Original article by Jack Kornfield on Greater Good Web site, dated August 23, 2011.
For me cultivating patience is a lot like cultivating forgiveness. You’ve got to pause in all of your frustration and self-involved pain and anger to take a breath in and move gracefully toward a different direction, being both open and willing to receive whatever you get. In the beautifully told story by Jack Kornfield (below) one woman does this again and again. We learn forgiveness is a powerful thing.
On the train from Washington to Philadelphia, while on my way to my father’s memorial funeral service, I sat down next to an interesting fellow who worked with young boys, particularly those in jail and prison, as part of an inner-city project in Washington, DC. He told me this story.
A young kid, 14 years old, wanted to get into a gang. The way that he proved himself to enter the gang was to shoot somebody—it was an initiation rite. He shot this kid he didn’t know. He was apprehended, brought to trial, and at the end of the trial, convicted.
Just before he is taken away in handcuffs, the mother of the boy who was shot stands up, looks him in the eye, and says, “I’m going to kill you,” and then sits down.
More on Forgiveness
Visit Jack Kornfield’s website
Check out Dr. Kornfield’s latest book, The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology.