Enhancing Divine Forgiveness In Your Life
Before reading this chapter, you may wish to listen to or sing along with the soul song I’ve composed and sung: “I Am Forgiving.” Consider it a prayer in song. This link will connect you to the audio “I Am Forgiving” . While listening to the audio, you will be able to also gaze at the accompanying full color design “Mother and Child Share Forgiveness.”
Forgiveness Can Help Free You to Move Ahead in Your Life
Forgiveness is love in action. Forgiveness is power. Forgiveness is understanding or accepting another person’s weaknesses and loving them anyway, even if it occasionally needs to be tough love. Forgiveness is seeing, understanding and accepting your own weaknesses and loving yourself anyway. Forgiveness includes the wisdom of not allowing others to take advantage of you. Forgiveness is the path to your own peace and well-being. Forgiveness has been greatly misunderstood throughout much of history. In this chapter, we take a look at forgiveness from many perspectives. We will look at how it can help transform your life and how it can help you embody your radiant visions.
Ideally we experience each moment as a Divine gift to be savored for all its beauty and potential. I believe that is the intention of the Creator. Each moment is like a blank artist’s canvas on which we can paint luminous images. As we lift our consciousness Spiritually we can receive intuitions to help us step ahead on our life path. This can be an adventure beyond belief. There needn’t be anything holding us back from manifesting the life of our dreams. But many of us do allow some things to hold us to the past such as emotional hurts, trauma, or anger. Being bound to the past acts like cement holding us somewhat inert and static.
To Truly Thrive We Need to Be Fully Present in the NOW
In order to grow and blossom we need to be fully focused in the present. Imagine a long passageway in which there are windows. Some of the windows look out on scenes from the past of our life. Some of the windows look out at people who were important to us in the past. Through those windows we can see events that happened to us back then that involved the people surrounding us. Even though the events happened long ago, those memories can bring up feelings of sadness or happiness. Looking through some of the windows gives us joy, while looking through others may cast us into regret or despair or anger. When we continue to dwell at length on those feelings we are being pulled into the past. There is one window that looks out at the present moment. The one window that looks out at the present moment is the only one that invites and enables us to be vitally alive and creative in the NOW. That is the one window where we need to ideally stay focused if we choose to thrive. The other windows, those that look into the past, can lead to melancholy or day-dreaming.
We Can Learn and Grow From Old Mistakes and Move On
Seeking to understand the past can be useful in order to avoid repeating past mistakes. We can learn from the past. Once we learn the lessons from the past–then it is crucial to bless it, thank it, and release it with love. If we are willing, we can continue actively growing and evolving creatively for as long as we are in a physical body. That is the intention of life.
Many people start fairly early to live in the past, while others live in the future focusing on their wishes for times ahead. All those windows to the past and to the future are closed tight and impenetrable. We can gaze for a few moments and reflect, but in a real sense we are left a passive bystander. The window to the present moment, however, is like a glass door that opens easily so we can enter for dynamic participation. This is the window where life is calling to us. This is the window where life is welcoming us. This is the window where we are needed and have an important role to play.
Ways to Help Heal Our Past Into Greater Peace
How can we heal our past into greater peace so that we can stay more fully focused on living in the present? Forgiveness is a major key. Each of us may hold some regret in our heart and wish that we had done something better. No matter how well we performed in a past situation, it is always possible to wish that we had done even better or had handled a situation in a different manner. It is important to understand that we do the best we can in our own way in each moment. Once that moment is passed, we cannot change it. We can, though, change the way we perceive it. We also can change how we relate in the present to any people that were involved in that situation in the past. This is true whether they are still an active part of our life, or whether we and the other person are not in touch any more, or if the person is deceased. This is empowerment in the present. (In this regard, we can also change how we currently relate to other people in a situation that is somewhat similar to the situation from the past we wish to heal.)
If there is a hurt or angry place in your heart toward someone, try writing a letter to the person. With pen and paper, really tell that person how you feel. Be honest with your feelings. The act of writing the letter from your heart is therapeutic. You don’t need to mail or give the letter to the person unless you choose to. After writing a letter (or several letters) to him or her, and after reflecting on the contents of this chapter and its audios–you may feel increased clarity on the relationship. If you are still in contact you may wish to talk to the person. Create an opening for possible peaceful communication. The opening can be as simple as “How are you? I wanted to say hello and wish you well.” If you don’t know how to reach the person or if he or she is deceased, writing the letters can be powerful and healing anyway. Let those old feelings come up a little at a time so they can be healed and released. They are only coming up briefly for that purpose–to let go. Give the old painful feelings to God– give them to the Light. To support your forgiveness and letting go, try the helpful “Exercise of the Healing Garden Pool” at the close of the chapter.
