A Guided Meditation: Forgiveness
This is a meditation about forgiveness. The act of forgiveness can be both powerful and liberating, for the forgiven and for the forgiver. Bound in the wisdom of kindness, forgiveness has the potential to free us from the lingering pain of the past, while helping us to live more fully in the present. By choosing to lessen or remove the burden of uncomfortable memories, strained relationships or guilt for our own shortcomings, we may become more able to develop and sustain a greater harmony in ourselves. Through a simple, sincere act of forgiveness we may take a step forward in life and nurture a positive insight in how to live more fully and more freely.Let us begin this meditation by adjusting our poise and breathing. Straighten your back and rest your hands in your lap, and take a few moments to settle yourself. Take in a slow breath and allow your body to relax. Close your eyes or, if you prefer, look at a point in front of you and soften your focus.Take another slow breath and encourage the air you breathe to reach deep into your body. Hold the breath for a moment and then release it, allowing all tension and anxiety to fall away. Take another deep breath and imagine the air as if it were a wave of light illuminating every cell of your being. Encourage each new breath to flow into every part of you, deep into your lungs, into your heart, into your arms, hands, torso, legs and feet.
In learning about the power of forgiveness, let us first learn how to forgive ourselves. Whatever burdens you carry, use this time to gently acknowledge them. If you have hurt yourself, betrayed your conscience, or have other causes of regret, gently place the situation before you. Try not to analyze it or pass judgment on yourself, just acknowledge the sorrow it has produced, or the anxiety it has caused, but in doing so also acknowledge that it is in the past, whether that be by years or by mere moments. Notice that there is a space between you and the fault you perceive. It is there and you are here.
Inhale deeply and feel your chest expand. Now, exhale this breath from the center of your heart, as if it were a beam of light shining out from within. With forgiveness in your heart, direct this light to the problem that you’ve placed before you. Say to yourself: I forgive you. I forgive you. I now release you.
Again, send a wave of forgiveness out from the center of your heart toward whatever has caused you pain. It is there and you are here. It is there and you are strong and safe at your center. I forgive you. I forgive you. I now release you. Try to let all guilt and resentment fall away and allow yourself to experience the strength and freedom that comes with an expression of forgiveness. Acknowledge whatever peace and inner strength it brings into your field. I forgive you. I forgive you. I now release you.
Feel the freedom that is born from a sincere act of forgiveness.
Now place before you an image of someone who you feel has wronged you, someone that has caused you pain, or made you feel unworthy or angry. If you have difficulty holding their image, or if their image makes you feel uncomfortable, just imagine their outline at a safe distance from you. Again, try not to analyze or replay past events, just acknowledge the sorrow and anxiety this person has caused you, and prepare to forgive them.
Take a deep breath and feel your chest expand. As you exhale, make a firm decision to release the bonds of pain that have bound you, and send a breath of forgiveness from your heart to the person placed before you. Quietly in your mind, say to the person: I forgive you. I forgive you. I now release you. Know that you are safe and strong, projecting goodness from the pure center of your heart: I forgive you. I forgive you. I now release you.
Relax for a moment. Now take another breath and encourage the air to reach deep into your body. Send out a second wave of positive, pure energy to the person before you. Look for the goodness in yourself and send it out from your heart. Decide to make this positive energy, this light of forgiveness, strong, stronger than the negative, stronger than the hurt. The power to forgive is yours; send it out into the world with joy. Again, quietly in your mind, say to the image before you: I forgive you. I forgive you. I now release you. As you send this wave of goodwill, this ray of kindness, see if you can sense the injustice or grievance begin to fade.
Releasing all control and all expectation, send a third wave of forgiveness from your heart to the person before you. Whether they accept it or not, is not your concern; it is enough that you recognize the goodness in yourself and that you give it freely. Again, say to the person: I forgive you. I forgive you. I now release you. Now let the image melt away.
Notice how you feel right now – perhaps you feel a little freer, a little lighter, happier, and at peace. Recognize that you can enter into this safe space at any time you wish.
Now offer this benevolence, this feeling of goodwill to the entire world. Inhale deeply and again send the light of your breath out from your heart, gently, lovingly into the space around you. Let it again fill your heart and then saturate the world. Let it bring you peace.
You are unique in the life of the Universe, a needed and most important part of the whole. Instead of holding onto the pain of resentment, bitterness or anger, toward others or yourself, know that you have the power to forgive. Let yourself be free. Rest awhile in this thought.
Now it is time to return to your physical space. Take a slow, deep breath and gently tune yourself back into the room. Slowly become aware of your surroundings. Take another breath. Gradually stretch your arms and legs, gently twist your neck back and forth, and when you are ready, open your eyes. Have a wonderful and peaceful day.