Freedom Watercolor by Shulamit Elson

An Easier Path to Forgiveness

“To err is human, to forgive divine.” That about sums up how hard it is to let go of a grievance.

Yet, it can be done, and not only in response to a perceived slight, but in reaction to profoundly hurtful behavior. You don’t need high moral character; “regular” people have also succeeded in forgiving.

Nevertheless, many find the path to forgiveness hard. Nursing a grievance can be quite satisfying, and we may take a small pleasure in turning it over and over in our minds, massaging it, and keeping it alive in our memory. And it sometimes seems that if we forgive, we are letting the offending party off the hook. But in reality, we are the ones on the hook.

Anger can be justified and necessary, but it is not productive when you hold on to it.

I am as familiar as the next person with undeserved insults and emotional pain. I have waited years for apologies that never came. But honestly, would even a “perfect” apology have fully satisfied me? Probably not.

Even when we acknowledge to ourselves that forgiveness is more liberating than anger, even when we know that accepting an apology can bring inner peace and take us to a healthier and freer place, both mentally and spiritually, forgiveness is hard.

After years of striving to be a better person, I had to admit defeat. Trying to be forgiving by appealing to my better angels wasn’t working. As it happened, one year I had begun to work on developing compassionate responses to challenges through MediSounds® Sound Meditation. In the process, I realized that unless — and until — I developed compassion for myself and my fellow human beings, I would always find forgiveness difficult to achieve.

It turns out that developing compassion brings with it the gift of forgiveness. No undue effort or force is needed, because forgiveness is a natural byproduct of the practice of a compassionate attitude.

Compassion is an act of will and does not come naturally, so it does take discipline to integrate the concept into your life.

Fortunately, there is a powerful sound-based meditation process for developing compassion.

WHAT IS COMPASSION?

My favorite definition of compassion is “a detached sympathy for one’s own and another’s humanity.” We are all complicated and are capable of both noble and ignoble acts.

The practice of compassion encourages you to feel kindness toward yourself and others, experiencing genuine sympathy for our shared humanity and for our human flaws. A lot of our bad behavior arises out of blindness, ignorance, and unhappiness. We all act badly from time to time.

Compassion is something you have to practice if you want to gain from its many gifts: increased happiness, improved relationships, and a generous spirit that doesn’t hold on to grudges, and knows how to forgive.

It’s is a muscle that needs building.

And life gives us plenty of opportunities to practice.

WHY DOES SOUND MEDITATION WORK?

The discipline of noticing and looking at problems in a new way — with a clear eye, unemotionally, can be greatly enhanced by Sound Meditation.

Using your own voice to vocalize specific calming sounds silences with intention will produce a sense of detached love and compassion.

MediSounds® Sound Meditation is effective because it draws on universal vibration which underlies all existence. The ancients understood the power of sound to heal.

Here’s how:

Find a quiet place without distractions. Sit comfortably. Loosen any tight clothing.

Settle yourself by breathing gently through your nose and concentrating on your breath for a couple of minutes until you feel yourself relaxing.

Set your intention to generate compassion for yourself and those that have offended you.

Place your hand over your heart. Pitch the “AH” sound through your heart as if your heart

were your mouth. If you are vocalizing correctly, you will feel the vibration underneath

your hand.

Be attentive. For maximum effectiveness you don’t want to make the sound too low or too

high. Make a few sounds until you are satisfied that you are pitching it correctly.

Set your intention that every sound you make is dedicated toward increasing love and

compassion.

Breathe in and on the exhalation make the sound of AH, without strain. Keep the sound

going for a long as the breath lasts. Do not force a longer sound.

Feel the vibration underneath your hand.

To start, sound a minimum of 6 times. As you get more accomplished, you can increase the

number of sounds. Sounding for 5 minutes or more will produce lovely results.

Dedicate a series of MediSounds® as follows:

6 sounds to yourself,

6 sounds to the person(s) with whom you are having difficulty,

6 sounds to all the beings of the world,

6 sounds to yourself.

Keep the intention of love and kindness in each sound as you direct it to each person/group.

Sound reverberates through the atmosphere and has an impact beyond your immediate surroundings.

Do this twice daily and the attitude of compassion and forgiveness will seep into your daily life.

Remember, when confronted by a difficult situation take a moment before reacting. Make a conscious effort to be compassionate to yourself for having to undergo this discomfort and compassionate to the fellow human who is behaving badly.

If you’re truly sympathetic to your offender, then what exactly is there to forgive?

Remember, this forgiveness does not require forgetfulness. You don’t have to let toxic people into your life. You can distance yourself, and at the same time get to a point where you never think about these insults.

Vibration, MediSounds® Meditative Sounds, are beautiful, easy to do, and powerful in promoting peace, centeredness, and release from anger and grudges.

WHEN YOU USE COMPASSION AS A PATH TO FORIVENESS, REMEMBER:

Compassion is not empathy.

Compassion is detached, rational and not fueled by anger. Kindness and forgiveness arises naturally and easefully from this attitude.

Empathy is emotional, and accepts feelings as they are. It leads to identification with feeling, not forgiveness.

BENEFITS OF FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness brings peace, defangs your opponent, and in cases of righteous anger, allows you to act thoughtfully, and with competence to address problems.

Inner peace is a large component of happiness.

Sound Healer, author of Kabbalah of Prayer ~ Sacred Sounds & Soul’s Journey, Founder of Great Octave Foundation, Creator of Medisounds® Meditation & Sleep Apps

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