Forgiveness as a Soup Question

tomato soup In the wonderful movie Finding Forrester, Jamal asks the recluse William Forrester why his tomato soup gets thick but the soup his mother made at home was always watery. The answer was

Probably because your mother was brought up in a house…
…that never wasted milk in soup.

Forrester then tells Jamal that

The object of a question is to obtain information that matters only to us.

August is Forgiveness month. Every day we practice an act of forgiving. August first I had something huge to work with, but by the second I was already out of ideas so I watched a documentary called The Power of Forgiveness. Afterwards, I checked out the website references they had listed in the film to get specific guidelines for forgiveness. The links were not very helpful, so that day I forgave them for having such lame links on forgiveness. It seemed like a cop out. I found the most helpful information on Zenhabits: How to Let Go and Forgive.

Yesterday I treated myself to watching Healing From Within, which is volume 3 of the Bill Moyers special on Healing and the Mind. That volume covers Eastern Meditation and Western Group Psychotherapy. The eastern meditation class taught people who couldn’t be helped by traditional medicine how to live with their condition in the present moment and the group psychotherapy involved women whose breast cancer had metastasized. The breast cancer patients who participated in the study lived twice as long as other women who received the exact same medical care but did not have the same support group. The doctor who led the support group made the observation that the women got the most out of it if they were willing to open up and share their emotions and feelings honestly with each other.

So now my criteria for forgiveness is letting go and forgiving something that matters to me.

Today I saw this wonderful quote from Marianne Williamson

The past doesn’t determine your future unless you carry it with you into the present. Forgiving yourself and others, you free the universe to begin again at any moment.

That is the real power of forgiveness.

Posted in Positive psychology

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