The art of forgiveness

 In Article

Through acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine

So, you feel betrayed and hurt by the actions perpetrated on you, especially if that person is a loved one or a friend. You carry that poison from the incident(s) and poison it is because it causes you to think about the matter constantly. It is a putrefying corpse you dig up every now and then to remind yourself of the dastardly act and the pain you continue to feel. Never forget, for amnesia is death, a condemnation to repeat history, is what your epitaph says. Each exhumation is worse than the last. The stink of the initial act oozing progressively into your pores. You want to let it go, you want to forgive but like a snake with it inward fangs, with every heaving effort to release, you only end up swallowing your own tail, your own body. That is the true toxin.

How does one undergo a detoxification of the heart-mind? What does it mean to forgive, a word we utter glibly but struggle to enact? When one cannot forgive, then the continuing anger and hurt will inform and dictate our lives, our responses to the people, events and world around us.

The Buddhists have their various meditative methods, from the vipassana techniques to chants, to visualisations, to draw out these emotional septicaemia. These approaches are more involved and methodical than the current popular mindfulness. Buddhism recognizes anger as a very powerful emotion, mostly destructive. Thus, anger is one of the key obstructions to remove. Consequent to that, the festering pain can begin to heal.

The Daoists focus on transforming the body. But to do that, the disciplining of the mind-spirit must take place. They too have their various ways, some involve physical movements ranging from calisthenics to martial arts, to effect the change in mind-body. First, stop the rot. Next, repair the injury. Then, rehabilitate. As embodied creatures, one cannot pay attention only to the mind.

The Judeo-Christians too have their wisdom. Jesus apparently stated that all laws and commandments from on-high could be summarized into two. The first is to love God with one’s entire being but it is the second that is the necessary for the first: “Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” Here is the catch of this insight: one cannot love, forgive, be kind to one’s neighbour (in whom the divine is manifested, if you want to follow the argument theologically), if first, one is unable to love, forgive and be kind to oneself. That is a psychological truism. After all, no one is more intimate with the self than oneself. The inability or refusal to forgive oneself for the misjudgment of character, for the misplaced trust, or even for the fact that one allowed self to be vulnerable though love, that is the true venom one keeps injecting into the blood stream.

Chinese medicine has its own methods to treat such matters of the heart-mind. In fact, the foundational text, The Yellow Emperor Inner Classic “Huangdi Nejing,” states that the first step is to treat the mind-spirit “shen 神.” This is achieved through regulating, manipulating, shifting Qi “energy” and Blood. That is what acupuncture and herbal medicine do. The deeper the contagion, the longer it can take to draw it out of the tissues of the flesh and mind. But draw out it will

First, learn to forgive yourself. Learn to be kind and love yourself.

Then you can truly forgive. In time, yes, but you will be able to do it.

Free your shen 神 and be on your way to mental and emotional health.

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