Next to love, forgiveness is the most misunderstood concept. Forgiveness has been twisted by a lack of awareness as to how it functions. To forgive does not mean we must rejoin with our ex-lovers, free criminals from prisons, return to old jobs or anything else absurd. We are taught to believe that if we are to forgive the one who hurt us, it must manifest in some form of behavior and it reflects weakness.
Forgiveness is a function of love that seeks to understand the negative impact of another person and then to release the pain and find inner peace. When you choose to forgive somebody this does not mean that you acknowledge their cruel behavior as acceptable, for doing this would be dishonest. Above all, it does not mean that we assume a superior (holier than thou) attitude to pardon the sins others.
Let's explore the truth of forgiveness. The meaning of the verb forgive, translates into "to let go", which is the act of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the release (letting go) of negative feelings generated in you by another. It is your responsibility to let go of the hurt that another produces for you. The other person can apologize to you for their negative impact, but you still have to let go of the hurt feelings in order for forgiveness to become a healing experience.
What makes forgiveness so difficult, for so many? The greatest obstacle in the living of our life is the negative ego, which loves to hold onto a grudge and is our greatest source of resistance toward forgiveness. Our negative ego is what blocks our happiness and peace of mind. We hold within us grudges, bitterness and resentment which later manifest into stress, ulcers and poor health conditions. Ultimately, we have a choice to support our EGO or our SOUL, to be RIGHT or find PEACE.
Forgiveness like all other soul qualities (peace, love, innocence, respect, oneness, and passion) does not require a type of behavior. It begins with a relinquishing of emotional baggage and the choice to function from your Soul versus your negative ego. Forgiveness is a willingness to perceive everyone, including yourself, as either feeling and expressing love or perceiving it's absence, and having a need for more love. It is a relinquishing of a harmful train of thought that leads to constricting feelings. Forgiveness offers freedom to live a full and harmonious life.
The bi-product of forgiveness, is our own willingness and ability to forget. If we can not seem to forget then we have never completely let go. Holding on to pain only weaken us and produces misery. The purpose of forgetting is to prevent the mind from becoming a battle field. Negative feelings evaporate whenever they are looked at calmly and honestly and are dealt with responsibly. Often this process is gradual. The desire to function from your Soul (love) and to live your life in peace is the greatest motivation for forgiving another.
If you feel that forgiving adds one more grudging obligation to your life, you are functioning from your negative ego. Understanding that forgiveness is the doorway to your happiness and is the choice to function with love. When you are attacked by another, you must first deal with the hurt feelings that you honestly feel. Forgiveness is not a short cut to avoid dealing with the negative impact of your emotions. Too many try to forgive without releasing their anger and hurt. That common mistake only represses the anger and it putrefies into resentment down the road.
A great habit to cultivate is to pause whenever you are having difficulty releasing an upset from your mind. Look directly, and in detail at the contents of your thoughts. Dissect your emotions. Step back from them for a moment and gain new perspective. Write them down in a journal to gain deeper clarity. And give yourself time to forgive, it doesn't have to be instantaneous, but know it is necessary to your happiness and peace.
A person who claims they "love everyone equally" and are never hurt by others are not more spiritually evolved, but more likely emotionally repressed. To be a spiritual, doesn't mean you have to like the ego of everyone that crosses your path, for you would then become transparent and lose your individuality. Liking somebody and letting go of someone's negative impact upon you are two completely different issues.
Steps to Forgiveness:
1. Release the Charged Emotions: Take a legal pad and write at the top of the page, the person you wish to forgive. Write out all your feelings about the situation that you are forgiving. Release the anger, hurt, frustration or any feelings you have due to this experience. Take your time and feel your words as you write them down.
2. Forgive Yourself: Close your eyes and relax. Mentally repeat, I forgive myself for allowing myself to be hurt/disappointed by this experience with _________ (person's name).
3. Express Your Emotions Meditatively: While you are still meditating begin to express your thoughts and feelings to the person you are forgiving. Let them know how much it has hurt you and how upset you are by their actions. If you are so angry you want to hit them, then do it (IMAGINATIVELY) express your pent up emotions within your imagination.
NOTE: Your intention is to release the feelings around this person and to forgive them. That is where the energy will go towards. You will not be sending this person negative energy unless that is your intention.
4. Forgive Them: With your eyes still closed, sense a light coming down from above you. It is a warm healing light that surrounds you and creates a safe environment for forgiveness. Visualize the person you wish to forgive, and see them inside the light. Mentally tell them, I forgive you for hurting/disappointing me in this way. Mentally reaffirm what you are forgiving them for. Then release them into the light.
When you finally understand that you can generate the healing of forgiveness, by choice. It will never happen until you take full responsibility for every facet of your life and your relationships with others. When you stop looking for love, security and peace outside yourself, and discover it within, you are finally set free and the magic of forgiveness has worked it's spell.