Monday, December 13, 2010

This Christmas - Give Yourself the Gift of Forgiveness

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." ~~ Mahatma Gandhi

You may never have considered forgiveness as a gift but according to the Science of Forgiveness it is the greatest present you can give yourself.

"The concept of forgiveness no longer falls solely under the umbrella of religious thought. Social scientists are beginning to recognize the powerful practical and therapeutic benefits that forgiveness offers in a broken and isolated world."
~~ K A T H E R Y N   R H O A D S M E E K

What is the Meaning of Forgiveness?
In ancient Greek language, the word for forgiveness is aphesis and it means to let go. It is from this definition that the deeper meaning of forgiveness can be had – and from this perspective, we see that the act of forgiving is a process and a means of releasing.

The word “forgive” means to wipe the slate clean, to pardon, to cancel a debt. When we wrong someone, we seek his or her forgiveness in order for the relationship to be restored. It is important to remember that forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. Instead, it is an act of love, mercy, and grace.

English proverb that "to err is human, to forgive divine."

Why is it so hard to forgive?
As humans it is the hardest for us to see things from the other’s point of view. We are very self-centered, and that doesn’t allow us to forgive easily. We have our own opinions, especially when we were hurt, we feel justified to be mad. Our pride and/or our self-esteem are injured; our expectations and/or dreams are disappointed. When we lose something so valuable, we want to retaliate; we want revenge. Whom does that hurt more: us or the other person?

How to practice forgiveness?
There are many different approaches to the practice of forgiveness:
* Start with a willingness to let go.
* Stay in the present moment as much as possible. Negative emotions always bring up the past.
* Decide to be happy rather than being right. This gives you another perspective on the person or situation. Self-righteousness is just another emotional baggage.
* Be humble. With humility it is easier to let go.
* Keep your forgiveness personal; you don’t have to disclose your decision to anybody.
* Write your story down; this is better than telling the trespasser. Forgiveness liberates you from your grudges and burdens; it doesn’t take away the responsibility of the trespasser. It will relieve you of your negative feelings and bring you freedom.

"Forgiveness will not be possible until compassion is born in your heart."
~~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Master

Some years ago I was reading a book by Colin Tipping on “Radical Forgiveness.” Mr. Tipping gives us a 5 step approach to release a past hurt or resentment.

1. Telling the Story
2. Feeling the Feelings
3. Collapsing the Story
4. Reframing the Story
5. Integrating the New Story

Louise Hay, in her book “You can Heal Your Life,” suggests that whenever we are ill, we need to search our hearts to see who it is we need to forgive. Practicing Forgiveness just like practicing gratitude are important spiritual practices.

The most powerful way of tarring down the walls around my heart has been through The Emotion Code. Dr. Bradley Nelson introduces a way of releasing negative emotions which have build up around our hearts as well as lodged in our body as cellular memories. Through a process of muscle testing we can 'talk to our subconscious mind." The technique is very easy to learn and has a most rewarding impact on our emotional wellbeing.

“All disease comes from a state of unforgiveness.” – The Course in Miracles

Benefits of Forgiveness:
1. Forgiveness reduces depression
2. Forgiveness makes you smarter and clears your mind by releasing trapped energy.
3. Forgiveness releases stress
4. Forgiveness is good for the heart
5. Forgiveness makes us more altruistic
6. Forgiveness makes us more compassioned
7. Forgiveness improves overall health
8. Forgiveness makes us more emotional stable
9. Forgiveness gives us peace
10. Forgiveness makes us happy
11. Forgiveness helps us to grow spiritually
12. Forgiveness makes us free

Please accept my present this Christmas and find ways of forgiveness. The benefits will be longer lasting than the joy of opening any other gift this holiday. Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas taught us in the

Lord's prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

That seems to be the most fundamental prayer because it touches on all aspects of our lives. The grace we receive from forgiving and being forgiven is our greatest blessing.

Here is another link for forgiveness:


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