Meditations on Forgiveness

by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa

Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa, Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh

Fair warning: for those who are used to reading about Sikh-related stories, this is more of a rambling, inter-faith, Piscean-Aquarian kind of piece. But my prayer is that the Guru always guides what I write – no matter what it’s about. So I hope you enjoy it.

Today, I was at Ralph’s Locksmith getting duplicates for the keys of my (finally-oh-my-god-I’ve-purchased at age 37) home. Like many family-owned businesses in Espanola – in a small case tucked into the side of the store were some Catholic paintings and statues. I grew up Catholic. It’s home base for my spiritual searching. When I was 7 years old, I used to get up early and go listen to mass at the chapel next to the school yard before going to school in the morning. Some people thought I was crazy. Other people thought I would grow up to be a saint. None of them were right- I think my soul just had a longing – even at that young age – for a connection to something deeper. Something more real than the life I saw around me.

God and Jesus were cool. It was the nuns that I had problems with. Especially the ones who told me that Jesus was the only way to God. I never believed them. Finally, in the sixth grade, one nun got so mad at me for not believing that she told me I was going to hell. There’s nothing that’ll put you off following a religion faster than being told that you’re going to hell. So in the sixth grade, I started studying other paths. When all of my feminine peers were beginning to notice boys, I was noticing the Dao de Jing and the Kabbalah.

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18 Responses to “Meditations on Forgiveness”

  1. Jaspal says:

    Thats a interesting piece, certainly no rambling going on there.

    Nice work.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thankyou, that was both an interesting and thought provoking article. Indeed a deep concept to fully understand and practice.

  3. isingh says:

    i can’t not hate my enemies. i try but every time i try and almost achieve it they go do something worse. It could be a test (by God). But I take it as a constant reminder to never let up in my fight against my enemies.

    i know hate is bad. But I love too. for me I find it’s easier to love but much much much harder to not hate. Do you know what I’m saying? Don’t you have to be purely divine to not hate your enemy?

  4. Prabhu Singh says:

    Ek Ong Kar Kaur, you always know how to evoke things from deep within.
    A couple of your ‘letters from India’ were so deep, I felt like I was there and in your shoes.
    The following words are so profound they show that your meditation has brought certain gyan (gnosis) to you:

    “…and what we’re fighting for is not to conquer the other person. We’re fighting so that moment can happen for them…we’re fighting so that in the midst of this madness we call human existence…grace has a chance to prevail.’

  5. Gurinder says:

    isingh ji,

    you are right that one has to be purely divine to not to hate..
    That’s what our Guru Granth Sahib is trying to make us “Divine” with the grace of God.
    I know it is easily said, But I only can be done if we believe in Guru Granth Sabhib ji 100% and carve our lives accordingly.
    Sikhism is the way we live our lives…….
    However, it does not means that we sit quietly and NOT defend our faith.

    I think I’m Rambling……

  6. Hari Singh says:

    Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Ji,

    A wonderful and fascinating article which was both gripping and thought provoking. Please give us more of this stuff! We like it!!!

  7. xSHANTIx says:

    sat nam
    i really felt a familiarness with this story..being from a half irish and half italian catholic family myself..i could connect with the way one is made to feel by nuns and priests and the bible when you are young..and the phrase “you are going to hell” i dont know a catholic child who hasnt heard that line….its the whole “catholic guilt” thing that i think causes so many problems in Catholics lives…….i think everyone on the planets soul has a longing to connect back to the creator, the great divine Guru who provides light in dark times and ultimately all paths DO lead to the same place but, sumhow the messages end up corrupted and cultural influences hold more power than the religion itself and we feel lost and lose our identities and worst of all our faith…..all these things combined make people well with anger, guilt and hatred….these then make the people experiencing these emotions seem bad and thats when the person on the receiving end has 2 options..do we forgive those who present anger, guilt and hatred to us or do we leave them in the dark? I tried a little experiment with my own family…they dont know but there was a lot of negativity an guilt and anger around and when i changed my own behaviour those around me changed too…it only takes one lightbulb to light up a whole room….at times yes it does seem like everyone on the planet is bad….but there are rays of light and if they are allowed, can shine into even the smallest corners. This radiance lies in all of us.

