There are people who, it seems, would be impossible to forgive.  Those who have issued betrayal that’s left you reeling.  Those who have harmed a loved one.  Those who have done the unthinkable.

But, we know that the only way we will set ourselves free from resentment is by offering forgiveness.  But how is that possible? How are we even to begin?

Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist, gave a talk at the Maryland Correctional Institution.  The talk was recorded and became a small book, “Be Free Where you Are.”  In essence, Thich Nhat Hanh says that the keys to freedom, even for those literally imprisoned behind cement walls, are mindfulness and compassion.

There is the idea that those who inflict suffering are suffering.  That might be a comfort to someone upon whom suffering has been inflicted.  By way of revenge or resentment, we may wish suffering upon the person who hurt us.  But if we pause a moment and consider the other person’s suffering, offer compassion, and intend forgiveness, our hearts begin to open.  Forgiveness may not be possible at first.  But the intention to forgive when the time is right is a good place to start.