Enhance your Zone of Forgiveness( ZOF)


                          “ To err is Human , To forgive is Divine”

After “Positive Thinking” ,the attribute which needs to be cultivated, is “Forgiveness”. According to Oxford Universal Dictionary ,forgiveness means, “ to give up, cease to harbor resentments etc.” If we give up resentment against somebody that there is no longer desire to retaliate to seek revenge .”   It is very difficult to live in this world without getting hurt, offended etc. Such situations are encountered daily. The idea is how to encounter such situations. It not only gives internal peace but also keeps one out of stress. For example  when one gets  hurt by someone and  keeps that incident in mind, has tremendous impact on oneself so that :

  • The  incident will linger  in the mind and will develop negative emotional impact.
  • Since one could not react to that incident, this thought will spread inside, particularly at the mental level.
  • It would aggravate your tendency to get hurt frequently, which has a negative cascading impact on mental status.

It is not that one does not forgive but the requirement is to enhance the “Zone of Forgiveness (ZoF)” as far as possible. Forgiveness does not mean that one accepts others behavior.

Oval: Present ZoF    Oval: Targeted enhanced ZoF

In fact , the phenomenon is typical as most of the religious texts ,saints ,films etc promote the concept of forgiveness but public at large general does not display the attitude of forgiveness .Had it been implemented in  true sprit ,the world on its entirety would have been heaven . Mahatma Gandhi ,Indian leader of masses has said, if one slaps in your one cheek ,give him other cheek so that he could slap on the other cheek and able to get rid of   his frustration . But other school of thought may be the hand which slaps you should be cut so that he is not able to slap any body else . Both schools of thought have its own merits and demerits as the later one argue that if it allowed to be continued, such actions will increase and the other party will understand you as coward and would try to repeat such actions again ,however the former view supports that by forwarding other cheek ,one will get ashamed and will not repeat such actions again with others . Whereas in the later case , although one may not dare to repeat such action but it would develop revenge inn the mind of the person whose hand has been cut .It is not shrinking the  FZ area whereas the former helps in enhancing FZ area .

Our way of life is guided by the religion we follow. In most of the religions “forgiveness” has been mentioned and all the religions believe on this concept. References from some of the religious texts based on information available on internet are as under:

Bible:

 It is understood that this text is based on forgiveness, wherein one asks God to forgive for sins being done in day to day life. It says that:

  • We forgive because we have been forgiven by GOD.
  • We forgive in obedience to God.
  • We forgive others to gain control of our lives from hurt emotions.

Vedas :

The Vedic religion is based on respect for nature. That is why there was reverence for rivers, trees, mountains, ocean, animals etc . In Vedas forgiveness is genuine repentance. That is why in Hindu daily prayer at the end worshipper asks for forgiveness and it is understood that God forgives everyone .

Ramayana :

Ramayana has a unique place in Hinduism wherein lord Rama was the main character and who have to pass through many travesties. It was first composed in Sanskrit by Valmiki and later on by Tulsidas. In this story lord Rama was bendicted  to jungle by his own father . His father has given boon to one of his mother Kaikeyi. Lord Rama has never resented and went to jungle for 14 long years and faced many troubles in jungle including kidnapping of his wife by Ravana .

Gita:

It’s a text of narrations between Lord Krishna and Arjuna during war of Mahabharata .During the war Arjuna was in the quandary on killing his own relatives , elders ,teachers etc . Lord Krishna made him understand that he should worry about the result but trust on him and if he surrenders to Lord ,then lord will guide him through his life . In Gita, forgiveness has more powerful meaning . when one surrenders his personality to the Lord , one surrenders all our actions and their results to God. Thus one becomes more free to execute his actions.

