Practice Meditation: Forgiveness

"Spend five to ten minutes on each stage of this practice. Find a comfortable place to sit, and bring your attention to settle on your breathing. Feel your heart opening and softening as you breathe.

"Gently become aware of any resistance to forgiveness. Do not shy away from this, but see the effect this resistance may be having in you, and how it limits and restricts your feelings. Keep breathing, letting the breath open and soften your heart.

"1. Now focus on one person you wish to forgive and bring that person into your heart. Breathe out any resistance, anger, or fear, and breathe in forgiveness and gentleness. Silently repeat: 'I forgive you. For the harm and pain you have caused, through your words and your actions, I forgive you.' Let your breath relax you. Be gentle with yourself. Do not get side-tracked by the story or the details of what happened. Let go of all the reasons why this person should not be forgiven, and breathe in forgiveness.

"2. Now visualize in your heart someone you may have hurt or upset. Silently repeat: 'I ask for your forgiveness. I ask for your forgiveness. For the hurt or pain I may have caused you, through my words or my actions, please forgive me.' Keep breathing out any resistance. You can put down the story and let go of the pain. Feel your heart opening to receiving forgiveness.

"3. Now focus on yourself, repeating your name or visualizing yourself in your heart. Hold yourself with care and tenderness. Slowly repeat, 'I forgive myself, I forgive myself. For any harm or pain I may have caused, whether through my words or my actions. I forgive myself.' As you do this, you may be confronted with shame or guilt, or how you have betrayed yourself. Acknowledge this and then let it go with each out-breath. Keep breathing in softness, inviting forgiveness. 'I forgive myself, I forgive myself.'

"Feel the joy of forgiveness throughout your whole being. You have forgiven. You are forgiven. Rejoice in the release. When you are ready, take a deep breath and slowly let it go."