In my exploration of forgiveness, I wanted to share these insights. Ponder on these three ‘levels’ of forgiveness to consider how they might help you in your own life and relationships.
This is the most basic level of forgiveness. It comes as a response in the form of an apology. We can refer to it as ‘formal forgiveness.’
Let’s call this one ‘psychological forgiveness.’ This type of forgiveness comes through inner work as well as through the cultivation of empathy. In the throes of an argument, consider asking yourself whether this person really meant to hurt you. Look at your own patterns of reactivity. Has someone truly ‘done you wrong?’ Look deeper at possible unconscious assumptions and imagine yourself in the other person’s shoes. Forgiving someone on this level often allows us to forgive the grudges and grievances we’ve held against ourselves.
This one can be referred to as ‘soul forgiveness.’ At this level, we don’t do the forgiving. Rather, the forgiveness is an entity that opens up within ourselves. It’s a powerful emotion that comes from a place other than personality. In essence, it’s a spiritual emotion that wells up from deep within our soul. It’s at this level that your heart is deeply moved by the glorious humanity that lives within the other.
We all have our own stories and our own desire to be happy. On the level of pure awareness, our true and essential nature, there isn’t actually anything that needs to be forgiven. This view of the world is often called non-duality. We recognize true Oneness from this perspective. Easier said than done, but certainly worth working towards!
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