Gratitude blesses us in so many ways, reaching us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Sometimes it is a struggle to reach the gratitude that can be so healing. There is the importance of removing the angst, the anger, the fear and worry from our psyche. We have effective exercises for this. Not only bodily release, but also by writing them down and through ceremony, releasing them. This will clear the way for forgiveness: for ourselves and others. Forgiveness opens the heart. Then, with our open heart, we can all move into gratitude and seal our gratitude with a meditation.
Step 1 Releasing a negative feeling
Sit quietly for a moment and bring up in your mind a situation or another person who is creating a strong negative feeling. It could even be disappointment with yourself.
Label this feeling, what type of feeling is it? Anxiety, anger, sadness or some other disturbing feeling?
Close your eyes and scan your body to find a corresponding tightness or ache in your body. Whenever we have a strong negative feeling it will be reflected in a location of the body, maybe the stomach, chest, throat, gut, or head. Now allow yourself to focus on this sensation, and allow it to loosen. Our natural tendency to tighten it more, but we are holding it with an openness and allowing it to naturally be fully felt. Gradually it will loosen and dissipate. If it is really a tough one, do it again after your meditation.
You may want to write down a description of your feelings to later shred or burn in a ceremony by yourself or with your group. One year, we made a small coffin and shred those lists of things we wanted to release, ceremonially lining up in procession and placing those papers in the coffin before we burned them.
Step 2 Forgiveness
Forgiveness is an ongoing process. Oftentimes we work on it over and over and may feel like we aren’t making progress toward releasing this resentment or deep guilt, but if we continue, and continue to meditate, and even finding a good therapist if necessary, we wake up one day and it is forgiven. We feel clear on that particular issue. Here is a beautiful affirmation from Catherine Ponder that may help you move toward forgiveness. I’ve heard testaments to the effectiveness of her words. Say it aloud to yourself or together with your group, really allowing yourself to feel the words.
Universal Forgiveness Treatment
By Katherine Ponder
All that has offended me, I forgive.
Within and without, I forgive.
Myself and all others, I forgive.
Especially myself, I forgive.
Things past, things present, things future, I forgive.
I forgive everything and everybody who can possibly need forgiveness in my past and present.
I forgive positively everyone.
I release everyone, and everything that is no longer part of the Divine
plan of my life.
Everyone that is no longer part of the Diving Plan of my life now
Step 3 Gratitude
Now for the fun part. List at least 20 things in your life you are grateful for. Actually, it is an endless endeavor so just go for it. Think of all the parts of our lives that carry blessings: family, finance, work, friendships, health, conveniences, things that make life easier, sharing, compassion of others, knowledge, and on and on. Read through the list before the next step. Feel your heart swell with this abundance of life enhancing things. If you are in a group this is a nice time to each share some of the things on your list.
Step 4 Meditation
Sit quietly and let the other steps go, releasing any thoughts about them. This is a perfect time to do a few good breaths, inhaling to the count of 4 and exhaling to the count of 6 or more. Relax your shoulders. Begin your mantra or sit quietly and observe your breath. Thoughts will come and go. Instead of engaging in them gently move your attention back to your mantra or observing your breath. If you are new to meditation, see if you can sit for 10 or 15 minutes. Those who have been practicing go ahead and practice your normal routine.
When you are done, reread the Universal Forgiveness Treatment.
Photo by Ana Juma on Unsplash