This “forgiveness meditation” is a way of opening to the possibilities of true healing and love for self and others. It produces a soft, gentle, and loving way to accept whatever arises and to leave it be, without trying to control it with either actions or thoughts.
Let yourself sit comfortably, close your eyes; breathe in a natural, easy pattern. Relax body, mind, and spirit. Sense your heart’s location and beat, and let yourself feel all the barriers you have erected, the emotions that you carry because you have not forgiven yourself or others. Feel the pain of keeping your heart closed. While breathing in a quiet, deep way, ask for and extend forgiveness. Let images and feelings that come up as you are guided; feel them grow deeper.
General Forgiveness: “There are many ways that I have hurt and harmed myself and others. I have betrayed or abandoned myself many times through thought, word or deed, knowingly or unknowingly.”
Let yourself see the ways you have hurt or harmed yourself and others; picture the moments, events, experiences; remember them. Feel the feelings you have carried from this and sense that you can release these burdens. Extend forgiveness for each of them, one by one.
Self-Forgiveness: “For the ways I have hurt myself through action or inaction, out of fear, pain and confusion, I now extend a full and heartfelt forgiveness. I forgive myself. I forgive myself. I forgive myself.”
Asking for Full Forgiveness: “There are many ways that I have hurt and harmed myself and others, have betrayed or abandoned them or myself, causing suffering, knowingly or unknowingly, out of my pain, fear, anger and confusion.”
Let yourself remember and visualize the ways you have hurt yourself and others. See and feel the pain you have caused out of your own fear and confusion. Feel your own sorrow and regret as you feel theirs, too. Sense that finally you can release this burden and ask for full forgiveness. Picture each memory that still burdens your heart. Then, to each person in your mind, repeat: “I ask for your forgiveness, I ask for your forgiveness.”
Forgiving Those Who Have hurt You: “There are many ways that I have been harmed by others, abused or abandoned, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or deed.”
Let yourself picture and remember these many ways. Feel the sorrow you have carried from this past. Feel, know, and sense that you can release this burden of pain by extending forgiveness when your heart is ready.
Now say to yourself: “I now remember the many ways others have hurt, harmed me or wounded me, out of fear, pain, confusion and anger. I have carried this pain in my heart too long. To the extent that I am ready, I offer them forgiveness. To those who have caused me harm, I offer my forgiveness. I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you.”
Let yourself gently repeat these meditations for forgiveness until you feel a release in your heart. For some great pains, you may not feel a release but only the burden, anguish or anger you have held. Touch this softly; be kind to it. Be forgiving of yourself for not being ready to let go and move on.
Continue to practice and let the words and images work gradually in their own way. In time, with this forgiveness meditation as a regular part of your life, you will be able to let go of the past, the memories, and open your heart to each new moment with a wisdom, and loving kindness.