I was walking home the other day, listening to a podcast by Rob Bell called The Forgiving Flow. He is teaching a five-part series on forgiveness and this was the first episode. As I was listening, I was also taking in Fall and all her beauty. The burnt orange leaves slowly turning color, lining the street. The refreshingly crisp air entering my lungs, clearing out old, stagnant breath. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fall is the season governed by the Lungs and Large Intestine. The lungs, large intestine, skin and nose are the organs related to the Metal Element. As you may imagine simply based on the function of each organ, they govern some important aspects of our lives.
FLOW --- STAGNATION
INSPIRATION --- OBLIGATION
JOY --- GRIEF & SADNESS
FORGIVENESS --- RESENTMENT
LETTING GO --- HOLDING ON
RESPECTFUL --- RIGID
SELF VALUE --- SELF DOUBT
In his book The Power of the Five Elements: The Chinese Medicine Path to Healthy Aging and Stress Resistance, Dr. Charles Moss says,
"The challenges of letting go (like a tree and its falling leaves) and finding value (the trace elements in the soil from the decay of plant material) are core issues for the Metal Adaptation Type."
Letting Go and Forgiveness
As I was walking home, focusing on my breathing and taking in the fall scenery around me, this thought rose into my awareness. You know, the kind that rises up from the depths and out of stillness.
I wonder if, when we talk about letting go, we are actually talking about forgiveness. Maybe, when we begin to delve deeper into forgiveness, the letting go comes along naturally.
So what might this connection between letting go and forgiveness look like? How are they connected? In my experience with forgiveness, it is never about the other person, business, or collective consciousness. It is always about creating lightness within my own being. Choosing not to carry around something that is no longer needed. As we begin to forgive others, we also come to many places where we need to forgive ourselves, which can be one of the most difficult parts of this practice.
In her book, Radical Acceptance: Embracing your Life with the Heart of a Buddha, Tara Brach suggests starting a meditation practice by first asking for forgiveness.
"We first silently ask forgiveness of anyone we may have harmed, intentionally or unintentionally. Even this basic gesture of asking forgiveness softens our heart."