A Course in Forgiveness by Gerald Crawford

I offer you a on-line and two day forgiveness course in Cape Town, Johannesburg, New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Chicago, Ontario, ‎Dublin and Auckland. Develop gratitude with grace and change your life with a universal truth.

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Letting Go of the Past

Today we are going to look at affirmations to help us let go of the past and move on. The past is over and done and cannot be changed. This – the here and now – is the only moment we can experience.

Even when we lament about the past, we are experiencing our memory of it in this moment, and losing the real experience of this moment in the process.

Many people come to me and say they cannot enjoy today because of something that happened in the past. Because they did not do something or do it in a certain way in the past, they cannot live a full life today.

Because they no longer have something they had in the past, they cannot enjoy today. Because they were hurt in the past, they will not accept love now, and so on. These negative statements simply keep them powerless to live their lives in the here and now.

Here are some more specific examples. Do any of them resonate with you?

  • Because I did not get invited to the high school prom, I cannot enjoy life today.
  • Because I did poorly at my first audition, I will be terrified of auditions forever.
  • Because I am no longer married, I cannot live a full life today.
  • Because I was hurt by a remark once, I will never trust anyone again.
  • Because I stole something once, I must punish myself forever.
  • Because I was poor as a child, I will never get anywhere.

What we often refuse to realize is that holding on to the past – no matter what it was or how awful it was – is only hurting us. “They” really don’t care. Usually, “they” are not even aware. We are only hurting ourselves by refusing to live in this moment to the fullest.

Let us now clean up the past in our minds. We need to release the emotional attachment to it. Allow the memories to be just memories. If you think back to what you used to wear in the third grade, usually
there is no emotional attachment. It’s just a memory. It can be the same for all of the past events in our lives. As we let go, we become free to use all of our mental power to enjoy this moment and to
create a great future.

You don’t have to keep punishing yourself for the past.

  • List all of the things you’re willing to let go of.
  • How willing are you to let go? Notice your reactions, and write them down.
  • What will you have to do to let these things go? How willing are you to do so?
  • For each thing you wrote down on your list, write a positive affirmation to help you release it.

Exercise: Letting Go

You will remember this exercise from day 4; at this stage of your development, letting go is a crucial exercise to release your negative thoughts. It takes a little practice for the routine to become a part of you.

We’re going to go through it once more now, but you should repeat this exercise whenever thoughts of difficulty come up. You will be able to relax completely in any situation.

As you read this, take a deep breath and, as you exhale, allow all the tension to leave your body. Let your scalp and your forehead and your face relax. Your head does not need to be tense in order for you to read. Let your tongue and your throat and your shoulders relax. You can hold a book with relaxed arms and hands.

Do that now. Let your back and your abdomen and your pelvis relax. Let your breathing be at peace as you relax your legs and feet.

Is there a big change in your body since you began the previous paragraph? Notice how much you hold on. If you are doing it with your body, you are doing it with your mind.

In this relaxed, comfortable position, say to yourself, “I am willing to let go. I release. I let go. I release all tension. I release all fear. I release all anger. I release all guilt. I release all sadness. I let go of all old limitations.

I let go, and I am at peace. I am at peace with myself. I am at peace with the process of life. I am safe.”

Exercise: Physical Releasing

Sometimes we need to experience a physical letting go. Experiences and emotions can get locked in the body. Screaming in the car with all the windows rolled up can be very releasing if we have been stifling our verbal expression. Beating the bed or kicking pillows is another harmless way to release pent-up anger or frustration. If you feel embarrassed or inhibited by the idea of expressing yourself so physically, say to yourself:

“I give myself permission to acknowledge my feelings and release past experiences.” Or if this is really not your style, play a sport such as tennis, or go running. A while ago, I had a pain in my shoulder for a day or two. I tried to ignore it, but it wouldn’t go away. Finally, I sat down and asked myself, “What is happening here? What am I feeling?”

I realized, “It feels like burning. Burning … burning … that means anger.

What are you angry about?”

I couldn’t think of what I was angry about, so I said, “Well, let’s see if we can find out.” I put two large pillows on the bed and began to hit them with a lot of energy.

After about twelve hits, I realized exactly what I was angry about. It was so clear. So I beat the pillows even harder and made some noise and released the emotions from my body. When I got through, I felt much better, and the next day my shoulder was fine.

Affirmations for Letting Go of the Past:

Make these affirmations part of your daily routine. Say them often in the car, at work, while looking in the mirror, or anytime you feel your negative beliefs surfacing.

  • The past is over and cannot be changed. This is the only moment I can experience.
  • I now choose to release every negative, destructive, fearful idea and thought from my mind and my life.
  • It is healing to show my emotions. It is safe for me to be vulnerable.
  • I release the need to blame anyone, including myself.
  • My heart is open. I am willing to release all resistance.
  • I now release anger in positive ways. I love and appreciate myself.
  • I move beyond old limitations and now express myself freely and creatively.
  • I am willing to release the need to be unworthy. I am becoming all that I am destined to be.
  • It is safe for me to go beyond my parents’ limitations. I am free to be me.
  • I release all struggle now, and I am at peace.
  • I release any limitations based on old, negative thoughts. I joyfully look forward to the future.
  • I say “Out!’ to every negative thought about the past that comes into my mind.
  • I release any feelings of competition or comparison from the past.

