Revenge is a confession of pain.”

Today it is hard to think of much else. The news that Osama Bin Laden was dead arrived last night, and I wasn’t alone in my shock. It is news I thought would never arrive.

We all remember 9/11 and where we were that day. None of us was alone in our grief and anger. And for some, that suffering has continued for 10 long years. And I, like most Americans, will not grieve the loss of Bin Laden.

Not all anger is toxic. The rage that comes out of injustice serves a valuable purpose- it provokes a desire for change. When violence has been committed, the fury that results prompts those that have been hurt to stand up and protect themselves. And sometimes that protection becomes a retaliation. The act of fighting back for the purpose of increased security in one thing, but the desire for vengeance creates an infinite loop of suffering.

There is freedom to be found in the righting of an injustice. So, many individuals around the world are celebrating Bin Laden’s death. Personally, I am relieved, mostly because we can now experience greater safety and security in our country.

In truth, there is nothing to celebrate here. The lives that were lost on 9/11 have not been returned. Violence has not ended. The war continues. These are sad facts, but until we’re all willing to go into the sadness and admit our collective hurt the suffering will continue.

“Revenge has no more quenching effect on emotions than salt water has on thirst.” Walter Weckler

To end grief and suffering, we must be able to accept what has happened. We must use our anger to protect ourselves and avoid future violence. We need to admit our hurt and accept ourselves for our own emotions and reactions. This self-forgiveness paves the way for forgiveness of others. And only then can we move forward and allow peace to enter our hearts and minds.

Anger -> Healthy Release -> Intelligent action to increase safety & security -> Compassion and Forgiveness

You may be thinking, “How can I forgive someone that has done such grievous harm?” The answer is simple. Because in forgiving those that have caused the greatest suffering you increase your capacity for love and compassion. It isn’t to help them, it’s to help you become healthier. When you rise above what the world does to you, you become resilient. Once you’ve suffered a great loss and have overcome your initial weakness, you’ve created a stronger self.

“I think we should try to rise to the level of minimal moral integrity. Minimal moral integrity requires that if we think something is wrong when they do it, it’s wrong when we do it.” Noam Chomsky

I can’t help but remember my experience with the Edgar Cayce readings from my childhood. He spoke of the universal law of cause and effect, which essentially states that everything that happens is both a cause and an effect. You may be more familiar with the law of physics, whereby every action has a reaction. In this case, the reaction is also an action in itself. What actions are your current feelings and thoughts going to create. What effects will occur?

Now, I should mention that the path of forgiveness isn’t for everyone. Mine is one of light and love. I believe I’m here to share the compassion I’ve cultivated with the world (my primary motivation for this article). But we all have our own journeys. What’s yours?

Author's Bio: 

Janis Ericson, founder and director of Lightwork Seminars, Intl. is an internationally recognized NLP and hypnosis trainer, practitioner, and author of "I Know I Need to Change, but How?".