This is written in response to a question I was recently asked on how to deal with the wrongs of the past. I do hope this may help in some small way to elevating anyone who may be suffering from past events no matter how big or small.
As someone who had a traumatic childhood and teen years I can empathise with anyone struggling. My childhood may or may not of been as traumatic as yours but as humans we all experience the same anger, hatred, and fear. your anger would be no different than mine or others, it is the conditions that cause that anger to manifest are different from person to person.
During Vipassana rains retreats as a novice monk my Abbott would tell me to explore my anger and hatred I was carrying from the past. Not from a logical stand point, as to why I was feeling this was, but instead how it was effecting my body, how I actually felt inside. When I started to feel that tension in my muscles and throughout my whole body, when I really explored how it made me feel inside and the suffering it was causing was rather like rubbing the dust from my eyes. This swiftly made me realise how deep these negative and destructive emotions run throughout our entire bodies and they started to lessen there evil grip upon me.
This simple task really helped me identify these negative and destructive forces as they would arise, I slowly began feeling less inclined to hold onto or attach to these feelings because I could really see, and feel how tense and twisted my body became, and I could now start and begin to ‘let go’ and not attach myself to these destructive and negative thoughts.
Of course this is just one small part, but a crucial one to start moving forward. Once I experience the reality for myself how these negative and destructive forces caused me to feel it was time to practice loving kindness meditation to allow those wounds of time to heal.
I started small and found things around me that I really could feel love for. The local Thai people who would feed me everyday, the little stray dog that would follow me on alms round and made me smile every time he came. These little things I practiced loving kindness towards, until I could generate a deep feeling of gratitude towards life. Only then with this feeling of loving kindness would I turn my attention to my oppressors from the past. At the precise moment you think of an enemy, check how you feel, do a body scan and look within. It was very hard at first but with persistence and continuous watching all those feeling within myself as I thought of the person who had wronged me, I could see how twisted and taught my body would became.
The more I practiced both of these exercises the less I wanted to feel this way, I owned up to my responsibility that I was hurting myself every time these negative and destructive thoughts would arise. As if holding a scolding hot stone, I dropped it. Let go off all those feelings that were now causing just me harm.
This does take time continuously practicing meditation, and I know from the deepest part of my heart you all have this Buddha nature.
Dealing with our past, the oppressors and manipulators we have encountered but also for all the wrongs that we will of also done, is one of the bravest and most heroic things we can do as humans, and as so you have my uttermost admiration and praise. You are a noble Dhamma warrior and I wish you all the peace and harmony our lives deserve.