Humility is the key within us that can aid to unleash the courage and strength needed to sincerely bow to the power of forgiveness for ourselves and others……humility doesnt mean we stoop and succumb to the whims and fancies of others..to please,to be taken advantage of,to be bullied,to be needy,to be made foolish,that is humiliation!..…
Instead, humility is a tremendously effective powerhouse supply of positive and creative energies helping and guiding with an alive and awakened consciousness leading us to find our way inwards towards the Source of Love where we can access that power to forgive……when the Source is found…….the power can be unleashed and utilised…it is a tender and flexible and soft energy ready to offer mercy and compassion to ourselves and others………….…
We claim back our humanity, dignity and integrity through humility………we simply cannot find our way into the Source of Love and Truth with pride and arrogance and self righteousness,sloth,doubts, ill-will and fear……..there will be no direction and surrender to the building of trust and faith to lead the way!
Still very early on(sometime December 1998) in my journey of spiritual revelations, I used to spend occassional times with an elderly nun of the Grey sisters…one time ….I poured out some of my past transgressions to her……she asked me if I was willing to put down the heavy load that I was carrying…….without hesitation I said ‘YES’….she then asked if I would like to make a personal confession with her friend, a Monsignor at the chancery office of the Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver….I agreed.
I remembered it was December 23rd 1998……..I must have spent more than an hour in confession(it was my last Catholic confession) with Monsignor Smith,crying and terribly remorseful of my past actions…….Monsignor was very humane and understanding towards me…….he pointed to a framed picture on the wall depicting a Jesus throwing a life saving bouy to a drowning man in a perilous sea………..I remembered feeling freed and relief on looking at the picture……………………I walked out of his office and into the Vancouver December rain and felt washed and JOYFUL and the peace gave me the courage to say …..I want to make amends and never be that same person again!!
During that confessional time…. I was looking at how my ignorance, selfish desires and anger/hatred had caused suffering upon myself and others and not how others have caused me to suffer…..it is the same….it is a vicious cycle…we get hurt and hurt others in return,unconsciously and deliberately………when we can start with ourselves first in any given situation of difficulty and misunderstandings……..when we can examine our conscience and see where does all these differences arise from…………..…
From our painful experiences of long standing pains and suffering,we can look deeply into ourselves…and from that looking,if we can try to find just one piece of our own self-inflicted misdeed,regret,flaw,bitterness,resentment and hatred then start from there to try to understand where it came from and why(usually from the past).For many people,it seems very difficult to forgive,especially to forgive ourselves first and to ask for forgiveness.
In our human weaknesses, we learned how to protect our past mistakes, we justify our misdeeds,we exonerate ourselves from responsiblities,we usually harden ourselves to blame the other or the situation and keep spinning stories in our minds to protect our rights and the fear of looking into our faults and vulnerabilities……..unconsciously,we are building a hard-packed ice wall around our hearts and block its power to forgive and find peace and joy and seeing the unconditional Love we are within!
We learned to keep repeating these patterns as though it is our human right to do so and thus forget to see our own faults and flaws and past mistakes and regrets etc……so the vicious cycle continues on and disturbs our inner being…making us feel unworthy,underserving of spiritual growth,feeling devoid of goodness and humane aliveness,we thus feel unable to forgive sincerely and compassionately.
Why are we afraid to forgive or ask for forgiveness?We have this tendency to think that forgiveness is a sign of weakness, that we loose ‘face'(our dignity and our rights)….that it will make the other/others feel good and right if we ask for their forgiveness,it will mean that it is our fault.And if we forgive,the other/others might make a mockery of us or reject and hurt back…so we repress and allow the stucked energies to fester within….and all these festering could surface as illnesses and continued hatred/anger which could/would lead to abuse and violence and jealousies and greed and neglect of self and others….like a broken record it spins out of control……..…
When we come to understand and realise where our inner conflicts arise from…we can feel a true sadness,remorse and repentance for ourselves……we can allow ourselves to become awashed with that wellspring of mercy and learn to forgive ourselves first and in return others…..it doesnt matter if forgiveness reaches or is accepted by other/others…………its the heart’s true and sincere intentions and effort to purify,make amends and heal that will bring peace and joy to oneself and others.Forgiveness empowers and restores harmony within us.Forgiveness also brings gratitude for the teachings of suffering and the graces to open ourselves to positive changes and healthy lifestyles….beneficial to self and others………………
Forgiveness is a pain-reliever….we feel joy and relief,when the pain is lifted,we feel peaceful to function again with renewed vitality and energy,just as when we have body pain and find great relief on taking an analgesic.We can feel gratitude and joy flowing in………………….
