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Trusting the Process
by Sister Jayanti

Let go, Forgive & Forget

Sometimes we think that things can only be accomplished by holding on, whether it’s relationships or situations. Yet to hold a bird, tightly, you’d probably squeeze the life out of it. Even holding the bird gently, the bird is not fulfilling its purpose of existence, which is to fly. If I hold a flower in my hand, how long will it last? If I let the flower float in water, it will last longer. If the flower is left in the soil, its natural habitat, it will last even longer. First, there is the desire to have the flower, and so I cut it. And then it’s not just good enough that the flower is in a vase but it has to be mine, I have to hold it, and deny it life.

In relationships, when I hold on to someone, I’m not giving them space or freedom to express themselves and be who they are. Holding on and not wanting to let go is my own insecurity. I’m afraid and so I need to hold on. The moment I become stable, secure and confident within, I don’t need to hold on.

Letting go is absolutely important in order to live and let live. If I don’t let go, I’m not allowing others to survive. Why are we not willing to let go of circumstances? Circumstances change, nothing stays the same. From one moment to the next, it’s a different scene. We hold onto these scenes in our minds. The image of a particular situation, or the impression of something that’s left in the mind keeps repeating in my head. I’m hanging onto this state of consciousness and it’s occupying precious space. I have only a limited, finite amount of space in my mind. I can choose what to do with it. Somehow it seems that the beautiful memories disappear and only painful memories remain. This is strange because I don’t want to experience pain, and yet I hold onto painful memories. By thinking about these memories, again and again, I’m inflicting and creating recurring pain for myself. Nobody else is the oppressor. I become my own victim by oppressing myself and not letting go of that particular situation.

Thankfully, we’re not in this state all the time, but certainly there are periods of our life, situations or relationships in which we get stuck. It’s important to allow myself to grow, flow and move forward. If I’m doing that for myself, I’m giving space and permission for everyone else around me to be able to move and grow also.

So that’s the theory - how do you do it? First is to give importance to, and recognise that I need to be doing something about my own inner world, because the process is happening in the mind. It’s on the inner level that I have to be free. Most people think that if they fix things externally then things will get better. Sorting things externally is like putting on sticky tape, it holds things together for a little while and then another bit of tape is needed, and another, and another. A quick fix is not enough. When we understand that things begin in the mind and then move outwards; to sort things out, we can begin to look for the answers inside. I will then come across permanent solutions.

Letting go does not mean cutting out. If you try to cut something with a sharp knife, then probably a lot of blood will flow and it’s going to be very painful and not a happy experience. Cutting things is no good. Gently move away, disentangle and find that you’re able to let go at the right moment when things are ready to shift. That’s a much smoother and less painful process.

Ask yourself: what is it that I really need? When you start to fulfil your own inner needs then you’ll realise that you don’t actually need to hold onto that bird. When you open your hand and watch the bird flying free, you can love and appreciate its beauty and its flight. The bird will probably come flying back and rest in your hand, out of its own natural will and choice.

So, I have to let go of my desires. When a desire is born, it will spin around and keep coming back into your mind until you’ve been able to fulfil it. Once the desire is fulfilled, then there are more desires, and then more and more. It’s an unending situation in which I’m never going to come to a state of peace and fulfilment. When I let go of desires, I can have peace within. To let go is to know that all that I need is within. When I follow the path of truth, the path of righteousness and make sure that my thoughts, words, and actions are aligned to the truth, my needs will be fulfilled. “There’s enough for everyone’s needs but not enough for even one person’s greed”.- Mahatma Gandhi

There are lots of empty spaces within the soul. We think that those empty spaces will be filled by others, work, position, possessions, and partners. However, no matter how much we try to fulfil ourselves with all things external, there’s still that feeling of internal emptiness. The way to fill in the empty spaces is not by the shifting sands of relationships, or the changeable circumstances of position at work, or the possessions that work brings me but I can fill myself by tapping into my own inner resources and connecting with the Divine. This infinite source is never going to let me down, or never going to dry up. It’s a possibility that’s available to all of us at any moment.

As I fill myself, I can feel the strength of love, peace, joy and power returning to my own inner being. There’s security in knowing that I can be self sufficient and self-reliant. I don’t need to hold onto people and things anymore. When I’m with others, there’s an exchange of love and happiness, yet I’m not dependent on others. If they’re not around, I don’t miss them. That is the state of freedom that the soul is able to experience. Letting go is not deprivation or sacrifice. Letting go means to step away, and to be free. It means to give freedom and space to another.

