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Tickets, Please

"All aboard!" the faceless conductor shouts from inside the train. One after the other, passengers join together to form a single-file line that appears to have no end. At the front of the line stands a character that peers at the crowd behind him and snickers. "I got here first!" Pride boasts loudly. Further down the string of people, a small meek woman cowers behind the person standing in front of her. From time to time, she steals a peek of the others, but quickly withdraws whenever eye contact is made. "I hope no one recognizes me." Insecurity whispers to herself. "Here's my ticket! Take my ticket! I want to get on NOW!" Impatience cries out to the conductor who ignores her constant demands. Within the grip of each hand hides a ticket that will soon be given, received and stamped. A ticket that is free of charge yet priceless beyond measure. Though countless choose to wait months, years and perhaps lifetimes before acquiring these complimentary tickets, once the train is boarded, all is forgiven.

As this vision consumes my imagination, I begin to ponder the word forgiven. The dictionary states that in order to forgive, one must give up their resentment, or feelings of ill will, in regard to the particular situation or offender. "Easier said than done." I immediately sigh to myself. Admittedly, this is not the first time I have contemplated the subject of forgiveness. Not by a long shot. The truth is, I have written numerous letters of apology, practiced multiple forgiveness meditations and stood face-to-face with ghosts from my past who had asked for my forgiveness. Even though I initially felt elated and renewed after each forgiving act, the feelings of being wronged and insulted would eventually return. After every failed attempt to forgive, I would wrack my brain with sheer confusion and repeat the perpetual question, "What am I doing wrong?"

"There is no wrong. There is no right. There just is." I feel my heart sing. "You are quick to forgive others, but deny the one who most deserves your forgiveness." Clueless as to who my core is referring to, my mind begins to thumb through the endless files within my memory banks. While examining each record, my body experiences the sensations of hurt, disappointment, pain and rejection that were originally felt and which led to every resentment. Feeling overly anxious and nauseous, I plead, "Who am I missing? Who must I forgive?" Just then, the silence is broken by the sound of screeching tires outside my bedroom window. The startling noise causes me to open my eyes, lift my head and look directly in front of me. My heart skips a beat and tears roll down my cheeks when I realize that I am facing my own reflection in the mirror. "Me?" I cry. "You." My heart beams.

I stare at the image in the looking glass and summon any feelings of resentment I have toward myself. To my astonishment, the very same files I searched through and tossed aside before, resurface. "Every resentment you have toward another, you have for yourself. One cannot exist without the other. Nor can either survive alone." The words resonate inside my heart. "Forgive yourself and you forgive all." Suddenly my daydream resumes and I envision train tracks within my likeness. The tracks appear to start at the base of my spine and travel upward toward the top of my crown. "Trains are not scheduled or routine, but rather spontaneous and impromptu. They can depart at any given moment by the person's sheer desire to travel and move forward. Whether the train carries one, multiple, new or returning passengers matters not to the conductor, all that is acknowledged is their intention to depart. To board the train, each passenger must accept and embrace the role that they played throughout their life and agree to concede without reservation. Admission to ride requires full surrender of oneself." My heart clarifies.

"But I don't understand. Who are the passengers of this train?" I inquire. "Every grudge that you hold against yourself or another becomes a repressed emotion. Over time, these repressed emotions multiply and strengthen until they transform themselves into various personas, or future passengers, that dwell inside your Soul. Feeling heavy and weighed down, there is no room for growth, due to their constant presence." Unsure about which emotions the voice is referring to, I concentrate on the moving pictures inside my mind. A memory from my childhood emerges and I watch as Embarrassment materializes. Ashamed of his past actions, he attempts to shine the spotlight on another and points to Envy who jealously observes as Arrogance receives undue attention. "Remember when you arrived?" Irritation teases Guilt as she hangs her head in shame. "As if you have anything to talk about!" Anger screams. "All of your memories possess potential passengers and will remain trapped within, until you, the conductor, choose to navigate your personal Train of Forgiveness. When you are ready, their tickets will be waiting." Gazing back into the mirror, I visualize myself wearing a conductor's cap and close my eyes.

"Tickets, please." I, the conductor, state as each ticket-holder approaches me. Once inside the steel bullet, I firmly ask, "Are you here by your own free will?" As each person answers the question with identical response, tickets are taken from their shaky, timid hands and stamped Forgiven. In single rows, travelers are seated next to open windows and handed lit candles which they hold close to their hearts. In unison to the train’s sounding whistle, passengers release a single sigh of relief. The engine ignites and the wheels begin to rotate. The train treks from the base, pass the sacral, over the solar plexus, through the heart, beyond the throat, across the brow and all the way up to the crown where it returns to the hands of the Universe. As the locomotive disappears into the abyss-like atmosphere, the flame from each candle is extinguished while the passengers rejoice, "All is forgiven."

May YOUR Train of Forgiveness be filled to capacity, allowing you to Forgive and be Forgiven~