We all have made mistakes,so too can others do the same but do we allow ourselves to wallow in the guilt,shame and fears which creates more and more tension within ourselves,we loose sleep over the anxieties and this goes on to be a cause of disruption to being able to live a peaceful life for ourselves and others.Why punish ourselves when we can open the door of our being and let the afflictive emotions drain away by way of forgiveness.We can then create a clean slate to change and start again…………………When we forgive,we can reclaim our sense of well-being and self-worth…to feel whole again!
Simple meditation to forgive oneself and others
Sit calmly with the back straight up, know we only have this moment….become aware of why we sit…. to allow the free flow of forgiveness to open,bring the focus on the breath,become aware of our breathing through the nostril,feel the air in,note the expansion of the abdomen,hold that breath for a few seconds…”breathing in I am calm”……..slowly breathe out,notice the air releasing,the abdomen flattening……”breathing out,I am letting go of tension”.It is imperative to remain focused on the breathing,very soon the thoughts will come to play……simply be with the breath,when we feel agitation …..bring the focus back on the breath……….train the mind to come back each time it wanders through the breath.We don’t have to practice sitting for a long period of time,start with 3minutes and increase the time when we see our tolerance and adaptation to sitting.No need to be hard on oneself.
Emotions might flare up,watch, note it and see what it is trying to say,do,indicate.Note the emotions eg, sadness, unhappiness,anger,resentments,guilts,shame,fears,lust,jealousies,regrets,etc….do not identify with the thoughts or emotions and be caught in its trappings………they are energies within the body needing to surface.Always simply breathe and be with the breath……..when practiced fervently, it will help still the mind.
Remenber the breath is the sustainer of life….
The body too might become agitated with pain and irritation…discomforts arise, twitching, itchiness,move a little but don’t get caught in its distraction,be mindful only of the breath.Most importantly don’t be hard on oneself.One can start to learn patience and forbearance without being critical or judging anything…….every little ounce of effort we put in and make,we are coming closer to the truth,there is no need for any hard and fast rule to follow………….simply be present and sincere to all that we do…..nobody can heal us or is going to do the healing for us except ourselves……..when we find healing….we can then help others find their way too!
When we are ready we can then bring our attention to our inner states.We can start by recognising and acknowledging our pains….we have to be sincere and honest about it,We can see our sufferings,our heartaches,our feelings of self unworthiness,confusions,despair and heaviness.See where within us that carries the most weight in pain, the heart area,the abdominal area,the upper body/facial/head,pelvic area,the lower body/feet area and see how it feels like,can we put a description of it.What disturbances are felt in those areas.We might identify with lots of hatred,self loathing and resentment and anger and regrets for making mistakes and foolishness,for causing hurts to others and ourselves or seeing others hurting us.We might witness a lot of inner conflicts…..we might see our goodness,yet be confused with all the anger and aggressions going on within.Remember always that our true innate states are love,peace,and joy,everything else are afflictive negative energies collected over time which can be eradicated.
