One of the best lessons was by Russell Friedman. I was riding in his car in LA and another driver cut in front of us abruptly.
Scared the crap out of us. There was a long pause … and then Russell simply said “I forgive you, drive safer” or something along those lines. My reaction was, “I’d probably call that guy an asshole and flip him off”. He went on to explain that we have no idea why the other driver was driving recklessly. The driver might just be an impatient asshole, or perhaps there was some emergency he needed to get to. We don’t know and it doesn’t matter.
The emotion we experience and dwell on is solely ours. We can cling to the anger or we can calm down and let it go. And forgiving another was a powerful method to get us back in a better place. He went on to remind me that forgiveness isn’t really for the other guy … it’s for us. Being compassionate, even though it benefits others, is still really about us. My take on his view of Grief Recovery is that it was very much about compassion. Compassion for others. Compassion for ourselves.
Russell was a wise guy.