The past is over, but our thoughts about it persist. The conventional view of "forgiveness" says, "I have been wronged, but I will pretend it did not matter, and remember to rise above the past." (Whew! Tiring, huh?) A new model of forgiveness says, "I give the past permission to be exactly as it was, and start my life anew right now." For five minutes at the beginning of your day, quietly reflect on past issues that cause you discomfort. Acknowledge each one silently in your mind, saying, "In this situation regarding (name it), I give the past permission to be exactly as it was." After a few minutes of review, place your hands over your heart, and sink gently into that quiet peaceful place where Love lives inside of you. Help yourself gently, by affirming again and again, "In Love's gentle Heart, I start my life a new right now."
Throughout the day, whenever you find yourself occupied with thoughts of the past, say silently, "I give the past permission to be exactly as it was, and start my life anew right now."
Another model of "forgiveness" suggests that "letting go" is important in releasing ourselves and others from the past. But what does "letting go" mean? Perhaps, it is a willingness to trust Life as it is right now, in this very moment. If we're used to "clinging" to the past, letting go can be an unfamiliar thing for us. For five minutes sometime during your day, sit quietly. Reflect on the ways you "cling", perhaps saying: "In regards to (name the person or situation), I cling to ideas from the past (and name the ideas). Then, with eyes closed and ears open, come fully into the present moment by listening to the SOUNDS around you. Sit perfectly stark still, and listen. If the mind distracts you with chatter, dismiss it gently but firmly, reminding yourself: "I am listening now..." Then listen again. Hear every tiny sound. As your time draws to a close, repeat five times, slowly: "Life is all around me, and I am a part of it; I am willing to trust Life now."
At least three times today (and once per hour if you can), take a moment to listen to the sounds around you, and say silently, "Life is all around me, and I am a part of it; I am willing to trust Life now."
Another model of forgiveness does not dwell on the past at all. Instead, it acknowledges the issue, then gives the mind something positive and loving to do, in the moment, now. We call this process "blessing," and it serves to turn the mind to "appreciation" which is the natural outcome of true forgiveness. For five minutes at the beginning of your day, sit quietly. Call to mind any issues from the past which cause discomfort for you. Then, remember any persons involved in this issue (yourself or others), and imagine that you can see them as they are now. Visualize them as clearly as you can. Picture a benevolent being standing beside you, if you feel you need help. Then bless them and yourself, by saying: "May you be free of suffering; may you dwell in the Heart of peace." Close by saying three times, slowly (and including yourself): "May all beings be free of suffering; may all beings dwell in the Heart of peace."
Throughout the day, offer silent blessing whenever you can: "May all beings be free of suffering; may all beings dwell in the Heart of peace."
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