After a long weekend of spending time with family and friends, celebrating a religious sacrament for my youngest daughter and remembering the lives of two of our friends relatives that have passed on; one of stroke a couple of days ago and the other, a young victim of a very violent murder 2 years ago today, I have been reminded of the importance of forgiveness.
How often do you ask for forgiveness from others, forgive others or forgive yourself? I know many people who are very good at forgiving others but hold themselves locked up in the bondage of self-judgment. Then there are those people who forgive themselves everything but cannot seem to forgive others for anything and are equally as unsettled in their hearts.
I could not get forgiveness out of my mind the past couple of days and wonder if I have forgiven all those I could or if I should be seeking forgiveness. So, I decided to look a little deeper into what forgiveness is …
Oprah had mentioned in one of her life classes that forgiveness is "letting go of the hope that the past can be changed."
Mother Teresa said “We need lots of love to forgive; we need lots humility to forget. It’s not complete forgiveness unless we forget also. As long as we cannot forget, we really have not forgiven fully. We need humility to forgive. It is through meekness (love and compassion) and humility that completes forgiveness. Before we forgive somebody we must realize that we need forgiveness. This is where humility of heart comes. Forgiveness is the greatest presence of peace.”
Deepak Chopra says “The best way to understand forgiveness is to realize that to forgive and to ask for forgiveness is the best use of one’s energy and also one of the most important paths to self-healing. The absence of forgiveness is holding a grievance or resentment and also a subtle desire to seek vengeance. In short it is hostility. Learning how to let go of toxic emotions such as hostility is the essence of learning how to forgive, because forgiveness is basically releasing your attachment or identification with the conditioned response.”
From all the reading I did, I learned that when forgiveness is complete, it brings you peace in mind, body and soul. Forgiveness will remove any weight or burden you may feel.
The forgiveness shown and taught by one man in particular hit the epicenter of my heart like a tsunami. His name is Azim Khamisa and not only did he completely forgive the man (who was a 14 year old gang member at the time) that shot and killed his son, but he embraced the man’s entire family and has become a role model and father figure to the murderer. When this man gets out of jail, he has been offered a job to work with Azim in his organization http://www.azimkhamisa.com/
How do we forgive? In Azim’s book The Secrets of a Bulletproof Spirit he states that when you forgive, you simply give love ahead of time. You give+before
before you get an apology
before you see any change in the other person
before the situation improves
before the anger subsides
before you think it’s deserved
before you feel like it
It’s entirely natural to feel resistance to the before part of this formula and the giving love part might push your buttons too. It’s helpful to understand the following things about love;
It can be a completely internal experience
It is something you do for yourself – it’s not about anyone else
It does not require you to say anything to anyone
It does not require you to do anything at all
It has only to do with your own thoughts
It is a discipline that can be learned
Love is not a feeling or even an action – it is a way of thinking. When you forgive by giving love ahead of time, your motivation is your desire to free yourself from the residual pain that is keeping you from coming out on top of the hit you have taken. When you give love ahead of time, you are consciously choosing to have faith that forgiveness will help you bounce back from the bullet that hurt you. Everything you think and do in this process benefits you directly and works to heal your heart and your life. The Forgiveness Formula is the for yourself formula – it works at every level and it will work for you if you learn it and practice it.
Wow, I thought I was good at forgiving and forgetting, but I realized after my reflection, that I have some work to do!
What action could you take today to forgive yourself or someone that has hurt you and let go of that excess weight in order to gain peace within?
Helping people to realize their potential, become empowered and start creating the reality they desire is my passion and my pleasure.