Mindfulness Mondays 62: Forgiveness

August 2, 2010 by  

Mandela_94I watched the movie Invictus and was moved profoundly by Nelson Mandela’s quote:  ”Forgiveness liberates the soul. It eliminates fear. That is why it is such a powerful weapon.”  He said that in the movie when his bodyguards were angry about his hiring the old Apartheid bodyguards to help him in his administration.  Mandela, after 27 years in hard labor and solitary confinement in a small dingy room, gave absolute forgiveness to his captors.  Can we do the same?

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3 Responses to “Mindfulness Mondays 62: Forgiveness”

  1. Mysteryagain on August 10th, 2010 11:52 am

    My boyfriend saw the movie, I did not get to see it (yet), but he also was very moved by it.
    That is something MAJOR to ponder! That forgiveness liberates our soul, that’s something I intuitively or practically “knew” (not that I don’t have a long road ahead when it comes to learn to fully forgive everyone and anyone who could have hurt me in the past)… but what he said about how it eliminates fear struck me.
    I would have linked “forgiveness” with liberating oneself from “anger”, “frustration”, the feeling of powerlessness and other negative emotions. But honestly had not focused on the link between forgiveness and fear. So this got me thinking.
    Why and how does forgiveness eliminate fear?
    Wow, it was not an easy link for me to make.
    How do you explain that link between forgiveness and fear?
    Personally, I have come to believe that it has to do with the very root of the feelings onset by the absence of forgiveness.
    Whenever we don’t forgive, we carry the burden of negative emotions such as anger, frustration, resentment, aggresivity.
    But what emotions are at the core of any of the above mentioned? Insecurity. Fear.
    After all, anger is a defensive response. In other words, a reaction to protect ourselves from more hurting or suffering. And what’s behind this need of protecting ourselves? Our fear. Our fear to suffer, our fear of being mislead, hurt, deceived. Fear!
    In turn, then, if we forgive, we don’t fuel the negative feelings that stem from fear. So whenever we forgive, we create the conditions to no longer fear.
    This does not mean forgetting, losing our ability to be aware of dangers and avoid them. But there is a humongous difference between “knowing” the risks that come with something and FEARING something.
    Fear takes away from our ability to see things clearly, to not feel easily defeated, to feel strong to weather strom and takes away from having the strenght to stand for our beliefs, give and demand a dignified treatment of people.
    The lack of fear makes us confident, strong, hopeful. And those vertues impede us to be, or at least to FEEL a failure, or to act and feel like victims. Without fear, nothing can REALLY, deeply, harm us.

  2. dr. lam on August 10th, 2010 2:13 pm

    you got it right MA. also, i had a blog on wayne dyer’s concept of fear vs. love. he says there are only two emotions in life: fear and love. i believe that. when we are fearful we cannot love and when we love we cannot fear. when we forgive someone, we let go of fear and we enter love.

  3. Mysteryagain on August 11th, 2010 11:35 am

    Oh, love how Dyer’s (and you) put it!
    This reminds me of some quote that I liberally repeat: loving someone makes us stronger; knowing that we are loved gives us courage. Or something along those lines :)

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