Past events can run before the screen of our awareness almost like a video or movie. Sometimes we may have a memory that seems to go on and on vividly in our mind, or a scene may repeat over and over. It can have a tendency to keep running and holding our attention. Sometimes it may feel really intense or occasionally a little overwhelming. To the extent that we allow these memory video clips to hold our awareness–that is the extent to which we have less clarity to devote to actively living in the present. Through forgiveness we can let go of repeatedly running these old video clips. Sometimes forgiveness doesn’t need to be long and drawn out, it can possibly be as simple as silently saying, “I give this old memory to the light. I did the best I could at the time. I thank it for helping me learn and grow through this experience.” Often it is more a sense of attitude than anything else. It is a willingness to let go of and give the pain to the Divine. In a sense, all life can become a meditation on staying fully present in the moment.
Sometimes Forgiveness Can Mean that We Agree to Respectfully Disagree
Give thought to what was learned through the experience that needs healing. Sometimes it is a matter of one or possibly both people being a little more patient with the other. Is it possible that one or maybe both people needed to give a little more caring attention to the other in some way? There are times when trauma is caused by our perceiving a situation differently than another person or group perceives it. Maybe neither person nor group was all right or all wrong; but rather it could be that a difference of opinion caused the severe pain. In a case like that, some relief and healing can be gained from seeking to grasp the perspective of the other. It is helpful to understand the situation from the viewpoint of the other person. With everything in our heart and soul we may not agree, but sometimes we have no choice but to make some room for the very different opinions of others who occupy an important place in our life. Divine Love and compassion can sometimes help soften the sharp grating edges between people of very different mindsets. It can sometimes be a matter of respectfully agreeing to disagree.
Forgiveness Doesn’t Mean That We Have to Re-Expose Ourselves to Danger or Abuse
There are times when a true and terrible wrong has been done–as in the case of having been physically abused, serious emotional abuse, child abuse, murder of a loved one, or other tragedies. Then it is not a matter of perceived offense, it is a real offense. This pain can be profound and truly needs the support of emotional therapy, if possible, to gradually bring some healing to it. Eventually, once wisdom is somehow drawn from it, however that seems possible–then to whatever extent we can, we need to give the pain to God so it doesn’t eat us up inside. It is possible to pray that the abusive person’s soul is lifted and healed–but that the person stays far away. It is possible to forgive someone and pray for their highest good as a way to free ourselves from being tied to them by the “cord” of our own anger or fear. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we have to re-expose ourselves to danger or abuse.
Forgiving Fate for the Loss of a Loved One
Let’s look at forgiveness in regard to loved ones who died a natural death from illness or old age, or who died in an accident. It is natural to deeply miss a loved one who has died. Sometimes it is important to forgive fate for taking away the dear one. Perhaps there was some unfinished emotional business between us and the deceased. As profoundly sad as it is, we gradually need to grieve the loss and eventually move on. It is important and good to have precious memories which we treasure and to which we return periodically. That is honoring the person and the special moments in the past that helped to create who we are today.
Loved ones who are no longer with us in a physical body surely continue to hold a special place in our hearts. It can be comforting to have a photograph in the home as a reminder. It may be natural to create a ritual in honor of the loved one who has passed on. Such a ritual often consists of periodically visiting a place that person loved and saying a prayer for them–and allowing the love that was shared to fill our hearts.
Occasionally they may visit us in a very special dream or when our consciousness is unusually uplifted. We may intuitively know that the loved one’s soul briefly visited to extend well wishes or a message. It is possible to treasure these memories and feelings and yet not have them anchor us in the past. For us to have the possibility of living our amazing life to the fullest, it is extremely important to stay fully focused in the present.