Hinduism is not a religion but a way to live, however there are some beliefs which are ingrained in the mind of Hindus e.g. “As you sow, so you reap” .  Forgiveness is considered to a genuine repentance but the fruit of the Karma done by individual is bound to come but the intensity may be reduced. The Hindu after completion of daily worship, request God to forgive him for not performing the worship in a proper manner. The sloka in Sanskrit is as under:

“Avahanam na Janami, Na janami Visharjanmm
Poojam chav Na janami, Chyamatam Parmeswaram”

It broadly means that neither I know how to invoke you nor I know how to   surrender to you . Also I don’t know the methodology of worship , therefore kindly forgive me for all these shortcomings which has been done by me  unknowingly or knowing during worship .

Qur’an:

In this text also, Forgiveness has adequate space for its followers. Some of them are as under:

  • “Hold to forgiveness, command what is right and turn away from the ignorant”.
  • “….They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love Allah to forgive you? Allah is ever forgiving. Most Merciful.”
  • “The repayment of bad action is one equivalent to it. But if someone pardons and outs things right, his reward is with Allah…”
  • “….But if you pardon and exonerate and forgive, Allah is ever- forgiving, Most merciful.”

As per Quran, those who control their rage and pardon other people are believer of forgiving, compassionate and tolerant people.

Jainism:

It is the faith which rejects all form of violence and promotes inter-personal relationship based on co-operation and forgiveness. It is told that Mahatma Gandhi was in contact with great Jain saint Srimad Raj Chandra, who cleared many doubts on religion of Mahatma Gandhi. That is why Gandhiji used to propagate that if someone slapped on one cheek then show him other cheek. It seems to be the influence of Jainism on Gandhiji .In the pure Jain form Ahimsa means completely abstaining from injuring others ,which may be in the form of living things , bird, plants even micro organism . That is why Swetamber Jains have a thick white cloth cover over their lips so that they are not able to hurt even any micro-organism .

Jainism is mostly based on Ahimsa ,which is Daya (compassion, empathy and charity and Jiv-Daya which means caring for and sharing with all  living being , which further entails into universal friendliness, universal forgiveness and universal fearlessness .

Jain’s text Kshamapna Sutra states “I grant forgiveness to all living beings.” Most important is to forgive instead of someone asking for forgiveness.  

Jainism is the only world’s faith called “Paryushana” in which “forgiveness” is the central theme. It is marked with ten cardinal virtues like forgiveness, charity, simplicity etc . But forgiveness has predominant role. All Jain followers request their known either verbal or written form to forgive them if they have been hurt . They have prayers in this subject:

“I grant forgiveness to all living being, May all living being grant me forgiveness. My friendship with all living being, my enmity is totally non-existent.”

Buddhism :

As per this religion, if we hurt others we hurt ourselves .If others harms us they harm themselves etc et .This interconnection of human being is due to consciousness. By practicing forgiveness and understanding significance of forgiveness a condition is created which helps to gain insight of the reality of universe and true nature of consciousness .Forgiveness develops more emotional maturity. It also develops a feeling towards others and thus reduces self-centre-ness  .As per Sangharakshita , our mind could respond in two ways i.e. reactively and creatively . Sangharakshita says that the creative mind finds expression in productive personal relations as when through our own emotional positive-ness others becomes more positive. The creative mind is productive in the sense of contributing to the increase, in the world, of the sum total of positive emotion of higher state of being and consciousness .Forgiveness is our creative response

Medical impact of forgiveness

American scientists established that those capable of forgiveness are healthier in both mind and body . Dr Fedric Luskin of Stanford University has studied 259 people who have been directed to follow forgiveness. After the study it was observed that they have suffered less than who had done wrong with them . The research showed that people who learned to forgive feel much better, not only emotionally but physically also . The symptoms like backache, insomnia and other aches were reduced.

Whereas if forgiveness is not exercised then the person will always remain in anger and causes more flow of adrenaline hormone, which develops negative stress and it becomes difficult to think properly.

Medical science has established that anger , hatred , and other negative emotions are not good for the heart . It is believed that release of stress hormone ,increased oxygen demand by heart muscle cell and added stickiness of blood platelets ,leads to clotting of the blood increases chances of heart attack .Apart form this at the time of hatred and anger pulse rise above normal level thus increases blood pressure in the arteries ,thus more risk of heart attack . Further, it has been established that in such situation production of inflammatory proteins triggers which causes hardening of arteries, causing heart attack and stroke .

