Monday, 14 November 2016

Acting without actions - Forgiveness

 

The world is beautiful. There is abundance. The body is well adapted to it. There is so much to do, learn and explore here. But then there are other people, with their huge Egos, they spoil all the fun. A lot of suffering is caused by retarded behaviour of others. In their ignorance and under the influence of wild Egoic tendencies, these people cause great harm and suffering. Sometimes a persons invites trouble by his own actions. Whatever is the cause, a majority of our suffering comes from others. Even seekers find themselves dealing with ignorant people who destroy their peace of mind routinely. Fortunately, one need not throw all those people out of the world, one can shield himself from their harmful effects. Realize that suffering is a state of mind, your own mind, and even if someone else is responsible for your messed up state of mind, you are fully capable of restoring it back to happiness. We all are free to do so, the choice is always there. This trick is called forgiving. It is useful when your suffering originates outside, usually from other people.

Forgiving is a mental action which is aimed at clearing negative programs. It is an action that results in non-action. Negative programs are mental structures that cause negative thoughts, desires and actions, which in turn lead to suffering and even more negative programs. This vicious circle continues. Negative or harmful programs are formed due to Egoic tendencies of anger, hate, envy, etc. The programs enforce these tendencies and cause more negative actions, and hence more suffering. Usually other people that are themselves under the influence of harmful programs are responsible for implanting those negative tendencies in their victims. In simple words, bad behaviour of bad people turns a person with otherwise healthy mind into a person full of mental afflictions and suffering. This happens because people are usually unconscious of their own tendencies and get easily influenced by other’s behaviour.

What is the cure? Forgive. The vicious circle needs to be broken at some point. One needs to do it by consciously terminating the programs or thoughts or actions. This needs to be done repeatedly because the mental structures are formed and strengthened via repetition and erasing them also requires repetition of corrective action. In simple words, not allowing and acting on the negative thoughts, which come up again and again, will slowly make the bad actions and suffering go away. This is the act of forgiving essentially.


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How to forgive? 

You do not have any control over the thoughts and intentions that arise, but you have control over whether they turn into actions. Intervene at that point. Not taking any action on the command of thought weakens the thought as well as the program that caused that thought. The action can be physical such as hitting a person, vocal such as abusive language or mental such as cursing a person mentally. From the point of view of the Mind, they are all equal. They end up strengthening the programs and the loop of thoughts and actions repeats with more vigour. Intervention and termination of all three types of actions has reverse effect and the program weakens and eventually gets erased.

Replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones also helps. Removing the ignorance also helps. The ignorance of one’s own tendencies and working of mind. Seeing it clearly how others act from Ego and how one reacts again from Ego helps to restore one’s mental peace.

Use the tricks discussed in earlier articles in order to tackle those three kind of negative actions at once. If it is difficult, seek help. A wise teacher can help. A person in trap of Ego won't help much and can end up causing more harm instead. Choose your helpers wisely.

The other person 

Forgiving has nothing to do with the other person, the offender. It is a corrective act that fixes your own behaviour. It does nothing for the person responsible for your messed up mind and acts. If you are reading this blog since the beginning, you will recall that it is always a hit or miss situation as far as fixing the other is concerned, but fixing yourself is easy and certain. A wise man wastes no time in correcting others, he corrects himself first. Your happiness and freedom depends on your state of the mind, not on other’s mental states or behaviour. This is the key, and this is the reason, one needs to fix himself and ignore others. Even if you manage to fix a few people by hook or crook, the next person that shows up will have same power to mess up your mind, because you have done nothing to improve yourself, you are still as vulnerable as before.

What gets fixed in you? Obviously, you got easily influenced by the actions of others and brought afflictions onto yourself, this gets corrected. Next time you will keep your guard up while dealing with others and not let situations go out of hand and even if they do, you won't get easily affected by the wrong behaviour of others. So forgiving is corrective and also preventive.

The offender need not be made aware of your internal act of forgiving. He remains as he was. He continues doing what he does. It does not matter, its not your concern. Your concern is yourself, health and peace of your own mind and body.

