I used to think that forgiveness was all about forgiving the other person for what they did to me, and then I realized that forgiveness is all about ME! I thought it was all about accepting the situation and moving forward. The problem with looking at forgiveness from this perspective is that you don’t ever truly forgive and you are left feeling like a victim. You may intellectually be able to convince yourself that you have forgiven, but at the level of the heart where it really matters, it’s a whole different ballgame.
After having a fair bit of experience in learning to forgive, I have found a way that works a whole lot better and feels a lot different. There is no victim and no villain and you accept total responsibility for everything and everyone that is showing up in your life. This can be a difficult pill to swallow for many people and one that you have to sit with for a while. You realize that everything that happens to you is happening for you and is giving you an opportunity to grow and heal, returning to that place of wholeness.
Colin Tipping, in his book, Radical Forgiveness: Making Room for the Miracle explains that “Radical Forgiveness challenges us to fundamentally shift our perception of the world and our interpretation of what happens to us so we can stop being victims.”
So how does this work in real life?
Whenever you find that someone or something is pushing your buttons you have an opportunity to grow from the situation. You acknowledge that it happening for a reason and it will continue to happen in your life until you get it and learn from it. It doesn’t have to be the big things that happen to/for you, it is just as important to deal with the little day to day irritations that rub you the wrong way. The little things are actually the perfect place to start to practice.
There is a very powerful meditation practice that I like to use whenever I’m feeling annoyed, angry, resentful or judgmental. I have to admit that I like to “play” with different meditation techniques and this is one that really works for me.
Whenever you feel your buttons are being pushed, repeat the following mantra to yourself: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, and I love you“.
This mantra is based on an ancient Hawaiian practice called Ho’oponopono, which means “to make right, or to rectify an error” as described in Joe Vitale’s book “Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More”. This book shares the true story of a therapist who helped heal an entire unit of criminally insane inmates. I have to admit that I found this book really stretched my thinking and was a bit “out there” at times, but I also realize that most times you have to think outside the box in order to get more in touch with what’s going on inside of us!
So what is the meaning of this simple mantra?
The first thing to realize is that when you’re repeating the mantra you are not directing it to yourself or the other person, you are directing it to whatever force/power/energy/spirit, etc. that you believe in. You are saying:
- “I’m sorry” for the part I have played in creating this situation. I am not a victim, I am responsible for what is showing up in my life. I am sorry that we are experiencing this and I accept and acknowledge my role in it.
- “Please forgive me” for my part in this. I realize that I have responded in ways that I don’t feel good about and that isn’t my true nature of love and compassion.
- “Thank you” for this situation/experience that has created an opportunity for me to heal and explore what about myself has manifested this in my life? It may be painful, but thank you for the opportunity to grow and move closer to my true nature.
- “I love you” is triggering our healing from the level of our heart, not the head. When we stay in our head, we will never experience true forgiveness and healing. We will never be at peace.
I have found this mantra to be powerful and totally shifts my energy and feelings!!
I use it throughout the day when I notice I’m reacting to a situation or someone and I use it as part of my sitting practice when there is deeper healing that needs to occur.
I would love to hear your thoughts about this and hear about other practices that have aided your healing.