In that state of letting go I’m able to step away and see things from a distance. When you’re seeing things too close up you don’t get a very clear picture. When you see a tree you don’t realise that it’s part of a whole forest. Step back a little and you’ll see things on a broader scale. To look at things differently is the process of inner wisdom. To teach myself to look at things from many different perspectives is the path of spirituality.

Letting go means to be in that inner state of peace, then to do whatever is right according to the situation. Most of our responses are not logical but emotional. When something happens, our emotions and feelings are triggered immediately, and our response is instantaneous. So, I’ve already said something, I’ve already expressed something and then I think about it. We can choose to live like that, continually reacting, creating a mess and then mopping it up later. The problem is that the cleaning up process takes a while. What I can do is learn to develop a considered response, one filled with warmth and love, and one based on understanding. Not just see and react, but give myself a moment of space to pause, reflect and then respond.

Forgive and Forget
I’m now in a position where I can start to develop love and compassion in my heart. Until I’ve learnt to forgive the person with whom there is conflict, there’ll always be problems in my relationships with others. A block in one relationship also affects the whole flow of energy with everyone else. If I don’t forgive, then there’s bitterness, pain, many hang-ups. There’s sorrow for myself, never mind the person I’m not willing to forgive. When you have flu, you can’t eat anything because nothing tastes good, nothing tastes right. It’s not the food that’s bad, but there’s a bitter taste in your mouth. It’s the same when I don’t forgive, that feeling of bitterness in my mind influences everything else that I do. So, the process of forgiveness is part of my own healing.

Forgiving the self involves the process of realising and then letting go of the ego. It’s our ego that doesn’t allow us to acknowledge our mistakes. When I let go of the ego with honesty and humility, I’m able to have the recognition of my mistake. There’s determination that I don’t want to repeat that mistake again. Experiencing God’s grace and forgiveness, I’m able to let go of my own guilt, and my own pain. Through that, I take a step forward to walk through the new door of opportunity.

When I realise my own mistake, others are also ready to forgive me. Forgiveness from other people comes from their own generosity of spirit, and also their faith in the goodness of every human being. That’s why they’re able to say, “We understand, we know that mistakes happen. It’s ok. We’ve been through the same.” When I remember the situations where I have received forgiveness, there’s a feeling of gratitude and humility. Appreciative of that forgiveness, I know that I have a responsibility to do the same for others.

When a mistake has been made, sometimes an apology isn’t enough. Feelings are so deep and have been hurt so badly, that I have to prove that there’s been some change and I’m not going to cause you any more pain. When there has been some transformation in the self, then the other person will also be ready to forgive.

When the other person is not ready to forgive you, the only possibility at that moment is to let go and step away. From their side there’s rejection because their mind and heart are just not open. Let there be peace in your heart and positivity in your mind, and maybe with time, hearts will heal and the minds will be open.

When it comes to forgiving others - do I have the authority and the right to forgive? The world is actually based on law. Everything moves in a pattern, which is absolutely right. We might see disharmony and disorder, however this is not part of the whole scene. Things settle and resolve and get back to a state of order, harmony and justice. So, my forgiving you is really for my own healing and the healing of the relationship, but I don’t really have the authority or the power to forgive you. The law of karma is absolute, so whether somebody forgives or not, the outcome will be sorted out in the right way.

Forgiving others is about accepting others. I have to have a generosity of spirit and heart in which I accept, give and forgive. Also keep the door open for respect and love, so that we are able to work together. Dadi Janki is a senior yogi and a teacher of human and spiritual values. Her quality of forgiveness is such that she doesn’t just forgive but she also forgets. Her capacity for forgetting is such that she’ll make the other person forget too. By not underlining and repeating it, she will act with such love and respect that the other person will be able to forget their own guilt. Then there is the possibility of a relationship of regard and trust.

There’s an expression that, ‘God is able to forget my past but am I able to forget my past?’ God, the compassionate Parent gives unconditional love, forgiving and forgetting the past. With the recognition of being a child of God, I’m fully open to God’s healing power.

To forget is to let the past belong to the past instead of bringing it back into the present. By learning to put a full stop in my own mind to the past, there is the possibility of creating a better future. To let go, forgive and forget, I need power. I can gain inner power by connecting with the Divine. By focusing and drawing on that strength, I’m able to lead my mind in the right direction and create a peaceful state within.

Trust
The reason why we don’t trust each other is because we don’t trust ourselves. We don’t trust ourselves because we haven’t connected with the goodness that’s within. The original state of every human soul is of beauty, goodness and truth. Through silence, I can connect with myself and touch the core of goodness that’s in my own inner world. Nobody can take it away from me, damage or attack it. When I’m in that inner state of dignity, there is faith and trust in the self; then it’s easy to give respect and trust to others.

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