Forgiveness is a common spiritual topic. It’s not helpful to cling to hurt, to freeze actions in time, to use our energy grinding over the same old past. We all know that forgiving others for hurting us would bring us many benefits. But it’s hard to do! Most of the exercises meant to help us let go are mental—changing our perception of a situation, putting it in a bigger context. True forgiveness is more than mental. True Forgiveness involves the heart and the psyche, it describes a change in the energy vibration of our body.
Maybe it’s not as hard as we think.
I was working in a small group when I interrupted someone with a defensive outburst. Although it didn’t cause great harm, it was embarrassing and inappropriate. I apologized to the person and to the group. For me, that just didn’t seem like enough. The next time I saw the person I had interrupted I apologized again asked him to forgive me. He was ready to brush it off, saying that it was no big deal. But I stuck with it and asked for his forgiveness. He readily forgave me. In that moment, I felt a burden lift right off of me. I no longer needed to keep revisiting my “sin”, or have it stand in the middle of my relationship with the group member. I could move on.
A few days later, I was talking with another friend when the topic came up again. She was considering asking her son for forgiveness around some parenting issues. It wasn’t that both of them hadn’t contributed to their obstacles, but she felt that asking for forgiveness for her part might help open their relationship to more honesty and sharing. At first, I thought that asking him to “give” something to her might be going too far—why not just apologize and let it go at that? But as we talked about it, I remembered how I had asked forgiveness of that group member, and how it changed the energy dynamic between us.
When my friend and I parted that evening, I spontaneously said to her “I’m sorry for all of the mean things I’ve ever said to you. Will you forgive me?”. She immediately said Yes, and then said to me “I’m sorry for all of the mean things I’ve ever said to you. Will you forgive me?”. Of course I said Yes. We hugged, and I felt an instant lightening around the energy of our relationship. It was sweet and beautiful!
Neither of us had needed to list the wrongs, the things we were sorry for, what was underlying them, how they might have hurt us—we didn’t need to analyze it. We didn’t even need to think about it. We just needed to do it.