The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

SPIRITUAL HELP FOR THE DYING 217in the nature of God; it is already there. God has already forgivenyou, for God is forgiveness itself. To err is human, andto forgive divine.' But can you truly forgive yourself? That'sthe real question."Your feeling of being unforgiven and unforgivable is whatmakes you suffer so. But it only exists in your heart or mind.Haven't you read how in some of the near-death experiencesa great golden presence of light arrives that is all-forgiving?And it is very often said that it is finally we who judge ourselves."In order to clear your guilt, ask for purification from thedepths of your heart. If you really ask for purification, and gothrough it, forgiveness will be there. God will forgive you, justas the father in Christ's beautiful parable forgives the prodigalson. To help yourself to forgive yourself, remember the goodthings you have done, forgive everyone else in your life, andask for forgiveness from anyone you may have harmed."Not everyone believes in a formal religion, but I thinknearly everyone believes in forgiveness. You can be of immeasurablehelp to the dying by enabling them to see theapproach of death as the time for reconciliation and reckoning.Encourage them to make up with friends or relatives, andto clear their heart, so as not to keep even a trace of hatred orthe slightest grudge. If they cannot meet the person fromwhom they feel estranged, suggest they phone them or leavea taped message or letter and ask for forgiveness. If they suspectthat the person they want to pardon them cannot do so,it is not wise to encourage them to confront the persondirectly; a negative response would only add to their alreadygreat distress. And sometimes people need time to forgive. Letthem leave a message of some kind asking for forgiveness, andthey will at least die knowing that they have done their best.They will have cleared the difficulty or anger from their heart.Time and time again, I have seen people whose hearts havebeen hardened by self-hatred and guilt find, through a simpleact of asking for pardon, unsuspected strength and peace.All religions stress the power of forgiveness, and this poweris never more necessary, nor more deeply felt, than whensomeone is dying. Through forgiving and being forgiven, wepurify ourselves of the darkness of what we have done, andprepare ourselves most completely for the journey throughdeath.

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