It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.
— Maya Angelou
Forgiveness is an oft used and not well understood word. It’s meaning is vast. The practice of it can be challenging. Even when you think you have forgiven someone, things will happen to bring some of the unhealed (heretofore unconscious) wounds to the surface.
We’ve all heard and read the many entreaties and suggestions on forgiveness. Many of use have a quote or two rumbling around in our heads that we can speak in any moment! Do we really know and fully appreciate the importance and power of the multiple facets of forgiveness?
I was recently reminded of a prayer I had forgotten about. After searching for it online, I found a lovely post on naturalawakeningsmag.com. The prayer is a Hawaiian Mantra, and is named Ho’oponopono. It is as follows:
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
What gives more depth to this forgiveness mantra for me is the expanded description of each forgiveness phrase.
“I am sorry for participating in this erroneous memory data.
Please forgive me for not seeing the perfection in this moment, and playing back a universal memory I have received within me that is riddled with wrongs and errors.
Thank you for cleansing me, others, the world and the universe.
I love you. Loving the sweet divine is the greatest power or energy there is in all space. I am now loving everyone involved and affected. I know that my perceptions of them are within me, where this error first occurred and where it can be eradicated.”*
There are many internal conversations that we all have – with ourselves and perhaps with others. I’ve certainly had my share of them over the years. It seems I have found my way back to a few that I truly though I had moved past…through forgiveness.
I see each of the phrases as an offering of forgiveness to myself and to others…all at once.
Can you imagine what is truly possible when forgiveness is offered by everyone?
Forgiveness is a process. It can happen quickly or it can take a long time. Some teachers, authors and leaders have spoken eloquently of the power of forgiveness and the freedom which comes with releasing the pain which has been held for a long time. Some have even intimated that by forgiving, we free ourselves AND we can go right back into the relationships or situations which were negative, abusive or deeply painful.
Sometimes, we forgive and release the other and ourselves…and we move on.
Compassion for ourselves is important here. We can be blinded by the act of forgiveness and believe, for example, that all is well and we can go back to living as before forgiveness, with the negativity, the abuse or pain.
When we buy into an idea of forgiveness rather than the process of healing through forgiveness itself, we unwittingly entrap ourselves.
Forgiveness, as a concept, is a lofty proposition for us human beings. Indeed it can free us when we have looked deeply into the pain we are carrying and can truly forgive. We can forgive anyone, from anytime, even those who are no longer walking among us.
How do we know when our forgiveness is real?
“How does one know if she has forgiven? You tend to feel sorrow over the circumstance instead of rage, you tend to feel sorry for the person rather than angry with him. You tend to have nothing left to say about it all.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés
And as the late Wayne Dyer said:
“Love is forgiving and Love is for giving.”
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