Intending to Forgive
© Copyright 2001, Noel Frederick McInnis
"Forgiveness is the release
of all hope for a better past."
How I know I have forgiven someone
is that he or she
has harmless passage in my mind.
-Rev. Karyl Huntley
Unforgiveness is among the most intense of my negative heart-felt intentions. Feelings of unforgiveness bind me to my past, so that I ongoingly re-create it in the present and correspondingly diminish the possibility of realizing my positive intentions. Until I release all hope for a better past, I compromise all hope for a better future. And until I give harmless passage in my mind to all other persons, it is I who suffer the greatest harm.
Unforgiveness is invariably self-diminishing, and thus correspondingly counter-productive of its intended purpose to hurt others. The energy that I invest in unforgiveness functions like compound interest, increasing rather than diminishing my own negativity by amplifying the painful emotional effect upon myself of whatever remains unforgiven. This self-diminishing effect has been described by Della Reese: If I donāt forgive you, and I hold some kind of resentment or grudge inside of me, itās not going to bother you. Youāll go right on with your life, but Iāll be suffering. Iāll have backaches, nervous tension, or disease from the festering sore of this unforgiveness of you in me. Itās not worth that much to me. I wonāt give a person free rent in my mind when I donāt even like that person.
Though I may find myself unable to like some folks, I do not have to give them free rent in my mind by disliking them. The neutrality of neither liking or disliking someone, something or some situation is one of the most powerful states of mind I can maintain. The disempowering and self-diminishing assumption that such neutrality is impossible is an optional belief.
Forgiveness is the release of all self-diminishment by hurtful or harmful thinking and by other negative perception, purpose and intention, a release that frees my energy for the effective accomplishment of positive purposes.
A Comprehensive Forgiveness Program
Forgiveness is an ongoing intentional process that is only rarely experienced as an immediate fait accompli. A persistent and consistently sustained heart-felt intention to practice forgiveness is the key to oneās habitual, timely release of all feelings of unforgiveness. Such intention is self-organizing of its own eventual fulfillment, and productive of the forgiveness thus intended.
The following intention-based program of inventorying and clearing oneās unforgiveness, when practiced persistently and consistently, empowers individuals to free themselves from their own unforgiveness, and from being at the effect of othersā unforgiveness as well.
INVENTORY # 1: Unforgiveness of the past
Start a master list of every person, group and incident (act, situation, circumstance, etc.) concerning whom/which you feel unforgiving. Continue to grow this list as you recall further instances of unforgiveness in your life. Be sure to include in this master list, as applicable, your parents, siblings, children, former spouse(s), current spouse, former and current significant others, former and current employers, childhood companions, friends and ćenemies,ä since-childhood companions, friends and ćenemiesä ö every person, group of persons and category of persons (race, nationality, etc.) that you can remember who has ever been unkind to you or misunderstanding of you, as well as those to whom you yourself have been unkind or misunderstanding. Be likewise sure to include all persons and groups or categories of persons toward whom you have a judgmental, unkind or otherwise diminishing thought or feeling.
INVENTORY # 2: Unforgiveness of the present
Maintain a current list for persons, groups and incidents that become the occasion in the present for new feelings of unforgiveness.
NOTE: The more comprehensively you inventory your unforgiveness, the more forgiving you will become as you proceed to clear your inventories.
CLEARING #1: Forgiveness of the past
Each day, pronounce the following statements of intention for one or more of the persons as well as one or more of the incidents on your master list: I right now intend to forgive (name of person or group/category of persons) for anything that s/he has (or they have) done to me, and I likewise right now intend to forgive myself for anything that I have done to him/her/them. I right now intend to forgive (specify incident) for the hurt that it has brought to me, and I likewise right now intend to forgive myself for any hurt that I have brought to it.
CLEARING #2: Forgiveness of the present
Each day, pronounce the above statements of intention for one or more of the persons/incidents on your current list.
How the Program Works
Refusal to forgive is a self-incapacitating attitude. This program is a powerful way to free oneās own self as well as other selves from limitations that are held in place by unforgiveness.
The power of this program resides more in the persistency, consistency and professed ćright nowä-ness of oneās heart-felt intention than in its specific content of who and what is forgiven. The programās ultimate purpose is to nurture and strengthen oneās overall heart-felt intention to practice forgiveness. The targeting of forgiveness to specific persons, groups and incidents is primarily designed to facilitate the process, and only as a consequence of that process to produce specified outcomes.
It is recommended that in the beginning you apply this program to those persons, groups and incidents that are easiest for you to feel forgiving. This tends to minimize your resistance to the process. Rather than stick with the same person, group or incident until you feel that you have forgiven it, return to it from time to time until the objective has been accomplished. You may also save what you perceive to be the ćhard casesä until you feel that forgiveness is coming more naturally to you. In any event, proceed intuitively through your inventories rather than sequentially or mechanically. Feel your way to forgiveness rather than endeavor to think it out.
As you proceed intuitively, become aware of any patterns of feeling, thought, attitude and behavior that sustain your unforgiveness. Begin an inventory of these patterns as well and add these to your clearing process.
I right now intend to forgive (specify pattern of feeling, thought, attitude, behavior) for the hurt that it has brought to me and others, and I likewise right now intend to forgive myself for creating and maintaining it.
In time you can free yourself completely from unforgiveness, whether or not you are free of it. Just as courage co-exists with fear without being at the effect of it, so can forgiveness be co-existent with hurt. It does take courage to forgive an injury that cannot be forgotten. Such forgiveness is the most courageous act that many persons ever perform.
For more information and resources on forgiveness, you may visit the website of the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance at www.forgivenessday.org.
Inner Revelations, Inc.
(A California 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.)