When the monks received word that the Burmese army was headed their way, they were concerned that the almost ten foot high Golden Buddha that graced the shrine would fall victim to looting. To protect their cherished Buddha, they covered the statue with 8 to 12 inches of clay.
When the invading army arrived they had no interest in the clay Buddha. They did, however, slaughter all the monks before moving on. And the secret of the Golden Buddha was lost to history. That is, until 1955 when road construction required that the temple be rebuilt in a new location.
A crane was brought in to carefully move the prized statue to the new temple. It proved to be much heavier than estimated, and began to crack under its own weight. Then, a cable broke dropping the immense statue to the ground.
It was rainy season, so the statue was covered with tarps to protect it from an approaching storm until the following day when a bigger crane would arrive.
By dawn the storm had passed.
The clay Buddha was immediately examined to evaluate the damage. As the mud was removed from around it, the wet plaster showed severe damage and cracking. Then something happened ... A ray of sunlight glanced off something shiny in one of the cracks.
Closer investigation revealed the treasure within that had been lost and forgotten for over 200 years. And so it is with forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the true gold of healing.
It isn’t something we do, however. It’s a natural by-product of releasing that happens automatically.
In the past, the way for me to ‘get’ forgiveness was to do my best to convince the client to forgive the person who hurt him. This required first educating the client about what it means to forgive; the benefits of forgiveness, and the consequences of failing to forgive.
The problem with this approach is that when a person has really hurt us, it takes a lot of convincing to get to a place where we are willing to let it go. The pain and anger has actually served the purpose of protecting us from being hurt again! What I have discovered is that forgiveness happens when we let it.
It isn’t really necessary to build a case for forgiveness.
Releasing the internal pressure brings the client relief from all that pain. With each release, the body relaxes a little more. As she relaxes, stress hormones, which have been inhibiting the client’s ability to think clearly, disperse.
As she comes to clarity a new level of understanding emerges. She can start to accept what happened and begin to make sense of it, realizing it wasn’t her fault. It’s over.
As a result she no longer has to carry it.
There’s a Zen story about two monks who are walking along a road when they come upon a woman in distress. The river has flooded across the road, blocking the woman’s path. Wordlessly, one monk deftly picks up the woman and carries her across the flooded portion of the road to safety.
The two monks then continue on their journey. After a few miles of silence, the other monk is no longer able to hold his tongue. He blurts out, “How could you do that? Did you forget that we have both taken an oath of celibacy? You have broken your vow by touching a woman!”
The other monk quietly replies, “I set the woman down at the river. It is you that is still carrying her!”
My approach to forgiveness has changed over the years.
These days, forgiveness is merely a test. If the healing is complete forgiveness will coming easily because forgiveness is the healing.
Following release, instruct the client to focus on the offender and notice how she feels. If the client reports that the grievance has been neutralized, instruct her to now focus inside and notice how the body feels while saying these words, “I forgive you (Mom). / I set you free.”The body doesn’t lie.
If the forgiveness statement doesn’t feel good or true, there’s still something unresolved. Any residual block or unresolved grievance will only reseed the problem.
Release must be complete. So, if there’s still something there continue releasing with, “I still feel (angry) because (put an ending on it).”