Law of Renovation

“From time to time, it is necessary to empty the drawers of the heart,” said to me the Old Man, as we affectionately called the oldest monk of the monastery. He had asked me to go for a walk into the woods close by, after noticing my restlessness and irritation with the other monks and disciples of the Order. A new family problem had elicited unpleasant memories that changed my mood when dealing with people, and the sense of peace within myself. I complained a lot of the way people had hurt me in the past. He looked at me with tremendous compassion and said: “Resentment creates an energetic handcuff that keeps you tied to the offender in a terrible jail without bars. Sorrow clogs your sacred cupboard, the heart, with dust. Anger poisons the waters that supply the source of life, love.” He paused briefly and added: “It is impossible to be happy without being forgiving.”

I replied that I had forgiven, but refused to forget so that I would not be hurt again. The Old Man laughed heartily when I said that, which annoyed me even more. Then, he looked at me as if I were a child and provoked me: “You don’t know what forgiveness is.” I said he was mistaken, as I wished no harm to those who had offended me, and hence I had forgiven them. The Old Man shook his head showing his dissent, and said: “No, Yoskhaz. Wishing no harm is the first step towards forgiveness; we then clean the bins of the soul until we forget the offense; finally, we wish the offender well. This is the course towards forgiveness.”

I laughed sarcastically. I said that the way he talked made things sound utopian or very difficult to understand. The voice of the monk had a merciful tone when he rebutted: “I did not say it was easy. I said what is necessary. To love only those who love us rude people can do. You need to go further.” He paused briefly and continued: “To cross the Path is not for the weak; to smooth the rough edges of being is not for the listless; to know oneself is for the wise; to carry out the necessary transformations for the essential healing of the soul is not for the spoiled; to illuminate one’s own shadows is a battle only great warriors fight; to know true love is only for the strong.” He paused for a few moments, his gaze seemed far, as if he was recalling something. Then he said: “To be strong is a choice we make every day, and it is within the reach of each and every one.”

I ranted that he did not know what he was talking about, for not only I had been offended, I had been humiliated. The Old Man opened his arms, as if indicating I did not know what I was talking about. Then explained, patiently: “To be humiliated is a permission you unduly grant the offender because you do not master the virtue of humility in its infinite power. Only the proud can be humiliated. Only the vain can be hit by this hazard. The antidote for this poison is humility. To be humble is to accept being the smallest of all in order to realize one’s own hardships, hence to understand the darkness of the world and, therefore, the offender’s. Violence, whether physical or verbal, perfectly portrays the shadows that dominate the offender’s heart. In fact, the perfect gaze shows the violent person humiliating himself before the Universe in a veiled request for help. The offense is the mask of the desperate, of those who are lost in the shadows of existence. Aggressive persons are, all, extremely unhappy. So great is the agony that it is necessary to vent. They believe they can pass on their sorrow without realizing the darkness is not able to turn the light off.”

“Violence is the mistaken way those who suffer express themselves.”

“It is then time to turn the other cheek, in a worthy interpretation and exercise of the Master’s words, seeing the offender through the prism of compassion, as he is a sufferer who, deep inside, does not understand what is going on within him. Only if we accept ourselves, small can become great, immune from the virus of humiliation. No wonder humility is the first portal of the Path, that prevents anything and anyone from stealing the precious peace from you.”

“Allowing the offense to hit, hurt and humiliate you is accepting the invitation to dance in the ball of horrors that dominates the offender’s soul. Face him with compassionate eyes and realize that his words and actions only reflect the unbalance that prompts him to be violent and unfair with you. Have you thought how much pain is corroding the heart of the person who needs violence in his or her relationships? How gloom is the mind of the brute? How many storms make the ship of existence of this person to successively sink in the tempests of pain? They are drowned in the seas of ignorance, fear and their own shadows, crying out in an odd way for the buoys of kindness, the help of mercy, the beauty of understanding, the grandness of goodness and the balm of patience. Violence is not compatible with happiness. This sophisticated gaze is what differentiates the walkers of the Path from those who are lost, wandering on life’s side roads.”

