It All Counts
- Someone pulls out in front of you on the highway.
- A teller gives you bad treatment.
- The computer freezes up on you for the third time, erasing your document you've worked on for hours.
- You receive an e-mail that puts you down.
- Someone takes your parking spot, the one you've been eying for 5 minutes.
There are many instances when you may get flustered and fall short in the realm of forgiveness and tranquility. God knows I have fallen short at times.
What we must acknowledge is:
1. We can all get agitated with a myriad of experiences at various times.
2. Each of these can have adverse effects on our lives.
3. There are ways out of these tendencies so we may be happy individuals, living in the present moment.
I have seen how the inability to forgive these transgressions - no matter big or small - creates tension and anger, thus inhibiting us from being present, in the moment and happy. Fortunately having forgiven the killer of my son - a huge step - I have learned to be able to embrace the various other events that don't bring as much pain.
Through the steady practice of forgiveness, for the large transgressions and the smaller annoyances, letting go can become a habit. Once we develop a high level of empathy for people and circumstances that upset us, we will make forgiveness a habit, which in turn will help us develop a calm and peaceful disposition.
That peace is found when we can resolve that which exists beyond the agitation, anger and annoyance. That peace is found in the moment of the "now," apart from the past and the future.
When you meet evolved and enlighten people, like the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hahn, you immediately notice how they light up the room with their energy. You see how they are always in the present moment. For us mere mortals this is hard to do. I have been working on being present for many years and find that to be an allusive attribute to conquer. Yes, like many of you I have read the books - The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, My Spiritual Journey by the Dalai Lama and Being Peace by Hahn.
However - about 10 years ago I had a big "ah-ha" in a meditation. I got the message "Don't try to be present - try NOT to be in your past or future." If we do this, by default, we will be in the present. I was so excited about this revelation that I jumped up and down. I realized when we catch ourselves to be in the past or future we can identify with what keeps us preoccupied with unresolved issues. Once I got this revelation, I made daily entries in my journal for times when I was NOT in the present. Thirty days later when I reviewed my journal I was blown away. I was never in the past - I was always in the future.
This was exciting as I was halfway there. I get along with my family, my siblings, my ex wife and her family. I get along with the family of my son's killer. I have no axe to grind with anyone. I have resolved my past through forgiveness. The important thing to remember here is that you have to be complete and forgive all the issues in your past. Holding on to even petty grudges will inhibit you from being present and live life fully and happily.
But what about the future? How do we make sure to keep our mind out of the future? I asked the Dalai Lama this. As an investment banker I am a strategist and a planner - so I am always planning. And we all know how that can be a trap. John Lennon's song Beautiful Boy says it all: "Life happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
I must have faith that it is a better outcome than the one I wanted.
The Dalai Lama told me the reason we are so preoccupied by the future is because we are attached to the outcomes we want to create in our lives: more money, more time, more love, more everything. He advised that while it is OK to desire, it is not OK to be attached to outcomes. He advised that I add the following language to my desires and outcomes: "If I do not get the outcome I desire, I want the outcome that is in the highest good for me, the person, and everyone involved."
So if I get an unwanted outcome I must have the faith that it is a better outcome than the one I wanted. In other words we can combine passionate desire with dispassionate detachment. In my third book - The Secrets of the Bulletproof Spirit - co-authored with Jillian Quinn - Chapter 19 "The Dance Between Desire and Detachment" outlines ways to develop the habit of holding intentions and accepting of the results.
This is key to experience happiness in life. Be not in the past or future. Find yourself in the present. Allow for the little annoyances and practice forgiveness vigilantly and often - for any and all encounters that bring discord... until it becomes a habit. With a well-developed habit of forgiving the past, accepting what comes in the future, and living in the present moment, you will spend more time where happiness and bliss reside - right where you stand.
Azim Khamisa is an author and international speaker. For more information, visitwww.AzimKhamisa.com.
About Azim N. Khamisa
www.tkf.org International Inspirational Speaker - Author - Peace Activist; www.azimkhamisa.com Founder & National Director, CANEI Program; www.canei.org La Jolla, California Read Azim N. Khamisa’s Bio