back into a regular and formal spiritual practice, I have recently gone through a daily routine of forgiveness, where I contemplate and meditate on its true meaning. Of course, anytime a person comes into my consciousness that I need to forgive, including myself, I rest there in the task at hand… and forgive. All the same, an inquiry has captured most of my attention: At the heart of hearts, what is forgiveness really?
Forgiveness does not change the past, yet it does help a person move on from challenging events. We are all doing the best we can at any given moment, and we are all imperfect. In our human imperfections, we all (at least occasionally) fail to do the simplest and most profound duty – that is to simply connect on a heart to heart level with others, where all parties feel honored, respected, and appreciated. This is an opportunity for everyone, including you and including me. The existence of this opportunity is exactly where forgiveness comes in.
Although we are perfect in our imperfections, ignoring our embedded flaws is to create a false sense of pride, strengthening unhealthy aspects of ego. We can all fall privy to this: you, me, everybody. When we forgive, we can begin to understand (in our core) that we are all the same, and are all capable of making similar errors in relationship and otherwise.
True forgiveness moves us from separation to oneness, allowing the play of humanity to go on as it may, while infusing our lives with as much love and compassion as possible. Forgiveness moves us from what is possible to beyond possible. When we reach the impossibility of forgiveness, we know we have arrived at the opportunity to go beyond, beyond impossible. In this way, with earnest practice and honest effort, we grow our capacity for connection, and this includes with ourselves by forgiving our own hearts, souls, and minds completely.
This is usually the most grueling and challenging task, our own self-forgiveness. Because we each are imperfect, we can always look at ourselves and find errors. These are human errors though and part of the grand design. This is not an excuse for causing harm; harm is not ever necessary. We are, however, always capable of making mistakes, large and small. Therefore, we all have the capacity to forgive. This is because we each are born with the same capacity for transgression, as well as the innate ability to see this innocence in others. Mistake making and forgiveness are deep and intricate parts of humanity, to which we all humbly belong.