I admire Nelson Mandella’s statement that he was able to walk away from the injustice he felt at his imprisonment and check his hatred and bitterness at the door. On Friday night, I had a long conversation with someone who was advising that I do just that: let the injustices of the world go.
But I smell a rat.
My guess is that hatred and bitterness can be checked in more than one way:
- storage and bypassing
- actual acceptance and forgiveness
Under practice 1, what actually happens is that the hatred and bitterness is buried and not acknowledged, and sits inside creating a hidden vibe. People who practice 1 very likely feel appear as if they are undertaking practice 2, and they might think that they are, but my guess is that there are very very few humans actually able to do it. I would be very surprised if I had ever met one doing 100% practice 2.
Actual acceptance and forgiveness almost seems to me to be the result of a brain injury (it likely being so rare). At the very least I see it as supercilious (in so much as the acceptance comes from rising above and pitying the perp) but likely that says more about me than Nelson.