Healing power of forgiveness

Tuesday June 25, 2013

To the editor of THE EAGLE:

From the beginning of time, humankind has had to endure difficult times along with the pleasant ones. Some achieve all they desire without a single bump in the road. For some individuals, hardship tends to be their course in life. Horrific events happen, things that could make or break you.

There is always that person, however, who bounces back after being stepped on. With so many appalling occurrences these days, how can some people get through them without anger or fear? They have an approach to life that enables them to remain happy and optimistic even after going through a life-changing situation. These fortunate individuals have found a methodology to life that aids in realizing peace of heart, mind and soul. It revolves around the idea of how powerful forgiveness can be.

"Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet shed on the heel that has crushed it," wrote Mark Twain. Joan Borysenko, a cancer cell biologist and pioneer in studying how emotions affect the body at Harvard Medical School in the 1980s, went so far as to say, "Forgiveness is the mind’s most powerful tool." ("Health," May/June 1998). I knew there was something significant about getting rid of grudges and bitterness that can hold one back from becoming the type of person we are capable of becoming. Letting go of these damaging traits can make way for compassionate, kindness and peace.

"Forgiveness is all about your healing and not about the people who hurt you," says Dr. Fred Luskin, author of "Forgiveness for Good: A Proven Prescription for Health and Happiness."

My desire to look deeper into this not-so-new idea came from viewing the 2006 documentary "Forgiving Dr. Mengele," which looks at Eva Kor’s personal experience in the twin studies at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. It tells the story about Eva’s public statement extending forgiveness to all Germans involved in the Holocaust, including Mengele, the "angel of death." "A huge burden of pain was lifted from my shoulders; now I can go into the camp if I wish, and the barbed wire, it’s no longer going to kill me," said Eva in the film. "Now I’m a free human being." JAMES A. MAKOWSKI



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