Why practice Forgiveness?

Freedom; that is the gift of forgiveness. Freedom from guilt, shame, blame, pain and suffering. Freedom to begin again; to love again, and live again.

When each of realizes that we re-create the majority of our personal pain and suffering, then there is the real potential for an act of forgiveness to take place. When freedom to love again, and live again, becomes more valuable than pain, blame, shame, guilt and punishment, then there is a chance.

The act of forgiveness is a conscious decision to stop harming; harming ourselves, harming others, and allowing others to harm us. We learn through experience that shaming is painful, blaming is painful, guilt is painful, and a life time of punishment is painful. Forgiveness is not easy, it is so much easier to blame someone for our real or imagined pain. I know it from my personal experience; and for many years I believed that forgiveness was a nice idea but not a real experience. Thankfully I have found the beginning of the path, and have started to practice.

In the yoga tradition the teachings are about non-harming; and this has become my contemplative practice for several years. Non-harming is not easy; in our western society we witness the harming of individuals and groups on a continuous basis. Harming others through shaming, blaming, punishing, has become a refined art for some; some of those are people who claim to love, and claim to follow teachers of peace and forgiveness. In my experience you either actually practice non-harming or you don't; it is one of the few truly yes or no activities in life. What has been most contradictory and profane in my experience with non-harming, is the use of God or spirituality to cause harm to others. Harming may be physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual; so the scope of our practice is quite large and encompassing.