At some point we all experience blame, either towards ourselves or someone who once hurt us. Anger and resentment build over time and may often surface in distressing ways. Forgiveness meditation is practiced for forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we have made or forgiving others for how they have treated us or hurt us.
What does it mean to forgive? It means making the decision to do so when you are ready. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or ignoring what happened or the pain that was caused, instead it concerns freeing ourselves from the toxicity of anger and resentment. It does not mean becoming friends with the person or even ever having to come face to face, or communicate with the other person, but forgiveness simply means you are letting go of the past so you can move on. It does not require you to make excuses for what they did or why, it allows you to understand how you and your life have been impacted by the hurt and turn that into empowerment rather than defeat.
Forgiveness meditation should be practiced only within your comfort zone. Begin to bring your attention to the heart/chest area. Feel whatever is there without judgment. Breathe through the heart center. Try to say the words of the forgiveness meditation through your heart.
Think of ways in which you have harmed yourself and harmed others. It is better to begin with minor things, not the big acts of harming. As far as you are able to do so, extend forgiveness to yourself for this harming by saying these phrases to yourself: (adapted from meditation teacher Eric Kolvig’s teachings)
I allow myself to be imperfect.
I allow myself to make mistakes.
I allow myself to be a learner, still learning life’s lessons.
I forgive myself.
If I cannot forgive myself now, may I forgive myself sometime in the future.
Now think of ways in which others have harmed you – again, beginning with minor harms. As far as you are able to do so, extend forgiveness to them.
Just as I allow myself to be imperfect, so I allow you to be imperfect.
I allow you also to make mistakes.
I allow you to be learners, still learning life’s lessons.
I forgive you.
If I cannot forgive you now, may I forgive you sometime in the future.
Ask forgiveness from others for the harm that you have done to them.
Please allow me to be imperfect.
Please allow me to make mistakes.
Please allow me to be a learner, still learning life’s lessons.
Please forgive me.
If you cannot forgive me now, please try to forgive me sometime in the future.
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing,
Mevlana Jelaluddin rumi – 13th century