January 7, 2013

The Dalai Lama advised two things when asked how to work with her anger at her sexually abusive father.

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Reading this (entire) article via the New York Times (article linked) made my morning/month. Restorative Justice is not easy, but it’s real. RJ FTW!

This story, featured in the Sunday New York Times, involves much more than this anecdote, and broke my heart in a good way, and is worth reading. It inspired my day, and to some degree, re-inspired my life with the hope, nay certainty, that we can find forgiveness, and why it’s worthwhile to do so, even in the most horrific and tragic of circumstances. ~ ed.

Excerpt. Click anywhere to read the full article over at the New York Times: let’s reward their original, thoughtful reporting with our clicks.

Baliga had been in therapy in New York, but while in India she had what she calls “a total breakdown.” She remembers thinking, Oh, my God, I’ve got to fix myself before I start law school. She decided to take a train to Dharamsala, the Himalayan city that is home to a large Tibetan exile community. There she heard Tibetans recount “horrific stories of losing their loved ones as they were trying to escape the invading Chinese Army,” she told me. “Women getting raped, children made to kill their parents — unbelievably awful stuff. And I would ask them, ‘How are you even standing, let alone smiling?’ And everybody would say, ‘Forgiveness.’ And they’re like, ‘What are you so angry about?’ And I told them, and they’d say, ‘That’s actually pretty crazy.’ ” The family that operated the guesthouse where Baliga was staying told her that people often wrote to the Dalai Lama for advice and suggested she try it. Baliga wrote something like: “Anger is killing me, but it motivates my work. How do you work on behalf of oppressed and abused people without anger as the motivating force?”

She dropped the letter off at a booth by the front gate to the Dalai Lama’s compound and was told to come back in a week or so. When she did, instead of getting a letter, Baliga was invited to meet with the Dalai Lama, the winner of the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, privately, for an hour.

He gave her two pieces of advice. The first was to meditate. She said she could do that. The second, she says, was “to align myself with my enemy; to consider opening my heart to them. I laughed out loud. I’m like: ‘I’m going to law school to lock those guys up! I’m not aligning myself with anybody.’ He pats me on the knee and says, ‘O.K., just meditate.’ ”

Baliga returned to the United States and signed up for an intensive 10-day meditation course. On the final day, she had a spontaneous experience…




Baliga, as you’ll read, would go on not only to forgive but to be a leading heroine of restorative justice, where aggressors are actually rehabilitated and victims and their families receive the chance at full justice and inner peace.

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