The Space Just Beyond Forgiveness

‘Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it’.

Mark Twain

About two or three weeks after meeting Dr Roger Mills and learning of the Three Principles I was in the school library with a group of students writing English assignments. I had been working at this school for about a year and seemed to be a relatively popular teacher (not many children actually like school, I know I didn’t). Now, I had become: “The best teacher in the whole world”, on hearing this I told the pupils that they didn’t know all the other teachers in the world so how could they distinguish. Their answer was simple: “We don’t need to know them, we know you”.

Their words left me somewhat puzzled, but on this particular day, I was cornered by two students who whispered to me: “Sir, it’s our birthday tomorrow, will you buy us presents?” I replied that I was only a teacher and that if I started buying presents for my students then I would be broke! They assured me that they wouldn’t tell a soul, so nobody needed to know, it would be our secret.

On the drive home this played on my mind, when I got there I sat in the lounge and daydreamed. It was a beautiful spring afternoon in England and the birds were singing a gentle breeze blew in through the open window. Suddenly, in flash I realised what these two students were really asking me. What I heard beyond their request for presents was: ‘we think you love us, show us’; this made sense, because this is what we often do when we want to share our feelings with someone, we give them a gift, which is our token of love, and they simply wanted evidence, something to show for what they felt.

I knew in that moment that if all I ever did as a teacher was to love my students, then education would be a walk in the park. Learning would come easy. For in loving others unconditionally we accept them as they are, and in our acceptance there is a deep flowing current of seeing the innocence in each and every one of them. 

What occurred next was an even bigger surprise to me, having never really been religious I heard the words I had heard many times as a child: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Yet this time, I knew what was really being conveyed in these words. I understood that forgiveness was essential for all people in all times because each and everyone of us is doing the best we can given our thinking in that moment. We will all innocently get lost in our thinking and get it wrong from time to time. 

In that moment as I looked back upon my life, as if in a dream and I saw all the people that had ever caused me pain, hurt me, upset me and even beaten me, were all doing the best they could given their in-the-moment-thinking. It was as if I saw a long line of people in a domino stack and the breeze of forgiveness blew the first one down and all the others fell too in a long line, one by one, setting me free from my past. I understood that if I was psychologically innocent and that if I could forgive myself for the life I had led up to that moment, then so was everyone else, how could it be otherwise.

If you ever searched for a life of joy and want to move on and have a better life, then it is time to let go of the past. To do this we must put down that cup of poison that we sip from, and offer up the gift of forgiveness to all those who mistakenly and innocently caused us suffering. 

For love and forgiveness are two sides of the same coin, whichever way you flip it, the world always gains something beautiful, and we are set free to live a life of magic, love and understanding.

Dedicated to my dear friend and mentor Dr Roger Mills, the man who taught me the true meaning of forgiveness and changed my life forever.

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