When I was leaving college after completing graduation, I was aware I won’t be able to see my friends for a long time, maybe years. So we all planned for a final meet-up in a local mall/plaza. I wanted to watch a movie before I was leaving the city forever as my father had retired from serving in the army and we were finally going to settle down in our hometown. I asked all my friends from the group except one because every time we wanted to go watch a movie, she wouldn’t get permission from her home and this would make others guilt ridden, as a result they would back off one by one. so, this time I decided to exclude her as I didn’t want anyone to spoil the last get together. I was aware that morally this was wrong but I just went ahead with it. we all had a nice time but unfortunately she came to know about this through my other friend. I was feeling guilty but somewhere my mind justified that this was right because I knew she wouldn’t have come at any cost and that would have ruined the entire plan.
I left the city and got busy with life. I never got the chance to speak with her for many years. It became very difficult to stay in touch with all the friends. Facebook wasn’t very popular those days, Whatsapp was available only on smartphones with a hefty internet expense and calls weren’t cheap either. One day I was speaking with my friend who just happened to be with her. During the conversation he passed on the phone to her. I spoke to her after almost 6 years. After the pleasantries were exchanged and a little gossip, I said to her, ‘’I have a feeling you are still keeping that incident in your head. I could sense it all these years and now when I’m talking to you I can feel it in your voice.” she replied, ‘yes, you could have at least asked.’ I said, ‘yes, but anyways you wouldn’t have come.’ to which she answered that it was only fair if you asked me. I did finally apologise for my actions but I was surprised to find that all these years she was keeping this inside her. She never bothered to Call me because she was holding on to that against me.
In these many years I have seen many people keeping grudge against their friends, colleagues, relatives, even parents. I’m not a saint to say that I haven’t had any enmities for anyone ever. I had animosity against some people who did some horrible things to me and treated me poorly. Eventually I realised its not doing me any good. How does my holding anger against someone affects their health in any way? Except it only damages my sanity. When things went south with my ex-boss, I didn’t realise the gravity of the blow at that time. I was furious for many years. I had resentment and it took me a considerable amount of time to let go of that outrage. Only when I tried to move on I realised how much resentment I had bottled up inside me, letting go of it at last made me feel lighter and happier .
“how could he say that?” ” you know what he did?” “how could she do that to me?” “nobody asked me, I will never forget that”. all these statements represent repressed emotions. We are waiting to lash out at that person who made us feel miserable at that moment but all the while holding onto it like a ball of fire. Buddha said in his teachings, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”
Having said that letting go is essential for self annihilation it is although very difficult to let go entirely from our minds. We never know how much bitterness we are carrying unless we try to get rid of it. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attempt to liberate ourselves. Holding onto grudge brings out only the negative aspects of mind and makes it foggy. A fuzzy mind cannot clearly see what’s beyond the perception of the eye. To let go truly one must learn to forgive. Forgiving one for their actions is the biggest virtue. By letting go we rise over the basic human tendencies. If you have anger and animosity towards someone that made you bitter in your life, try to forgive them for their mistakes. Make a list of all the people and one by one, try to pardon them for their mistakes, their anger, harsh tone and wrongdoings. It can take months to absolve all those hidden emotions.
As much as forgiving is important its also crucial to ask for it if deep down you are aware of something you did to someone. It clears up heart and one is free from bondage. One must travel light. Life becomes heavy if we carry too much baggage. If we can’t carry anything with us then why carry grudge?