Updated: Dec 17, 2019
(Forgiveness Earrings, 2019)
A week after my dog died, I decided to attend a local Edgar Cayce 'Searching For God' meeting that I've been attending off and on for the last four years. The people involved are just terrific, and I always learn something important.
During this meeting, I was introduced to a Forgiveness Prayer that one of the members shared with the group. The prayer is very simple, yet changed me in a profound way. Here's the link to the prayer if you want to try it yourself...again, transformative for some of the reasons I want to talk about here.
Shayne and I made the decision to euthanize Sadie, and honestly, I was feeling awful about it. Making the decision was still hard even though my heart (and the vet) told me it was the most humane choice I could make. I was also going through a painful time with a friendship that was coming to an end. When I was introduced to the Forgiveness Prayer, I really responded.
When you put your attention on something, the universe puts all sorts of material and opportunities in your path to consider as you go about applying something new to your life.
For me, Forgiveness was one of those words that didn't actually have a lot of meaning. It's a concept that is said all of the time, but sometimes in order pay attention to something important, life needs to put a boulder in your path so you run into it.
Sadie's death and my deteriorating friendship made a big boulder.
I printed the prayer and put it next to my bed, and I repeated the words either first thing in the morning or last thing at night. After about a week, I noticed a lightness in my step. I also noticed that my internal monologue started to lesson as it related to my friendship that had turned into a shipwreck, and also some other issues that I realized during this time that needed some work too.
This practice opened up a Pandora's Box of past guilts and shameful episodes during the course of my life that I've either been a part of or directly responsible for. I really felt the burdensome weight that we can carry when the concept of Forgiveness of others, and for ourselves, is ignored or quite simply, misunderstood as trite.
There is an old saying, "You can forgive, but don't forget."
Well, I'm here to report that after doing the Forgiveness Prayer for a little over a month that a wonderful 'forgetting' did occur for me. And I now am beginning to understand that true forgiveness means erasing the feelings of anger, hurt and shame that accompany us after our experiences occur.
Here's a passage that really spoke to me regarding the value of Forgiveness and why it was such a huge part of Jesus' teaching...
"Forgiveness is a vital part of embracing Oneness, and that is the reason why Jesus taught this. When you completely and utterly forgive someone, what they have done to you or those dear to you ceases to exist in your consciousness. It is not that you stop holding this event against them, but that for you the event doesn't exist any more. As it no longer exists, it no longer separates you from the doer of this deed, hence it is not an obstacle to unity. This level of forgiveness is hard to achieve, but Jesus told us it is a key to entering Oneness, and it should be the aim of all those who follow the Way."
I experienced this erasing and I have to say, it is proving to be one of the most nurturing and liberating thing that I have ever done for myself. How many of us define ourselves consciously or without awareness by the mistakes we made or moments when we didn't live up to our own expectations? Or when we reacted with emotions that galloped away with our good sense? How many times have words flown from our mouths at the speed of light...too fast for our higher mind to reason with?
I've had horrible things done to me.. a few highlights are being pulled over and run off the road at gunpoint, assaulted in a bathroom and mugged & drugged in another country far from home (all before I turned 27!).
All of the above things happened to me and yet I was able to 'erase' those moments from my past fairly easily. I clearly saw where I made some decisions that put me on the same path of these people and I was able to modify my behavior so that I didn't travel along the same road as those most likely to DO this sort of thing.
I wonder if I was born with some sort of understanding about not personalizing what happens to me by strangers. I can erase it for the most part. I assume that means I can forgive others that I don't know easier than those that I do, even when they do something egregious.
I take no credit for this ability. I only know this about myself based on deep reflection of my past.
However, what I have done to others that I know, like and love is what really tears at my soul. It's in the realm of those conscious connections we have with people that I'm mostly talking about here.
The HARD forgiveness seems to be connected with transgressions we do or receive from those we are involved with intimately (friends, family & lovers). And that is what I've concentrated on in regards to forgiveness, and I'm seeing some remarkable results as a consequence.
For one thing, what was an incessant & distracting internal chatter has all but disappeared. I'm talking about the imaginary conversations you have with the person you are in a row with, or who hurt you and your imaginary responses to arbitrary things that happen during the course of your day. Like if you see or hear about something that pisses you off or reminds you of the pain you feel, you pick a person in your mind and 'get into it' with them. That sort of thing has stopped.
After a few weeks, I was able to catch myself in the act of doing it, and was able stop it consciously.
Around about a month, those inner lawsuits and court cases stopped completely. I was no longer dragging them energetically through the mud, prosecuting and persecuting them in my mind.
And I stopped prosecuting and handing down a life sentence for my part in it as well.
The Forgiveness Prayer addresses yours and the others' part in the experience. And what I've learned is that Forgiveness is not a mental exercise. It's physical. You have to say it..put your attention on it...then drop it, consistently...for 40 days.
The transformative aspect is that your Soul/Higher Self/God-Self takes it from that point forward. I really felt that happen internally without a lot of effort on my part.
I, as they say, Let Go and Let God take the driver's seat.
For some reason, surrendering this over to a higher power was something that was easy for me to do, whereas in the past, this idea was always just that...and idea. I never applied it like I was easily able to with this prayer. Something about those 40 days clicked for me as doable and specific.
I'm guessing that the mob mentality we see more of these days is made up of individuals that don't consciously forgive...they pile on and smother, censor and punish. I have to wonder that the reason for this is because the vast majority of humanity doesn't understand forgiveness, much less actively practice it.
Until now, I sure didn't.
If you can't forgive yourself, how can you possibly forgive the other?
The living result of non-forgiveness sometimes becomes a life sentence of rage and retribution, shackles and chains.
And the individual that won't forgive themselves or their intimate others for a past experience may choose instead to take it out on the impersonal, non-intimate others in their lives.
I've been the impersonal other before many times...and I am coming to the realization that the strangers that tried to hurt me were perhaps trying to punish their intimate others from their past.
I've read about this idea about Forgiveness for years..but until I applied it...well, it was just a theory.
Now, I do want to point out that I have not been egregiously hurt by those that I was in an intimate relationship with...well, other than a few boyfriends that were assholes.
So, I don't know how this would work in the worst of situations like murder and other equally horrible and tragic experiences. But if this could lesson the pain that those carry even a little bit, I figure it would be worth a try.
When we forgive...I wonder if we temporarily merge with the Christ Consciousness of Unity.
If so, then there is the possibility of freedom to move forward in our lives in joy with the eyes, heart and buoyancy of a child as a result.
Forgiveness is a tool to change the state of your consciousness.
I hope that my experience with it gives you something to chew on...and perhaps apply to your own unique situation.