I created this Mindfulness Meditation on Forgiveness for myself and anyone else who feels ready to feel more calm, release distracting resentments, embrace compassion and drop the “blame game”. In order to become more emotionally healthy and present, I have committed to 30 days of meditative practices like this to Restore body and mind well being on a regular basis. Each step of my 30 day Plan has been a short (15 minutes or less) practice to “reboot” body mind and spirit. Should be easy, for a Yoga teacher, right? Yes…and no. Being accountable to self renewal can seem daunting when I’m teaching others, caring for family, need a “refresh” button as moods, regimes and seasons change, etc. Being able to forgive is yet another layer!
Letting go of adding resentment and judgment to challenging and unpleasant situations is a Mindfulness technique that, while requiring focus, does help me reduce stress and boost my clarity. It takes practice, and as a teacher and mother, I have deep compassion for myself and others when we can’t “get there” to Yoga…or Forgiveness quite yet. But isn’t it worth the try? Complete detachment isn’t my goal; I’m practicing staying centered even when the going gets tough.
This Mindfulness Meditation on Forgiveness has 7 Steps and was really born out of my Yoga practice. It combines well with Legs up the wall Yoga pose but if you have a heart condition or can’t access the wall or get on the ground just try lying down and supporting your knees with a pillow.
Why Forgiveness? When you feel a mistake has been made, the “Thinking Mind” often reacts and the “Blame game” ensues. This is a distraction reaction and may pull you out of the present moment where calm and clarity can heal. You can regain mental focus through “mantras” or affirmations, relaxation and gentle breathing. Keep coming back to your Breathing as your emotions and thoughts surge without judgement. Repeatedly commit to relaxing and clearing your “Thinking Mind” and let go of your inner critic as you recite the Forgiveness meditation “mantras”.
Here’s the How to in 7 Steps:
1) Find yourself a comfortable pose like legs up the wall, or put a pillow under your knees in order to get very relaxed as you practice this meditation.
You may need to read this over and be prepared to use these “mantras” a few times to foster the seeds of Forgiveness. You may also use these in the “heat” of the moment – I find that I’m not always meditating when a mistake or mishap occurs:)
2) Bring your attention to the physical sensation of breathing, noting whatever movement your breathing is making. What body part most grabs your attention? Feel whatever you’re feeling now, and without judgment, bringing your attention back to the rising and falling and movement of your breath in the Present Moment. Just FEEL your body gently like a leaf feels water as it floats.
3) Picture something that comes to mind that you blame or judge yourself or another for. You may not have to try hard to picture it if you’re upset and the feelings may be strong. Maybe you feel regret, or irritation, anger or sadness. Notice how it feels – where does your body tighten as you bring it to mind. It’s normal: Our mind naturally holds onto instances where we feel mistakes were made by ourself or others.
4) Focus on one or all of these three “mantra” phrases, EVEN IF IT FEELS FALSE TO “say it”. A Mantra is a word or phrase that sets your intention and redirects your mind.
Forgiveness Focus Mantras:
“I forgive and accept myself
for making mistakes.”
“I forgive myself completely in this present moment.”
BREATHE AND ALLOW YOUR BODY TO RELAX AS YOU REPEAT THE PHRASES…
4) Repeat the Mantras: Gently bring your attention back again and again like you would sweep a strand of hair away from your face and….repeat the phrases.For a few moments just use these mantras as a focus for your attention and repeat them at least 3 – 10 times.
5) Whatever happens its OK. The “Thinking Mind” likes to judge and may chatter about the incident repeatedly. When you find yourself losing focus, or forgetting to breathe, without judging yourself, come back and focus on the Present Moment breathing body. Allow yourself to forgive yourself or the other person if you can. If you can’t “get there” to Forgiveness now, know that this mental and physical Reset will foster Well being and reduce the effect of any resentments on your Body and Mind.
6) Try a Quick Version – One Minute Forgiveness Anywhere Meditation. No Yoga Mat needed.
Things happen, sometimes so fast that we actually NEED to react.
There may be experiences that are or were entirely wrong or traumatic or that concretely require our attention or action.
I am inviting us to act from as clear a mind as possible and avoiding taking on “extra baggage” of shame and blame. This doesn’t mean you can’t dissect your or another’s performance or actions. I find that repetitive resentment feelings take away my mental clarity and tense my body up. As you’ve no doubt experienced, mental distraction can make the situation worse for you than the mistake itself.
*One Minute Forgiveness Anywhere Meditation: Pick the phrase above that connects most for you and repeat it as you remember to breathe.
Try using these additional mantras in the Present Moment when you or someone else had made a mistake:
“I will not accept your act but I forgive you for your mistake.”
“I forgive myself (and or you) in this Present Moment for making a mistake. ”
“I forgive and accept myself even though this action affected me.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TECHNIQUE YOU CAN USE IS TO SIMPLY RETURN IN THE PRESENT MOMENT TO YOUR BREATHING, AND RELAX THE “THINKING MIND”.
7) Compassion is the Key.
Practices of this kind can be quite challenging.
Be compassionate with yourself. It’s ok and normal to have strong feelings, and to react when we or someone else makes a mistake. We are practicing these Mindfulness techniques to better cope and to stay more consistently clear and focused.
When you feel forgiveness does not come easily, try self-compassion.
On each in-breath, notice and accept whatever you feel. On each out-breath, as you would for a close friend, offer yourself compassion, or strength, or whatever first comes to mind.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean being passive or not taking action. It doesn’t mean standing down when we need to protect ourselves or someone else from harm.
Do what needs to be done—that might mean taking a pause, settling the mind, and trying to see things as clearly as possible before taking skillful action.
I continue to practice meditation, present moment Breathing, and the other pieces of my Restore plan as they powerfully enhance my Well being. Doing a Plan has helped me recommit to self care. I practice these Mindfulness techniques regularly, over and over again *when I can*, just like I brush my teeth every day. I do forgive myself for not meditating – or flossing as often as I should:)!
I invite you to Mindfully forgive and let go of whatever holds you back.