Forgiveness is the most necessary action to be, and remain, healthy and balanced. Yet it is not taught in school. It is often not taught at home. And although all the major identified leaders of various religions, spiritual pursuits, and healers speak about it – the act itself is not actually practiced much.
I think developing the capacity to forgive, and focusing our attention on that act, might be the most powerful tool against stress and disease.
One of my favorite meditations that I teach and use in my practice is a meditation on lovingkindness.
Meditation on Lovingkindness
(an opening to forgiveness)
Sit in your chair, or on the floor, comfortably if you want to use the sitting pose please do so
Breath in for a count of 5 and Breath out for a count of 7, this allows for you to move into a light, calm state
Notice your body against the chair or floor allowing your breath to continue in and out
Breath in from the top of your head and down through your body, you can imagine a sense of warmth entering your body and allow negative energy or tension to leave through your torso, hands and feet.
Continue breathing and focus inward, noticing and allowing your breath as part of the background
Focus your mind onto a being that you love and feel loved by. Choose a being that is not one of conflict – like a pet, cat or dog, that you love, – or a butterfly, something void of conflict
See the face of that being shining love toward you, be with that and breathe in the love – allowing the love
Now shift the picture, as you are holding and feeling that love, to your face shining toward you so that you can experience self-love – if this is difficult and you feel the energy fade – bring back the being from whom you felt that love and Begin Again
Once this is fruitful be with and breath in that love – allowing the love – until you can remain with this.
Then in that loving state you may want to put in the face of the being or problem with which you are struggling.
Allow for the love you are feeling to smile upon the problem
Again if this is difficult go back to the last loving being and feel that energy and Begin Again.
Now sit with this loving feeling and with your breath
Now bring in all three, your loving being, your loving self and your loving other/problem
Hold these together as you feel the loving energy flow between these three images into and through you.
Once you feel you have completed this you may bring your attention to your breath, and to your body in the chair, and slowly open your eyes
Forgiveness may be a function of forgiving yourself more than the other person.
Perhaps it is a something that you have to accept about yourself before you can change that quality or aspect.
Paradigm shifting and figure/ground perception can be a part of forgiveness. Mindfully re-viewing yourself or the other/problem can allow you to move into a place of neutrality. From that place you can then allow love, or grace, or compassion to enter so that you can allow forgiveness.
Getting to neutrality is sometimes the bottleneck – blocking point. Anxiety can feel like this, forcing you to feel stuck in a negative, powerless space which can lead to frustration and anger, and a lack of forgiveness.
Breathing in and breathing out, focusing on breath, as the meditation above described, can begin to loosen the bottleneck-blockage in your being/thinking/mind. Once you’ve gotten that you can use the Lovingkindness meditation, or just use a word in a repetitive way, that has some meaning for you that has a neutralizing or spiritualizing power.
It may be the name you use for God, or a word that has a healing quality to it for you, or a single word or syllable like a mantra.
The word Mantra refers to sacred words or syllables used repeatedly in religious and ceremonial rituals. Derived from Sanskrit, man – mind and tra – to deliver.
Two recent articles by J. Borman, PhD,RN suggest that daily invocation of a mantra as a useful mind-body technique to manage various manifestations of unwanted stress. Take a word and Relax– the concept of Mantra Repetition to relieve anxiety.
Frequent repetition of a meaningful, spiritually coded word throughout the day serves as a stress management tool for coping with stress. CNS NEWS . June 2006, Anxiety. p.10
Using both strategies of
Formal Meditative Practice – Breath focused, Body Scan, Attention shifting to different sensory modalities with Compassion/lovingkindness
Informal meditative Practice 10 – 20 times each day Breathing in, breathing out attention
And Yoga poses as needed to increase self-awareness, balance, and focus
to stay and be in one’s center, and available to mindfulness interaction and forgiveness.
The best candidate for mindfulness meditation is a person who wants to work with developing an experiential fluid self view. The more rigid a person’s self view the more they act and observe from that (limited, biased, and rigid) space.
In order to enlarge the space they need to develop a fluid self view. That includes paradigm shifting, figure/ground perception, neutrality, present moment, and forgiveness.
See you tomorrow.
June 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm
You were right I do love this one. The only problem I have is really doing Meditation I always seem to get interrupted. I would love to be able to do it better because I think it would help me. My mind always seems to cluttered I can’t seem to sift through all the many thoughts, worries, sadness. Any suggestions? I seem to be able sometimes to do it at your office but not always, I just suck at it.
June 11, 2010 at 6:38 pm
Lisa, just breathing and focusing on your breath can help to bring you to neutral so that you can then make a mindful decision or take a mindful approach toward a problem. One of the keys is to focus on your breath. I find using the mantra – spiritually coded word – to help get out of a morass of negative or worried thoughts to be useful to just stop the downward drag of that negativity. Try using different words to find the best one for you. You may want to try a short phrase – like – I am OKay or I love myself. Practice helps to develop this skill.
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