Guided Meditation: Letting Go through Forgiveness
A new year has begun. Beginning anew is a powerful way of letting go of past baggage.
Healing can happen at many levels; forgiveness is an especially effective way of both shedding the past and reclaiming your future.
Being stuck in dead end or abusive relationships or jobs, in recriminations, ruminations, and grudges is depleting. We may not always tie together our resentment, rage, or upset with our inability to achieve the life we envision for ourselves. Even the success, dreams, or goals we wish to manifest in our life, no matter how hard we may strive, will not easily bear fruit, if at all. When our energies are scattered or trapped in destructive emotional patterns of resentment, rage, fear, shame, hurt, and disappointment, then not all of our powerful mind is fully present and focused on the path that leads to our goals. We are energetically split apart.
Think of a laser: it has a focused concentrated point of light that can cut through most anything. Compare it to a flashlight with its dispersed diffused light with no single focal point. If we are holding onto grudges from past hurts then we are like the reflected flashlight trying to sharply focus on our goal. We need to become like the laser.
If your goal in this New Year is to regain your energy, personal power, and wellbeing, then forgiving those we may have harmed, the harm we’ve done to ourselves, and the harm others may have done to us is necessary.
Forgiving does not condone, or require you to remain in contact with the person who harmed you. Some of the people may no longer be alive. So this process is for yourself ultimately. Resentment is like carrying a burning hot coal in your bare hand; you may be getting ready to hurl it at the person you blame, but in the meantime your hand is burning.
As you embark on this journey do so from a place of kindness and compassion for yourself; this means take as long as you need and do only what you are able to do. You’ll go through stages that resemble the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Seek help, if you need.
Guided Meditation (adapted from Jack Kornfield’s Forgiveness Meditation)
Try using this meditation to get you started on your healing recovery. You could record yourself reading it, and then do the meditation.
Get comfortable. Close your eyes, breathe naturally and easily. PAUSE
Anchor your body by noticing the strength and solidity that the earth is providing for you. Feel yourself and the earth become anchored to each other. Feel and know that you are being held and that you are safe. PAUSE
Move your awareness to your heart area, and begin gently breathing into your heart. Feel all the emotions – sadness, anger, resentment, disappointment, blame, impulsive/compulsive urges – notice how trapped you feel by the barriers you have erected because you haven’t forgiven yourself or others. PAUSE
Gently breathe and allow yourself to fully feel this pain. PAUSE
Whatever physical, mental, emotional reactions arise like tears or tension, simply notice. Try not to suppress anything. (But remember to go at your own pace).
Now breathing softly begin asking for and extending forgiveness. Repeat the following words, allow images and feelings to arise and to take you deeper into releasing and letting go of the pain.
Forgiving others whom you’ve harmed:
Think: I’ve hurt and harmed others, betrayed or abandoned them, knowingly or unknowingly caused them suffering, because I was in pain, anger, fear, and confusion.
Recall situations where you’ve done this. See the people in pain, and feel the pain.
Feel your own sorrow and regret for having done this. Feel that you are ready to become free of this pain.
Looking at the people in your mind’s eye, repeat “For the many ways I have hurt, embarrassed, and shamed you, I ask for your forgiveness, I ask for your forgiveness”
Think: I have hurt and harmed myself. Consciously and unconsciously I have betrayed and abandoned myself many times through my thoughts, actions, and speech.
Connect to your body. Move your awareness into your heart area or belly area.
Now remember specific times when you let yourself down. Feel the sorrow you carry within. Sense that you are ready to let go of it.
Quietly repeat to yourself: “For every time I hurt myself through action or inaction, out of confusion and pain, I forgive myself, I forgive myself”
Forgiving Others who have Harmed you:
Think: I have been abused, rejected, and abandoned by others through their deeds, words, and thoughts. Bring to mind the times you’ve been insulted, shamed, and wounded. Feel the pain and sadness from those incidents. Sense that the time has come to release this painful burden and extend forgiveness, so you can free your own heart.
Say “I remember the many ways I’ve been wounded by others. I don’t want to carry this pain any longer. I’m ready to forgive as much as I’m able to at this time. To those who have harmed me, I forgive you, I forgive you.”
Now notice if you are experiencing any new feelings of warmth, relaxation, relief, or lightness. If not, gently connect with the tightness in your heart and forgive yourself for NOT being ready to move on. Forgiveness can’t be forced or rushed.
If you persist in this practice, over time you’ll begin to feel more hopeful, energetic, greater compassion for yourself and others, more confident and peaceful.
May you release your pain to start anew.
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