If we are focused in memories it is like we are looking at the clouds in the sky rather than the vast luminous sky. Take a moment, and imagine that you are gazing at the beautiful radiant blue sky on a clear day. What an uplifting sight! The clear sky is extraordinarily lovely. Our memories could be compared to clouds in the sky of our consciousness. The more often we visit them and allow them to build up, the bigger they get. If we give too much attention to dwelling in old memories, those clouds can fill the sky. This is like a cloudy day when all we see are the clouds; the extraordinary reality of the vast blue luminous sky and glowing sun are hidden. The potential within each moment is unlimited if we stay totally present to the inherent opportunities within it. May we rejoice in the everyday miracles presenting themselves to us minute-by-minute–the feel of the breeze on our cheek, the incredible beauty of flowers courageously reaching for the sun, an opportunity to share our experience in some way in our community to help meet a need, the heartwarming smile of a friend, or sharing enriching thoughts and ideas. It is worth being totally present in the moment in order to savor and respond fully to these and so much more. Talents and skills can keep growing and developing as we pursue them actively and apply them in ways that are helpful for ourselves and those around us. It is all a great adventure for which it is worth staying totally focused and alert.
It’s Valuable to Understand Why a Trauma Happened
How can we forgive and let go of old traumas so that they don’t weigh us down and divert our attention and energy from the present? As said earlier, it is an inner orientation and decision to totally embrace the ongoing panorama of life as it presents itself to us in all of its glory and challenges. This isn’t to say that it is easy to stay fully awake. We might prefer to not be aware of some things. But that isn’t how we grow. We grow by pondering on the deeper meaning of all that we experience and see, and by distilling from it valuable insights and understanding to enhance life now. It is impossible to long for the past or to be bored when we are totally connected in the present.
If possible, it is valuable to understand why a trauma happened. Frequently an abusive person was abused as a child him or herself, and that is the behavior they know (or knew). Soldiers who have experienced combat duty have profound experiences of violence that can unfortunately haunt them and sometimes unintentionally carry over as some abusive behavior in their personal life. Sometimes people learned abusive behavior as a youth or as a young adult through peer pressure regarding alcohol, drugs, or violent behavior. They were perhaps trying to somehow achieve a misplaced sense of importance or a form of emotional release in that way. Therapeutic support and healing are needed in all these situations.
Helpful Group Support for Healing and Forgiving
It is well known that there are free therapeutic Twelve Step Programs to support people dealing with a wide range of issues. Forgiveness is a significant part of the Twelve Step programs. You may be very aware that there are valuable groups for not only alcohol, but for issues of overeating, narcotics, gambling, debt, and excessive shopping. There are Al-Anon groups for family members, and there are teen support groups. These and other similar groups and individual therapy can be deeply helpful for some people for healing and forgiving themselves and others. Healing and forgiveness are a noble and important journey that can require courage. The reward is the priceless treasure of mended relationships and renewed heart centered openness to the joy of life and its profound possibilities.
There are those who feel that everything happens for a reason. I personally feel that is often true, but not always. Childhood abuse is tragic and all too common. The child is not in a position to do much of anything about it except to endure it somehow. Those sufferings can continue to weigh heavily on an individual as she or he gets older. My article “We Can Heal Childhood Wounds From Abuse” can be accessed through the website that accompanies this book. It may be very helpful for some people.
Forgiveness in Relation to Reincarnation
If there seems to be no apparent reason for a situation of abuse, it can possibly be a carry-over from a previous reincarnation when the individuals knew each other before. That does not in any way excuse the abusive behavior in this lifetime, but it may give some understanding why those souls were drawn together.
A high percentage of people in the world believe in reincarnation: Hindus, Buddhists, many Christians around the world, and various other religions and groups in the United States and elsewhere. Let’s discuss the theory of reincarnation for a moment to help shed light on forgiveness in relation to past lives. A soul incarnates in a physical body to learn the Divine wisdoms. Each incarnation of a soul is a different personality and tends to look different, though there may be some similarity of interests and inclinations. Members of a soul group may weave in and out of each other’s lives from incarnation to incarnation. We perform different roles for each other at different times–sometimes as married partners, sometimes as business partners, sometimes as soldiers fighting for different countries and meeting in battle. It can be a very complex interweaving from life to life. This interweaving can keep occurring from life to life to help bring balance between any two or more souls. Where there has been abuse or violence, it needs to be somehow brought into balance and healed. We learn through all that happens to us. Even if we unfortunately die from an experience, as a soul we learn through it and it wasn’t totally wasted–as difficult and painful as that may be to imagine.