You can go one step ahead and mentally thank the other for showing your own weakness to yourself. It is a weakness of the Mind that it lets Egoic tendencies to rule itself. Bad situations in life act as a lesson that teaches us how to correct those. So if you encounter a bad person or bad situation, turn it into your own advantage.

Note that I said “mentally”. Do not make the mistake of actually going to that person and thank him for messing with you. It can have undesirable consequences to say the least. Just like forgiving, thanking is an internal act. If you do not feel like thanking that fellow, thank universe etc. That should work, but yes it'd be a big mistake to go to the other person and tell him that you have forgiven him and are actually thankful to him. It can backfire and ruin your forgiving. Do not assume that everyone is out there is as wise as you are, most are abysmally ignorant, sadly.

It is your personal matter, no one needs to know. All you have done is cleaned up your mind of the crap the other managed to throw there. It need not become a story of your life. If you give it more importance than it deserves, it can have unintended side effects like megalomania. Your Ego will tell you that you are great and all because you forgave. The same Ego that threw you into intense suffering before forgiving happened. So the internal act of forgiving need not be more important than cleaning your room. Its equivalent to throwing garbage out of your mind. Its not a noble act or some such.

Cutting the cord

Wouldn't it help to end the bad behaviour of the other person if I told him that he is forgiven? It depends on the person. Different people will take it differently depending on their current level of evolution. Some will surely take your forgiving for your weakness, you are an easy prey now, and they will not hesitate to repeat the offense. Some will not care, they are the indifferent types. They may not trouble you again intentionally but they remain as good or bad as before. Then there are some who actually understand the meaning of forgiveness, and they may feel sorry or repent their bad action, but such people are rare. Firstly, such a person would not act in a way that requires you to forgive. He caused harm, which is a sign that he is a work in progress, not a finished piece. So the bottom line is - keep the forgiving to yourself unless you are very sure that mentioning it to the other, the offender, will be beneficial for him. Note the phrase “beneficial for him", its not “beneficial for both", you are not looking for your own benefit here. Forgiving is all one needs to do, no more benefits are needed.

In any case, let go of the person. Forgiving is distancing yourself from the influence of the offender. It may have physical expressions like distancing physically or behavioural changes in you. Trust once broken is not amendable. If he is a close relative or a partner, it will be difficult to avoid that person, but now you can keep your guard up. Avoid any situations that can turn offensive. The avoidance is now mental, not physical. It is possible to be friendly and caring without needing to trust someone. This is unconditional love essentially. You love wild animals, you protect them or feed them, but you don't put your neck in their jaws. It'd be stupidity, not trust or love. People are dynamic and unpredictable, just like you are.

Defence and punishment 

Shouldn't I defend myself from the wrongdoings? Of course, defend and then forgive. Forgiving is a mental act, an after effect. When facing the actual drama, one must act in best possible way, especially when its a question of survival. If the attack is psychological, such as a verbal insult, one can be lenient, but when the other is bent on killing you, forget forgiving. Some situations demand that one take extreme actions, e.g. if you are a soldier and if you don't kill the enemy, he will surely kill you. What to do? Kill and forgive.

What about people whom I need to face everyday, they are abusive repeat offenders? How long can one go on forgiving? This question shows that you skipped the "cut the cord" section above. Cut the cord. Distance yourself from such people and places. What are you doing there? A seeker would leave without saying a word. But if you are a worldly person, and if these people are your relatives, partners or co-workers, you are stuck. You still have a choice to take bold decisions or continue the psychological warfare. What use is throwing trash when you go and collect it again next day? If you don't have a goal, no path, then life will torment you with such situations. If you have a path, nothing else matters, you can simply leave because you know you are not at the right place. It does not make you progress even an inch.

Wouldn't punishing the offender help me or the offender himself? Punishing others is an Egoic act, its equivalent to revenge, and it surely means anything but forgiving. Forgiving means you are done with the other person. I'm distinguishing defence and punishment here. Both are not the same, please note. Punishment is you attacking, not avoiding the attack. If you manage to punish the other, Ego sees it as its victory and gets inflated. It now turns you into an offender. There is no difference, you did exactly the same that the other did - caused harm.

