Forgiveness & Kind Intention


In the mandala of wholeness we are called to the practice of forgiveness. We must especially find a forgiving heart with family and those close to us. Only then can we bring it to the world. Whether we practice through Buddhist meditation, or as Jesus taught by “turning the other cheek,” or by finding “the mercy of Allah,” we must learn to forgive ourselves and others. Booker T. Washington said it simply: “Don’t ever let them pull you down so low as to hate them.” Forgiveness is the heart’s capacity to release its grasp on the pains of the past and free itself to go on.

There is so much to learn about letting go and loving. Family becomes the ground for this wisdom to flower. I have heard countless grateful stories of a family member saying, “I finally called my mother and told her I love her before she died,” or, “After all these years of pain I finally reconciled with my brother.” Forgiveness offers the heart’s mercy that our hurt and fear have withheld for so long.

It is in tenderness and tolerance that our path is made whole. It is in reconciliation and love of those closest to us that the spirit of our human family grows, to widen and fully embrace our true family: all that lives. We awaken as a part of one another’s family.

Ishi in Two Worlds is the the remarkable account of the last remaining Yana Indian of California, who was befriended by the anthropologists Theodora and Alfred Kroeber. Ishi tells stories of the way of life of his people,never more to be seen on this earth. Yet one of the most moving stories was not told in the book. Among all the reaching songs and exquisite knowledge of nature revealed by Ishi to the Kroebers, there was a sacred song that he had been sworn never to teach to anyone outside the tribe. It was the song sung to the dying, used to sing his people back to their families, to their ancestral lands after death. No one else was allowed to know how to get there. Yet Ishi was alone at the end of his life, the last member of the tribe. It was then that he finally had to teach his last secret to the Kroebers, so they could sing him back to his people.

In the end, no matter how isolated or embattled our lives, we need one another as family, we need each other’s hearts and songs to help one another find the way.

This excerpt is taken from the book, “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry

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