The word below has been hailed in just about every major spiritual text, it is the centerpiece of hundreds of songs (rock, folk, and even opera), and if used properly, it can create almost immediate transformation in your life.
The word is forgiveness.
Over the past month I’ve had the honor of meeting with a few people who miraculously healed themselves of serious illness. In these conversations, one word has come up repeatedly as being the secret to their recovery. You guessed it.
We learn about forgiving others when we’re young, but somehow when we get older and more set in our ways, this simple act can become elusive. Life is funny that way, right? Often when we find ourselves in a life “predicament”, we just need to revisit the basic travel tips that were laid out for us early on.
“To err is human, to forgive divine.” – Alexander Pope
What is actually happening during this godly act? One thing is for sure, we are doing the unthinkable. We are defying every impulse that has led us to associate an individual with pain and suffering. Rather than continuing a tempting pattern, we are hitting the reverse switch and flooding unconditional love and compassion back into the equation.
Unconditional love and compassion. These three power words feel so right, but sometimes it’s hard to find a cut and dried, no B.S. way to work them into our reality. When we’ve made a decision about someone after they’ve broken our trust, it can be very difficult to overturn our initial ruling and do the opposite.
A backdoor approach that helps us get around the ego and be less rigid is a regular forgiveness practice. This is absolutely critical if you are trying to recover from an illness naturally.
Wisdom of the ages
Whether you’re talking to an Amazonian shaman, a bush medicine woman from the Caribbean or a granny healer from North Carolina, they’ll most likely tell you that herbs, prayers, and energy techniques are only part of the healing picture.
My friend Christine, a granny healer from North Carolina, pretty much summed it up last week when we were talking about a few cancer patients she was helping. She is too humble to tell most people this, but Christine has helped a number of folks heal their cancer naturally over the past few decades. Many of them would tell you they owe her their lives.
According to her, “The herbs and other interventions won’t do a lick of good if the patient doesn’t have their life right. All the natural medicine in the world can’t undo a toxic relationship with another or one with yourself.”
Her first prescription for her patients is a daily forgiveness practice.
“Sometimes we must do the unthinkable if we are to experience the impossible.” ~ Unknown
It is a common shamanic understanding that spiritual and energetic blocks are what lie at the center of disease. If this is the case, then consider your grudges and resentments to be the bricks and mortar of these walls of inner stagnation. The fastest way to dissolve them and begin recirculating life force is through forgiveness.
The biggest misconception around the term forgive is that this act is mainly benefitting the “offender”. “He insulted me and I was angry, but you know it’s been a long time and he’s learned his lesson, so I guess I’ll forgive him.” In this context, forgiveness is considered a sacrifice we make to take the moral high road.
But what about the benefit to us, the “offended”, who have been wasting countless hours stewing, fearing, belaboring, plotting, regretting – all sour mental activities that do not lead to a harmonious existence?
Like a rising tide, forgiveness floats all ships, including our own. And we all know someone, whether friend or foe, who is ripe for a pardon.
Forgiving ain’t easy. Sometimes it can feel darn near impossible. Our rational mind has a set of black and white rules accompanied by some absolute no-fly-zones. When these boundaries are violated, it can be hard for us to lower the drawbridge again.
This is the real work. No smoke and mirrors or fancy candlelit ceremonies – just you and your truth.
If you are to truly thrive in this life, grudges and resentment have no place in your spiritual or physical organism. There is a reason this is spoken about in every major religion on earth – our health, happiness, and the well being of our cherished loved ones depend on it.
So where to start?
Below is a very simple forgiveness practice that you can try right now. If it moves you, keep it in your back pocket for regular use. But most importantly, find some way to integrate forgiveness for yourself and others into your spirit path. For those of you that already do this actively, a gentle reminder never hurt anyone, now did it? ☺
A simple forgiveness practice:
1. Write out on a piece of paper any relationship that immediately comes to mind when you think of forgiveness. If that doesn’t work, think of the one or two people in your life that you have an unresolved conflict with. I would advise you use a pen and paper for this – it helps to get yourself off the computer screen and really take some space for this.
2. For each person, write out exactly what it is that created the sense of uneasiness, offense, or negativity. Be as specific as possible as these thoughts and beliefs are what hold the charge in us.
3. Feel into the memory: put yourself in that situation once again and remember the pain or discomfort that you experienced from what your “forgivee” did or said. Sometimes looking at a picture of the person for this part is very powerful (Facebook can be a sacred helper here!).
4. Cultivate empathy: it is much easier to forgive someone when we can imagine what it’s like to be them. Flip the script and try to imagine what they were feeling, what challenges they were facing, how they were suffering when they committed the act.
(I’ve gotten into this weird habit of over-sympathizing with the other driver when I get cut off in traffic. I tell myself that I have no idea what kind of day they are having or where they are speeding off to. Could be the hospital, could be a terrible job they hate… Might be none of those, but this practice immediately brings in compassion – I’ll take it.)
