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Celebrate Forgiveness Day! A message on forgiving ourselves and each other
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JAINA Celebrates Sept 13, 2014 as Forgiveness Day:

“Forgiveness Begins With Forgiving Yourself “

The kindest and most compassionate thing you can do for yourself and others is to forgive yourself. Self-forgiveness is an important step to becoming a compassionate person.

We are often told that we should forgive others, the old saying “forgive and forget” is thrown around constantly, so you make an effort to forgive those who you feel have wronged you in some way and you find it almost impossible to do. Why is that? It is possibly because you have not yet learned how to forgive yourself.

In terms of self-help a better saying to use would be “charity begins at home” or in this case charity begins with self. You cannot freely give to the world that which you do not give to yourself. Just as you cannot truly love someone without first loving yourself, you cannot forgive someone without forgiving yourself.

Self-forgiveness is not difficult to master, you only need to simply spend some time thinking over things that you feel badly about, things that you may have said or done to yourself or to others. Apologize to yourself and let it go. Practice this often, whenever you find yourself beating up on yourself about something you did or did not do, accept that the deed is done and it cannot be undone, forgive yourself and move on to find a solution if necessary, if it something that another action cannot rectify then you must let it go, it was in fact in the past already and remind yourself that no one can change the past.

So, why wait, let’s start forgiving yourself, here are the key steps to self-forgiveness:

  1. See your mistakes clearly (Say to yourself, I’m only human, I made a mistake. I’m willing to let this go.
  2. Take responsibility (Acknowledge the mistake. Congratulate yourself. Be compassionate with yourself)
  3. Where necessary, make amends (If you’ve wronged someone and it’s appropriate, reach out to them)
  4. Move on (The challenge of self-forgiveness comes when we hold onto anger and resentment. After feeling the necessary emotions, it’s time to release it and move on)

When you have mastered the loving act of forgiving yourself, your heart will then be open to forgiving others. This is part of a natural progression on your journey to enlightenment, to forgive others means to take away yet a bit more control from ego and allow your higher self the possession of your thoughts and actions that it deserves.

Forgiving others, how?
Forgiveness is never easy, but good progress can be made by following these helpful tips:

  1. Constantly remind yourself that we are all terribly flawed (No one is perfect and no one is even close to perfection. We don't need to excuse them, but we can forgive them)
  2. See the divine spark in all (Just about all of the religious and spiritual traditions talk about everyone having some divine spark or that everyone is sacred (pure soul) in some way)
  3. Practice mindfulness (A mindful approach to life helps us to let go of the anger, bitterness, and stress that often comes with conflicts in relationships)
  4. Focus on coping rather than curing (Coping can occur at multiple levels, including biological, psychological, social, and spiritual. For example, exercise is an excellent biological coping mechanism. Getting social support from others of like mind is a good social coping strategy while prayer, medication, religious/spiritual practice, and spiritual direction can be helpful spiritual coping techniques)

Forgiving others shows you have the ability to open up and let love flow through you. Therefore, JAINA request you all to celebrate the day September 13th asforgiveness day” and let’s start with self-forgiveness followed by forgiving others.

In Jainism, having thoughts of anger, resentment and revenge all build karma, therefore hindering our path to liberation. For this reason, the forgiveness prayers are extensive and deemed a necessity to help purify our soul. On the auspicious occasion of Forgiveness Day, we seek forgiveness from all living beings while reciting this sutra:

Kshamapana Sutra and Meaning:

KHAAMEMI SAVVE JEEVA (I grant forgiveness to all living beings)
(May all living beings grant me forgiveness)
METTI ME SAVVE BHUYESU (My friendship is with all living beings)
VAIRAM MAJHAM NA KENAI (My enemy is totally non-existent)

Michhami Dukkadam!

"If we all live by 'an eye for an eye' the whole world will be blind. The only way out is forgiveness"

Self-forgiveness enables the release of guilt, shame and fear

"It takes one person to forgive, it takes two people to be reunited"

- Written by Yogesh Bapna

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