"Have you ever held a grudge against someone?
Recently I was reminded of an incredible 'grudge' story I first heard back in my monking days. It’s the story of a Tibetan Buddhist monk called Palden Gyatso...a man with a very, very big heart!
Palden was 26 years old when Tibet was invaded back in the late 1950‘s. He had just taken full ordination and life long vows as a monk. Along with the other monks and nuns caught up in the invasion, he was soon arrested and put in prison, where he spent the next 33 years of his life. During this time he’s said to have been subjected to unimaginable torture, of which he still bears the scars today.
Anyway, soon after his release he escaped to India where he met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who asked him what it was he had feared most during those years in captivity. Palden answered that what he had feared most, was not losing his life, but losing his compassion, his willingness to forgive. He said it was only forgiveness which had enabled him to continue living under such conditions.
To think in this way after 33 years of imprisonment is nothing short of miraculous. Interestingly, Nelson Mandela expressed very similar sentiments on his own release from jail.
Of course, these are extreme examples, and for most of us our grudges are not with those who threaten our life, but rather those who threaten our enjoyment of life. But how many of us imprison ourselves by holding on to resentment from the past, unable to get free from it?
A grudge requires a vast amount of energy to keep it going. It requires us to play events over and over in the mind, keeping the fire burning and the conflict alive. To bare a grudge means to carry anger from the past in to the present, restricting the space for love, happiness, friendship and all the other things that most of us seek in life.
So try it...if you’ve been holding onto a grudge for a day, a week, or even a year...see what happens when you let go of it. Who is it that benefits most?"
This post was originally posted on the Headspace Blog
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