In 1812 France, a dog was brought out on a rowboat by his owner to the middle of the lake. The dog was thrown overboard in an attempt to end his life. He kept swimming back to the boat trying to get back in. Each time the man shoved him back into the water until the man eventually lost his balance and fell in. The dog rescued the man and they both got back to the boat safely.
This is truly the most extreme example of forgiveness, and the dog could be deemed a PhD expert.
We can all use a little instruction on this all important, but arguably most difficult, attribute of spirituality.
Most major religions speak of the need for forgiveness, but I am not sure if any of them have determined that the best examples are animals. Yes, the ones treated the worst (overall) are those that can inspire us the most. This should be no surprise since those “leaders” of many religions were also harshly treated and offered encouragement on forgiveness. (Jesus is an example.)
There are two important qualities animals have that make them so good at forgiveness. First is living in the now and second is no ego.
Let’s examine each in our next blog post.
In the meantime, examine your initial thoughts.
Living in the now is a common topic, and it is very important in processing issues where we need forgiveness. However, it is just as important to “do the work” of the past and give some consideration to the future. An animal can inspire us to live in the now and can offer some help in processing the past. But the truth is we, as humans and more complex, must do more work.
Coming to terms with things in the past is important, or your “now” is not as peaceful and the forgiveness journey is harder. For the future, sometime should be split positively looking at a future that contains forgiveness of the past.
Ego is another common topic, and here animals can really lend assistance. Often times we get caught up in “how dare them for doing that to me”. The quicker we can drop this attitude, as animals do, the quicker we can move forward on the forgiveness journey.
Stop for a minute and always consider that it is not personal and often it is more about the other person than it is about you.