Forgiveness & Friendship
by By Stay McCarthy
How appropriate that National Friendship Day and National Forgiveness Day fall on the same calendar date! Forgiveness is often an integral part of honest friendship, as mistakes are bound to be made by perfectly imperfect people.
Friendships can fly high and fall low. Through these cycles, it is how we rise together that determines the longevity and quality of our relationships. And it’s no easy feat. Rising up can take all of our will, a heavy dose of hope, and bold determination to let go of what doesn’t serve you as an individual and a partner (in friendship and beyond).
But the struggle, like the glorious climb up a mountain, is always worthwhile. Like a climber uses certain tools to make his ascent, there are tools we can use as conscious, loving humans to make the trek up the mountain to our Best Self.
Forgiveness is an invaluable tool up this mountain. For some the practice of forgiving may come easily, but for others it may take years to truly forgive… Whether you are aiming to forgive yourself for a mistake made, forgive your parents for a childhood of hardship, or a friend for making a petty comment that is weighing on your heart, forgiveness is not a practice done in vain… Do the work. The view from the mountain top is spectacular.
Resentment, the opposite of forgiveness, is a poison that kills you slowly. While it may seem harmless, eventually you will notice that you have been stuck on the same point of your journey for days, months, years- your Best Self and your Best Friendship left waiting for your rise. Learning to forgive, you will find, is absolutely mandatory if you are to move forward. Forgive whoever hurt you, betrayed you, abandoned or abused you. Lighten your load, and climb.
Forgiveness does not mean to condone or justify harmful actions, or to deny that something wrong as happened. Forgiveness is not passive acceptance. It is the action of letting go of the hold of a person or situation- releasing the karma of the past, letting your heart be free, your mind be at ease, and your body be relieved from the burden of resentment. Forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts of a spiritual life, and an integral part of friendship.
Try one or all of the following meditation practices to forgive and proceed with love and kindness.
The Practice of Forgiveness:
Buddhist Forgiveness Prayer:
This forgiveness prayer is traditionally recited prior to the metta loving-kindness practice. They are similar in that each involves repeating 3 phrases. Repeat each phrase three times. Begin by breathing softly into the heart… and repeat to yourself. Let the words, images and feelings grow deeper as you repeat them.
The Forgiveness Practice
- For whatever harm I have caused others, may they forgive me.
- For whatever harm others have caused me, may I forgive them.
- For whatever harm I have caused myself, I forgive myself.
Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. The Hawaiian word translates into English simply as correction. This practice is particularly potent when you are working to forgive yourself, or are seeking forgiveness from someone you have harmed intentionally or unintentionally. Hold the person who’s forgiveness you are seeking in your mind’s eye as you repeat these four phrases three times each.
- I’m Sorry
- Please Forgive Me
- I Love You
- Thank You
Loving Kindness Meditation:
The Loving Kindness (Metta) Meditation is not specifically an act of forgiveness, yet it is. In this meditation you are working to invite in a sense of peace, love, acceptance and compassion for yourself, someone else in particular, and all beings. Similar to the first two practices, repeat the Loving Kindness Meditation three times. In your second recitation of these phrases, replace “I” with the name or the image of someone you are seeking to forgive. On your third recitation, replace “I” with “we” (representing all sentient beings).
- May I be filled with Loving Kindness
- May I be well
- May I be peaceful and at ease
- May I be happy
You can find Stacy’s Loving Kindness Meditation Video on Youtube HERE.
May all of your hearts be free of pain, your minds be at ease, and your smiles glowing. May your friendships blossom and grow. May you stand at the top of the mountain of your Best Self, and continue to Forgive what is no longer serving you.
All my best,