The first question:
Why is it so difficult to forgive, to stop clinging to hurts long since past?
The ego exists on misery – the more misery the more nourishment for it. In blissful moments the ego totally disappears, and vice versa: if the ego disappears, bliss starts showering on you. If you want the ego, you cannot forgive, you cannot forget – particularly the hurts, the wounds, the insults, the humiliations, the nightmares. Not only that you cannot forget, you will go on exaggerating them, you will emphasize them. You will tend to forget all that has been beautiful in your life, you will not remember joyous moments; they serve no purpose as far as the ego is concerned. Joy is like poison to the ego, and misery is like vitamins.
You will have to understand the whole mechanism of the ego. If you try to forgive, that is not real forgiveness. With effort, you will only repress. You can forgive only when you understand the stupidity of the whole game that goes on within your mind. The total absurdity of it all has to be seen through and through, otherwise you will repress from one side and it will start coming from another side. You will repress in one form; it will assert in another form – sometimes so subtle that it is almost impossible to recognize it, that it is the same old structure, so renovated, refurnished, redecorated, that it looks almost new.
The ego lives on the negative, because the ego is basically a negative phenomenon; it exists on saying no. No is the soul of the ego. And how can you say no to bliss? You can say no to misery, you can say no to the agony of life. How can you say no to the flowers and the stars and the sunsets and all that is beautiful, divine? And the whole existence is full of it – it is full of roses – but you go on picking the thorns; you have a great investment in those thorns. On the one hand you go on saying, “No, I don’t want this misery,” and on the other hand you go on clinging to it. And for centuries you have been told to forgive.
But the ego can live through forgiving, it can start having a new nourishment through the idea that, “I have forgiven. I have even forgiven my enemies. I am no ordinary person.” And, remember perfectly well, one of the fundamentals of life is that the ordinary person is one who thinks that he is not; the average person is one who thinks that he is not. The moment you accept your ordinariness, you become extraordinary. The moment you accept your ignorance, the first ray of light has entered in your being, the first flower has bloomed. The spring is not far away.