Life on physical plane Earth is a laboratory of learning for each of us as a soul. Terrible things that happen can sometimes be borne and comprehended more readily if seen from the long range vision of the soul. Each lifetime is like a day in the life of the soul. Some days are more how we would wish them than others; some lifetimes are more how we would wish them than others. In some ways, we may grow more through challenging lifetimes than through easy lifetimes. None of this makes painful experiences easier, yet it can give some perspective as to the many layers of it all. It may be helpful to know that there can be another chance in another incarnation. Past life therapy can be helpful for situations related to a past life. Many people, including myself, can do past life readings for people to aid deep soul level forgiveness and healing.
Pause, Think, Meditate, and Pray for Understanding
If a situation is from a past life or from our present life, the important thing is to understand the situation as well as possible. Did we learn anything from the interaction? The learning may be something to help us and the other person understand each other better in the future. On the other hand the learning derived from it may be the awareness of how to keep a distance from that person in the future and protect ourselves better to whatever extent possible. Even in the case of deciding to keep a distance from a person, forgiveness is an important piece of the process. Anger at a person can create a cord of energy which draws a person back to us until it is dissolved and resolved.
Forgiveness is a vast subject. A few aspects of it have been touched on here that will hopefully stimulate your awareness. Other aspects of forgiveness have been and will continue to be discussed in my writings in this book and in other collections. In summary, if you have had a difficult or traumatic situation with a person or group–step back and meditate on it or pray to understand it. Ask yourself — what are the dynamics of the situation? What are the underlying reasons that you acted the way you did and feel the way you do, and what do you sense are the underlying reasons that the other person or persons felt and acted the way they did?
Taking time to understand is a huge step. Talking with a trusted friend or counselor may be helpful to reach greater clarity. Pray for enhanced understanding, courage, and love. Don’t respond in haste if it is a current issue. If it is a past issue, be gentle with yourself yet persistent in working it through. What is the wisdom inherent in the situation for you? Wisdom is the pearl in the oyster shell. The oyster formed that precious pearl because there was the irritating trauma of a grain of sand within the oyster’s shell home. We also can derive a pearl of wisdom when we are faced with trauma. Study the situation and ask yourself the following questions. “Which of the Divine Qualities of God do I need to apply here? (Peace, Love, Forgiveness, Wisdom, Clarity, Harmony, Healing, or one of the others.) What do I need to learn in this situation?” That will help put you on the right track.
Keep the Wisdom, Let Go of the Pain
Forgiveness does not mean being weak. It does mean being fair. Sometimes what we learn from a situation is to protect ourselves better in the future. Other times we may learn that we need to be more compassionate and loving in a similar situation in the future. Keep the wisdom and let go of the pain. Give the trauma to God. “To for-give” means “to give forth” the pain to God. Don’t let that trauma of anger or resentment burn and hurt you inside. Extract the wisdom– and give the pain, sadness, or anger to God. Release with love. Keep the pearl of wisdom from the situation and act from that. Forgiveness is a choice.
The important thing to remember is that everything we experience in the “school house of planet Earth” is potentially a learning experience. Everything we experience is an opportunity to grow Spiritually. Nothing is wasted if we stay awake to the moment in all its potential. True reality is in the Spiritual dimensions. The Spiritual realms are more real than the physical world in which we dwell as a soul in a physical body. Planet Earth is the “school house” where we can learn to embody the Divine Qualities of God. Every situation is an opportunity to practice applying one or more of the Divine Qualities. That is what is truly of great significance in every interaction. Reflect and ask yourself the following: “How can I be true to the highest Divine in this moment? How can I enact one or more of the Divine Qualities?”
If one doesn’t somehow work through to forgiveness for the issues that come up in one’s life, it can sadly lead to gradually somewhat shutting down the heart. Then one may miss out on much of the wondrous joyful opportunities that may come one’s way to share love and goodwill and to contribute to all life around. Everyone has a special purpose for being here on earth and needs to keep the heart open in order to embody and share that precious gift.
Let’s Remember to Forgive and Love Ourselves
I can’t emphasize sufficiently the great importance of loving and forgiving ourselves. We learn through trial and error to a large extent. This inevitably involves making some large and small mistakes. Making a certain number of mistakes is simply a part of being alive. We can’t beat ourselves up about every little thing that we may think that we didn’t do just right. We need to love and encourage ourselves! What we may think was just terrible, others may have barely noticed or may have already forgotten about. In every situation seek to understand the underlying dynamics of why it happened. What is the wisdom to be gleaned from the situation? If one or more other people were involved, and if it seems appropriate–talk with them and see if some reasonable understanding can be reached to restore harmony.