Don’t identify with anything that surfaces, be with it,it cannot do any harm…..it wants only healing,forgiveness, letting go and to be loved.If we feel an inkling to cry and express remorse,do so,allow the self to feel the movement of remorse to surface.In my own experience, I have cried buckets over doing this meditation in seeing how I have hurt myself and others.Doing this meditation is not about staying down feeling sorry(pity) for ourselves or others but to let go and make amends if possible.If making amends is not possible,do it symbolically….writing a letter to oneself then crushing or burning it,doing small charitable deeds,offerings of prayer or kind intentions for healing for others/oneself,etc…
While doing this,we can recite these words,or any words of expression to evoke repentance and to soften the heart…
May I find the strength to forgive myself
May I forgive myself for having hurt others
May I find courage to forgive others who have hurt me
In sincere forgiveness,we find ourselves opening up to the softness in our hearts and we experience the self changing for the better,we also see ourselves being aware and trying to not create the same mistakes.We start recognising how others are suffering the same and we develop an understanding and empathy for them,although we don’t condone the hurtful actions of others,we can generate compassion towards them.We will soon learn to love ourselves for being sincere,open to being humble,noble and courageous to participate in the act of contrition.Even if we fall again into temptation,we try not to beat ourselves up but earnestly try again to avoid that which offends….over and over…till it goes away eventually!
Stories of forgiveness
- I had read a true story of a mother in India whose very young son was murdered by his friend.At first the mother was suffocated by the pain of intense grief,anger and resentment for the boy who murdered her son but after a while,she could no longer bear the suffering of her pain,she asked to visit the boy in prison….while there,she told the boy….”I am going to kill you with love!”….from that time onwards she started to live what she had said to the boy…..she started to nourish within her forgiveness and compassion toward this boy and visited him regularly.The boy at first resented her and felt unworthy but later adapted to her kindly demeanour and started to develop a respectful relationship with her.Much later,after being released from prison,he went to live with her,the mother adopted and accepted this man as her own son…….
- A story of saint Maria Goretti,the year was in late 1890’s,Italy………..she was eleven years old,her family and another family shared an old house together,while one was living upstairs,the other lived downstairs.Both families, helped the owner of the house mind the fields in exchange for accomodation.One day, while Maria’s mother was tending to the fields,Maria was looking after her very young siblings.Her neighbour Alessandro, a young man of 19years of age,tried to seduce her to sexual acts but Maria refused and told him that it was sinful and that she would not do what he wanted.In a rage, he stabbed her 14 times,she managed to survive all the way to the hospital.While at the hospital bed,she said that she forgives Alessandro before dying.Alessandro was caught and imprisoned but remained hardened and unremorseful about his actions,not until years later when he had a dream of Maria Goretti giving him 14 stalks of flowers each for the wounds he had inflicted upon her,that he felt total repentance.He asked for a visit from Maria’s mother and begged forgiveness from her.She forgave him!They lived to witness Maria’s canonization years later.Upon release from prison,Alessandro spent his last days in a monastery doing menial works for the friars and monks.Pictured is Alessandro in his old age venerating the image of St.Maria Goretti.
- The greatest story ever told……….the story of Jesus,an enlightened being,simple and a great teacher of Love, humility and peace who wandered the land healing and showing compassion, encouraging peace and brotherly/sisterly love.While he was innocent propagating peace and love,there were religious people who were jealous and angered by the way he was teaching and portraying himself to be.For his innocence he was condemned to die a cruel and shameful death,death on the cross which was meant for criminals and slaves and those against Roman authority.While dying on the cross…….he still managed to breathe his last significant teaching…..forgiveness to his captors, to his friend(Judas) who hastened his capture,to the religious group of people who mocked his credibility,to Pontius Pilate who approved his condemnation to death,to his executioners who nailed him to the cross,and to the jeering crowd who heard him preaching love and peace,Jesus uttered these compassionate words …..”Father forgive them for they do not know what they do”……………………..
“no one lights a lamp and hides it under a bed,instead he puts it on a stand so that anyone who comes in can see it” ~~~~~ Jesus
“no one lights a lamp and hides it under a bed,instead,he puts it on a stand,so that anyone who comes in can see the light”~~~~~~~~~~~Jesus
Sometime in July of 2016, I first started to be inspired, courageous and motivated to write and pour my inner revealing story of how a human being can be pulled from the wreckage of self destruction and misery into one of radical full recovery into spiritual wholeness.I want and l need to share the compassionate human experience as how I journeyed from suffering into self discovery.I write not from read texts of books or others’ experiences,I write from my simplistic heart,an urging within myself that needs to share and make known the spiritual awareness of daily life and living.
