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by Christine Mason.


I believe my focus on compassion has led me on a path to encountering great minds, visionaries, and people committed to making our planet a better place for all. It seems almost as if there is some great universal force at work that puts me straight in the path of someone who has an important message for me. Hungarian-born psychologist Mihaly Csíksazentimihályi coined the term ‘being in the flow’ to describe this.

This week I am in the mountains in New Mexico, meditating and connecting through yoga with about 1500 yogis’”something I have done almost annually since 1997.

Looking out over the ancient lands in New Mexico has freed my mind and heart to contemplate the history of this land, where we are as a nation currently, and where we could go. This past Saturday the 21st was ‘International Peace Prayer Day’ at our gathering, a time when awards are given for acts of peace and acts to enhance the environment.

Being here, I have focused on what some of the greatest acts of compassion might be. In a global sense, forgiveness is one of these. Forgiveness is something that is sometimes easy, but often difficult, particularly for unspeakable crimes. Yet, forgiveness must be part of our path if we are to be of the greatest assistance to others.

On a small scale we can forgive someone who has ‘shoved us’ or ‘spoken untruths.’ Practicing forgiving from our hearts is important. Forgiving the small things people do helps prepare us as individuals and as nations to forgive the unspeakable. Here in New Mexico, I am reminded again of how the lives of so many nomadic tribes were destroyed through brutal slaughter. It is one thing for me to consider how to forgive the cavalry, the boarding schools that took children from their mothers, and a government that took land from its people. And I will say that tears still come to my eyes as I contemplate all that Native Americans have experienced.

However, it is another for those who have been harmed to contemplate and find forgiveness. While many Native Americans and Indian leaders still await a public apology and acknowledgment of mistakes from the government, Dr. Henrietta Mann advocates for forgiveness. Dr. Mann is a lifelong educator as well as a tribal elder, with over 33 years in higher education. Dr. Mann states: ‘We do not need to remain locked into those areas where we feel a great deal of anger and hostility to the dominant population because as White Bison says, we have to forgive the unforgivable. There are many that have and there are many who are yet to do that. Only when we forgive the unforgivable can we really say we are healing, that we have addressed that one aspect of our life. Saying we can forgive, now we can heal.’

With forgiveness comes healing. Without forgiveness, our hearts remain heavy and are sometimes even hardened. Dr. Mann reminds us of the nobility and grace of forgiving even those things we will never forget.


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