CUUC

CUUC

2017-09-07

Forgiveness Meditation

Practice of the Week
Forgiveness Meditation

Category: Occasional. These are practices suggested for "every once in a while." Some of them are responses to a particular need that may arise; others are simply enriching occasional enhancements to the spiritual life. All of them are worth a try at least once. And any of them might become a regular and central part of your spiritual practice.

Adapted from Stephen Levine

Preparation: For this meditation, you’ll need to recollect three experiences: (1) a time when you were wronged by someone and resented it, (2) a time when you wronged someone else, (3) a time when you wronged or disappointed yourself.

Instructions: Read the meditation all the way through one time before beginning. Then, when you are ready, go through the meditation very slowly. Close your eyes for a few seconds after reading each sentence. When you get to a sentence in italics, speak those words aloud.

Bring into your heart the image of someone for whom you feel much resentment.
Take a moment to feel that person right there in the center of your chest.
Imagine yourself addressing that person, and say:
"For what you did – for anything you may have done -- that caused me pain, whether you did it intentionally or unintentionally, through your thoughts, words, or actions, I forgive you."
Take some time to let your words sink in.
Slowly allow that person to settle into your heart.
No force, just opening to them at your own pace.
Say to them:
"I forgive you."
Gently, gently open to them.
If it hurts, let it hurt.
Begin to relax the iron grip of your resentment, to let go of that incredible anger.
Say to them:
"I forgive you."
And allow them to be forgiven.
Now bring into your heart the image of someone you wish to ask for forgiveness.
Imagine yourself addressing that person, and say:
"For what I did – for anything I may have done -- that caused you pain, whether I did it intentionally or unintentionally, through my thoughts, words, or actions, I ask for your forgiveness.”
Take some time to let your words sink in.
Say to them:
“For all those words that were said out of forgetfulness or fear or confusion, I ask your forgiveness."
Allow yourself to receive forgiveness.
If you notice you are holding any resentment of yourself for what you did, or failed to do, gently set that aside.
Do not allow self-resentment to block your reception of forgiveness.
Let your heart soften to it.
Allow yourself to be forgiven.
Open to the possibility of forgiveness.
Holding the person in your heart, say to them:
"For whatever I may have done that caused you pain, I ask your forgiveness."
Now bring an image of yourself into your heart, floating at the center of your chest.
Bring yourself into your heart, and using your own first name, say to yourself:
“For all that you have done in forgetfulness and fear and confusion, for all the words and thoughts and actions that may have caused pain to anyone, I forgive you.”
Open to the possibility of self-forgiveness.
Let go of all the bitterness, the hardness, the judgment of yourself.
Make room in your heart for yourself.
Say to you:
"I forgive you."

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Or try simply listening to and following an audio recording guiding you through a forgiveness meditation: Here's one from Tara Brach (28:50).

This youtube video forgiveness meditation is from Jason Stephenson:



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See also, Practice of the Week, "Forgive Yourself"
For list of all weekly practices: "Practices of the Week"

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