I write with no scholarly antics but from my own personal empirical transformative spiritual journey delving into self inquiry, spiritual disciplines and practices and devoted meditative sittings/walkings.I write from the lessons and insights I had learned,understood through the hours spent in medtitation and the personal experiences that I had encountered while traversing the human realm trying to undo and change from mistakes of the past.
I write not to be liked or disliked, neither to be recognised or be known.My writing is simply put….a sharing of my insights and experiences as I walked thru the healing journey.It is not meant to say that I know everything or ‘holier than thou’ or different. I am but only human who dared take up my cross(taking responsibilities for my own actions/mistakes),following a spiritual path and facing its consequences(paying the price for unnecessary sufferings)and extricating myself from its grip……….and being free from the past or the future,to be as I am in the Now…………….
It is as Jesus says,when we light a candle/lamp,we put it out,for others to see, so that others may be in need of a spark of brightness to see ahead, so that others may have hope that the fear of darkness is not permanent.Just as a lighthouse is built so that ships would not crash on the rocks and be doomed.
I went through an intense spiritual awakening 20 years ago in 1998 while on a 1 year working contract as an emergency room registered nurse in Saudi Arabia.I came back to British Columbia,Canada only after 3 months.What I saw and witnessed over in Saudi working as an RN was very traumatic to me.I came back home to Canada to never be the same person as I was before I left for Saudi.When I came back home the calling for a deeper spiritual and meditative life opened at a fast pace and I faced many challenges,trials and going through various transformation processes.
I write here for the only purpose and intention is to share the human spiritual experiences and journey from one of worldly which I had been living,frivolous,carefree,and ignorant of all the sufferings I endured wastefully and needlessly…….and now to a simple,frugal,contented and peaceful way of living…………..
I had no particular personal spiritual teacher nor am I affliated to any one traditional religious teaching,though I was born into a Catholic family and practised Catholicism most of my life.
While opening up to my inner self journey…….I followed dedicatedly to mainly Buddhist philosophy and teachings.My teachers were many through the various books and religious traditions I read.Some of my favourite teachers were Pema Chodron,Jack Kornfield,Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Brahm.Paramahansa Yogananda ,Echkart Tolle and many others.
Sometime in 2007,I had an exhilarating priviledge of sitting with Echkart Tolle,world renowned spiritual teacher and author of the world famous book …’The Power of Now’.It was wonderful being in the presence of this lovely man and sharing our spiritual experiences in that private sitting.It was a truly blessed time as he acknowledged my spiritual progress as I needed endorsement for my continuing growth in spirit.
My true teachers were the very people I was close to,walked and worked and lived in daily life,there were difficult ones, caring ones,soft and hard hearted ones,generous and selfish ones,foolish and insensitive ones,there were many who help teach me lessons I needed to pass through.I did not reject anyone of them,some of them yes, I feared more than others but still I had to learn lessons from them…… patience, humility,courage, kindness,the chance to learn charity and generosity,fortitude,trust,the power to forgive,and the strength to let go.
Most of all, I learned how to subdue my uncontrollable temper which those close to me can attest to,I also had to admit to unhealthy addictions that only caused unecessary sufferings to myself and others,which I had to learn how to understand from where its destructive roots arised and do away with all of them.
I learned that in life, one cannot escape any given situation of happiness or unhappiness,beautiful or ugly but to face everything and surrender to whatever is present,things will unfold and we will be given a renewed chance for us to work with in order to benefit ourselves and others.
In other words, Life itself is our true teacher…….we accept and embrace all aspects of life,good or bad,there is no all good or all bad.We allow the mystery of uncertainties and the unknown open us up to the truth of our very human existence.Healing is a long process we have to go through life with and every situation,every tragedy,every joy and every person is our teacher to help mold,inspire and pave the way for a Higher Sublime purpose.
