When I first arrived in the America, I was so impressed with the wealth of this country. The parks were so beautiful. The streets were so clean. Everybody enjoyed the freedom of life. Cars were everywhere. Schools were so nicely equipped with modern techniques. Most people had no fear of lack of food. With money you could buy whatever you wanted. In China we did not have these. I was so happy to get a chance to come this country to experience the modern civilization of the world.
But when I stayed here for a few months, I felt that something is missing in this country though I did not know what it was. It seemed that so many people who had so much lived in such fear, fear of losing their job, fear of losing their property, fear of being cheated, fear of being sued, fear of meeting strangers, so much fear.
I also noticed that not many people trusted each other. In business, people did not trust each other. Everything must be documented. Even in families people did not trust each other. So much divorce. So many children living with only one parent. And, while there was much talking, people talked at each other but not with each other. They talked but did not listen. Mostly, nobody listened to nobody.
After a few years, it came to me what was missing in this country. The missing part is forgiveness.
To forgive is of beauty. To forgive is like beautiful art. Fine art opens up our hearts in ways we cannot explain in words. Its beauty touches us in ways we could never experience by consciously trying. Forgiveness does the same.
Forgiveness opens us up and transforms us in ways we could never imagine and we can only know its truth by doing it. We need to have this beauty and this art in our lives, in all our lives. So many things can be settled through forgiveness. Sometimes just by shaking hands. What does it matter who puts his or her hand out first?
When conflicts occur, find a peaceful way to deal with it. Take the fear and hurt feeling away. As a healer, if we do not have this forgiving energy, we will never be able to help ourselves or others to heal the soul.
When someone does something not very nice to you, forgive that person. When you forgive others, you give your love to them. And you give yourself a chance to grow. You give your friend a chance to grow too.
Love is created through forgiving. The more forgiveness you give to others, the more forgiveness will return to you. Then more love will grow within you, within the other person too and within our world. This is the environment we were meant to live in.
And, remember to forgive yourself. This is also important. We are human beings and we make mistakes. When you do something you wish you hadn't done, forgive yourself. Then make yourself a promise to try to do better.
Someone asked me once if someone killed, should we forgive them? If someone started a war, should we forgive them? My answer is yes. Of course, we should.
To forgive doesn't mean to give up. It does not mean we surrender. It doesn't mean we allow them to kill more people. They must be stopped, of course. But how do we stop them, with anger and hatred in our hearts? To this I say, no.
If someone breaks the law they will pay a price for that whether the law catches up with them or not. You may have heard the expression, "What goes around, comes around." This is true.
When you do good things for others, good things will return back to you. When you are loving, kind and forgiving, you will receive love, kindness and forgiveness in even greater measure. Perhaps not from the same people, but it will always come back to you; always.
If you do bad things to others, bad things will happen to you. Sooner or later it will happen. This is the principle of the universe.
I hear people talking about hating people in other political parties or government leaders whose views they disagree with. I hear people talking about hating leaders in other countries who are doing terrible, evil things. Hate the bad things they do, work hard to stop them if you are led to do so, but do not hate them. Hating them hurts you. It blocks the love energy in your heart. Hold them in your heart. This will help them to change much better than your hatred and it will make you a more loving person.
Sometimes people try to forgive through their emotions and find they cannot do it. If this happens, if you can't get past your anger or hurt, then begin by thinking of all the people you do love, all the things you love about this life, and let your heart feel all the goodness in the world.
Then, imagine those you cannot forgive in the midst of all that goodness and the perfect loving energy of the universe. Use the love of the universe to help you. This is a very good way to work on forgiveness.
If you need an example to follow, I cannot think of a better one than Mahatma Gandhi. He devoted his life to the struggle for freedom for oppressed people, first in South Africa and then for most of his life in his native India. Gandhi was a deeply religious man but when asked about his religion he replied, "I am a Christian. I am a Muslim. I am a Hindu. I am a Jew. All men are my brothers."
