A great tool for life’s little toolbox!
Forgiveness Meditation can be a useful tool. It is a part of Loving-Kindness Meditation. It can help open the heart and mind if there seems to be any blockage in the beginning of your practice.
Forgiveness Meditation can be used when someone dies and there seems to be a great overwhelming grief. It helps relieve depression very much and can rebalance a person. Any accompanying suffering that might follow any catastrophic event can be helped by forgiveness work
One thing about Loving-Kindness Meditation is that you cannot give what you do not have. We spend more time with ourselves then anyone else while we are alive, and sometimes we need to forgive and love ourselves before we can give anything to others. Forgiveness can help with many other memories from the past that you might be attached to and which can be blocking your progress in the Loving-Kindness Meditation.
Therefore, the Forgiveness Meditation is a way of opening yourself up to the possibilities of true healing so that you can send love to yourself and to others. This is a soft gentle way of learning how to lovingly accept whatever arises and to leave it be, without trying to control it with thoughts.
Sometimes in our lives there can be a feeling of letting someone down by not doing enough to help them. Of course, this is just mind saying “I should’ve been better; I could’ve done better; I would’ve done better; I failed and I am not worthy and because of that I should suffer even more”.
Forgiveness Meditation is not ever to be used as a club to beat away a feeling of sadness, anger, frustration, or any other kind of feeling. Once again, the Forgiveness Meditation is a soft gentle way of learning how to lovingly accept whatever arises and to leave it be, without trying to control it with your thoughts.
Of course, these unwholesome blaming kinds of thoughts and feelings don’t have anything to do with reality. We don’t need to blame ourselves for our friend’s or a family member’s decision to take their own life, to die, or to dive into depression, anxiety, or anger. It is always a difficult situation to have to cope with such circumstances and there are a few things that you can do for yourself and others around you in the case of a death or suicide. This can help the deceased person as well.
Forgiveness Meditation Instructions
This meditation is done by sitting down and beginning the process of forgiveness by forgiving yourself for:
- not understanding,
- for making mistakes,
- for causing pain to myself or anyone else,
- for not acting the way I should have acted.
The way you do this practice is by first forgiving yourself. This is done by taking each of these four statements, one at a time, such as “I forgive myself for not understanding” and saying it over and over again.
You then place that feeling of forgiveness in your heart and radiate that feeling of soft acceptance to yourself.
The thing is, mind is tricky and you will sometimes have huge resistance to forgiving yourself. You will come up with all kinds of thoughts to distract or blame yourself. But when you see mind taking off and thinking unwholesome things, then gently 6R those thoughts and feelings, while gently redirecting your attention back to forgiving yourself again.
Sit with that feeling of loving-acceptance for as long as it lasts. Then, make the statement again to help the loving-acceptance last even longer.
Mind will naturally have a lot of “yes, but… yes, but… yes, but…” interruptions and try to distract you and condemn you and make you feel guilty or sad or angry or whatever it wants to do.
This is where patience needs to be cultivated. Softly allow those distractions (hindrances) to be there, and then gently bring your attention back to forgiving yourself. Do this softly with the 6R’s practice cycle.
Of course your mind will naturally go to the person who died or committed suicide. When that happens then softly, gently start forgiving them for not understanding, or making mistakes, or for causing pain and suffering to themselves and to you, or for not acting in the way they should have acted. Forgive them for everything.
See them in your mind’s eye and look into their eyes and forgive them. Keep repeating one of these statements (whichever one that seems most appropriate at the time), or you can make up your own statement of forgiveness if it seems right.
It is best not to get involved with a story with that person in your own mind. It is best to forgive them by using the same statement over and over again. “I forgive you for …”
Then, place that forgiveness into your heart with the person who died and stay with that feeling of forgiveness for as long as it lasts. At first this may not be for very long, to be sure, so, whenever mind becomes distracted, softly, gently 6R that distraction and start over again.
After a period of time (during that sitting), then change things around and hear that person forgiving you for… Still look into their eyes and hear them say “I forgive you too. I really do forgive you”.
Completing the Circle
This Forgiveness Meditation starts by forgiving yourself, forgiving another person, and then, you hear them forgive you too. This is a complete circle.
This practice will eventually make things change in your mind so there will not be any guilt, frustration, sadness, anger, or making excuses for making mistakes and then feeling hard about yourself. Making excuses about anything means that one doesn’t take responsibility for their own actions, and this is a subtle attachment to be forgiven and let go of also.
There will develop a loving-acceptance and a true feeling of love toward that person who caused so much pain. The pain will diminish until there is only a memory of that person without any experience of grief.
Now, this is the sitting meditation, but there is still more to the meditation and that is to forgive everything and everybody, all of the time.
Expanding Forgiveness into Your Life
You can use forgiveness as your only object of meditation along with smiling. Forgive yourself for bumping into something or, if cooking, for cutting yourself or burning yourself or making mistakes.
Put forgiveness into everything all of the time!
Forgive thoughts for distracting you. Forgive others for distracting you. In short forgive everything all of the time. When walking from one place to another, forgive yourself and/or others. Any tiny distraction, forgive it. Forgive yourself for not remembering. Forgive yourself for making mistakes. Forgive every thought, every memory. Forgive every pain that arises. 6R and forgive all of the time! If you forget to forgive something, then forgive yourself for forgetting! Then, start again.
Do you see what I mean? It may take some time before mind begins to let go of this attachment, but patience leads to Nibbāna(eventually)!
I have helped people in this type of situation and for some of them it has taken as long as one year of doing nothing else but the Forgiveness Meditation before they finally let go of the suffering and pain. This doesn’t mean that they still didn’t have the memories of what happened. They did. But they could reflect and remember without having any pain or suffering arise anymore. Therein lies the true healing!
So please, if you want to do this type of meditation for yourself, it would be best to get in touch with me, and stay in touch at least for a little while so I can help you to stay on the path and get it firmly going.
Grief is very strange stuff because it will come up for periods of time, even six months or a year after the event took place, and strong sadness, frustration, anger etc. can arise for no apparent reason. This is why it is necessary to keep this practice going for quite some time so that eventually, upon retraining the mind, all attachments will be let go of automatically.