Relationships, Love, and Spiritual Practice
By Frank Simons
By Zen teacher Ezra Bayda
Thu, Oct 8, 5:30pm
Callejón Blanco 4
Free, donations accepted
This part of the retreat, led by Zen teacher and author Ezra Bayda about forgiveness, brought some interesting comments. “I have recently ended a romantic relationship and have been dealing with feelings of resentment and betrayal. But, after absorbing your guidance and sitting with my own pain, I see that there is nothing to resent. I was trying to elevate my opinion of myself through the interactions and opinions of others, instead of just knowing and loving myself. Linking my view of myself to the opinions of others brought me to this painful place. I was trying to find my own happiness in an external relationship. I have much more work to do, but this is a huge breakthrough for me. I thank you!” — Bowing student.
This is the Forgiveness Meditation included in this lecture:
Step One: Remorse
See if you can get in touch with the remorse of going against your own heart—that by holding onto resentment you are hurting yourself more than the other person is hurting you.
Step Two: Resistance
Picture the person you feel resentment toward and try to breathe their image into the area in the center of the chest. If you feel resistance, don’t try to force it; just stay with the physical experience of resistance as long as it takes for the resistance to soften. This might take numerous occasions of doing the forgiveness meditation for this softening to begin to happen.
Step Three: Surrender
Ask yourself: Can I surrender to what is? Whatever you are feeling—whether it is hurt, anger, resentment, bitterness, or fear—try to stay with the physical experience of the emotion. Label any strong thoughts that arise, but keep coming back to the body over and over. Gradually try to breathe the painful feelings into the center of the chest on the in-breath, until they can rest there without struggle. This step may also take a fair number of practice sessions.
Step Four: Forgiveness
Silently say the words of forgiveness.
Ezra Bayda has been practicing meditation since 1970 and teaching since 1995. In 1998 he received authorization to teach from Charlotte Joko Beck, in the Ordinary Mind and White Plum lineages. He presently teaches at Zen Center San Diego. He is also the author of six books: Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life (2002), At Home in the Muddy Water (2003), Saying Yes to Life (Even the Hard Parts) (2005), Zen Heart (2008), Beyond Happiness: The Zen Way to True Contentment (2010), and The Authentic Life: Zen Wisdom for Living Free from Complacency and Fear (2014).
The Meditation Center presents the video lecture series Relationships, Love and Spiritual Practice, Part 4, Forgiveness, Thursday, October 8, 2015, at 5:30 at the Center, Callejón Blanco 4. There will be a discussion period after the video. Presentations of the Meditation Center are offered without charge. Donations are gratefully accepted.