5. Repeat this as many times as it takes until you feel the emotional intensity around the scenario begin to ease. If you begin to feel compassion for the other person, it might be time to pick up the phone, or pull out the stationary and bring conscious closure to this issue. Whether that means rekindling a friendship, or a peaceful pardon before moving on.
6. Be patient: real and lasting forgiveness doesn’t happen instantaneously. It can take time. This is why an ongoing forgiveness practice like this can be so beneficial.
Director, The Sacred Science
It is profoundly encouraging to glance through the methodology.If one is determined to improve these are the recommended systems to be practised.
I so much appreciate your help without your knowledge of it.I read your messages all the time. This current on really hit me hard. You woke me up! ! I have some hard work ahead of me. Thank you.
This was so very helpful! I was getting to this in my head, but your message just confirmed that I was on the right path. Thanks!
This is great stuff and perfect timing. I just learned about an old Hawaiin practice Ho’ Oponopono and I feel the steps you laid out would be a great compliment to the practice. In Ho’ Oponopono, one takes 100% responsibility for the events and experiences in their life. This is not taking on fault or blame but responsibility. The simple practice in the context of forgiveness is, with someone in mind who has hurt or offended you, take some time to do a healing by saying ‘thank you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you.’ This can be repeated until things begin to feel differently. I tried it for the first time recently with my former boss who fired me out of he blue for no discernible reason. I was so shocked and offended and was carrying strong negative emotions about it. I was wronged or treated unfairly after suffering so much, etc. After doing this practice I was able to see her reality and empathy came up. It felt like the negative charge was transformed and I was actually able to see how it was more like a gift that I was fired and that feels so much better. It’s allowed me to let go of repetitive painful thoughts and instead feel neutral and even good about the whole thing. I immediately began to see how this practice could be done for so many others from the past hurts I’ve carried along with me. I would put it in after step 4 here in your outline. Thanks so much for this article!
dear nick, thank you for this timely reminder….I have a lot of resentments that have been building up and know the path of compassion and forgiveness, and gratitude is one of health and healing for my body, mind, and spirit…blessings your way.
Thank you, I really needed this today. With all this hurt I’m holding to, I can feel it in my body. I have forgotten how powerful FORGIVENESS is and how it heals everything. With love Madeline
I so appreciate this aspect of healing- for ourselves, for our brethren, for all sentient beings, and for the planet. If we want full vibrational healing, the core is just as you wrote. Thank you.
Thank you, Nick, for all your words of wisdom. I always appreciate and make reading your emails a priority 🙂
Nick, thank you.
I thought you might care to know that B.S. is a babyish way that one expresses things in English. you know it stands for bullshit… It’s of course no better than saying mierde de toro… It’s impolite. I enjoy your writings, have little time to read them and have previously told you I wish I could make the time. I respect greatly the work you are doing, but please, no longer send your emissions to me. Thanks, Raven
Thank you for this and so many of your other posts. Your words have touched me deeply once again. Know that there are many of us who are out here listening – but rarely take the time to comment. Please keep doing this work.
I love that you are sharing the power of forgiveness a show people have misunderstood how and whom it truly effects and heals… Us all… Starting with ourselves.
There is a book called, The Journey by Brandon Bays, that dies a beautiful job exploring get personal “journey” through illness to health. She had also created a road map for others to follow to get there.
A tesl big and over looked issue too are the things we hold in our bodies with resentment, anger a fear… That we are unaware of. These are the deadly ones and she again does a beautiful hi at showing the reader how to access and release them from the cells!
Thank you very much!
Thank you Nick, your messages are always filled with gentle wisdom that uplifts the soul – thank you
I think the main sticking point for most of us, is that it seems to be saying that the pain caused doesnt matter. It does matter, and Nick your practice is good, because, it is about acknowledging the pain. I find the Hopoponomo practice wonderful, as someone who was severely raped and sexually abused as a child. I say it to all the parts of my body affected, and my emotions etc, as well as for those who did these things to me. I say “Please forgive me, to my body, forgive me, that you were exposed to these things, and thank you, for how well you coped with it all, and enabled me to live a relataively normal life. I say, you are magnificant for how you managed all these things for me.
Thank you so much for sharing your truth and wisdom to us all. I needed to read this, when I’m feeling over whelmned and not reasonable in my thoughts, I will remember these lessons.
Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. You may not FEEL like forgiving someone, but you know you must, so you make a conscious decision to do so. Simply say out loud to yourself, “I CHOOSE to forgive _____.” You may have to repeat this 50 times a day, but eventually, you will discover that the hurtful feelings have dissipated, and forgiveness becomes real.
