Someone once said to me, “You can never be happy if you cannot forgive.” It took me two divorces and a world of misery to find out what he said was most certainly true. I finally understood that without forgiveness, I only ended up a slave to the unhealed and unresolved emotions I carried inside.
The truth is if you can’t forgive, somewhere inside, you will always be a victim to your own anger, hurt or fear. However, if you’re like me, you may have a misconception about what forgiveness actually is. Before I knew better, I stood omnipotent and granted my absolution to my transgressors. The only problem was, I was still pissed or devastated by them.
For most of us forgiveness may not be what we think it is. It’s not exactly like Sunday school, where the priest forgives the confessor. That is, you sin…God forgives. After a few heartbreaks, I’ve grown to understand forgiveness as something completely different. It’s more like a disconnection of energy.
If you’ve been hurt by someone, you’re connected through anger, victimhood, horror or sadness. Forgiveness is when that connection no longer exists and the emotional bond has been released. That doesn’t mean it’s okay that someone has hurt you. It just means letting go of a negative connection.
Furthermore, unresolved emotions trapped inside, that are associated with those negative relationships, are almost always based on the past. You can recognize them by the repeating patterns of pain they produce. Healing begins by addressing those repeating patterns and the underlying source emotions stuck inside of you.
The best way to release suppressed emotion is in deep states of relaxation or meditation. It’s actually a normal state of mind that everyone enters at least twice a day; right before falling asleep and just before waking up. It’s the half awake / half asleep state of awareness, commonly referred to as the suspended dream state. It’s where the magic of healing lives.
However, to gain the full benefits from this natural dream state, it’s a skill that needs to be developed. In other words, it takes practice. This is where the world of relaxation takes on a little mastery. The deeper you learn to sink into a relaxed state, the more dynamic and effective your experiences will be. Once the experiences start rolling in, the practice is something to eagerly anticipate and look forward to everyday. It’s settling into a pleasant encounter.
Although it’s a learned skill, it’s important to mention there’s not much to it. However, it helps to create the mood first. Simply find a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie without distractions. No kids, no phones, no noises or interruptions. Put on some soft music, listen to nature, or just be in silence. Aroma can help, so burn a candle, incense or essential oil . Then sit and close your eyes, breathing gently. If your mind wanders, just let it and bring your attention back to your breath. Or, you can watch your thoughts drift by like clouds. Next, just let go and drift into the experience.
The next step is to release the emotion. As simple and ludicrous as this may sound, when you’re deeply relaxed, you simply let it go. However, emotional release is also a learned skill but it’s almost the opposite of other skills we learn in life. It’s the art of deeply doing nothing. By focusing on the emotion and surrendering to the experience of it, it will let go. When emotions are fully experienced, they dissipate. Most people will just feel it lift off and out of their body. I generally feel something like little tornadoes, spinning and releasing out toward my left shoulder.
Generally, when you finish, the emotions will be gone or significantly diminished. So will the repeating patterns of pain that accompany them. Furthermore, the results will be permanent, thereby, enhancing the quality of your life. Testing out the results of your meditation prowess and your ability to forgive is actually quite simple. Just think of the person you’re trying to forgive. If you don’t feel any pain, horror or anger, chances are you’re done.
So why is forgiveness such a big deal? It’s called freedom.