Forgiveness Part Two-4 Steps to forgiveness through meditation
Continued from Part One of this series…Please take the time to read the first portion of this series before continuing. Click here for Part 1
Now that we know what forgiveness is (and is not), we’re going to talk about how to forgive. The road to forgiveness that I’m going to show you is meditation based.
I’m not going to tell you that these steps are simple or easy…because they’re not. In some circumstances, forgiveness can be a quick “aha” moment. But in others, it can take weeks, months, or even years.
Just remember that forgiveness is FOR YOU. It’s about releasing yourself from the heavy weight that is holding you hostage.
As you follow these steps, go at your own pace. This is not a race. It’s a process.
The 4 Steps to Forgiveness Through Meditation
1. Acknowledge your hurt and anger.
To be able to forgive, you must first acknowledge your pain. Putting your feelings on the table is essential. That’s why acknowledgement is the first step in this process. There are three ways that you can do this.
The first is verbally. Say aloud to yourself or to a close friend “I am angry because…” You can elaborate as much or as little as you want.
The second option is to journal. Journaling is an excellent way to acknowledge hurt and anger. Take the time to write down exactly how you feel. Elaborate on why you feel this way. If you’re worried about leaving a paper trail, rip up what you have written when you are finished.
The third option to begin this process is through meditation itself. We do this by creating a space in the mind and holding that awareness of exactly how we feel. Acknowledge its presence. This will bring up painful feelings, so don’t stay in this space longer than you feel comfortable.
2. Begin to become fully present with your hurt and anger through short meditation sessions.
The second step to forgiveness centers around meditation. That’s because meditation is a safe place to allow feelings to arise. The goal of working toward forgiveness in this way is to be able to experience these painful feelings as an observer rather than attaching to them.
Be aware that becoming fully present with hurt and anger is tough. It may take weeks, months, or years. This is definitely not an all or nothing thing. It all depends on the situation. You may need to revisit this meditation many times. Be patient with yourself.
Also, know that there could be a number of components around the cognitive process of the incident. You might be angry, hurt and sad all at the same time. That’s why creating a space through meditation is essential. We can see our thought process without getting carried away. Your goal is to watch what’s happening.
Autopilot thinking is going to kick in and bring up the episode of whatever happened. That’s part of the process of observing-don’t suppress it. But please don’t simply relive whatever has happened. Your goal is to experience the emotions-not the incident. We want the emotions to pass through. This is how we heal. (I know this can be confusing, so please reach out to me with any questions that you may have.)
3. Practice self compassion.
Step three revolves around empathy for ourselves. Self compassion is an essential step in the process of forgiveness.
The most beneficial way to do this is to use a specific form of meditation called a compassion meditation. These types of meditations are sometimes known as loving kindness meditations.
Compassion meditation is practiced with the use of a mantra, which serves as as an anchor for concentration. To begin this process, settle into your meditation. When you are comfortable, start to focus around the feelings of the incident. This will be hard. Very hard. But it’s also very important.
Use the following mantra. “May I be happy. May I be healthy. May I live in peace.” Repeat this silently in the mind for 5-15 minutes depending on your skill level. End the meditation by shifting the focus to the breath.
4. Practice compassion for the offender.
The fourth step is the most difficult. Do not attempt this step until you are ready. And if you begin this process and feel too uncomfortable, come back it when you feel that the time is right.
Compassion for the offender means that we practice compassion meditation for the person we need to forgive. Yes, we will feel that they don’t deserve it. However, compassion for the offender is key to full forgiveness and release.
Again, when you are READY, use the following mantra. (Please note that I’m using the name George as an example.) “May George be happy. May George be healthy. May George live in peace.”
This is not going to be easy. Always remember that this process is for YOU, not the person you want to forgive.
As you begin your journey to forgiveness, know that I’m always here for you. Please reach out to me with any questions. Forgiveness takes time. But with practice and patience, you will finally find the courage to release.
To your mindfulness,
PS. Please note that this is not a substitute for the help of a licensed professional. If you find that this process is simply too painful, make an appointment to talk to someone. We’re all here to help.