What is the role of forgetting? Do we need to forget, as part of forgiveness?
I think forgetting more often is a form of denial. It grows from the part of you that wants to get away. There can’t be full forgiveness if you forget. And yet, mercifully, some things are just so painful that you have to push them away and forget.
But forgiveness cannot come until you begin to remember. And you can’t force yourself into a readiness to remember. You can only hold the intention to live your life with as much love as possible, not shutting any being out of your heart. And then, gently and gradually, invite in the things that you have chosen to forget because they were so painful.
You can start with a simple, “Whoever I have harmed, I ask forgiveness. Whoever has harmed me, I offer forgiveness.” And invite memory to come up. Places where you have inadvertently done or said something that hurt another. “I ask your forgiveness.” Places where others have not really intentionally done or said something that hurt you. “I offer forgiveness.”
As you practice in this way, gradually the heart open/close mechanism begins to soften and open. You gradually begin to let in some of the very frightening, painful, and terrible memories from this and past lives. And because you’ve started a new tendency not to condemn, you become more open to the memories and sure of your capacity to hold these memories.
They stop being so much personal memories and become the memories of humanity, of all the humans all over the earth through so many generations who have maimed and killed each other. Who have ignored each other and enslaved each other. It’s very hard work.