Enhanced Living – Forgiveness Sadhana Blog Post 5 of 21
To Forgive is Divine
In forgiveness, the space for peace is created and in this peace, one can find everything that is needed to live a life-experience liberated from suffering and anguish. The forgiveness that I speak of does not undo a moral transgression that has been inflicted on you by another, what it does do, is that it permits you to release the attachment to that which causes suffering in your present life. It’s therefore not about the moral transgression, it’s not about the individual who’s committed the act. It’s about your relationship with yourself and your releasing an attachment to the past. With forgiveness, you can reinforce the relationship you have with your inner and outer self and continue on the journey of healing and enhanced living.
“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”
Suffering in the Past
We hold on to suffering of the past because it’s linked and attached to the ego...to the personality who was the subject of the act that caused pain which can be followed by many years of mental suffering afterwards. The attachment of the suffering to the ego gives the ego life. It provides confirmation that the ego is present and important, so much so, that the ego will create an identity surrounding the event or act that it endured. It becomes the central character of the story that demands attention and recognition. The attachment is a mechanism used by the ego-self to ensure its survival and all of this happens in a way that may elude our conscious awareness. When faced with this prospect, denial will be the first thing that the ego will go to, to discourage any further exploration of the issue, of the attachment between the ego-self and the suffering. Exploration of the attachment will only invite self-discovery and the realization that perhaps, this attachment isn’t needed, and if it’s not needed, what can the ego use to assert its place, its dominion…to ensure its survival?
Liberation from the Past
All of the events that have so far occurred to you are past and done. The only influence you have on events in your past is the ability to release them, to let go of the past and allow yourself to be focused on living your life in the present moment. Finding that place in yourself where you can come to terms with your powerlessness to change or alter the past will help you make that conscious decision to forgiveyourself from the ego’s need to identify and attach itself to the suffering of an event long gone. Only by maintaining the focus on your attachment to it rather than the circumstance of how it happened or who subjected you to immoral or unfair treatment, or how you reacted or not to the event will you be able to loosen the grip the past has on your present. This is called liberation. Liberation provides the opportunity to move forward unencumbered by the weight of attachments.
It can be monumental to forgive someone but it’s even more epic if you can forgive yourself.
Self-forgiveness is a very profound experience that requires a certain leap of faith. An approach that may be abstract at first but once you do experience it, it will make sense. You may think “I don’t have to forgive myself for the hurt that someone else did to me”, and that may be true, but again the focus needs to shift away from the act or the transgressor to your attachment to it. We are seeking to forgive your need to hold on to the memory and the suffering so that your ego's attachment will release you from its hold.
The Forgiveness Sadhana
In the following exercise, you will be asked to bring to mind an event in your past, either that was done to you or that you inflicted on someone else and to use that event in the practice of letting it go through forgiving your attachment to it. You may wish to start with a small event to focus on first, and then move on to more significant events in your past. This is a practice, and as is the nature of a practice, the more you do it the easier it becomes and the better you get at it!
1- Take out the piece of paper that you’ve written your intention on for this 21 day blog series (as explained in my introductory blog post) and as you read it, let the intention fill your mind and your spirit.
2- Sit in a comfortable and relaxed position, or lay down on a mat.
3- Light a candle and incense if you like, to help create a meditative mood.
4- Focus on one event in your life that you feel is being used by your ego to create an attachment that serves to give the ego identity and purpose. You can identify this if it’s an event from that past that comes to mind quite often or if it’s an event that causes you continued suffering or discomfort when you think about it in the present.
5- With eyes closed, visualize yourself observing the event playout as if you were in a theatre watching a movie. See yourself sitting in the theatre seat as you watch the film on the screen reflecting the scenario in question. Observe this in a way that removes your identity with what’s going on, remind yourself you are only observing and not interacting, not trying to control what happened, not imposing what you would like to see happen, simply allow the scenario to play out the way it happened and maintain your objective observation.
6- Once the scenario has played out, while you are still sitting in the theatre seats, visualize something to mark the end of the film such as the words “The End” projected on the screen, or end credits floating on the screen like you see at the end of a movie, or maybe just see the screen rollup or theatre curtains being drawn over the screen.
7- Now, leave the theatre and return your focus on your body and the present place you find yourself in and allow yourself to complete the following breathing exercise.
8- Slowly inhale for a count of 4, pause for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4.
9- Say out loud “I forgive my attachment to the past”
10- Slowly inhale for a count of 4, pause for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4.
11- Say out loud “I forgive my ego for its attachment to the past”
12- Slowly inhale for a count of 4, pause for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4.
13- Say out loud “I liberate myself from the past”
14- Return to your normal breathing pattern, and with eyes still closed, sit in silent observation and take note of any thoughts, emotions or inner-sensations.
15- Now, express gratitude for having taken this time for yourself and for having completed this sadhana and journal your experience.
The Next Blog – Blog 6 of 21
In my next blog post “Enhanced Living – Surrendering, Blog 6 of 21” we’ll look at how surrendering can impact our everyday human experiences and dramatically lessen the turmoil we encounter and also, we'll look at the difference between surrendering and giving-up.