green-pathIt has been said that where judgment exists there is no room for love.

While living in Golden Bay on New Zealand’s South Island I met a man whose wife had been murdered some years before. He was understandably devastated and fell into a funk. Eventually he met a new partner and she encouraged him to follow the path of forgiveness in order to overcome his depression. He began to make regular visits to the perpetrator of this crime against his late wife, in a nearby prison. I was awed at the enormity of forgiveness required to complete such a task. And it obviously worked because he was a happy and peaceful man.

Buddha quoteIn 1987 Sandy MacGregor’s three teenage daughters were murdered, shot-gunned after opening the door to an acquaintance, 27 year old Richard Maddrell, a student one of the girls had met at university. Maddrell was declared a paranoid schizophrenic and found not guilty of murder on the grounds of insanity.

Four years before the murders, Mr. MacGregor had started learning how to harness the power of the subconscious mind through meditation after his son Andrew used the technique to control asthma attacks and to help his recovery following a motorbike accident.

But in his devastated state after the murders Sandy was unable to practice the meditation technique for some months. When he did begin meditating he received a “thought.”

Foregiveness“It was like a voice saying to me, “If you persist in being hateful, angry and revengeful you’re going to end up like ‘that,’ …[like] another victim.”

So Mr. MacGregor decided to work with acceptance, cooperation, unconditional love and forgiveness. It took time but after about four years he felt he was really over the deaths. More recently he has taken the final step in forgiveness by visiting Mr. Maddrell in prison. He made it clear to Mr. Maddrell that he wasn’t condoning his actions but that he was unconditionally forgiving him for the murder of his daughters.

“That was pretty emotional. I could hardly gasp out their names but at the end of it I felt euphoric, lighter; I felt the monkeys were off my back.”

Sandy MacGregor is a happy man. He works with homicide and suicide support groups in Australia and has written a book titled Creating Happiness Intentionally.

What do these two men have in common? They have learned to utilise the formidable power of unconditional forgiveness and love. In each instance they needed to learn to unconditionally accept the actions of another person. And in these two cases the forgiven actions have been about as horrific as anyone can imagine. Yet these men, ordinary human beings like you and me, took the extraordinary step to release anger, hate and revenge. And they then experienced the state of happiness and health that is inherent within us when negative emotional states are relinquished.

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See And In Search of Simplicty is now available as an eBook here.

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101