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wellness / mental health

Meditation for Forgiveness

by BetterSleep
Nov 29 2022 • 7 min read

Someone hurt you—a friend, family member, or maybe even yourself. You can choose to hold on to anger and resentment, or you can decide to let go and forgive.

Doing so will not only bring you into a positive frame of mind, but it can also drastically improve your quality of life. Allowing you to be free from any suffering, pain, or harm.

We recognize this isn’t always an easy task. Certain circumstances can make it feel impossible. But learning to forgive, even in the present moment, can do wonders for your mental health and wellness - and a powerful practice to do this is through meditation, whether it’s guided or on your own.

In today’s article, we’ll discuss the following:

  • The effects of holding a grudge
  • How it helps your spiritual well being
  • What forgiveness meditation is and how to do it

The effects of holding a grudge

Being hurt by anyone can create feelings of confusion, anger, and frustration. While it’s normal for feelings like this to occur due to feeling betrayed or hurt, they can become suffocating if they’re held onto for too long.

In fact, holding a grudge can affect your life in a variety of ways; you may:

  • Become unhappy and anxious
  • Not be able to enjoy the present moment because you’ve become engulfed by your grudge, hatred, and anger.
  • Bring bitterness and anger into every relationship you have, affecting their quality and your ability to enjoy the benefits and joys of your relationships.

What is a meditation for forgiveness?

A meditation for forgiveness aims to bring you into the present moment and help you to let go of any negative feelings or thoughts you’re experiencing due to grudges.

Holding onto anger, resentment, and frustration can fuel longer trains of thought that affect our view of reality. You can become bitter and unhappy. Finding a way to let go of those feelings and also the thoughts that come as a result is crucial in finding forgiveness.

Whether we want to forgive ourselves or someone who has wronged us, doing this meditation can help.

How does it help? What does it do?

Like many mindful practices, there are various forms of meditation for forgiveness. Regardless, the same principles apply throughout. The concepts are to:

  • Bring yourself to the present moment and away from your negative thoughts.
  • Remove emotional blocks that aren’t allowing you to fully experience kindness and love.
  • Let go of negative feelings and find forgiveness in yourself and those who’ve hurt you.

Forgiveness isn’t about getting someone to change their actions or behaviors. When you hold a grudge, it does more to you than the person you’re holding a grudge against. The idea of forgiveness is to find peace within yourself.

Forgiveness is about how it can change your life. Instead of holding onto negative emotions and thoughts, you can let go and finally find peace.

Doing a meditation like this one can become a powerful daily practice to help you find peace daily, and eventually to the point where you don’t even have to practice it regularly.

How to do a meditation for forgiveness

As we said earlier, there are different forms of meditation for forgiveness. However, we’ll be sharing a version of this that we think can help you immediately.

Keep in mind, it’s in your best interest not to force yourself to pardon something that you may not feel ready or safe to do. However, if you feel that you are, we encourage you to practice forgiveness and find compassion in your heart if possible.

As emotions and thoughts come up, simply observe them with a non-judgemental point of view. Let them come and go, just as you would with mindfulness meditation. Now, let’s begin.

Step One: Get into a comfortable position. You can do this sitting down or lying down. You can sit in a chair, on a cushion, or on the floor. Whatever you find most suitable - sit comfortably. No matter your choice, make sure it’s comfortable enough, so it’s not distracting as you begin your meditation.

Step Two: Become aware of your breath. Focus on inhaling through your mouth and exhaling through your nose. You don’t need to follow a breath count; simply follow a pattern that feels comfortable to you. Bring awareness to your breath. Notice how it expands your chest or abdomen as you inhale, and notice how your chest or abdomen collapses as you exhale.

Step Three: Start expanding your awareness to the rest of your body. Notice any sensations you may feel. External and internal. Like your feet against the floor or your heartbeat.

Step Four: Now, bring your attention to your thoughts as they come and go. Look at each thought as a passing event. Think of your mind as the sky and your thoughts as the passing clouds. Simply be aware of them — don’t become them.

Step Five: When you’re ready, begin to bring awareness to the emotions that are within you. Notice the anger, resentment, or frustration you may feel. Become aware of how your heart, body, and mind feel as these emotions arise.

Step Six: Return your attention back to your breathing. Follow your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Then, follow a journey of awareness through the body. Relax your muscles, and invite the possibility of letting go. Bring kind and caring attention to your body.

Step Seven: Now, bring to mind what you have yet to forgive. Whether it was a mistake from your past or someone who has hurt you, become aware of what or who you have not forgiven. Envision what you haven’t forgiven in your mind. Now, if it’s a person, say their name and then say I forgive you. If it’s you, simply say: “I forgive myself.

Step Eight: It’s not so much the words that are important, but more the act of bringing your full attention to the thing or person that is causing you to feel uncomfortable and then feeling and communicating that forgiveness through your heart.

You can choose to follow this directly, or you can do a guided meditation version. The main concept is to become aware of what you’re trying to forgive, feeling it in its entirety, and then forgiving from your heart and letting go.

There are many different versions of this meditation. Do what you feel is best for you and your situation, and use the words that feel right for you.

Conclusion - Forgiveness meditation

Although it’s hard to forgive people and things that have happened, it’s even harder to hold on to a grudge or sentiments that are affecting us negatively.

It’s in everyone’s best interest to let go and move on when they can. Grudges do nothing but harm us and cause suffering - preventing us from living a fulfilling and loving life.

So whether you choose to do a guided meditation or your own, forgiveness means letting and being free of pain and suffering in your own heart in such a way that allows you to live the best life possible and find compassion.

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