Friday, June 29, 2012

Forgiveness

Here are some updates from the Rehab Retreat...thank you to everyone for your well-wishes and support.  Here I am with Tami Sherman at the exquisite SB Farmer's Market.  She and her family have been kind enough to welcome me into their home.  I get to laugh and play and be around a family of five, a dog, a bird, three chickens, and a snake!

The farmer's market is brimming this time of year with earthly delights...it is one of my simple pleasures to get some farm fresh food and cook at home.  I love seeing my farmer friends and eating their bounty.  Thank you farmers!

This week also marked the sentencing hearing for Mr. Gomez, the driver of the truck that hit me.  As the victim of a crime, I was invited to read an impact statement in front of the court.  How powerful to express myself in front of Mr. Gomez and everyone there.  The court allowed me to make a recommendation for sentencing and I asked that in lieu of jail time that Mr. Gomez be given more community service.  To my surprise they accepted.  I just didn't see how going to jail would be useful to anyone. 

After the sentencing, Mr. Gomez came up to me.  He apologized sincerely for what he had done and asked for my forgiveness.  I took his hand in mine and said, "I forgive you.  I do.  I forgive you."  We both had tears in our eyes, and later it struck me, that is how peace happens.  The best part is that the forgiveness came spontaneously and effortlessly from my heart.  Many times in life, I have had to struggle to get to forgiveness, but for whatever reason, this experience has been different.  I am different.

When I reflect on what has changed, the only thing I can imagine is that Buddhism has deeply transformed me.  Sitting on the cushion day after day, it isn't as clear that change is happening.  Yet somehow, when I awoke in the emergency room, I felt as if a powerful positive force had entered me.  I said to myself, "No matter what happens, I can deal with it". 

To stand in front of Mr. Gomez, look into his eyes, hold his hand, and offer fogiveness is one of the most potent moments of my life.  It freed both of us.  It was the powerful force inside me, that universal force, that got me to that place. 

So I guess my point is...if we really want to transform, to be more kind, more patient, more loving, and more connected, we can't get there with our brains.  We must dig deep into our hearts and root out what keeps us angry, selfish, and lonely.  We cannot think our way to forgiveness.  The only way is to open our hearts, and I think meditation is the best tool for that.  Sitting quietly, breathing, and opening the heart is the antidote to suffering.

Everyone left the courtroom feeling lighter and joyful.  Thanks to the power of forgiveness what could have been an awful experience turned out to be freeing.  And I can't take credit for it really, it came through me, but it is bigger than all of us.  What a blessing.  I wish you the same and may you be well.

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