Forgiveness is an essential ingredient of bodhichitta practice. It allows us to let go of the past and make a fresh start. Forgiveness cannot be forced. When we are brave enough to open our hearts to ourselves, however, forgiveness will emerge.
There is a simple practice we can do to cultivate forgiveness. First we acknowledge what we feel - shame, revenge, embarrassment, remorse. Then we forgive ourselves for being human. Then, in the spirit of not wallowing in the pain, we let go and make a fresh start. We don't have to carry the burden with us anymore.
We can acknowledge, forgive, and start anew. If we practice this way, little by little we'll learn to abide with the feeling of regret for having hurt ourselves and others. We will also learn self-forgiveness. Eventually, at our own speed, we'll even find our capacity to forgive those who have done us harm.
We will discover forgiveness as a natural expression of the open heart, and expression of our basic goodness. This potential is inherent in every moment. Each moment is an opportunity to make a fresh start.
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