During his life-long struggle for the rights of others he was repeatedly threatened, savagely beaten and often imprisoned by those in power who opposed his efforts. Yet he never responded with anger or hatred and never called for retribution. He was a man of action but always a man of forgiveness and non-violence.
He accomplished these things through what he called his "soul-force." As Gandhi put it, "It is not that I am incapable of anger, for instance, but I succeed on almost all occasions to keep my feelings under control.
Whatever may be the result, there is always in me a conscious struggle for following the law of non-violence deliberately and ceaselessly. Such a struggle leaves one stronger for it. The more I work at this law, the more I feel the delight in my life, the delight in the scheme of the universe. It gives me a peace and a meaning of the mysteries of nature that I have no power to describe."
Through the power of love and forgiveness, the "soulforce" as he called it, Gandhi led an entire country to freedom. Through this same limitless power of love and forgiveness you too may experience this same peace and discover a meaning of the mysteries of life that are beyond description.
Through this power of forgiveness you will also open an opportunity for yourself in the future. Let me share with you such a story about forgiveness that comes from ancient China.
Long, long ago, there was a king who held a great feast in the palace for his army commanders. The feast was a big celebration with much food and wine. There was much drinking and some of the king's guests drank too much.
The king had a beautiful wife and she was there. In the middle of the dinner, a great gust of wind came and blew out all the lights. Before they could be re-lit, the queen screamed that someone had pulled her skirt.
A servant rushed forward and lit a candle for the queen. She approached her husband with an angry look and told him someone had touched her skirt in the darkness. She did not catch him but she had grasped the tassel from his helmet. All of the king's commanders wore such tassels on their helmets. Touching the queen was a serious offense and the queen demanded the guilty person be executed immediately.
The king took the tassel from the queen, blew out the candle and ordered that none of the candles be re-lighted. The king threw the tassel into the center of the room and ordered all of his commanders to rip the tassels from their helmets and throw their tassels and helmets into the center of the room also.
Only when this had been done did the king order the candles lit. When light filled the hall again it revealed a great pile of helmets and tassels making it impossible to tell who the guilty party might have been. The commanders must have thought this was some kind of game or joke. Since no one else had heard the queen's complaint to her husband they had no idea why the king had given such an order.
Many months later, the king's land was attacked by an invading army. The king's army was not prepared for the sudden invasion. During the battle to save his land, the king was knocked from his horse. His army was in total disarray and the king had to run for his life as the attackers chased after him.
Suddenly, one of the king's generals appeared by his side. He fought valiantly to save his king. The general thwarted attack after attack all by himself. The general's courage inspired the other commanders in the king's army who returned to the battle and defeated the invading force.
After the battle, the king called the general to his tent. The king told the general that for the courage he showed in saving his king he would be granted any reward he wished. Whatever he wanted would be granted, all he had to do was ask.
The general knelt before the king, removed his helmet, tore a tassel from the top and offered it to the king. Then, the general said you have already given me the greatest gift, my life.
The king looked at the tassel and remembered the night a drunken officer had dared to touch the garment of his Queen. The king now realized that drunken officer was the man kneeling before him. Through his forgiveness that night at the feast, the king had saved his own life as well. You just never know what forgiveness will bring.
You may have also heard the expression, "Forgiveness is good for the soul." To this I heartily agree, and not just the soul, but the mind and body, as well. So forgive and give others the chance to purify their energy and soul. And, you will be doing the same for yourself.
Some people have even said, "I want to be more loving, kind and forgiving. I try but I just can't. Sometimes people do things that just make me angry, there's nothing I can do about it." To this I always smile and say, "Practice more Qigong."
The energy of love, kindness and forgiveness helps to remove energy blockages in your body, to balance your energy and keep your energy flowing freely and smoothly. Practicing Qigong helps to remove energy blockages in your body, to balance your energy and keep it flowing freely and smoothly. It works both ways.
By practicing Qigong you will find that you will simply become more loving, kind and forgiving, whether you think about it or not. Whether you want to or not. It will happen and become second nature to you. It's simply the way the universe works. So many of my students have experienced this in their own lives. Ho Jun Kim's story on page 203 is a good example.
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