What about forgiving yourself? That’s the most hard thing to do I think. I can forgive everyone, but not myself….what to do about that?
I forgive myself by picturing myself in my mind as I was when the offense took place. I cultivate compassion for myself, then I say “I forgive myself.” It has been a long road, but I am making progress.
1000 thank you’s—-from a faceless, nameless person– whose life you have enriched immensely
I need to forgive her dead and go on. Thank u
Je pratique l’appréciation et la gratitude, je suis reconnaissante et dis merci à la vie pour beaucoup de chance, maintenant je vais ajouter l’exercice quotidien du pardon. Je suis certaine que c’est très libérateur pour soi meme et que cela peut nous apporter beaucoup de paix. Nous avons tous quelqu’un qui un jour., nous a blesse.
Thank you, Nick. What a beautiful and gentle reminder of the power of forgiveness. Quite possibly the most difficult practice there is. But when met with honesty and a full and gladsome heart, the most “cleansing” act we can offer ourselves. Thank you again for the simple outline to begin that journey.
Thank you for this. It came at the perfect time!
Nick I wish I knew where your Granny is in NC, as I have a chronic illness and live in NC. I have forgiven the person who hurt me and reached out to her to suggest we get together and get some type of resolution. I got no response. So, I prayed and talked to God about my feelings of forgiveness for what she did. I’m not sure what else to do other than the writing you suggested. Thank you for this valuable advice. Forgiveness is difficult, but if we are to try to heal ourselves, mind, body and soul, it is necessary to let go of all hurts, as it only continues to cause us pain. God Bless and Thank You!
From all the comments I can see that your message had a big impact on a lot of people, including me. I ‘know’ all this stuff but you presented it in a way that resonated with me in a new, deeper and more meaningful way. Messages like this ripple out infinitely and make the world a better place- thank you! Wishing inner peace to all.
Thank you, I needed this message.
Thank you Nick as usual your timing is spot on, you are so right when you said how when we were younger it was so much easier to forgive, I’ve got to learn how to be more child like. Hugs
type your comment here…Thanks for this. Going to try it right away.
Thankyou, Nick…just wonderful. My “illness” was one that most could not see…what the docs call complex pts. So it’s a challenge even for me to “see” the healing that I’m experiencing. Forgivenss became a daily practice not long after I was dx’d and I found out early that I needed a gratitude practice to bring balance and keep myself motivated. May I share that Belleruth Naparstek’s (Health Journeys) Anger and Forgiveness guided imagery has been an excellent support in the process? Thanks again…you are your team are much appreciated!
I have just posted this on Facebook and then I read your message… synchronicity hit me in the heart. Forgiveness is Divine… starting with your own heart… thank you so much for your messages, Nick. Bless you…
Walking around the magnificent beauty that is Llyn Brenig with Mr Atkinson on Sunday, the wealth of the North Wales countryside left me breathless. The lake sparkled, and the age-old, broadleaf forests formed the perfect backdrop to the azure sky and blazing sun.
Along the way, I began to notice little bags that had been deposited on the ground. Clearly, people walking their dogs had cleaned up, but had left the bagged poop as they couldn’t be bothered to carry their detritus to the nearest litter bin.
Further along the lake, some empty crips packets, the odd discarded bottle of booze and a rusty old Spam tin. I tutted, as I usually do, bemoaning the fact that ‘people are so bloody lazy and so inconsiderate, blah de blah’… how could they be so careless as to leave litter in a beautiful place, etc…
…and then the thought struck me.
If I can only moan and can’t be bothered to pick up the litter either, then I’m as bad as those who left it in the first place.
I picked up the Spam tin and other bits I saw on the way back to the car, and as I deposited them in the litter bin, I felt my heart sing.
Is it someone else’s litter or is it mine? Does it matter who picks it up in the end, so long as it’s picked up? I felt the detachment and disconnection from nature of those who didn’t respect Her and realised that respect comes from within. It’s an inside job. If you respect yourself, you respect all around you. End of.
If you take your world around you as seriously as you take loving yourself, you can clean up your immediate environment, beginning with your own heart.
Instead of the weight of judgement and criticism, I am taking a small, light carrier bag on my next ramble… my enjoyment cannot be diminished by a few careless throwaways. Bless them, I say. They give me the opportunity to be more caring about my world and myself…
There is no separation; everything outside of Me is an indicator of something that needs attention. I shall make sure that the attention I give Me is Positive, not negative.
Just my morning thoughts for anyone else who’s interested… Have a wonderful day, folks…
With all my love, Jay xxx
Thank you for your emails, Nick. I feel their sincerity and wisdom. My quest is to forgive myself, and the advice on forgiveness, while I’m sure it can be applied to myself, doesn’t seem to quite fit. After my mistake, it is not difficult for me to forgive others, just myself, although I know we are one and the same.
Thank you Nick,