Ref:. Louise L. Hay – 21 Days Affirmations

Forgiveness vs Acceptance: Tools for Emotional Freedom

Human history is filled with battles that started in individual minds and later resulted in human suffering. Learn why forgiveness and acceptance can be the key to your success.

The human mind is a labyrinth of emotions. You may often ponder about your past experiences and, by doing so, create a mindset that reacts to future events accordingly. The mind is a river of thoughts, which is flowing constantly. Your thoughts decide the state of your mental and emotional health.

Ayurveda and Yoga have given paramount importance to your ability to draw your attention inward – to look at your own mind that is not only generating the thoughts but also constantly changing the neurochemistry and various physiological functions.

The Sanskrit term for “mind” is Manas, which means to think, ponder, analyze, and decide. The six negative emotions (Shadripu) that weigh you down are the following:

  • Lust
  • Anger
  • Jealousy
  • Greed
  • Egotism
  • Delusion

Over-Attachment & Intoxication
These toxic emotions can make you bitter, inflexible, and rigid. The practice of Ayurveda and Yoga is a powerful form of behavioral medicine. They can teach you to be flexible, not just in the body, but in the mind. The very first sign of spiritual growth is to be kind, accepting, and forgiving without holding any grudges or resentment.

Psychologists define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate process to release feelings of resentment. The very first step toward self-realization is to accept things as they are and practice forgiveness. It frees your mind from the bondage of the past and the future. It cultivates infinite flexibility, which is the very secret to immortality.

Acceptance is not a passive or weak trait in your personality, but it makes you resilient and spiritually strong. It is recognizing a process or condition without attempting to change it. When you see and accept things as they are, you train yourself to be nonjudgmental, which leads to a stable intellect.

Any fear of acceptance and rigidity makes it almost difficult to practice forgiveness. Carrying old grudges, resentment, bitter experiences, and pre-conditioning makes your mind a stagnant puddle, which is not able to drain and flow properly.

These are all human emotions, but as you become more self-aware and work on self-regulation, you are able to correct the faulty patterns of your instinctual behavior. It is the way you train your mind to accept or feel accepted. Your lack of ability to accept people and situations often creates walls of false ego, isolation, and anger. Vedanta tells you that the world that is full of form and phenomena is an illusion, and you must rise above your sensory experience to understand the true nature of reality.

Below are the best ways to practice being self-aware, structuring a daily practice of self-regulation, and becoming more accepting and forgiving.

1. Detach
Develop a habit of detaching yourself from the experience for a few seconds. This will blunt the edge of the emotion you are experiencing. This is a conscious act of dispassionate detachment that creates a buffer between the outer and inner worlds. This can be done with some deep breathing or a quick one-minute meditation. The key is to do this in moments of joy and exhilaration, as well as anger and sadness. This prepares your mind for a state of equanimity.

2. Channel Opposite Emotions
Bring in the opposite emotion (Pratipaksha Bhavana …Yoga Sutra): Counter anger with love, fear with faith, and loss with gratitude. Bringing in the opposite, but positive, emotion helps you change your perception of a given situation. It can make you optimistic, resilient, and energetic. Toxic emotions take away your energy, and positive emotions restore your vitality down to the cellular level. It is a habit that you should cultivate to be present, listen, and choose a sacred response.

3. Express Your Feelings
Discuss, talk, or journal your feelings. If you cannot do it yourself, find a friend or a sounding board who can help you understand your pain, fear, or anxiety. You will suddenly realize that you are giving more power to the offender to dominate your mind and body. As you accept, forgive, and release the pent-up emotion, you feel powerful and happy.

4. Be Patient
The world is full of challenges and imperfections. The more you dwell on those situations, the more you limit yourself from experiencing freedom and joy. There is no perfect solution to every challenge, but time is a great equalizer, and patience is an expression of timeless awareness.

5. Reflect
Reflect upon what has happened and explore the reasoning behind why people behave in certain ways and how your reaction can make the matter worse. Practicing a gentle pause, giving them the benefit of doubt, and converting your hurt into compassion toward them remedies the situation.

6. Practice Understanding
Understanding your own personality, belief systems, upbringing, and conditioning is one of the main obstacles to acceptance and forgiveness. You acquire traits from good or bad role models and, hence, you have to be careful about the company you keep or your sensory experiences. Choose your friends wisely and look for spiritual qualities in their behavior.

7. Practice Self-Love
The last and most important is self-love. It is not narcissism but a constant act of personal growth with meditation, pure foods, exercise, and a positive but purposeful lifestyle. Healthy people are more likely to be happy and forgiving.

Empower yourself with a let-go attitude and create lightness of being. By inserting these practices into your daily routine, you will become resilient and self-aware.

The goal is not to detach from emotion, but rather to understand the basis of emotions and, using these tools, to learn from them for spiritual fitness.

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I offer you two day forgiveness course in Cape Town, Johannesburg, New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Chicago, Ontario, ‎Dublin and Auckland.