Love and Gratitude are Keys to Forgiveness
by Stephen Lewis
We must understand that the primary purpose of practicing forgiveness is not for the well-being of those we’re forgiving. Of course, they may benefit, particularly if they’re still involved in your life. I believe, even if they are no longer with you—even if they have transitioned—being forgiven may provide a degree of comfort to their spirit. On the other hand, maybe not. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: The most important beneficiary of your forgiveness is you.
Every person you forgive empowers you, and at the same time disempowers the hold upon you of a past that has become irrelevant.
A friend of mine once said, “If you cannot love your past, you cannot leave your past. Most people are about three years old.” Without, I might add, the accompanying innocence of childhood.
The Eagles musical group sang these words: “Well I know it wasn’t you who held me down. Heaven knows it wasn’t you who set me free. So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains. And we never even know we have the key.”
Well, just what is the key that unlocks the door of our self-imposed prison?
In one word: Recapitulate.
This is what works for me, and I truly believe it will work for you.
Think back on every moment of your life when someone hurt you, injured you. Can you still feel the pain, the anger? If the answer is “Yes” then a part of you still lives back there—then. If there are enough of these people, enough of these incidents, and enough of these parts, there may not be much of you remaining to be here—NOW.
Here is my suggestion. Make a list of these people and call it, My Forgiveness List. Consciously focus on forgiving each new entry. It’s a win/win idea. Every person you forgive empowers you. It provides that much more of you to be available to get on with your life, just as it releases that much more of you to create the only emotions that can heal you and make you thrive—love and gratitude.
I am certainly not recommending you spend all of your time dredging up the past just to add to your Forgiveness List. It is hardly a worthwhile vocation. Just be aware. Catch yourself. When you find yourself drifting back to a negative, painful moment, BINGO! You’ve got another name for your list, another person with whom you can replace your anger and your pain with forgiveness. As your list increases, you too will grow. Remember, you are doing it for you.
Neither am I suggesting you forget about your past. That isn’t possible. You would only make it unconscious, which would condemn you to living in your past. Not a pleasant prospect. Again, you must learn to love everything that has created you, so that you may continue to become more. That can only be done with forgiveness.
When you reach the point where there are no new names to add to your list you are—finally—free to live in the moment, no longer compelled to filter the present through the prism of past resentments. At last, you can trust and feel gratitude. When you release the stuck, old, angry energy, you create a vacuum into which the positive aspects of life can flow. If you are like me, it’s remarkably difficult to focus on the positive without first letting go of the negative.
If you’re a curious person (as I am), just a few more questions remain.
1. Don’t you wish everyone had a Forgiveness List? Wouldn’t it be better if we could all deal with each other as we are, rather than using the distant past as a biased, inaccurate, and inappropriate interpreter?
2. Just how many lists do you think contain your name? It’s inevitable that there are people out there who resent you for some minor, possibly inadvertent slight of which you were not aware, and most likely don’t even remember. If you do remember, who hasn’t done something that he or she would do differently, given the opportunity (see #1 above). That is what is so extraordinary about the movie “Groundhog Day.” Wouldn’t you just love to be able to go back and redo everything you have ever done until you finally get it right? But then, maybe, that‘s what reincarnation is all about.
3. Did you remember to put your own name on your Forgiveness List? Each of us has the definitive role in creating every single moment of his or her life, so let’s acknowledge and accept that we have no other effective, viable choice.
One final thought. We are all in this together, so let’s act accordingly. We must recognize that separation is our only possible adversary and our only potential destruction. Let’s agree that we have only one aim, one aspiration, both individually and collectively, and that is to achieve a higher consciousness. Let’s act together and... get a life!
Stephen Lewis is co-founder of EMC2 and developer of The AIM Program of Energetic Balancing, a spiritual technology that has allowed nearly 50,000 people worldwide to heal themselves. He has earned degrees in homeopathy and acupuncture, both forms of energetic healing. To learn more visit stephenlewis.org or aimprogram.com. Also see the colour display ad on page 39 of the 15.4 November/December
issue of the WHOLifE Journal.