The practice of forgiveness
“The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.” ~ Marianne Williamson
What does it mean to forgive? Volumes can speak to that. People most often associate it with forgiving others for a crime perpetrated against them or another. But what about self- forgiveness?
Self-forgiveness as a practice is how you happen to life. In other words, you come fresh and clean to your life experience after a spiritual self-forgiveness session. You are already in the state of non-judgment.
If you hold yourself innocent, you tend to see others as innocent. But more often it’s the other way around. Which is why to self-forgive is also divine.
But maybe forgiving yourself isn’t easy. Maybe there’s a whole lot of other junk in the way. Other things, people, events to forgive first. But then, there’s stuff in the way of that too.
How do you stop that train? Can you change the core of non-forgiveness? What is the best way to transmute the unwanted thoughts that bring about states of judgment? Psychologists have found that suppressing unwanted thoughts leads to — you guessed it — more of the same unwanted thoughts!
Which is why it is good to forgive, but not forget. Not just because you don’t want to forget the lesson and invite a repeat offense. That’s smart. But the other reason is because the more you tell yourself to forget, the harder your brain works to ensure you won’t forget.
What a merry go round. Just goes to show you how complex the human mind is, and how wily its subtle energy is when you try to go after it in the usual fashion. While there are simple mental techniques for helping you to release the thoughts, you may also wish to address their spiritual origins.
Meditation is one way to do so. Prayer goes along with that. But also, especially in the case of unforgiving thoughts, you may also want to take time out to think and feel with a pencil.
To really get to work and find out what the spiritual/emotional energy blocks are, try this:
Get out your yellow legal pad and jot down in one or two word lists the things or people you can’t quite get yourself to forgive.
Then, one by one, write to them — but never send it to anyone for heaven’s sake — and tell them why you can’t forgive them. You heard that right.
Don’t stop with people. Try to turn a situation or thing into an animate object for the purposes of this letter writing campaign: “Dear Mr. Computer, blah blah blah…” And, remember what I said about self-forgiveness. Add your name to the list, and when you’re ready, unload all that self-junk on paper too.
Now, why would I ask you to focus on the bad stuff? To release it. To get it out. To objectify it on something physical like paper allows you to then transmute it, by consigning it to the physical flame. Or in high fire risk areas, use the shredder.
In fact, use the shredder. It’s a great way to cut the energy of the paper that now holds the charge of your emotional ideas and energy.
But don’t stop there without doing the meditation or prayer technique. And then always follow by writing a “thank you for enlightening me so now I can I forgive and release you” letter.
As you write, feel what it would be like to actually forgive. Then feel what it would be like to have already forgiven. And then really do that. Forgive. And let go.
Again, I’m saying ‘let go’, not ‘forget’ — you don’t want to forget that it hurts to touch fire. So the same applies to forgiving hurtful experiences. The objective is for your memories to lose their charge. And they will if you do this technique correctly and thoroughly.
Rinse and repeat, for each person or item on your list. But do this technique for only one at a time. Take a rest if you need to process things spiritually. You want to keep yourself from going faster than you can handle. And do see a practitioner or therapist if you need help to sort out the thornier issues.
Then, when done, fill in the empty space with celebration. Do something fun. Create a special place in your home that represents your new sense of freedom. Take a bath, and feel the energy of forgiveness changing your molecules while you soak.
By then you realize you’ve done this for yourself, not for those you’ve forgiven. Forgiveness is, after all, the old new way to make ‘you happen to life’. You can no longer afford to buy into the limiting belief structure that it’s the other way ’round.