Ever wonder what forgiveness really means, and what is the practical application of forgiveness, the “how to” part—the missing link?
In my search for the meaning of forgiveness and in discovering how to forgive here is what I have found.
Forgiveness begins with a willingness to grow and change. The key word is willingness.
I remember this lesson well. In 1974 when I was two days clean and sober, falling off the chair in an AA meeting and telling myself, “God, whatever it takes, I’m willing to be sober and if I’m not willing, then I’m willing to be willing, just make this Goddamn chair stop moving.” Based on personal experience I can verify “willingness” is the operative word for my success of still being clean and sober.
When I became willing to eliminate being judgmental, and condemning people’s lifestyles, events, political systems, religions and ideas as right or wrong, I came to realize that I had a chance to put into practice the art and science of forgiveness that I had discovered.
With my new found clarity I have come to understand that forgiveness means being nonjudgmental, compassionate and grateful.
Being nonjudgmental means to accept life, events, things, people and yourself as is.
Compassion means to recognize to see all things, events, and people, including yourself as innocent. Gratitude is a feeling of thankfulness, no matter what is going on in your life.
Take a moment and ponder over this: People world-wide are born with the same hardware as you, a pure, innocent mind that believed what it was told, and which received much of the same kind of information you and I received when we were growing up. Everyone grows up in a certain time-period, in a certain country and culture that programmed their mind.
They learned from their parents, their culture, their peer group, the movies they watched, the TV programs they watched, the music they listened to, schools they went to, the type of education they got, how far they went in school, their teachers, friends, religion, and much more. This is what filled and conditioned their pure innocent mind, and made them seem different from you or me.
When you or I judge another, we are judging the contents of their minds from the perspective of the contents of our mind. As harsh as we are on them is as harsh as we are on our self.
Their original pure innocent mind, is just as innocent today as yours and mine. Only the contents of their mind and our mind differs, regardless of where we live or come from. We are all living and acting out a life that has been programmed into us from our past.
To be nonjudgmental, compassionate and grateful, the gate keepers of forgiveness, means being willing to recognize and see all things, events, and people, including myself as sacred, innocent and pure. Otherwise, we spend our time with ego judging ego—insanity judging insanity.
Every hostile thought about another leaves a residue of a negative emotion in us and by the very nature of unexpressed negative energy it is stored within and at a later date manifests into an illness in the body or the mind.
By being nonjudgmental, compassionate and grateful, we acquire the ability to forgive ourselves and others, and this sets the groundwork for us to release and remove all unconscious guilt from our mind and begins the process of healing from within.
Guilt is nothing more than a childish feeling that you’ve done something wrong and you’re going to be punished for it by someone like your husband, your boss, your wife, your parents, your teacher, your peer group, and if that isn’t enough, by God.
It is this simple. The cornerstone of forgiveness, the catalyst for healing, is being non-judgmental, compassionate and grateful. All it takes is a simple willingness to grow and change.
Understanding how mental content judges mental content, and being willing to give up the game of judging, condemning and being critical of others is the core of forgiveness.
Here are two techniques that I have learned that will aid you in the elimination of unconscious guilt as you are in the process of integrating your understanding of compassion, gratitude and in being non-judgmental:
Technique #1: When blaming criticizing, condemning or judging your self, silently repeat the following:
“I am an Infinite Being,
Pure Immortal Spirit,
This body is only an image,
It has nothing to do with who & what I am,
All is forgiven and released.”
Technique #2: When blaming criticizing, condemning or judging others you can silently repeat the following:
“_________(name of person) is an Infinite Being,
Pure Immortal Spirit
Whole and innocent,
All is forgiven and released.”
You may find that focusing on a visual image also supports your resolve of forgiving another:
“See the person you are judging, criticizing, blaming or condemning. Find a small light within them. See that light grow until it fills & covers them completely. Hold this vision for a few seconds then focus on a friend who loves you & who you love. See this light flowing from the person you are condemning to your friend until they are completely filled with the light then see your friend and the person you are condemning or judging flowing love to one another. Then see this light flowing from the person you are condemning to you until you are filled with this light & feel your friend and this person blessing you.”
Use the visual along with your resolve twice daily, ten to fifteen minutes each time, until you begin to feel the impact of the process working.
Remember whenever you forgive another you automatically forgive yourself and when you judge another it leaves a stored residue of a negative emotion in you that can turn into bitterness or a sickness.
1. ”Illness and Self Healing” by David R. Hawkins, M.D., PhD.
2. “Your Immortal Reality” by Gary R. Renard
3. “Course of Miracles, Lesson 121”
About Richard Parenti: Swami Veda initiated Richard into the Himalayan Yoga Tradition. Richard is the spiritual guide of the Yoga Health Institute and is a published author: "Naked Before God," “Cancer, No Easy Choices,” "Who Am I," “Apperception is Needed Now” and “Shifting Paradigms.” He is an international lecturer, Certified Yoga Instructor ERYT 500 and Yoga Health Coach, Certified Ayurveda Nutrition Therapist, Certified First Line Therapist Life Style Educator© and member of the California Yoga Teachers Association. He has taught Yoga for people with multiple sclerosis and was awarded in 2008 by the MS Society of Northern California as having the ideal Yoga class for MS patients.