Like many of us, I tried many methods of forgiveness prayer to heal the deep wounds from childhood, including methods for self-acceptance, controlling behavior and emotions, and coping with stress, as well as numerous spiritual practices and meditations.
While they all had their place and many helped on a surface level, I still felt ruled by a deep inner pain and self-attack, which would easily flip into reactivity and lashing out at others.
While I could hold a nice mental concept of forgiveness for short intervals – a kind of bandaid that helped for a little while – it wasn’t long before the same deep and painful wounds would get triggered again.
I came to realize that whatever is resisted (and therefore unhealed) within us will continue to create scenarios in our relationships, work environment, our bodies, and our entire life experience, which expose our inner wounds again and again, until we can accept them as they are and bring love to them.
Through the guidance of teachers Adyashanti, Eckhart Tolle, Ramana Maharshi, Bruce Tift, and many others, I’ve learned and practice a far simpler, more direct approach to forgiveness prayer that is based on acceptance and love. You can find this practice here.
Forgiveness prayer takes practice and patience with ourselves. Don’t be hard on yourself if you feel awkward doing this at first, or if you don't remember to do it at all.
In my experience, the pain of holding grudges itself points me back again and again to the forgiveness prayer practices shared here. Pain is a great motivator.
Remember, you as a person aren’t what does the forgiveness. You, Awareness are already doing it. We just have to shift our attention and allegiance there.
In my life, as in the lives of many of you who are reading this, some pretty horrific stuff happened in childhood. I tried everything I could to forgive my parents for all that happened. I finally realized that the way I was trying to do it made it impossible.
As long as I held the belief that what they did was wrong and THEY were wrong, that in itself insured that I couldn’t come to peace with them.
Even when I saw that they were operating from their own wounds, then my emphasis shifted to “LIFE is wrong” which only deepened my suffering.
Thankfully, out of an intense desire to find love in my heart for myself and all those in my past, a series of realizations allowed me to see my pain and suffering from a different perspective, which began to open the door to a naturally occurring forgiveness prayer.
I became aware that any time I argue with what was or what is, I suffer.
What was, was. What is, is. Period.
No amount of resistance will ever change the past as it was or the present as it is, including our reactions to the past or present.
In a series of meditations, I saw a past life where many people died as a result of my greed for power. In that lifetime, when I realized what I had done I made a vow to never have power again. I decided I was unpardonably bad and deserved to be punished.
Next, I saw subsequent lifetimes where I was a slave in one, murdered in another, raped, attacked, imprisoned, and etc. in others. The series culminated in the realization that even this lifetime was an outward experience reflecting the inner belief that I was bad and should be punished.
These images clearly showed me that what we hold in our minds to be true (consciously or unconsciously) creates situations that reflect it.
I realized that all of what happened in my childhood as well as every moment since then has reflected and continues to reflect my own beliefs about how I honestly believed / believe I should be treated.
Another realization came in the form of a multi-generational image. I
looked at how my father’s parents treated him and saw that he treated me
the only way he knew how – the same way he was treated. I witnessed the
same thing when I looked at my mother and her upbringing.
Then this vision opened up further and I saw my father’s parents’ parents, and ditto on my mother’s side, with all of their hurts being passed down to the next generation.
I knew this isn’t just with my family. This is what happens with all life.
This cause and effect dynamic went back in time as far as I could see, like a series of dominoes. One “domino” was touched from behind and fell forward, touching the one in front of it, which then leaned into the one in front of it in the same way. On and on it goes.
Why and when did the first “domino” get the impetus to “lean forward” and start the chain reaction of passing on unhealed wounds? I have no idea.
But I do know that Consciousness has allowed all of this to be this way or it wouldn’t be happening.
As my perspective moved out from just my personal story, back to the beginning of time, I felt the tight knot of anger, blame, fear, and frustration start to unwind.
In my experience this aspect of forgiveness prayer is essential for healing. As long as we keep our perspective narrowed down to “you did this to me” we can’t truly heal.
But seeing it from a wider, more realistic context opens the door to healing.
Layering a thought about forgiveness on top of a thought of blame and resentment won’t produce forgiveness. Believe me, I’ve tried.
We can only truly forgive from what within us is ALREADY forgiving. We must shift attention to the Conscious Awareness within us which isn’t hurt by what happened to us, and has ALREADY accepted what happened with love.
You'll find help with this here.
Our first step is to fully accept, allow, and bring kindness to the pain, anger, fear, sadness, and all other intense emotions we experience within ourselves. Until we do that, true forgiveness prayer is impossible.
Then, once we’ve attended to our own wounds, we are in a much better position to interact with our loved ones in a less reactive, more open manner.
In the current climate of political divisiveness in the US and in many areas of our planet, all of our worst character flaws have the potential of being activated.
As long as there is anything unresolved within us, something will manifest “out there” that will uncover and touch into a wound that already exists “in here.”
When this happens we actually have a tremendous opportunity for healing and awakening to the truth of Being.
We can shift our attention away from our thoughts and instead place it on the tight, uncomfortable sensations in the body. Then we can bring a feeling sense of love and kindness to these energies within us, literally being willing to embody the intensity we feel.
Unconsciously, most of us believe these intense inner feelings and energies will overwhelm and maybe even kill us if we let them come up.
They generally originate from a very young time in our lives when some aspect of our behavior wasn’t well received by the adults around us. An inner intelligence within us finds a way to try to protect us, which in many cases is to try to push the pain down and out of our Conscious Awareness.
Consequently, these energies become unconscious, but still get triggered in our daily lives.
These hurts are here whether we want them to be here or not. By trying to ignore them or pushing against what or who it is that is triggering them, we actually feed more energy to the pain within.
However, by choosing to allow them to be here (because they ARE here) and finding within us a feeling of kindness toward this young, wounded aspect of ourselves, past hurts within us can gradually, eventually unwind. This page can help you with this.
I also highly recommend Bruce Tift's book, Already Free, which I know you'll find very helpful:
I highly recommend practicing Meditation Therapy, a variety of do-it-yourself practices which facilitate forgiveness prayer.
I'd also be happy to support and guide you into knowing yourself as Being and letting suffering unwind on its own in a WellBeing Alignment Session.
It just takes a few seconds. :-)
Thank you! Love and blessings of light, joy, love and healing to you my friend...
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