The Art of forgiveness is one of the most fundamental spiritual practices. Contrary to what most people think, forgiveness is not about letting another person off the hook. It is not about making friends with someone who has committed unforgivable acts. We don’t have to like everybody that we encounter. It is about our emotional, mental, and physical freedom and well being. It is about the sweet release of emotional pain and suffering
The Five steps of the forgiveness process
Forgiveness is about setting ourselves free. It is about releasing any animosity or negative energy toward another individual. In other words, we forgive not for another’s sake. We forgive for the purpose of our own sanity.
The five steps of forgiveness
Below follows a description of the five steps of the forgiveness process. This process is for anyone who truly want to release any form of negativity toward another individual. As with all spiritual practice this process works best if it is done on a regular and consistent basis.
We encourage you to incorporate it in your evening routine that it be done on a daily basis. Obviously you may use it at any time during the day whenever you become conscious of harboring and cultivating negative energy toward a fellow human.
Simply allow for yourself to become still for a few moments – that is all that is required for the process.
If you are not aware who it is you are feeling resentful or negativity toward; ask your heart. Invite your heart to tell you if there is anyone you need to forgive. Ask if there is anyone you are currently harboring negative emotions towards; anger, resentment, jealousy and so on.
The first step is to become willing to truly forgive this individual, to truly become willing to unconditionally release and let go of all of the negativity that may be harbored and experienced toward this individual – not conditions, no hidden or not so hidden agendas, but lovingly, fully and freely.
The next step is to jump into the actual process of forgiveness.
The third step as you allow yourself to go within, you will become aware if any such emotions dwell within your heart and soul. Then you gently and lovingly remind yourself that:
1) Everybody is doing their very best at all times
Every individual is always doing the very best they can from their present level of awareness. Choice is a function of awareness, and an individual can only chose according to their level of awareness.
So if anyone has said or done something that your ego perceives as negative or offensive, it still means they did the best they knew how to in that particular situation.
Reminding yourself of this will bring into your consciousness the futility of demanding anyone to act beyond their ability and present level of awareness.
This will allow for you to exchange the feelings of resentment and animosity toward that particular individual with feelings of love and compassion instead.
Compassion may be said to be the understanding of another’s lack of understanding. And so forgiveness is actually an act of compassion.
2) No one has the power to make you think of feel anything
You have the gift of independent thought. This means that you have the ability to think independently of any circumstance. You don’t have to indulge in blaming or playing the role of a victim.
No one really has the power to make you think or feel anything unless you give them that power. In any given moment you may choose to respond instead of react. You may choose to respond with love and compassion. Not letting fear, worry and doubt control you.
Know that all lingering negative emotions are like poison to your body, mind and soul. It is doing yourself a lot more harm than it does the other individual. And so there is absolutely no reason to cling to that negativity when you have the choice of releasing it. Blame and judgment have no value in the unfoldment of the soul. The sooner you can let them go the better.
Love, light, joy, happiness, freedom and harmony does not come from the ego’s need to be right or passing judgment over the outer circumstances being what they are. Instead those arise from within as you realize that they have always been there as you allow for them to fill your being.
The fourth step of the forgiveness process is to pray for the other individual, to pray for their well being and for the emergence of Divine Light within them, that they may transcend the unconsciousness and the ignorance from where they did what they did, that Love and compassion and kindness may flow them more fully and freely.
The last step in the forgiveness process is lovingly doing something good and kind for the other individual. To the extent that it is possible we want to do it anonymously. This is not about gaining the others approval or validation, this is about realizing that we may be channels of Love and compassion even when that Love is not necessarily answered .
Sometimes this may mean that we give them something or that we assist them in any way, other times it is sufficient that we pray and bless them and their well being.
Through this, last step we come into the
realization that we are not dependent upon what they did to allow the
Love of God to flow through us, but that we, regardless of circumstances
may be channels and conduits for God’s Love to flow through.
All forgiveness is an act of self forgiveness
The truth is that we are all one, you are one with all. We are all a unique and perfect expressions of God meaning there is no separation between any of us. Any resentment or animosity you carry toward a fellow human, you ultimately carry toward myself.
Forgiveness in that sense, then is actually always self forgiveness.
Be aware of the ego
Now, as you go through this process, there is a chance that your ego will arise within you. It will try to trick you into not going through with forgiving.
The ego may say things like; “It wasn’t me who did anything wrong – why should I forgive her/him? They haven’t even apologized yet” or “If I forgive him/her, I will in substance condone what they have done, releasing them from their responsibilities“.
Thoughts and emotions akin to these are just the ego’s way of trying to keep you from growing. Your spiritual growth basically means the death of the egoic realm.
The ego has no control where there is consciousness. Simply shining the light of awareness on the ego, will start to dissolve it. The more you practice the easier it will become.
Repetition is the key
In the beginning you may experience a sense of falsity as you engage in the art of forgiveness. Simply allow that to be and keep practicing. Repetition is the key to growth and unfolding.
It is also well to remember that spiritual growth and unfolding is all about inner work. It will not happen on it’s own accord. We need to do that which we are called to do. Sometimes the inner work is hard and gruesome work.
With time you will learn to feel an immense sense of gratitude as you learn to set yourself free to live, move and have your being in Love & Light, where other individuals and outer circumstances gradually loose their power over your inner peace and well being.
Performing this forgiveness process moves you out of time, into the Holy Now. Anchored in the Holy Now you realize only you are in charge of you.
As you keep practicing it along with other spiritual practices such as meditation, affirmative prayer and visioning you have become a true agent of God’s Love & Light. A conscious participant in your own growth and unfolding.