Last year was the “Year of Sufficiency.” This year, of course, is the “Year of Being a Blank Canvas.”
With each, I am finding a concurrent and ongoing need to forgive if I am to achieve my goals.
This makes sense to me.
For example, if I am seeking a true experience of sufficiency (“enough”), a lack of forgiveness clearly points to areas in my life where I still feel a sense of scarcity instead.
So before sufficiency can flow in, the sense of scarcity must first be mended.
In a similar way, I am finding it incredibly difficult to be and see a blank canvas (perceiving what draws us together rather than what appears to separate us) when it comes to people I feel have harmed me in some way.
With these folks, and sometimes even with strangers who look like these folks, there is a clear and persistent block. Either I refuse to see them or think about them at all (either in person or in my mind’s eye), or when I make the attempt at either, I am held back by my own strong emotion.
Speaking of which, a few months back, I posted about one big “aha moment” I had around forgiveness, which is that I have a much easier time forgiving non-human beings than I do forgiving human beings (you can read more about that in this blog post).
This past week, I had another welcome breakthrough on the forgiveness front.
This breakthrough comes courtesy of the work of Dr. Weiss, a psychiatrist who specializes in examining past and future lives to heal present life wounds (you can read more about my initial discovery of his work in this blog post).
A story he shared in one of his books gave me an idea for a new method to forgive people. He suggested it can be helpful to look into another person’s eyes and try to see your own soul staring back at you. He said this could foster a sense of being “all in this together” that could be very healing.
I loved this suggestion! I especially loved it because, up until now, attempting to truly forgive anyone for anything was starting to feel a whole lot like that game where you get a big hammer and you hit things that pop up through holes on the game board and then they go down, but as soon as you move away to hit a different thing, the one you just hit pops right back up again.
Basically what I am saying is that I have been forgiving the same people over and over and over again, and they just won’t seem to stay forgiven.
So this morning I started trying Dr. Weiss’s suggestion. I would visualize an individual in need of re-forgiveness. Then I would focus all of my attention on their eyes, peering through their eyes intently until I felt I could see their soul staring back at me.
Then I would wait until my soul and their soul recognized each other and realized they were one and the same (soul mates, I suppose….?) and greeted one another with delight.
Then I would contemplate the issue or experience in need of healing. In every case, with each person I tried this tactic with, my strong emotion towards the person and/or the situation faded quite significantly.
Right now as I type this, it is mid-way through the day and I am still feeling better about the people/situations I worked on this morning. No one seems to need re-forgiveness as of yet. If I wake up tomorrow and all is still well, I might do Dr. Weiss’s exercise on them again just to make sure it “took,” but for the moment, I am quite encouraged by the results.
I guess to sum it up, I’m learning it is quite easy to stay mad at a person. But it is far more challenging to stay mad at a soul…especially when my soul and their soul seem to like one another very much and get along quite well together.
If you want to try it, here are the steps I’m using in a more succinct list:
- Close your eyes (you don’t need to, but I like to close mine for focus).
- Think of a person who needs forgiving (or re-forgiving).
- Visualize their face in your mind’s eye.
- Ignoring everything else, look only into their eyes.
- Look past anything else you may visualize as you do this (like the eyeball, the brain, et al) until you feel like you connect with their essence, or soul if you are okay with that word. Basically look for whatever makes them human like you are also human.
- When you feel like you are looking at that aspect of them, continue gazing and connect with that same aspect inside you – your soul, your essence, your self, whatever you call the aspect that makes you human.
- Allow that aspect of you to shine through to greet the other person’s soul or essence.
- Feel the connection in that most fundamental aspect of your shared humanity or your shared being-ness.
- Now, while still staying in soul-to-soul contact with the other person, think of the experience prompting your need to forgive this person.
- Wait a moment or two and see if experiencing them at this deep, vulnerable, fundamental level eases the emotion and makes the forgiveness part easier.
Today’s Takeaway: If you do decide to try this exercise, I sure would love to hear any experiences you may have! If you decide to edit the steps or how you think about them or your visualizations, I’d love to hear your suggestions as well!