I have a confession to make. Sometimes I forgive for selfish reasons. Well Ok, for sake of conversation, sort of anyway. In other words there are times when it’s difficult for me to forgive for the sake of forgiveness. But when I came to understand that NOT forgiving affects my own personal health and evolution, I found wisdom in learning how to forgive to prevent illness, and in the end, this became a benefit for both health and personal growth. Most people feel that by forgiving, they somehow appear weak or less empowered. Alternatively, they feel that by holding on to grudges, this empowers them over their so-called enemy or adversary.
Now I want to be clear on this point. At some point we all will have to come to understand that forgiveness has to come from the heart and is meant to release ourselves from the act or situation that is the perceived cause of the pain. I say perceived, because in some cases the other person may not even be aware that they are or have done anything to cause us harm or pain. But that’s another subject for another time and blog. And I know that there are some cases that are indeed real such as instances of any form of abuse from childhood or otherwise, that has left deep scars. In the end however, the facts are the same: we ultimately need to forgive for our own evolution and growth as well as our personal healing. But truly this is a learning process and not just a matter of rattling off a few simple words such as: “I forgive you” or “I forgive the situation”.
Even if you can’t forgive for altruistic reasons; for the sake of your own physical and mental health you should forgive to release the poisons in your own system. This is an exercise that should be done weekly if not sometimes daily. The fact is that some things build up and fester even when we’re not aware that they are simmering and building up inside of us. Before you know it, they have grown into pulsating emotional memories with snares us to the person, circumstances or situation. So to rid ourselves of this poison we must first and foremost have the sincere desire to forgive. Here is a six-step process gleaned from the teachings of a personal spiritual counselor; Lonnie C. Edwards, M.D., that I frequently recommend:
1. Have an honest desire and commitment to forgive.
In this step, as mentioned before, we must go beyond the simple phrase of: “I forgive you”. We must TRULY have a desire to forgive the person or situation in order to release from our bodies the destructive neurotransmitters that causes damage to our emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual body. In order to do this we must realize that holding on to the anger, resentment or emotions that we feel give us power over the other person prevents our body from being able to receive the constructive neurotransmitters that begins the healing process in our own body. This goes back to my original “selfish” reason to having a desire to forgive.
2. Visualize or imagine cosmic light and love within the person, situation, or condition that you are seeking to forgive.
At this point, it is necessary to invoke an approach that is not talked about much in the general conversations of the day. The process here is to imagine and visualize the purest divine light of God, divinity, the creative universal force, your higher self or whatever term feels most comfortable for you. The ideal here is to send the light of a divine nature that is greater than the lower egoic objective or intellectual mind that we’re accustomed to working with to the person and enfold them and yourself in this light which is imbued with the energies of love, harmony, healing, kindness and an infinite number of other positive attributes. This must be done with the purest of love and thought.
3. Seek cosmic understanding of the person, situation, or condition.
In this step it is first important to seek a deeper understanding into your own self. It’s very important that we understand from a spiritual perspective the causes back of the situation, person, or act that has taken place. Again here, inquiring to the mind of your heart is more effective than an intellectual inquiry as this is sometimes biased by egoic or “lower mind” motives. Your inner guide, or intuitive inner authority will provide you with a higher understanding of the situation that will more than likely cause you to see things from a broader, “higher mind” perspective.
4. Accept full responsibility for having first set the situation into motion.
Now at this point it becomes necessary to embrace two complimentary and perhaps new philosophies, specifically that of karma and reincarnation. I do not plan to elaborate on them here as they will also be a topic for another blog discussion later. The reason for introducing these two universal laws is because (in my opinion) without them, the true work of forgiveness cannot be grasped or accomplished. I’ve heard the debates otherwise and rarely have this failed to not be the case. The key here is gaining deeper cosmic insight into the law of cause and effect. We’ve heard this in other forms such as “you reap what you sow”, “every action has an equal and opposite or greater reaction”, etc. The point is that through the law of cause and effect or karma, we attract to us individuals, circumstances, or situations either from the immediate or distance past (including past lifetimes) that become “lesson plans” for our own spiritual evolution as we journey towards spiritual mastership and ultimate divine or Christ consciousness. Knowing that the law of cause and effect here is based in love, we must also understand that guilt plays no positive role on the path to higher evolution. In addition, there should be no judgement or looking at “bad” or “good” as to why an event occurred or the individual that participated in it. The true goal here is for refinement and cosmic understanding. The subsequent knowledge that we acquire will stand to inspire and uplift ourselves and eventually others.
5. Forgive yourself.
We must begin the process of cleansing and purifying our soul’s consciousness. This is why we include the act of forgiving ourselves. Once we are free of the various impurities, anxieties, feelings of anger, guilt, etc., then we become more fully aware of our true self, our higher self, the divine spark within each of us. With this newfound consciousness, we are then able to live life in a more peaceful and powerful manner. We become students and teachers of this higher way of thinking and being. We release the poisons and inharmonious energies that keep us from becoming the best of who we truly are.
6. Let go
And for this last point, I will quote (abridged) from Dr. Edward’s book: “Let go completely. Your human personality must surrender its hold. Let the indwelling soul and the spiritual self emerge…The soul, God, and the cosmic masters will bring confirmation of your progress and the work to be done. The ego will no longer obstruct your spiritual progress…As you adjust to letting go, your knowledge, faculties, desires as well as your thoughts, intentions, and actions will progressively become more positive, constructive, patient, and loving…You will perceive a higher meaning to life’s purpose and experiences…Repeat this process as often as needed. Your consciousness and repeated experiences will remind you if the job is incomplete. These reminders must not be interpreted as lack of progress; rather, if you persist, the reward of spiritual growth will be great. Maintain your commitment to forgive.”
You can read about the details behind this 6 step process by going to this link and downloading the entire book:
And remember in the end, it’s not so much of a need of the other person for you to forgive, but indeed a personal need for your own evolution as well as your physical and mental well-being. In order to purge ourselves of negative energies that attract more negativity to us, we must begin to rid our minds and souls of past incidents and experiences that keep us in a negative state of mind, holding on to negative thoughts. In order for us to rise above the smaller things in life and own ALL that is rightly ours by divine decree, we MUST learn the vital “Art of Forgiveness”! All experiences are lessons for us to evolve…they are our teachers…NOTHING ELSE.
Utilize forgiveness to learn the lessons and grow in wisdom and move on to greater things that the Universe have for us. This takes time, deep prayer, contemplation and meditation, but the payoff is priceless. So for both altruistic and personal reasons, forgive often!