While on a run this morning I thought about forgiveness. There are thousands of things that I wish I could get forgiveness for. But, due to circumstance beyond my control, I will never get it. My next thought was how do I sit with it? As I continued to run, heart pumping and sweat dripping, I thought of the quote from George Santayana “Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it.” That’s not going to be me.
I think like most people, I acted in the past with the best information and skill-set that I had at the time. That is not me trying to rationalize or justify that I have done some pretty hurtful things. With each step and each breath, I realized just how many of us get stuck in old ways expecting new results. I have seen this over the course of 30 years in my private practice, but it really hits home when I see it in my own life.
I finished my run, but not my internal dialog. I am exhausted and covered in sweat, but I decide to wash the wife’s and my car. As I am washing and seeing results of the cars being cleaned, I thought how do we wash ourselves clean when we know we’ll never get that forgiveness? The answer is change. Changed behavior and changed negative thought patterns.
I think taking action in order to move on is the only course to actually move on. While it may be true that we cannot go back and undo or get forgiveness from past transgressions, we can ensure that we do not trespass again. And the vehicle is change. We owe it to ourselves, our circle, our communities and our planet to become better people. By making those changes in behaviors and elevating our thoughts to a higher level, I believe we are naturally forgiven.
I started to think about the story of Gandhi. A Hindu man came to him after the fighting and said “I am going to Hell. I killed a boy because they killed my son.” And then Gandhi replied “I know a way out of Hell. Find a child who is without parents and raise him as your own. Only raise him as a Muslim.” Wow! Sometimes in order to be forgiven, we must act and take on beliefs that may push us out of our comfort zones.
That is my commitment to my personal development. I am constantly pushing myself past my current belief system. I am an educated man, but smart enough to know that one belief system, one book, and my current life experiences are not enough. I believe we must go beyond what we were taught, what we have experienced, and see life as the ultimate expression of connection and higher learning.
As I move beyond this process and continue to seek to evolve, I am left with this one thought. I know I may never get the forgiveness that I would like. More importantly, I know I’ll never get the chance to right the wrongs, or say I am sorry. For those reasons I can and will change. Because the one thought I am left with is “I know a way to move forward.”