“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” – From the poem An Essay on Criticism, by Alexander Pope
The importance of forgiveness is immense. Whenever we are stuck in the mud of anger, resentment, blame, or guilt, we deeply suffer, as well as people around us. Although these feelings are not negative per se, they are conveyors of some vital messages to our conscious being. If neglected, they will severely undermine our health and overall well-being.
To forgive means to release anger and resentment, lastingly.
So, together with love, forgiveness is the ultimate healing tool on Earth. It liberates us directly from these unpleasant feelings, while, indirectly, it heals many diseases caused by them.
To forgive means to release anger and resentment, lastingly.
Also, it does not involve excusing or condoning the person’s actions. Forgiveness does not deny crime, atrocity, or injustice. However, it clears up our hearts and minds, making the path to justice completely smooth. It brings relief from pain and injury.
Forgiveness does not necessarily lead to reconciliation, nor we have to feel obliged to reconcile with the person we are forgiving. Nevertheless, if we truly forgive the person, some sort of reconciliation with them is likely to spontaneously occur, sooner or later.
True forgiveness cannot be achieved from a lofty, righteous position. This implies feeling superior upon the other person, which could easily turn into disdain. And that would be very dangerous for our spiritual growth.
How to forgive?
Of course, to us ordinary mortals, forgiveness is not easy at all. The feelings that we intend to release are usually deeply rooted and most often for a long time present in our psyche. Anyway, if we want to continue with our personal development and spiritual growth, we must reintegrate these feelings with the rest of our being. Therefore, forgiveness should be done step-by-step, thoroughly, with true dedication and honesty.
Forgiveness should be done step-by-step, thoroughly, with true dedication and honesty.
Here are practical steps to forgive, which should be workable for the majority of us:
1. Recall the situation that hurt you so much, with the person who you want to forgive.
Allow yourself to feel negative emotions related to that person and event.Acknowledging yourself that you really have resentful or blaming emotions will allow you to fully reintegrate them into your being and forgive completely.
2. Decide to forgive.
We have to be deeply determined to get rid of our ill will toward this person and, instead, offer them kindness, respect, generosity and, why not? — love.
3. Mental sympathy.
Remember that every person is only doing the things they believe to be helpful for their own satisfaction or happiness. They simply don’t know better. If their deeds were harmful, even seemingly deliberate toward you, it was still without true knowledge. They were just taught by miserable circumstances or perhaps ignorant parents that such deeds were helpful to gain some satisfaction… just as you were.
Ask yourself these questions: Was this person suffering a lot while growing up? Were they suffering in the same period when they hurt me? By answering these questions, you will be able to better understand their behavior and that, ultimately, it wasn't personal at all.
4. Do the loving-kindness meditation.
Do not yet try to feel love and compassion toward the person that hurt you, just do the meditation to raise love and compassion in your heart toward all beings.This is a crucial step. It will shatter the shell of your ego for a while, enough to finish this process successfully. You will move to the subtlest place of your being—a warm and calm place, where you are able to love and truly forgive.
5. Return to the situation that hurt you the most.
Feel your pain and resentment again and accept it fully.
6. Revive the feeling of love.
Feel again love and compassion that you felt toward other beings in step 4. This time, direct your love toward that particular person. Do not force it, just try to feel it. If you cannot—return to step 4.
From that state of love and compassion, feel once again your strong decision to forgive. And do it! Let go of all your hard feelings. Forgive that person truly, completely, honestly, with your whole being! You will likely feel deeply relieved. Some people even cry.
Although you maybe feel deep in your heart that you have forgiven, it would be good, after a while, to check if there still is some resentment or anger toward that person. If yes, then repeat the whole procedure.
Keep in mind that forgiving doesn't imply forgetting. But, if you have truly forgiven, your painful memories will become pale and feeble. They won’t be charged with emotions anymore. It will even be difficult for you to recall the memories whatsoever. If that's the case, you will know for certain that you have truly forgiven.
Forgiving doesn't imply forgetting. But, if you have truly forgiven, your painful memories will become pale and feeble.
If you are still unable to truly forgive that person, do the DTI+ technique on each hurtful memory related to that person. Let the so-called MH part be: “I forgive (the person’s name) completely, with all my heart.” Do this technique several times, if needed.
Another option is to deal with these feelings with the main RS techniques. If you have enough time, pass through the Inner Triangle procedure. Otherwise, the Double Chain or Single Chain will work fine, too. Of course, you may use any other spiritual or psychological technique that you know of to be helpful and effective. The urgent goal is to release all resentment, both toward yourself and others.
However, there might be situations in which you are still not able to forgive by your own, despite all your sincere efforts. Do not despair, you have an ultimate option: Turn to a Divine Power for help. You may call it God, Holy Spirit, Light, Christ, Tao, Inner Teacher…whatever suits you the best.
 These two techniques are thoroughly described in Inner Peace, Outer Success and Inner Freedom Techniques.
You have an ultimate option: Turn to a Divine Power for help.
The Divine has the clarity and unspoiled wisdom to see what is best for you and others and how to accomplish that. With your honest effort, it will help you and you will feel relieved from resentment toward the person that hurt you.
So, these are the steps for forgiveness with the help of the Divine Power (I will name it the Holy Spirit for this purpose):
Have some rest. Don’t think about the person or event that you had resented. Trust the process. Forgiveness could come totally unnoticed by your mind.
However, if you find that, after a day or two, there are still some remnants of resentment, anger, or anything similar related to that person or situation, you may repeat the procedure.
It is vital for you to continue with everyday mindfulness practice and regular meditation work, especially loving-kindness meditation.
Keep in mind that forgiveness may not be an irreversible act. You may feel that you forgave someone completely, but if you didn’t reintegrate the part which had been hurt, your vulnerability would stay the same. That person or someone else will inevitably hurt you again. That’s why it’s so important to work on yourself extensively and seriously. For that purpose, I would recommend the versatile Reintegration techniques.
Furthermore, it is vital for you to continue with everyday mindfulness practice and regular meditation work, especially loving-kindness meditation. By doing so, not only will you accelerate the process of throwing away the many layers of trauma and negative emotions, but you will also begin to conquer unprecedented new realms of inner freedom. And you will become a happier person, together with people around you!
Good luck with forgiveness and your inner work! :-)
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