Almost every time I lead a guided meditation, I include focusing in the heart chakra in the center of one’s chest and saying encouraging and loving affirmations to oneself. “I love myself, I’m a good person. I do the best I can in my own way.” Keep the wisdom from what may sometimes feel like a mistake, and let go of the pain. Give the pain to God to be dissolved in the Light. Act from the wisdom and move on to welcome each new day with an open heart!
Real Life Sharings Related To Forgiveness
Brother Broke My Baby Buggy–Forgiveness Healed Chronic Pain
~ by S.W.T.
Over the years, I have been working on forgiveness and keeping a forgiveness journal. I thought I had pretty much worked through any and all old issues with my immediate family, except with the brother just younger than me. As an adult, I remember that in any of our conversations I always felt an underlying frustration bordering on anger toward him. I could not figure out what it was. I just pushed it away.
One night a few months ago, I was looking through a magazine when I saw a picture of a little girl pushing an old-fashioned baby doll pram. I thought, “I had one just like that when I was little. I wonder what ever happened to it?” Then I had a flash back to when I was nearly three.
My brother is twenty-one months younger than me. When he was a baby, my greatest pleasure was to drag him off the bed, put him into my baby doll buggy and push him around the house. I loved it because it made him giggle. When he was six months old, mom started telling me, “Sister, he is too big for your buggy. He will break it. Don’t put him in it anymore.”
However, because it gave both of us so much pleasure, I didn’t listen. One day, I put him in and was pushing when the bottom ripped out and he fell through. It scared both of us. He started screaming because he was hurt and/or scared. I was screaming at him because he broke my buggy. I was also scared that he may be hurt. My childhood vision faded at the point where I saw Mom run into the room to see what all the ruckus was about.
In the moment of that memory, I was so very angry at my brother, I probably would have punched him if he had walked into the room. I was that little girl standing looking at her screaming baby brother sitting on the floor in the middle of the broken baby buggy. I was so very, unbelievably angry and scared. My heart was racing and I could feel my blood pressure rising, I had the feeling that I just needed to scream; I could feel my face flushing with anger. I was REALLY angry. I was blaming him for something he was not at all responsible for. Of course, I also realized that I was really angry at myself for not listening to Mommy. Now my buggy was ruined and baby was hurt and Mommy was gonna be mad.
It took a lot of “I forgive you, I forgive me,” breathing out anger and breathing in peace, to let that anger go. Until that moment, I had forgotten all about that incident. Funny how little things can trigger something we so desperately need to heal.
After having done the forgiveness work on that incident, the next time I saw my brother, I talked to him as if I truly loved him and there was no underlying anger or upset below the “niceness.” I genuinely loved him and was really happy to see him. In addition to healing that emotional angst toward my brother, a pain that had bothered me in my right shoulder for as long as I could remember was gone. Instantly in the moment of true forgiveness–that chronic, nagging pain was gone. Poof! Gone. Forgiving my brother for breaking my baby buggy healed a chronic physical pain that has not come back.
Now, when I think of the incident, I do so with laughter. Because really, if there had been a video camera there, I’m sure the whole incident could have made it to America’s Funniest Home Videos or gone viral on YouTube!
THAT is the power of true forgiveness–emotional, mental, and quite often, physical healing. The ultimate result of forgiveness is inner peace, which I am becoming–one forgiveness at a time.
The Grace Of Forgiveness
~ by Judy
I tossed and turned in the wee hours of the morning, my mind replaying the decision that a person in my life made that adversely affected many areas of my life in a long-term way. Although it had been over two years, I still carried a lot of resentment and anger toward this person. Honestly, my negative feelings toward this person were holding me hostage.
For not the first time, I called out to God for help. I called maybe more sincerely this time– perhaps because I was finally more open to receive help. I sat up, flipped on the light, and gazed at a stack of books at my bedside. I picked up one, flipped through it, and quickly came upon a chapter on forgiveness. An exercise for forgiveness was given. This exercise suggested visualizing the person you are having problems with, and saying that “I (your name) forgive and release you (the other person)” and ask that all things between both of you be finished. Then, still visualizing the person, ask that the Christ or Higher Self of that person forgive and release you and that all things between you and that person be finished. If the person doesn’t want to forgive, the Christ or the Higher Self of that person would want to. This exercise immediately began to free me in the early hours of the morning, and I fell into a contented sleep. I had to repeat this exercise a few times afterward, but the quality of Divine Forgiveness truly freed and healed me.