The spiritual journey is not about being holy, pious,religious or saintly, but includes everything we experience in our daily lives,where we become aware of the lessons we learn from each one and grow into compassionate human beings acknowledging our sufferings/pains and joys/happiness and relating back the same to others.It encompasses everyone we meet and to reject no one we encounter in our daily life.It includes people dear and loved,acquaintances,strangers,difficult people and so called enemies(each of these people will hold a spiritual lesson to learn from).The spiritual experience is not about picking or choosing each person or life situation as we like but facing every one and everything that opens up to us and being present(aware) to see what we can do and learn from each and the freedom to choose how we grow or not grow from it!
We are all on this human journey(no one is left out) to help each other grow in spirit and help each other to put an end to pain and suffering and live in harmony wherever we are………….
Whatever I may have written or still to write,may resonate or sit true with some,others may have doubts or indifference.I write in the hope that someone or people may benefit or relate or sit true by my sharings.
I wish only for the highest good in everyone.
“silence is the language of God”~~~~~~Father Thomas Keating
In the esoteric dimension of our Being,the Beloved’s voice calls and in that silent secret temple,the Lover will descend to meet…only the Lover and Beloved will endorse their knowledge of each other’s Divine language of Love……..
Through the exoteric realm,that union of Lover and Beloved can truly be made known and channeled.A true living relationship of Oneself and humanity begins in the Silent wisdom of the Heart…………..
As sentient beings, we are always plagued by problems,situations we deem complex,emotionally disturbing and unsolvable,crucial decisions to make,family feuds,physical ailments and mental torments……what do we do?We naturally look for answers in the world ….externally,outside of ourselves,sometimes foolishly and hastily,then we make impetuous decisions which sometimes can be worse and we put ourselves and others in even more precarious, challenging and uncalled situations……………
We spend all our energies giving adulations, placing so much attentions and focus on others’ beauty/intelligence and fame.We believe in the so called ‘truth’ of most social medias,we often rely that others are better than us,have better knowledge than us,we also emphasize on the importance of material gains and accumulations to define our worth and self estem in society…..and yet feel a ‘missing’within us,with a sense of emptiness/devoid of something……………………
Isn’t the breadth and the heartbeat far greater than all the glitz and glamour of the world?These are the true sustenance of Life and living…….isn’t the breadth and heartbeat of a starving African child the same as that of a person with a royal title or that the breadth and heartbeat of a terrorist differs from that of a spiritual master?
We all have that capacity of Divine intelligence within us….why look for superficial and temporary answers/relief exoterically!We are actually the creators,destroyers and restorers of our own sufferings and also of our own joys…………….
Every time we stop and give reverence and remembrance to our breadth and to our Inner Self…..to the knowledge that Love resides in that very heartbeat….we become aware of our very existence, actions,thoughts,words and surroundings….we can rely upon ourselves to make decisions and solutions based on compassion and wisdom…within the silence of the Heart.
As I sat watching the snow fall yesterday and listening to christmas music……I thought ….how blessed I am to be able to have a home to find warmth and comfort and be safe! My body isn’t as light with health and physical strength as I used to have……..despite my body feeling like a block of frozen ice about to crack open in this extreme cold wintery weather……I delight in the knowledge of the joy, peace and Love that dwells Within. I even find so much delight when I see my little friend the squirrel/s running along the ledge of the fence and that brings on a smile on my face that could last most of the day!
Then, ……..I resonate with all those who are sufferring severely in this dreadful weather,my heart opens in compassion for the lonely(those who have lost loved and dear ones)the heartbroken,the disabled,the seniors,the sick,the poor,the homeless,the mentally challenged,victims of bully and hatred and anger and violence and yes…..all those women,children and victims of war-torn countries….how much of suffering they endure in the worst of terrorised circumstances and weather conditions and tormented by fear and lost of human dignity!
My Being bears their plight and sorrows and I breathe out sincere good wishes(prayers)for their safety and protection and end of suffering.