  8. Gurkirpal says:

    Bir ji

    i was disapointed with your writing … there is no sense comparing religions… pls… remember there is no perfect followers of religion… why are you comapring ?? i studied in a roman catholic school for 14 years … they never told me that…. they tell follower your faith … im a khalsa .. bu they never told me to convert to catholic… i was very instersted in roman catholic … bir ji … pls… never compare … i beacuse your not seeing the big picture .. thanks

  9. simransingh says:

    well, its NOT dao de jing, its TAO TE CHING.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. That was a wonderful essay to put me in a thoughtful frame of mind this morning. – Heather

  11. isingh says:

    simran, i thought it was Tao as well so I googled it. and it turns out you’re both right! Dao De Jing is an english translation of Tao Te Ching.

    you learn new things everyday!

    thanks gurinder! we need to get in touch with Jaspal!

  12. Gurinder says:

    Isinghji,

    yes, but how?

  13. isingh says:

    he’s not a pigment of our imagination is he? he’s right there…sitting at the top! click on his name and email him. jaspal, you need to allow comments on your blog! as you can tell…i’m a lazy lazy person…:) (at least when it comes to keystrokes)…

    jaspal, you need to stop jerking Gurumustak’s chain! (regarding yesterday’s post)….you knew (assuming you can read!) he took those pics! :) and they were very different from the ones from Prabhu’s blog. those hills looked like big ant farm hills…

  14. Gurinder says:

    Maybe he is!! he does appear in ghostly fashion ( negative frame)…..

    Isingh, I’m shy to contact him via an email… what will I write to him…just joking (haha..)

  15. Jaspal says:

    did I say or do something wrong?

    regarding the pictures, I didn’t pay enough attention to compare them. I just thought he borrowed them. Simple mistake.

    hmmm.

  16. simransingh says:

    yes indeed, i checked it also and yes dao de jing is correct. my apologies for commenting before knowing better.

  17. Sat Nam All;

    Great reflections Ek Ong Kaur!

    If I may offer some thoughts about Forgiveness? I do this because there seems to be a big gap between feeling hurt and betrayed and getting from there to being Divine and wanting for the other to have a realization of their Divinity.

    Forgiveness can begin by realizing that even a direct betrayal by another is not really about you, (us).

    When not channeling pure Divine Grace, each of us does what we do based on our dualistic notions and conceptual models of what is going on. When someone does something hurtful to you (us, me), it is the “you” they have constructed in their mind that they feel some hostility towards. That construct is made up of their own past pain and suffering and the reactions they had to it. (Samskaras play a role in all that). So even though it may seem to them that you resemble something that hurt them before in some way – you were not there (most likely) and it is not really you (us, me) that they are seeing and acting against.

    Even when the person doing it thinks it is about you it is still not about you.
    It is still only their maya about you that they are striking out against.

    So, it seems that forgiveness can begin by first realizing that it is not really “the you that you are being – the you that you know yourself to be” that is the target of the others actions. (And it is certainly not the you that is eternal and Divine). The more immersed we are in our own haumai – pride, ego, identification with the material plane, the more difficult it is to step out of this.
    I like to begin by saying to myself, “why am I taking this so seriously?
    Sometimes the me that I am being IS doing something that rather directly begs for the other to do something against me. Then I have to withdraw my attachments to whatever it is that makes me do that. Usually that is a pretty big lesson.

    Secondly, it seems that it always helps towards forgiveness to realize that what the other has done is coming out of their own pain in some way – so we need to have compassion for them for that. Sometimes if we can learn more about what notions and conceptual model the other person is stuck in, we can begin to have more compassion for the pain that stirs them to do what has hurt us.
    If it is possible to speak with the other person, instead of coming to them with our defensiveness and anger – if we can pursue in a neutral way some understanding of how they construe the situation in which they did the hurtful thing compassions springs up spontaneously as we see the world through their eyes.

    I offer these thoughts only because I know from experience that it is very challenging to pull oneself out of the painful place of being the hurt victim and to re-establish the connection to the Divine within. I hope what I have offered is useful to someone and not just too much intellectual goop.
    Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru!
    – Nam Hari Kaur – Eugene, OR

  18. Noby Singh says:

    Beautiful expression of thoughts jotted down…….
    Lead life Nirbhay…..
    without any fear…….
    the greatest fear of life is death yet we all can overcome it by accepting the circle of life…
    and thats what the teachings of Guru depicts