In Profile: Forgiveness

Here we share some of the greatest examples of forgiveness, love and humanity of our times and inspiring words from teachers – from Nelson Mandela to the Dalai Lama, Aboriginal leaders to Dr Hew Len.

Nelson Mandela

“Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear.”

“As I walked out the door toward my freedom I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind I would still be in prison.”

Nelson Mandela, who invited his jailers to his inauguration as president of South Africa.

“Forgiveness does not mean bowing down to others who have wronged you. Rather it means not letting negative feelings towards the wrongdoer increase, resulting in more fear and distance. Sometimes forgiveness is viewed as a sign of weakness but actually it is a sign of strength.” Dalai Lama

Chief Arvol

“We need a great healing and we need a Great Forgiving. But healing cannot begin without forgiveness.
We must forgive each other,
Forgive our loved ones,
Forgive our friends,
Forgive our enemies,
Forgive ourselves.”

Chief Arvol Looking Horse, Lakota Sioux Nation

“Forgiveness simply means you accept the person as he is, you still love him the way he is. Forgiveness means that you don’t judge him, that you are non-judgmental. But ordinarily we think forgiveness means you know that he has done wrong, still you forgive him. First you judge and then you forgive. Your forgiveness is false. Real forgiveness has no judgment. It never says, “No, you have done wrong, but still I forgive you.” It simply accepts the person as he is. There is no grudge, no complaint, no grumbling…..Your forgiveness will be authentic only when even those who don’t deserve it receive it.” Osho

Alice Herz-Sommer

“I love people, I love everyone, I love to speak with them. Every day in life is beautiful, every day that we are here.

In the camp, with my son, we were sleeping on a mattress and he felt my body. When a child is near to the mother, anything can happen and he is not afraid. And I was always laughing. Even in there I was laughing.

Sometimes I am thankful to have been there because I am richer than other people. My reaction on life is different. People often complain “oh this is terrible”, and it’s not so terrible!

A lot of Germans come and want to speak with me. Before they come in, they want to know, is it okay to come into your room, don’t you hate us? And I say I never hate. Hatred brings only hatred. I was born as an optimist and this helps me. When you are an optimist, when you aren’t complaining and you look at the good side of life, everybody loves you.

Life is a miracle. Life is beautiful, extremely beautiful.” Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest living survivor of the Holocaust

Dr Hew Len

“We say to The Divinity: “If there is something going on in me that I am experiencing people in a certain way, I would like to let go of them. By letting go, we change the world in us, and that in turn causes the whole world to change.

Being 100% responsible is a tough road to travel, because the intellect is so insistent. Whenever a problem comes to us, our intellect always looks for someone or something to blame. We keep looking outside of ourselves for the source of our problems. But the source is always inside us.” Dr Hew Len, worldwide exponent of Ho’oponopono healing process

“Releasing forgiveness requires the exercise of an individual’s free will to choose to forgive. That forgiveness is not political; it cannot be legislated.”

(Forgiveness) is not economic; it cannot be bought, sold or traded. Forgiveness is spiritual; it is borne of the unconditional love of our Creator.

Our choice to forgive breaks the generational cycle of victimization and accusation, and blesses those who seek forgiveness and those who forgive.” Charter of Forgiveness and Freedom from the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Leaders to the Canadian Government

Dr Judith Rich

“To forgive the one who hurt or betrayed you seems like just another betrayal, a selling out, a giving up. And yet, just the opposite is true.

Forgiving an action is not the same thing as condoning it. In forgiveness you are not saying that what happened was OK. But instead of seeking revenge or retribution or needing to be right, through forgiveness you are choosing from a higher consciousness than the one who betrayed you.

For example: In a state of non-forgiveness, we close our hearts in order to protect ourselves from any more hurt or pain. In this state we’re cut off from feeling love, not only for the person who hurt us, but for ourselves as well. Our belief in separation hardens us and builds the walls even higher.

To forgive requires a higher consciousness. It requires knowing a greater truth about the nature of reality. Forgiveness opens the door to the heart and allows love to return. To forgive means “To give as before.” When you forgive the very one you think betrayed your innocence, something greater is unleashed and abundance flows into the opening. Forgiveness is a recognition the truth of who we are.” Dr Judith Rich, teacher of consciousness and transformation. Read her whole article on forgiveness as published in the Huffington Post in August this year. 

Chuck Spezzano

“Forgiveness is really self-forgiveness. If the world is simply a reflection of your own mind, if all blame and judgement are projections of your own guilt and self-attack, then forgiveness of others releases both the others and the subconscious guilt within you. Guilt is really a form of arrogance which makes life all about oneself, rather than just learning the lesson, correcting the mistake and moving on. Forgiveness puts things in perspective and brings back innocence. It returns life to ease, flow and confidence.

Forgiveness is not a form of winning the competition while another fails. Nor is it about condescension or superiority. It is not deigning to grant the other mercy – which is really superiority (hidden judgement and overcompensation for guilt and feelings of inadequacy) and competition (distraction from success and fear of the next step). We fear forgiveness because we feel that we would be locked into a position of sacrifice or wounding. We feel that we are justified in our grievance or anger and that it would be stupid to give this up. Yet grievances are never about what someone else has done but in fact are about what we have not forgiven ourselves for. We are actually holding our past against them. No situation can fail unless we fail to give something. Forgiveness is simply reconnection. It is an apology for blaming others for ‘crimes’ you thought that you had committed. Forgiveness is the realisation that it was all just a mistake, and true understanding and a new healed situation appear. In forgiveness you finally get to give what was not given in the past. This heals you and the one being judged.” Chuck Spezzano, co-founder of the Psychology of Vision

And a story of forgiveness that Sarita heard:

A woman lived in a rough part of town. Her teenage son was killed by another youth. The young man went to prison for the murder. He had lived on the streets and had no one to come and see him in prison. So the mother of the murdered boy decided to go and see him. At first the boy was very closed and didn’t want to speak to her, but gradually she won his confidence. They went through a profound process of unwinding the pain the murder had brought to each of them.

She began bringing food and other offerings to him on her regular visits. She recognised that he had been driven to become a murderer through his extremely challenging life circumstances growing up. She began feeling compassion for him.

Eventually, when he was released from prison, and had nowhere to go, the woman invited him to stay in her house. Days turned into months. He began settling into life in the world, and was able to achieve an education and take on responsibilities. As he had no mother or father, and the woman had no son, she asked him if she could adopt him as her son. He agreed.

Read more inspirational words on forgiveness at the Forgiveness Day website.

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