Learning to Forgive

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday Evening, after our meditation period, we will have the opportunity to experience a step-by-step method of preparing ourselves to forgive ourselves and others. The program will be facilitated by Al Lingo, a Dharma Teacher and the Director of the Mindfulness Practice Center of Atlanta, Georgia. Al learned about love and acceptance from Edith Stauffer, who in her book, "Unconditional Love and Forgiveness," introduced her readers to the Essene Code of Conduct. Dr. Stauffer notes:

Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself, when you are ready to stop hurting for what someone else did. . . .

Forgiveness means changing the attitude of disappointment by canceling the expectations and allowing an attitude of unconditional love to flow out to yourself and to the person who disappointed you. You can only release yourself or another from one expectation at a time. We do this by changing the expectations into preferences. The preference states how we would have liked things to be. Forgiveness is a decision not to punish ourselves anymore for the wrongs of others or our own wrong doing. It is a decision to re-enter into the flow of life and love

You are invited to join us. A related excerpt on Unconditional Acceptance by Thich Nhat Hanh is below.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner
Senior Teacher

Unconditional acceptance
From No Death, No Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh

Unconditional acceptance is the first step in opening the door to the miracle of forgiveness. Jesus said, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us." He understood that the first step of forgiveness is to accept other people just as they are, even if they have harmed us.  To accept others as they are, we must begin with ourselves. If we cannot accept ourselves as we are, we will never be able to accept others. When I look at myself, I see positive, admirable and even remarkable things, but I also know that there are negative parts of me. So first I recognize and accept myself.