Many years ago, one of our favorite Teachers told us that every evening before sleep, he would review the preceding day, and in one sweeping gesture let it go, so that his dreams that night and his day the following morning would be free of “yesterday”.
That made a lot of sense to us, and so, following his lead, we adopted the practice.
We call it “forgiving the day”.
Here’s the way we do it. Sitting in bed just before turning off the light for the night, we bring our mind to the very first thing we can remember from that day’s morning, and then from there, we recollect and observe everything that transpired after that earliest moment all the way through the day — every event, every thought, every discussion, every joy, every disappointment, every argument, every transaction, every whatever, big and small.
We undertake this review without preference and without prejudice, with as little emotion or attachment as possible. Think of it as a documentary in black and white. Or, as the character Sergeant Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet, the radio and television program from years ago, “just the facts, ma’am”. In other words, this process is not about judging or measuring or evaluating. It is simply observing gently, with affection and equanimity. Here, we are not interested in why things happened, in what their causes or their consequences may have been. Those are considerations for another, different exercise. In this practice, our interest is solely about what took place.
And we try not to let this become an excessively detailed, endless undertaking. A quick review of the day is all that we seek to accomplish, and so it takes about fifteen minutes, thirty at most.
Then, when we have come through the day to the current moment, we let the day go, completely and unconditionally. Release it in one sweeping gesture.
Soon enough, if you perform this process regularly, you will find that it really does work, that it truly does free your mind of yesterday.
A postscript: At first, you may be surprised — as we were — how little of the day you are able to recall. But with practice, you will get better, not only at remembering the day, but perhaps more importantly, at releasing it.
Liberation is never
of the person,
I leave you love. Love builds. It is positive and helpful. It is more beneficial than hate. Injuries quickly forgotten quickly pass away. Personally and racially, our enemies must be forgiven. Our aim must be to create a world of fellowship and justice where no man’s skin color or religion is held against him. ”Love thy neighbor” is a precept which could transform the world if it were universally practiced.
Mary McLeod Bethune
”On your feet!” the
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