Gary Zukav, in his book The Seat of the Soul, noted that "an authentically empowered person is one who forgives. Forgiveness is not a moral issue. It is an energy dynamic. Forgiveness means you do not carry the baggage of an experience."
Two of the most important concepts that have helped me in my personal spiritual journey are the knowledge that the Kingdom of Heaven is within and my understanding of the power of forgiveness. When I was going through my dark night of the soul, feeling down and out as well as tremendous guilt for what I thought I had done to my life, the forces of the universe led me to Unity. I had no interest in anything that smacked of religion or spirituality and had not set foot inside a spiritual community for over 15 years. Yet there I was, sitting in the back of that auditorium, listening to a message on forgiveness.
I learned that forgiveness is never about the other person. As the Buddha noted, we forgive others not because they deserve it; we forgive because we deserve peace.
I recently caught a portion of a radio program in which the guest pointed out that up to 25 percent of Americans feel continually depressed over long periods of time. He shared that there is something much deadlier than the normal pressures of day-to-day life or even a chemical imbalance. He noted that, based on his many years of helping people who suffer from depression, a number of them are victims of their own resentful thoughts.
Why does every major spiritual tradition put so much emphasis on forgiveness? Because unforgiveness does not work the way we intend it to. We may think the person we direct our hostility toward will suffer or be impacted in some way, but no one suffers like the one casting out the negative energy. To harbor resentment toward another person, a past event or an institution is like picking up a burning coal with intent of throwing it at someone else. However, it only sticks like molasses to the person who picked it up and they burn their own flesh.
After his divorce, there was a man who held deep resentment toward his ex-wife for more than 12 years. Eventually, he discovered she had been dead for 10 of those 12 years. This story is a reminder that no one suffers like the one casting blame and hostile thoughts toward the so-called "other." As Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of Unity noted, "If we try to free ourselves while holding another in bondage with condemning thoughts, we cannot demonstrate our own freedom."
If you need to forgive someone, something or even yourself, here are steps you can follow:
1. Be aware of your need to forgive.
2. Be willing to forgive.
3. Ask Spirit for help and guidance.
4. Be willing to face and feel your feelings.
5. Own your feelings without blaming or judging anyone else.
6. Surrender the results to Spirit.
7. Repeat steps 2 through 6 as often as necessary.
8. Be patient with yourself.
When we practice forgiveness, we clear the energy field around us so we can catch the divine ideas Spirit has in store for ourselves and our world.
That is the power of forgiveness.
Peace and Blessings,
P.S. If you are ready to change your energy field and accelerate your spiritual growth, claim your place in our upcoming Lessons in Truth course. Listen to Maya Angelou tell Oprah Winfrey about how this foundational Unity book transformed her life:
Register for Lessons in Truth before the course begins on Monday, March 6.