Forgiveness Can Help Set Your Soul Free
~ by Luna
My friend’s name is Natalie and she will forever have a magical, vibrant place in my heart. Natalie drove to see me one autumn weekend from the small town where we grew up together. I helped her to pick out clothes and she helped me with my make-up. She and I went out for the evening. We danced, giggled, and talked almost exclusively about boys. In the wee hours of the following morning, Natalie and I had a petty quarrel. We had been friends since 6th grade and I don’t remember us ever having an argument. Eventually, we got back to my apartment and Natalie stated that she was going to drive home early. She was upset and so was I. I didn’t get to give her a hug or tell her how much I love her. Natalie didn’t make it home.
In the years following Natalie’s death, I went through extremely challenging times. I lost myself for a while–and almost forever. I want to share this story with you, because forgiveness helped to set my soul free.
It’s now been five years and it is Christmas time. I suddenly feel the strong inclination to walk out on my back deck. I take in the quiet sunset and breathe the crisp air as I gaze out at the trees. I feel clear, still, and open. I close my eyes to say a prayer of gratitude. I hold a special prayer for Natalie. I send her love from my heart and tell her I miss her ever so dearly. I tell her that I feel her forgiveness and love. I open my eyes and see a small misty orb of light floating through the sunbeams and I know that she is here with me.
I’d like to share some of what has been helpful to me on this healing journey:
- Yoga–lots and LOTS of yoga.
- Find a Spiritual guide who resonates with your Spirit. (Joyce is my Spiritual guide.)
- Surround yourself with loving family and friends who make you giggle.
- Eat local and/or organic whole foods. When you have time, prepare the food yourself.
- Walk out in nature, be with animals.
- Listen to uplifting music.
- Pray to the Universe.
Forgiving And Receiving Love
At the time, I had been a social worker for Child Protection Service for two years. Coming up was the first case at which I had to testify and advocate to “terminate parental rights.” The anxiety, the tremendous agitation within me just at the thought of “terminating a parent’s rights to their child” was overwhelming to me. I could not understand this extreme upset within me. I could not understand the revulsion within me to have to sever a parent from their child–even though I fully understood the utter irresponsibility of this parent. The precipitating factors for a termination are neglect/abuse of a child as a result of longstanding drug or alcohol or mental health issues. Why was I so upset?
There was something within me in great agitation concerning the rules of state law demanding a parent’s rights must be terminated after a given period of no improvement, so that the child can be adopted and have other parents. It was as if I was unconvinced of the “rightness” of terminating a biological parent’s right–neglectful or abusive or irresponsible as the parent may have been.
I did a “Spiritual Healing” session with Joyce. The hour unfolded incredibly. She said to visualize that I was in a beautiful serene place in nature. A wooded field is what I selected. I was guided to imagine a lovely healing pool in my special place in nature. She said to visualize my father on the other side of the healing pool. I felt his presence with us. Joyce asked, “What do you want to say to him?” As soon as that question was posed, I was certain of what I wanted to say. I said to my father, “I know you did the best you could. You loved us the best you could. You had such pain inflicted upon you as a child, being deserted by your father when you were twelve years old. Your mother taught you to hate your father. You felt such pain and rejection, and then you covered it up and denied it all your life. Yet it made you angry, you were always a hair’s breath away from explosive anger and upset. We never knew when it would burst out of you. You would yell, rant, and sometimes you hit us. It was always supposedly our fault when it happened. You would yell mercilessly at our Mom. I came to accept that this is ‘just how life is.’ And day by day, week by week, year by year–my clearest memory is your daily mantra to us, “show me respect.”
That was it! I had ‘absorbed’ the concept that a parent could be any way they wanted. They could inflict any rage, fear, upset, or smack–and yet demand respect. I had absorbed the concept that parents had the right to be abusive. I absorbed the attitude that a child must simply endure and submit–that was the role of a child.