Most endearing to my heart is the remembrance of my time walking on the streets of Eastside downtown Vancouver especially so in the cold,windy,rainy and sometimes snowy times of the winter months where I would walk for 4-5 nights a week being with women(and men as well)who would ‘sell’and abuse their bodies,intoxicate themselves with heavy drug usage and have no inkling about life or death.These winter months are the worst for them….to stand in the cold and be drenched in rain/snow…..almost inhuman,how and what they subject themselves into just to make money to feed their cravings for drugs.
Underneath all that atrocities and sufferings….there is a human heart filled with a potential to open to Love in each of them as so with all of us.Although they might be condemned or judged for their own mistakes and faults and transgressions….we too share the same transgressions to a lesser,contained extent……….
They are mothers,wives, sisters,daughters,sons,fathers and loved ones,left downtroddened,homeless and forgotten…….most of them had scarred their bodies so grotesly…..most lost their teeth,their bodies ravaged by needle marks and scabs and infected wounds,some were beautiful(thru photos they kept)and now unrecognisable!
No matter what, Christmas season was painful for them …..the sadness of their separation from children and loved ones,owning up to their follies and mistakes but too caught up with the addictions,not being able to celebrate the festive season like anyone else……they talk of their unworthiness and self defeated low esteem and there are the hardened ones who would speak crudely of the Christmas festivities………..
As I walked ……tears would sometimes run down my cheeks….there was nothing I could do……..I brought along my senses of feeling and touch(hugs,a kiss,a hand to hold and caress),listening ear,my shoulders to cry on,a few words of comfort,my stilled presence and a quiet heart of compassion and courage to be there with them.I was there on the streets a few christmasses foregoing the celebrations with family and friends….It was not about heroics but the joy they gave me to allow my Heart to be fulfilled and be of use for this purpose of sharing with those who have not and left forgotten!
A particular Chhristmas day walk story quite a long few years ago while in my healthy body……a story of Alice(she had a history of violence and once I was almost assualted by her with a scissors).That christmas night,I remember her being saddened with not being able to see her children and missing Midnight Mass ….so I offered to take her to mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Rosary in Vancouver after I had completed my routine walk….she waited for me but was already high on drugs……..we arrived to a very packed church…….she wanted to go to the front,she said she wanted to see ‘Jesus’….so we went up to the nativity scene right close to the altar…..we sat on the floor……I noticed the archbishop was eyeing us….Alice was fidgetting and trying to reach into the crib…..I allowed her to be….then she simply fled the church,I couldn’t find her…..I drove home feeling love for myself for what I had done…..not being ashamed of myself for caring and showing kindness to a ‘lost soul’.I was empowered by the joy of being human towards another human being for standing up to courage,for not being bothered if we were properly attired for midnight mass(cause this was a time when we proudly dressed up)…….I was enriched and nurtured for being spontaneous in Love for having been unafraid to do something beautiful for another….simply to say that …..”I know you are broken and high on drugs but I care and want to show you how important still you are!”
In writing this of my human experience in the face of pain and suffering……..my heart remains open to the preciousness of Life and Love…..true religion is found in the Heart of every human being……the utilisation of Love within that vessel is the utmost importance in our lives as sentient Beings……all else are secondary…. how we must first learn to open our hearts to ourselves…when we care for our being,body mind and spirit….when we become aware of how our lives affect others(so as not to make others suffer foolishly, selfishly,needlessly and conditionally) ……when we cherish the love for ourselves, our loved ones and others….we can give peace and goodwill from our hearts to the suffering in the world.And it doesn’t matter if our hearts have to go thru hurts and brokeness over again….it will only become tender and resilient….just as meat have to be beaten to become tender….so will our hearts……if the heart is afraid of taking a beating….it will harden and be of no use to even those who are close to us…..how would we help the world?
“open to the Presence of the Heart”
Compassionate living is to live in awareness that another’s joys and sorrows are yours just the same and the wisdom to share and be present by lending a helping hand whenever possible or simply to open the heart in silent listening and loving-kindness!