From the above and other medical research it has been established that anger, hatred and other relative emotions have serious impact on heart whereas “Forgiveness” – trait difficult to acquire, helps the individual to have happiness both psychologically and physically

Should we forget every time:
 
Sometimes, we may not feel like forgiving others .One may opt for this option but it will develop bitterness in the personality as well as develop negative attitude. It is not necessary that you forget every time but after judging the event, a judicious view can be taken. It is better to be in “forgiveness mode” as far as possible.

Advantage to me :

Forgiveness attitude has tremendous effect on individual .Some of them is as under:

  • By forgiving, you reduce your internal burden and you get relieved from stress.
  • You reach near to God as your ego gets reduced.
  • It takes you out from hatred and anger situation, which are negative attributes.
  • Increase in effective time of life due to time save in display of anger, hatred ad other negative emotions, causing increase in effective time, productivity and efficiency.
  • Relationships are saved from irreparable damage.
  • Forgiveness energizes us and makes the world more beautiful than before.
  • Forgiveness is an act of self-transformation and one transforms from the negative mental state of retaliation and anger to positive mental state of goodwill.
  • You get relieved from the burden of guilt and obsessive resentment and rejuvenate your heart to its purity to have more love with others.
  • Forgiveness gives you shanti or internal peace.
  • Forgiveness develops maturity.
  • Forgiveness helps in spiritual development.
  • Forgiveness may be painful but experience of forgiving is beautiful and librating .Reconciliation with someone or with circumstances is a step towards love which in turn purifies our internals.

When to forgive:

As such it has no timing, you can forgive immediately after the incident or later on .However the best time to forgive is as soon as possible. It may be in the form of writing or verbal. To forgive we need to overcome our ego and pride.

How to develop this attribute

  • Keep yourself at higher level spiritually : It is a conceptual aspect . when someone hurts us ,w e try to behave in the same manner as if we are on the same level . As a human being it is correct but if our spiritual uplift is such that we find ourselves one level above than the person, then we may like to forgive him, understanding that we are much above that person. Although it may be a virtual plane but practicing this will definitely takes at the higher spiritual level.

  • Understand circumstances of reaction: In our life dealing with human being is most important aspect, which one needs get expertise. And the most important is when to react. At our home or work we encounter many such circumstances when we are required to react but the key is “Right reaction at right time”. It has been experienced that listening others with least reaction is one of the successful formula to live in the society because your speech reflects your reaction of the subject and if it’s volatility may harm others and show your resentment, thus better maintain silence. Secondly it is always better to understand the circumstances under which in be has reacted. He may be mentally disturbed or the circumstances has disturbed him which has led for a particular action, which had hurt you  .
  • Hold your reaction: Forgiveness is nothing but enhancement in tolerance limit and tolerance can be increased by exerting deliberate hold on reaction to any circumstances. Holding back the reaction surely defuses the temporary anger which is developed due to particular circumstances. If it is really a temporary feature then one may forget the issue, it is automatically in the “Forgiveness Zone”, and if you recall it after some time then it means it has left a mark in your mind as bad incident and now it calls for your reaction. At this moment, you may decide to react or not. Better Hold your reaction for sometime and after some time you may forget the situation and you may forgive as quite a time has been lapsed.
  • Monitor Daily Forgiveness account: After starting the forgiveness attribute, start daily monitoring of forgiving incidents. Try to increase it on day to day basis and after some time you will find that the issues which were developing negative reactions have been reduced and you start consider those circumstances very trivial and you don’t react to it .

From the above it is clear that all the religious texts have mentioned about “Forgiveness” and a lot of space has been accorded to this phenomenon. More over in our day to day life, we encounter resentment, insults, anger etc , which is required to diffused and reaction to be avoided . One may enhance their Zone of Forgiveness (ZOF) by regular practice and feel change in personality and attitude.


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