A miraculous healing occurred and that old feeling began to dissolve that night with my new perspective. But wondrously, this realization did something else– it transformed my heart toward my father. My heart saw more deeply than ever before the depth of his pain. I saw his lifetime of pain that caused his uncontrollable displays of anger.
I became aware of an unexpected genuine feeling of love for my father. And then I told him, “I forgive you, I know you did the best you could.” And then another thing happened that had not happened to me before. I sensed my father’s love for me. I felt love flow between us; acceptance flowed between us. It was strong and totally new. I felt his presence.
My unconscious had walked free from an imprisoning concept. All agitation ceased within me. Following this experience I felt absolutely released and free. I could do my job of terminating an abusive/neglectful parent’s rights over the victim child. A new understanding had dawned, and with it paradoxically came deep forgiveness for my father and an exchange of love.
WORKBOOK: Enrichment Experiences For Enhancing Forgiveness In Your Life
Enjoy the adventure of exploring these enrichment experiences on your own–or gather a few friends to share the journey with you. Be inspired by the audio meditation and soul song for this chapter. Reflect on some of the stimulating ideas, questions and suggestions.
Questions For Reflection And Discussion
Reflection, discussion, journal writing, expressing your feelings in drawings or other creative ways can all be very valuable to help you delve into these questions in truly meaningful and relevant ways. Before focusing on the questions, you may wish to meditate with the twelve minute audio or transcribed meditation–and/or listen to the soul song “I Am Forgiving.”
Bring to your mind a situation for which you would like to enhance healing and forgiveness. Feel the situation in your heart as you move through the following suggestions. (Afterwards, you may wish to apply the same experiences to another situation in your life that would benefit with healing support.)
1. What are the dynamics of the situation? What are the underlying reasons that you acted the way you did, and feel the way you do? What are the underlying reasons that the other person or persons seem to feel the way they do, and have acted the way they have? Taking time to understand is a huge step. (Talking with a trusted friend or a counselor can sometimes be helpful in addition to work that you do on your own.)
2. Try writing a letter to the individual or individuals with whom you have (now or in the past) a disagreement or disharmony. You don’t need to mail the letter, unless you wish to. The forgiveness is for your healing as much as for finding harmony with the other person(s). It is possible that the other person may have forgotten or may barely remember the incident. Just writing the letter can be very helpful and therapeutic for you.
3. What do you need to learn in this situation that will help put you on the right track for the miracle of greater healing? What is the wisdom that it would be helpful for you to understand and glean from this situation in order to help you be even wiser and stronger and happier?
4. How can you stay more fully present in each moment and let go of the past and this situation more fully?
5. In addition to Divine Forgiveness, which of the other Divine Qualities would it be helpful to keep in your heart to deepen your healing? (Divine Peace, Divine Wisdom, Divine Love, Divine Harmony, or one of the others?)
6. Sometimes you may be somewhat hard on yourself. Is it possible that you feel ready to forgive yourself for something that you may have been beating yourself up about? Sometimes finding forgiveness with yourself is as important as finding forgiveness with someone else. Once again, the important thing is to keep the wisdom from the situation, and let go of the trauma.
Action Suggestions and Experiences To Enhance Forgiveness In Your Life
Choose an event in your life to which you would like to bring some healing with another person. The following are guided experiences you can repeat as often as you wish to help bring healing for different emotional wounds. As preparation, you may wish to listen to the audio “Meditation to Enhance Your Experience of the Divine Qualities,” with focus on Forgiveness; or the Soul Song Audio for Forgiveness.
1. Healing Mandala Experience
Is there something in your life that seems to hang as a shadow in your consciousness? Maybe there are numerous events or periods of your life to which you would like to bring greater harmony. Embrace them with love and peace. They are a part of you and need healing and forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t necessarily mean that you will even see that person or persons again, though that could be helpful. The crucial thing is to truly love free that hurt place in your heart and being. Use colored markers, colored pencils, or whatever you have available. Take a piece of white paper and draw a circle on it almost as large as the paper allows. You can use a plate or bowl upside down on the paper as a guide to draw the circle.
Inside the circle express your feelings about a memory or situation in your life that needs the support of healing. It can be expressed as simple stylized people, shapes, flowers, animal forms–or simply as an outpouring of colors. Don’t worry about being artistic. Use lots of color to fill in areas of your creation. Colors express our feelings as powerfully as images. Allow it to be a therapeutic outpouring. When you have expressed your feelings to some extent, pause for the moment and LOVE your creation and yourself.
