(The principal of a large school in Bombay gave us a list of frequently asked questions by 13 year old children in her school and asked us whether we can prepare answers in the light of a spiritual perspective. When we looked at the question we found that they are not mere “kid-stuff.” Most of them are either fundamental and existential questions related to world and God or psychological problems faced by most of us. This series is an attempt to answer these questions from the children’s perspective in the light of a spiritual vision of life. We don’t know how far we have succeeded in communicating to the children. Nevertheless, we hope these answer may be of some help to teachers and parents who have to deal with children. There are around thirty questions with answers given in the light of a spiritual vision of life. We will post these questions at regular intervals.)
Why don’t we have the heart to forgive and forget
A very good question because it is one of the most disturbing emotional problem not only for children like you but also for adults. We tend to brood over the insult, offense or the inner wounds unable to let it go and “forget and forgive” why? I can give a mental answer to this question but that will not help you to solve the problem. You must experience the answer concretely, with an inner concreteness, by observing yourself.
When you are hurt and offended and unable to forget or forgive look into yourself and see what is exactly happening. Something within you is hurt and doesn’t want to let go the hurt feeling and clings to it. You must become fully conscious of this point in you, which is the emotional ego, something touchy, impulsive, hypersensitive, unreasonable, quite often violent, aggressive and vengeful in its reactions; it doesn’t want to be disturbed and cannot tolerate anything unpleasant happening to it; it doesn’t like to be criticized and wants always to be praised, pampered and flattered. It is this nature of the lower emotional being, that touchy, and unreasonable ego in it, is the source of that inability or rather unwillingness to forgive and forget.
What is the remedy? The first step is to become fully conscious of the root and sources of the problem. We must understand, not intellectually but psychologically by deep self-observation, the root of the problem is not “not able to” but “not willing to” forget and forgive. Something within desperately and unreasonably clinging to the hurt feeling.
The second step is to inwardly step-back from this clinging ego-point in our emotional being and all its reactions like revolt and anger and the dramatic sentimentality. We should not give consent to or accept all these negative reactions of our lower emotional ego, looking at it with a detached indifference as if we are looking at the tantrums of an ignorant and immature child within us. We are not this untruly and stupid child. We are the calm, undisturbed and wise child looking with an indulgent and detached smile at our ignorant and unbalance brother within us.
The third step is to bring light, reason and understanding to the disturbed part. Here there are two options. First is to bring forward the spiritual self or psychic being, which is at the depth of your heart. If you have easy access to your spiritual self or psychic being you have to bring it forward through a concentration in the heart. And if you are able to put the light of your psychic being into the disturbed spot, it will bring a luminous and feeling understanding to it, and the problem is quickly resolved. In the psychic light, the afflicted part understands with a feeling intuition the stupidity of its clinging and its negative reactions and let them go. The grip of the dark knot is dissolved.
But if we don’t have easy access to our psychic being, we have to use our reason. We must try to convince the affected part by reason, how stupid its reactions are. We must talk to it something like this: “Why are you behaving in such a stupid and unreasonable manner. By constantly clinging to and remembering the hurt feeling and the incident, you are only making yourself more and more unhappy and miserable. But if you make a conscious and sincere effort to forgive and forget you will be more happy and free. Try to do this and see the result.” This is not easy; it requires a lot of patience, persistence, persuasion and a good reason. We must develop and have a good reason, which can be a great help in dealing with this kind of emotional problems. We must always listen and act according to our reason or our psychic being and should not be a slave of the unreasonable impulses, fancies and passions of our lower emotional nature.