“Among the laws the make up the Unwritten Code that regulates everyone’s journey in the Universe there are the Laws of Love, Cycles, Action and Reaction, Affinity, Evolution, Infinite Possibilities, among others. There is also the Law of Renovation. To begin a new cycle still in this existence, the walker must prepare his baggage. Do not forget that lightness is indispensable to cross the Path. Hence we must leave behind all that is no longer of use, has become unnecessary or is too heavy. Excessive material accumulation, emotional garbage, sorrows, prejudice, social and cultural conditionings, obsolete ideas, dated attitudes, automated reactions; this means, all old  forms should be transmuted. To that end, remember to open all the heart’s drawers and to illuminate its deepest corners in search of hidden shadows that insist in deceiving us about the ludicrous advantages of revenge or the illusion of protection. It is essential to clean with a broom of Light each and every vestige of resentment, the dust of hatred and the stains of anger.”

“Renovation is the step prior to the transformation that fosters evolution; it is love and wisdom in perfect communion; it is the alchemy of transforming lead into gold within yourself; it is the metamorphosis for the wings that will take you beyond the limits of pain and suffering.”

Still outraged, I questioned those who had hurt me. I said they could be unpunished, as if they caused me no harm. The eyes of the Old Man became watery, perhaps for understanding my pain, perhaps for knowing the human soul, perhaps for both. He kindly spoke to me: “Do not worry about the lessons that are for other people. For each one, the teachings that pertain to them, in a timely manner, with the sweetness or strictness that matches the performance of the student. It is up to you to apply your own lessons, to offer your best each and every day, wherever you go. And tomorrow a little more, because yours is an ever-expanding consciousness. No one, absolutely no one is beyond the reach of the Unwritten Laws. The Universe will not give up on any soul, as they are all equally important, no one will be privileged or forgotten. Remember all the hardships and problems you had to face in the past and how they helped you to transform and evolve, through their valuable teachings. Give thanks for all the pain and joy.”

I argued that an apology by the offender was in order. It would be easier to forgive. The Old Man arched his lips in a smile and said: “No question it would be easier; this is why forgiveness is even more strong and powerful when it is unilateral. Forgiveness is the medicine for suffering, and you do not need to wait for permission of the other to heal yourself. No one can depend on anyone to be happy, to continue their journey, to fly. The ability to forgive defines the precise greatness of a soul. We forgive regardless of what other people think. We forgive to free ourselves and the others.”

I said he was right and that, somehow, my soul was crying for renovation. Sorrow is heavy, resentment is tiresome. Then I cried. A lot. So much so I hiccupped. The Old Man waited patiently for the tears that washed my soul. Then, in a cathartic way, I vented out all the situations from the past that still bothered me. I exorcised them out of my heart. I said how good was this sensation of cleaning the soul, to set the record straight to move on lightly. The Old Man warned me: “You saw the door, now you need to cross it. The dense emotions you had were controlling you, and now you regained the power you granted them. Now, it is up to you to transmute them, in a ceaseless work of refining your thoughts and feelings, for them, sneaky as they are, never to return. To that end, you must exercise the magic of renovation every single day, forever.” I nodded my head in agreement and said it felt good not having to carry the heavy backpack of suffering. I now realized how utterly useless it was. I said I would leave to the Cosmic Intelligence the application of due justice. He explained: “Be detached of any feeling of revenge, or you would not have actually freed yourself. There should be no payback. Justice is not punishment, it is merely education so that all can learn, transform themselves, share and move on. This is the process of evolution. If some need more severe lessons to learn, this is because the Universe will not give up on any of us, whatever the stage of evolution. Out of sheer love.”

 

Kindly translated by Carlos André Oighenstein.

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