In any empty spaces inside the circle and in the corners outside the circle draw things that express gentleness and love to you. These could be hearts, rainbows, shining sun, stars, butterflies, birds or other symbols. Love is healing. You are creating a healing mandala which is a design in a circle of wholeness. When you are ready, pray over what you have created. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that it is O.K. what happened, but that you are ready to release the heaviness from your heart and give it to the Divine. Forgiveness occurs in stages. One of the most important stages is loving yourself and forgiving yourself anything you may hold against yourself. From there you can let love be your guide and sense what else is possible.
Note: When a person has been abused or wronged, often on a subconscious level one ironically feels guilty as though believing that one must have been the cause of the abuse or wrong. This sense that oneself must be bad can be very strong after having been abused by someone else. Particularly a child doesn’t know why else she/he would have been abused except for having been bad. So it is important to love and forgive oneself. At the same time it is important to be open to the possibility that there may have been two sides to the situation, particularly when neither of the individuals involved were children. The following “Exercise of the Healing Garden Pool” can be helpful for better understanding the dynamics on both sides.
2. Guided Visualization of the Healing Garden Pool To Support Forgiveness
This exercise can be helpful for enhancing understanding with another person when there is, or has been, disagreement or disharmony. It can also be helpful for healing past trauma with a person with whom you are out of touch, or when the other person is deceased.
Lift your consciousness with the Forgiveness Soul Song and/or Forgiveness Meditation first. Then, if convenient, turn on relaxing non-verbal instrumental music to create a peaceful background during the following meditation.
- Imagine yourself walking down a lovely garden path with your guardian angel on a peaceful warm day.
- The earth is soft beneath your feet and the sun feels warm on your cheeks.
- You feel safe and serene.
- You find a very special area of the garden that has a small circular reflecting pool.
- Beautiful radiant flowers gracefully drape over the natural stones encircling the pool.
- Sense the feeling of deep harmony.
- There is a lovely rose quartz bench on one side of the healing pool.
- A luminous angel sweetly invites you to sit and relax there, and you do.
- Your guardian angel is now on one side of you, and a healing angel is nearby.
- You feel loved and attended to.
- On the other side of the pool across from you is another rose quartz bench with a lovely healing angel.
- In a moment you will invite someone to sit on that other bench.
- When you are ready, invite a person with whom you wish to enhance peace, understanding, and forgiveness.
- Visualize that person sitting there with a lovely kindly healing angel by his or her side.
- Speaking silently or aloud, what would you like to say to that person?
- What do you feel that person would like to say to you?
- Filled with the peace of the healing pool, the angels, and the Divine–what do you wish to say to that person?
- Filled with the peace of the healing pool, the angels, and the Divine–what might that person say to you?
- Do you feel ready to say some words of forgiveness?
- Take it at your own pace. It is up to you.
- What words of forgiveness do you feel that they might be inspired to say to you?
- Feel peace enhanced between you.
- Visualize the other person leaving with their healing angel.
- Continue for awhile breathing in violet light while you listen to peaceful music.
- As you breathe out, you may wish to affirm,
- I am blessed with Divine Forgiveness.
- I forgive and my heart is at peace.
In closing, it might be good to listen to the Forgiveness Soul Song again, or read some passages from your favorite inspirational book.
Blessings to you.
Note: It takes personal inner strength to forgive. Keep in mind, that with some people it is still important for you to set healthy boundaries to enhance the reality that future interactions will be appropriate.
3. Meet With or Telephone the Person with Whom You Would Like to Enhance Forgiveness, if it Feels Helpful
If it is appropriate for your situation, telephone or meet with the other person. It doesn’t need to be a long conversation or meeting at first. If you don’t live together, chose a meeting place that feels comfortable for you both. Be sure to listen carefully to what each other says. Sometimes it is helpful to agree that you speak one at a time while the other listens for three minutes. After one person has spoken for three minutes, then the other person speaks for three minutes while the first speaker listens, and back and forth. It is helpful to start and close your time together with each person saying something kind to the other. Blessings and peace to you both.
Connect to the Meditation Audio here: “Meditation To Enhance Your Experience Of The Divine Qualities,” with focus On Divine Forgiveness. On that page, you will also be able to read the full printed text of the meditation and accompanying affirmations.
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