Practising forgiveness meditation has helped me to make amends, let go of emotional baggage, and overcome guilt and blame. It’s made a huge difference in my life, allowing my to heal broken relationships. And I’m confident it will help you too.
There are many different ways in which we can meditate on forgiveness. But I personally find the following scripts to be the most effective.
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1: Guided Meditation To Forgive Others
- Sit somewhere quiet with your eyes closed.
- Relax for a few minutes
- Focus your mind on your breathing for five minutes. Make sure you are very relaxed.
- Recall the person who needs to be forgiven.
- You will notice that when you think of this person, you also think of various painful memories or thoughts because they have wronged you. Observe these thoughts.
- This is the important part. Every time you notice a thought about the other person, say to yourself “This is just a thought. It is not reality.” Imagine throwing the thought away. Then continue to meditate on the person. Do this for a minimum of five minutes.
- Now consider the human weaknesses that led the person to make this mistake. Be conscious of the fact that it was a weakness that led to their error. Perhaps they had stress in their life and treated you badly because of it. Perhaps they were overwhlemed at work and forgot to get you a birthday gift. Perhaps they were going through emotional pain, and that emotional pain led them to stray. Try to understand the thoughts and emotions that led to their wrongdoing.
- You will start to feel that, although the person did something wrong, you can understand why it happened. That’s what you want. You want to understand the human elements that led to their error.
- Express forgiveness in your mind. See the other person’s face and say, “I understand and I forgive you”.
- Visualise letting go of painful emotions. Imagine breathing those painful emotions out of your mind and body.
- Sit and relax for a few moments.
2: Hoʻoponopono forgiveness mantra
Mantras are spiritual words or phrases (similar to prayers and affirmations). Perhaps the best mantra for forgiveness is “H’oponopono”, an ancient Hawaiian Huna practice that promotes reconciliation.
Many of the cultures of Polynesia believe illness is caused by errors that anger gods. By practising the Ho’oponopono mantra, the Huna believe they will be forgiven for their mistakes.
Simply meditate on the breath and recite: “I’m sorry. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.”
3: Script 2
The following is a psychological technique that will help you to understand the human weakness that caused another person to make a mistake so that you can forgive them.
- Sit quietly and breathe mindfully through your nose. Make sure you are very calm before continuing.
- Now, this might sound strange but go with me on this. I want you to list ten things that you have done wrong to the other person. This will help you to recognise your own transgressions. You will remember that people are human. This simple acknowledgement will help you to accept negative behaviour from others.
- Remind yourself that you are forgiving them for two reasons: 1) to show compassion to the other person, and 2) because it will help with your own health and happiness.
- Tell yourself that you are not forgetting, you are just reframing the way you think about what happened.
- Imagine being the other person at the time they did you wrong. Now see things from their point of view. Consider why it happened.
- Now recite the mantra, “I release this and forgive you” 27 times.
This forgiveness script works because it challenges you to realise that you yourself are human and make errors and that the other person is human too and made an error.
4: Guided Meditation 2
I always advocate using proper traditional meditation for forgiveness because research shows that it is more powerful. However, it can be an easier option to use guided meditation. So here is my favourite one.
Benefits of forgiveness
Forgiveness is a virtue and a character strength. It helps us to maintain happiness and it improves our health. Indeed, forgiveness is one of the twenty-four character strengths in Positive Psychology, the branch of psychology that studies happiness, based on the theories of Martin Seligman.
You need to know how to forgive someone (and yourself) and how to overcome painful memories of the past. Otherwise, you will be stuck in regret [READ: Meditation for Regret]
Inevitably in life, there are going to be many people whom we need to forgive. And people whom we need to ask for forgiveness from. It happens all the time. One person does another wrong. They make a mistake. They cause suffering. They regret it. And they deserve to be forgiven.
The thing is, if you don’t forgive, you will be stuck with anger, and anger is not good for your health.
Both we ourselves and other people need forgiveness. We need to learn to let go [READ: Letting Go Meditation Script]
Sometimes it’s hard
Sometimes we are caught up in negative thoughts, painful memories, anger, and hostility. We need to overcome these violent thoughts for our own wellbeing. As meditation master Jack Kornfield says, “Without forgiveness, we are chained to the past.”.
Forgiveness is essential but sometimes it’s tricky because there’s so much pain involved.
- Your boyfriend cheated on you. How do you forgive him? And why should you?
- Maybe you hurt yourself, and you need to forgive yourself. But self-forgiveness can be even harder.
- Your best friend betrayed you. Forgiveness feels impossible because of painful emotions. You’re too enlightened to get revenge, but forgiveness? Impossible.
- Your parents abandoned you. Forgiveness is the last thing you’re thinking about.
Yes, it is a challenge, but it is also essential. The Mayo Clinic states that forgiveness helps to improve relationships, bolster mental health, decrease stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system . When we forgive, everyone wins.
When you are feeling guilt, shame, lingering suffering, judgmentalism, or blame, it is time to use meditation to help you to forgive. Let go of that emotional baggage. It is the best thing you can do, both for the other person and for yourself.
If you need help forgiving someone or forgiving yourself, book an online meditation lesson with me today.
Paul Harrison BSc is a qualified meditation teacher who believes in genuine, authentic meditation. He has more than 15 years experience in teaching meditation and mindfulness both to individuals and to corporations and is the author of four books on meditation. He has been featured in Psychology Today, Breathe Magazine, Healthline, Psych Central and Lion’s Roar.
Paul studied meditation in beautiful Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University.
Paul’s biggest inspirations include Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn, and Jack Kornfield.
“My goal is to provide the most authentic meditation sessions so you can harness the power of your own mind for personal transformation” – Paul Harrison