FORGIVE AND FORGET
BE MORE HUMAN – LEARNING FROM SCORPION AND A DOG
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” – Mahatma Gandhi
There are quite a lot of things to remember and lots of memories to cherish in life still we tend to besiege ourselves with unimportant and energy depleting thoughts. There are always two sides of every situation and each side has it’s own repercussions either good or bad. Therefore, It is upon us on which side we wish to fall, if we don’t decide or leave it on circumstances then the bad ones might befall us.
Osho points out: “Nobody is responsible except you. Nobody can make you angry, and nobody can make you happy. You become happy on your own, you become angry on your own, and you become sad on your own. Unless you realise this, you will always remain a slave.” Therefore one should become more and more conscious of his actions and intentions to make life more blissful. The right and wrong in every situation is in our own hands, we can at any point change the situation as they say, that one decision can change your life. Similarly one decision to forgive and forget others can save you from forthcoming sadness.
Every moment gives us the chance to be selective of our own emotions, to be in our full control and be decisive therefore most of the times we condescend to go with the opposite and debilitate our emotional agility by dwelling on (THE PAST) ‘what went wrong?’ OR (THE FUTURE) ‘how will I take the revenge?,’ over (THE PRESENT) ‘what’s good in front of us‘?. We have just wrongly assumed that it has to happen all at once, and we give up at the thought of it. We are A-Z thinkers, fretting about A, obsessing over Z, yet forgetting all about options B through Y, i.e. focusing more on past and future and ignoring the PRESENT.
I totally understand that forgetting something wrong is not that easy and forgiving the culprit seems hurting oneself at the outset but in retrospect it is the best one could do. One negative thought is like a poison for our mind more we feed into it more we get hurt. For example, if you add a drop of ink into a glass of water, it will change the color of water and turn it into blue, and soon the water will lose it’s luster. Likewise, one unforgiving or revengeful thought can change our entire mindset and impede our progress.
Here is a beautiful story of a Sadhu and a Scorpion that gives us the inspirational lesson on forgiveness:
One day a sadhu went to the river to bathe. There he noticed a scorpion struggling in the water. Scorpions cannot swim and the sadhu knew that if he did not save the scorpion, it might drown.
Therefore, carefully picking up the scorpion, the sadhu rescued it from drowning and was just about to set it down gently on the land when the scorpion stung his finger. In pain, the sadhu instinctively flung his hand and the scorpion went flying, back into the river. As soon as the sadhu regained his composure from the sting, he again lifted scorpion out of the water. Again, before he could set the scorpion safely on land, the creature stung him. This incident went on for several minutes as the sadhu continued to try to save the life of the drowning scorpion and the scorpion continued to sting his saviour’s hand.
A hunter from the other side watched as the saint carefully and gingerly lifted the creature out of the water, only to fling it back in as he convulsed in pain from each fresh sting. Finally, the hunter said to the monk, “Forgive me for my frankness, but it is clear that the scorpion is simply going to continue to sting you each and every time you try to carry it to safety. Why don’t you give up and just let it drown?”
The sadhu replied: “My dear child, the scorpion is not stinging me out of malice or evil intent. Just as it is the water’s nature to make me wet, so it is the scorpion’s nature to sting. He doesn’t realise that I am carrying him to safety. That is a level of conscious comprehension greater than what his brain can achieve. But, just as it is the scorpion’s nature to sting, so it is my nature to save. Just as he is not leaving his nature, why should I leave my nature? My dharma is to help any creature of any kind – human or animal. Why should I let a small scorpion rob me of the divine nature which I have cultivated through years of sadhana?”
Life is like that it keeps throwing problems at us in different forms, just to make us stronger not weak. We should keep our focus intact and struggle with the obstacles on our way with alacrity, this way we can become a stronger person. We all can form a discipline of saint and learn to forgive our sinners and forget the petty issues that are not in our control. We at times blame God for being unfair until we find a more miserable person than us, instead we can learn to forget the shortcomings of life and concentrate more on the blessings of God.
We are imprisoned in the habit, we are the creator of our own sufferings. When we get angry, we rationalize and say that the situation demanded it, my friend had done wrong to me which I can’t forget ever, that’s how our ego goes on thinking that we are still the boss, but we are not, in reality we are the victims.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes
I would like to share with you an instance from my personal life, like everyday I serve food to my Dog, name Max. On one Sunday, I forgot to serve him lunch as I had to go out of town to attend function of a family friend. The sad part was I even forgot to inform at home about his food. When I came back home at night, I rushed towards his room on the terrace and immediately poured some water in his bowl subsequently his meal. While doing so, I realized he was neither sad nor revengeful in fact he would jump at me and wag his tail on seeing me, more than the food he was happy to see me, as he started licking my hand. I realized, had I done this with anybody else he would not have taken it lightly and might retaliated few bitter words in aggression. How about you, had you done this to a friend or someone in a family, what if someone at home had done this to us, how would we have reacted,,,,well well well we got the answer. Still, if you think everybody will react normally then try doing this, at your own risk.
Here are 3 key lessons I have learned from MAX:-
- Always see the good in every situation: Everything happens for a reason. Don’t react impulsively, while fretting over the circumstances we might lose the vital opportunity to learn the lesson life wants to teach us.
- Be nice to others, Be forgiving: Our intentions are displayed in our actions, what we say or do is the result of our thoughts. One single word uttered by you can describe your mindset for the other person. Practice forgiveness and enjoy the present like Max, he never yells, he never barks at me in aggression, in fact he teaches the best on forgiveness, and most important – he doesn’t charge for this.
- Express Unconditional Love: One of the most important lessons I have learnt is this, today we don’t do anything if it’s not benefitting us, or we do something for others with some ulterior motive. The sad part is we have forgotten to even pass smile to others, may be at our home or in office. We are always lost in the past, contemplating over others’ rude behavior, which adds on to our anger and then depression. If you spread happiness without any expectations you will become the happiest man. I think Dogs are the best at expressing unconditional love, there is lot to learn from them.
There are innumerable lessons we can learn from the two animals, it is scorpion’s nature to sting the other person unintentionally and with no ulterior motive, which we can’t help so instead of fretting we should accept and ignore it, and rather choose to be happy. On the other hand, the loving nature of Dog, you don’t talk to your pet for a day, don’t love him back, but he will never do the same instead he will shower more love on you. He might not speak our language but he very well understands the language of love which we should always remember, the language of love and harmony. When someone loves you, they don’t have to say it. You can tell by the way they treat you – Hence, forgive and forget and always be nice to others.