Secondly, punishing encourages the other person to strike back with even more vigour. If he is strong he will do it now, else he will wait for the right opportunity. Not punishing and letting him get away can have the same effect. Either he will take you as a coward or a weak person or will run away and continue behaving in the same manner later. Only a wise person will understand why you wouldn't punish him, but these are rare, and won't act in ways that lead to punishments. Some people bend to punishment and it fixes them and some get hardened by punishments. There are all kinds. So decide on case by case basis. Can you say - punish and forgive? No, in my opinion. You need to forgive yourself in this case, as you had to punish someone.

What if law punishes the offender? Then it is not your business, let them do whatever they do in such cases. It will be more like defence. The offender is gone and will perhaps learn a lesson, but you are not involved in punishing him. Treat your action as a service and when the dust settles, forgive, throw out all that trash. Cut the cord.

Peace of Mind 

The whole point of forgiveness is achieving peace of mind. Stuff happens in this world, but it need not stick to you. You have a choice here. You don't have a choice about what kind of stuff happens, the world is a chaotic place, but you have some control over what affects you and what doesn’t. Forgiving is a way of getting rid of negative effects that situations or people can have on your mind. One should not expect forgiving to do wonders, like fix the situations or others, or turn yourself into a great saint or some such.

I messed up 

Now lets see the other side of the story. You fell for Egoic tendencies, like anger, and offended someone. What should you do? Ask for forgiveness. Resolve not to do it again. Cut the cord.

But what will I get by doing this? You get your peace of mind and the forgiver gets his. Its mutually beneficial. Actions do not simply disappear once they happen, there are always consequences. Your wrongdoings will surface sooner or later and will become a source of suffering. The very same Ego that provoked you into wrongdoing will later punish you with negative emotions of shame, guilt and regret or what not. It starts appearing in your behaviour, your dreams, and even on your face. Needless to say that it robs you of your equanimity and happiness. Its best to end it now.

The victim is now gone or is long dead, now what? Ask for forgiveness anyway, mentally. Imagine being forgiven. Throw the trash. Cut the cord. The Mind doesn’t know the difference, the negative programs die equally effectively.

Note that actually meeting your victim and asking for forgiveness is more effective and instant, but it can also have undesirable consequences, depending on the current level of evolution of the victim. A wise man will always forgive you. A smart man will at least say so, just to get rid of you. An ignorant and stupid person will take you as a coward and may attempt to strike back. Be prepared for anything if you don't know the person. If the person is your relative or a partner, he may feel happy for you or he may feel that you are dependent on him for emotional or financial or some other stuff, and may react differently. Some will try to convert you into a doormat. Use your own discretion.

But why cut the cord in this case? Because you messed up. That action cannot be undone. This is world, not a PC. The consequences linger, trust breaks, you induced fear and anger into someone, don't expect things to remain same. Relations break for insignificant reasons sometimes, and when there is a big reason, they must break. You will find that, even if the relation continues nicely for a while, it will either turn bad or ordinary one day. Cutting the cord hastens this process and liberates you quickly. But isn't it better to mend it, be friends again? Yes, why not, if you are not on a path and are still interested in worldly stuff, do whatever makes you happy. If you are on a path, it is a sign of attachment. A seeker has nothing to do with people in general. He would turn this situation into an advantage and detach from his act as well as the person. What can be a better lesson than your own mistake?

A seeker while acting in a world will encounter bad situations sometimes. Either others are the cause or he himself is. In any case, he will quickly get up, dust off and continue on his path. Events happen, they are not done by you or anyone. Why worry about who's mistake it was, and who should forgive whom? These are all just experiences on the screen of Self. However most of us are not so advanced and need some practical tricks sometimes. Forgiveness is one such trick, it will bring you out of the mess, quickly and effectively. Needless to say, if you abide as Self, there is no need to forgive and no need to ask for forgiveness. These situations will not arise, and in rare event of their appearance, you don't need to do anything anyway, its all a drama of one form of the Self forgiving other form. Its as if I slap myself and then say sorry to myself, its retarded and funny to do that. So forgiving works only if you still see others as separate from yourself. Great masters always recommend to bypass the drama, just be the Self.

Discussion on the next trick - donation, will continue in the next article.

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