Rage and bitterness toward those we see as causing our pain can tear us apart. It takes time, writes Christiane Wolf, but the brave and gentle practice of forgiveness can help you turn toward the future instead of resenting the past.
A Guided Meditation to Welcome Forgiveness
- Settle into your practice by finding a supportive posture, closing the eyes or taking a few long, deep breaths.
- Acknowledge what is present. Remember that we are not trying to make ourselves feel anything. We are simply inclining the mind and heart toward forgiveness. Go at your own pace.
- Let yourself feel the barriers you are holding by not forgiving others, not forgiving yourself. Is an intention aris- ing to learn to forgive?
- Begin asking for forgiveness from those you have hurt or harmed. You might say to yourself: “There are many ways I have harmed or hurt another, knowingly or unknowingly, through my own pain, anger, fear, and confusion.” Pause, and let yourself remember the many ways. Let yourself open to the pain, sorrow, and regret. You might feel your readiness to finally let go and to ask for forgiveness. Say: “I ask for your forgiveness. Please forgive me.” Release by taking a few long breaths. Pause.
- Acknowledge those who have hurt or harmed you. Say to yourself: “There are many ways I have been harmed or hurt by another, knowingly or unknowingly, through their pain, anger, fear, and confusion.” Pause. Let yourself remember the many ways. Feel the ways you have been hurt as well as the pain of still holding this pain and resentment. Feel the potential release of forgiving.
- To the extent that you are ready, offer forgiveness: “I forgive you. I release you.” Or “I am setting the intention to forgive you or to learn to forgive you.” Pause. Take a few deep breaths to release this part of the meditation.
- Now turn toward the last part, forgiving yourself: “There are many ways I have harmed or hurt myself, knowingly or unknowingly, through my pain, anger, fear, and confusion.” Pause. Feel the sorrow and regret, the preciousness of your body and mind. Remember that you have grown and changed. You didn’t know what you know now, or you knew but couldn’t quite practice it yet. Feel the release that might come from forgiving yourself. Pause.
- To the extent that you are ready, offer yourself forgiveness: “I forgive myself. I release the pain of not for- giving myself.”
- When you are ready, come back to your breath. Take your time to end this meditation.