Sometimes in the effort to forgive others, we fall into a trap of ruminating over something that has hurt us over and over and over again. And I’ve been catching myself doing this recently in an effort to fully forgive and release a particular situation, but instead only digging the trench deeper, hiding behind justifications for why I am right to feel hurt and confronted.

I’ve been giving this situation WAY too much thought, and I know this, but I’ve built this habit of thinking about it the same way, which means I haven’t been able to make any progress in my effort to release the situation from my heart + mind + body.

So in class with my dear teacher Elena Brower yesterday, a particular teaching struck me straight to the core. We were riffing on what forgiveness means in our bodies when Elena shared this piece of wisdom (I’m paraphrasing):

If someone is taking up too much mental real estate over the course of your week, it’s time for a conversation to happen.

And by a conversation, we clearly mean THE conversation: the conversation you are scared shitless to have. The conversation that seems impossible (i.e. No, s/he would NEVER talk about that). The conversation that involves cutting through the deep crap. The conversation that requires us to own and take responsibility for our dynamic and actions in a relationship. The conversation that, hi, moves us toward forgiveness.

There’s a saying that where the attention goes, the prana flows. (Prana being the life force energy that makes this whole shindig happen). So when you divert your attention to a situation, you’re already starting the process of making a shift. You’re diverting energy to the space that is ready to open up and heal.

The question is: are you ready to make that shift? Are you truly willing to look at what is bothering you? Do you really understand how your pain feels in your body + mind?

To answer these questions honestly is to set yourself up for a monumentally healing change in your life. Because when we’re willing to go into our s***, were no longer at its mercy. It’s easy to hide behind justifications, or vengeful + victimized thinking. It’s really easy to feel right. And maybe someone or something did really hurt you. Maybe something happened that really was unfair. Maybe life really did just hand you an s*** sandwich. But what is more healing: being happy or being right? 

What is more productive for you in the long run: being a victim living in pain or learning to overcome pain and challenges with grace and gratitude?

As yogis, we practice ahimsathe principle of non-violence or non-harm. And that usually comes pretty easily when we think of other beings. We can become vegetarians to reduce the suffering of animals. We can be kind and courteous to others. We can do charitable work. We can be nice and sweet and all of these things. But what of ourselves? If we are ruminating on painful things, and wallowing in past emotions, justifying why we deserve to be unhappy or vengeful.what harm is that inducing in our own beings?

The act of forgiving others + forgiving ourselves is the antidote. And that means taking an action you haven’t taken before because they are no longer fully serving you if you are still obsessively thinking about a particular situation. picking up the phone. Sending the email. Writing the letter. Tell this other person in whatever way they can hear you that you release them of the hold they have on your mind + body. Tell them you release yourself of the judgments you have made on your own behavior. Tell them that you are ready to choose to be happy over being right and that you truly wish the same for them, but do not expect them to make the choice until they are open and willing in their own bodies and time.

It is terrifying, yes, to confront those who bring you pain. But remember that you are bringing yourself pain, too, by brooding over these perceived injustices. Take care of yourself first: forgive what needs to be forgiven, and allow the train of forgiveness to seep into the other dimensions of your life.

These situations and relationships are brought into our lives to teach us something. By showing up for your lesson and assimilating what you learn into your everyday actions, you will set the example for those who are ready to forgive, to choose to be happy over being right, to Love, and most of all: to Heal.

Forgiveness is acquired.  It is not inherent in the mind, which cannot sin.  As sin is an idea you taught yourself, forgiveness must be learned by you as well, but from a Teacher other than yourself, who represents the other Self in you.  Through [this teacher] you learn how to forgive the self you think you made, and let it disappear. 

{{ a course in miracles }}

I’ve included a meditation for you take with you and explore the notion of forgiveness in your body. May it serve you and bring healing to your heart.


{ sat nam + namaste }