With my rent miraculously taken care of, my life went deeply inward. I hardly spoke for over a year. Many visitors came, sat in silence, and left. Sometimes I spoke, but mostly I did not. The unwritten rule seemed to be that I would not speak out of discomfort or fear of silence. I would speak only when I felt that somehow a compassionate word might help someone I was with. Fasting, silence, and reading defined my life for several years... I didn't know if I was giving myself to foolishness or saintliness.
Forgiveness is the essence of peacemaking and begins with ourselves. First, we find the wisdom to be gained from whatever mistakes we have made or failures we have experienced and give thanks for it. Then we forgive ourselves by releasing blame, guilt, and pain. We also need to forgive others who have hurt us. We do not have to condone what they have done, but we do need to release our anger and resentment toward them... Since our inner world is reflected in our outer world, peace, joy, and love (the fruits of forgiveness) will flow into the world's environment and help people who are having difficulty forgiving themselves or others.