Monday, May 4, 2009

Ritual #11 Forgiveness is a gift, you give yourself


Today's ritual is on forgiveness and was donated generously by my friend Lisa. I see myself as someone who usually takes a lot of hurt from other people and then sit with it for a long time after that before I decide that I don't want to carry it around with me. I give compassion out but rarely give myself it. So then I let negativity eat at me and make it grow much bigger than it needs to be rather then addressing when it is smaller. Then forgiveness becomes harder the larger it gets.

The most fitting quote I found about forgiveness was by Rev. Karly Huntley:
"You know you have forgiven someone when they have harmless passage through your mind."

There are times when I will have a memory of someone/situation. There are still some neg. feelings around them. I will spend lots of energy and time living the moment over and over again. I work myself up until I get really upset. For what? It feels so much better to just let go of it.

There is also moments in my life or things that I have done that I have not given myself forgiveness and compassion about. So as I meditate on forgiveness I believe I need to count myself into the equation.

Loving-Kindness Meditation which is abundant in Buddhism is a type of meditation that I have been doing for awhile. Its about sending out love and compassion to not just yourself, those closest to you, but spreading it out towards that you might feel ambivalent about, those you don't like, and the rest of the world. By the time that I am at the end of the meditation I feel full of loving warmth for the entire earth and every living being in it. I feel bigger than myself. The basic Loving-Kindness Meditation is:
May the hearts of all beings be filled with happiness and peace
May all beings be safe and secure
May all beings be healthy and prosperous
May all beings live joyfully and with ease

It might look simple at first. But of course everyone should have that. But then you might stop and think, should the people that murder, rape, steal, do atrocities to people/countries, etc be included? Yes even them. They of course need to be filled with happiness and peace more than anyone. So you see that it starts to get more difficult when you spread this wish to the whole human race and beyond.

This meditation I found on the internet was a really beautiful one that I will take with me. The part about tending my heart like a flower and offering it to everyone around me. When I did this meditation my heart felt expansive and radiating out loving warmth. Everytime my heart my close in fear/anger/resentment towards someone, let me see that flower and offer that back to them instead.
A guided meditation by Ven. Ayya Khema

Please put your attention on the breath for a few moments.
Look into your heart and find your own capacity to love. Imagine it to be a beautiful flower that you are allowing to grow. Let this beautiful flower expand, so that you're totally filled with the all-encompassing aroma of love.
Give the gift of this flower of love to the person sitting nearest to you. Make it as large as yourself, filled with the most wonderful aroma.
Hand a flower like that, the most beautiful one you can think of, as large as yourself, with the most delightful aroma, the flower of love, to each person present now as a gift from you.
Present this beautiful flower, containing all your love, to the people nearest and dearest to you. Make it large enough to fill each person from head to toe, beautiful enough to arouse joy and delight.
Hand one to all your friends, giving each one the gift of love from your heart, in the shape of a beautiful flower.
Give a beautiful flower of love to all the people that come into your life; those you've met just briefly, those whom you see often. Let them all have the gift of love from you. Give them the most beautiful flower you can imagine.
Hand the beautiful flower of love from your heart to a person, whom you don't like. Let that person also have the same gift from you, making no distinctions between people.
Make as many flowers of love grow in your heart as possible. Hand those beautiful flowers - all containing love, all full of a wonderful aroma - to as many people as you can think of.
Come back to your own heart and observe the beautiful flower growing and expanding. Cherish and cultivate it. Let the beautiful aroma surround and fill you. Let the feeling of having such beauty within bring happiness and joy to you.
May all beings have love in their hearts.

This one was a lot more difficult for me. Envisioning the cords was hard but it gave me time to think of every individual person and really take time to explore my relationship with them and how I still feel after quite some time. Not forgiving someone is a drain on you. The cords should be removed or should be tended so they disappear or become stronger/luminous. Think it is about what kind of energy do I want in my life?

What was interesting about the chakras is that I felt something different/different person appeared in my mind as I explored them. With my throat/3rd eye chackra I found myself thinking a lot about my traineship and the hurt and self doubt that resulted from the relationships with some of my supervisors there and the other interns. I offered forgiveness to them and to myself and found that I felt much lighter about the situation after wards. I feel my trust in mysfelf and my abilities start to creep back but feel that going to school/traineeship while I learned tons also has made myself doubt my own internal abilities. With forgiveness I think I will start to regain some of that confidence.

Forgiveness Meditation
Close your eyes and ground and center.
See yourself as a transparent being. Focus your attention along the vertical alignment at the central core of your being, which may appear as the trunk of your sacred tree. Seek the sensations that identify the chakra centers. You may perceive them as luminous wheels of light. Take the time you need to allow these images to become strong and clear, in whatever way they develop. That may be through feelings, thoughts, knowing, or images, or your own personal and unique perception….
Begin by focusing on the first wheel of light at the first chakra center at the base of your spine. Look there for the threads and cords that emanate like branches or twigs. You will see lots of connections, many of which are luminous and some of which are dark and dense or brittle. Reach in with your inner hand to remove those dark cords that come away easily.
Choose one of the dense cords that remain, and follow it to its source. There you will get a picture or thought of the person at the other end of the cord. When you perceive the being at the other end, you will know whether you must offer forgiveness or ask for it.
Open your heart as best you can….Offer forgiveness by saying in your mind to the person, “I forgive you completely.”
If you feel you need forgiveness from the person at the other end of ht cord, ask what you can do to be forgiven, and be willing to negotiate…
Notice as the dark and dense cord that connects you either vanishes or turns clear and luminous…
Work your way up through the chakra system from the first to the seventh chakra, dealing with as many cords as is reasonable and comfortable.
When you have dealt with as many of the cords as you care able to at the moment, release the image you have created and ground and center yourself. Notice how much lighter you feel.
You can return to complete the work over a period of time, after which maintaining clear chakras is easily accomplished by checking in and doing the exercise periodically.

Thought this is a beautiful meditation that you can do in the moment after a situation to forgive and let go before you give it time or more negative energy.

Forgiveness Meditation
Close your eyes and breathe deeply. With each inward breath, feel the love of Spirit flowing into the crown of your head. Embraced by love, you allow pain and fear to gently float out of your body, returning to the heavens. Accept the love, allowing it to release the pain of the situation with the other person.
Now hold yourself and the other person in a safe, quiet place in your heart. You both are washed by the love of God flowing through your being. Bathed in light of love, you see each other as God sees you: wonderful beings on a journey home to your inner selves. Holding both of you in love, say out loud, Dear friend, I hold love and only the highest and best for you in this moment. I forgive you and I forgive myself for the painful choices made in this situation. I let this experience go with love.
Let love fill your heart completely as the image of you both dissolves in the light. Stay in this place of love and forgiveness for a moment, remembering this peace of body, mind and spirit.

Think it's interesting that the hardest part is to give myself forgiveness and compassion. After awhile I was able to let go of most of all the negative feelings and forgive others but I still have a lot more to go to forgive myself.

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