Updated: May 26, 2020
Learning to meditate and reflect on things we’ve done when triggered, sometimes illuminates situations we aren’t proud of or feel regret about. And grappling with finding a path to forgiving ourselves and others can be painful. It takes time to unravel all the threads that tangle emotions that are hard to heal. Add to that, the mix of being locked up and ‘punished’ by society at-large for your behavior. In most parts of the world, forgiveness is an ‘advanced’ skill that many never learn. In prisons, where so much focus and humiliation is piled onto behaviors, forgiveness (of self and other) can be monumental to achieve. In a recent class discussion, one prisoner said remorsefully: “I can’t believe I tackled my Grandmother. She was wrong– but still– I body-slammed her and she’s my Grandmother.” This week’s Path of Freedom topic was forgiveness. The discussion centered on forgiving others and especially forgiving ourselves for things we deeply regret doing.
Another person at the end of the class said “I’m now able to think about the person who shot me and am actually able to forgive him, but I won’t forget. Doing meditation helps me be at peace and think about life and what it means to me to be at peace with my self and other people.”
“Forgiveness helps people control their emotions so they maintain good judgment. They do not waste precious energy trapped in anger and hurt over things they can do nothing about. Forgiveness acknowledges we can’t change the past. Forgiveness allows us not to stay stuck in the past.”