We have all witnessed two children playing with one another, each beaming with playful energy. Then, inevitably, one child hogs the toy they are sharing for too long or one of them hits the other a little too hard and tears from both sets of eyes begin to shed.
For a moment, you think that’s a wrap; the kids (and potentially their protective mothers) will part ways and never play with or speak to each other again. However, and almost every time this situation between two children occurs, they immediately go back to playing as if nothing ever happened.
Children have a way of expressing and granting forgiveness as if it is effortless. Rather than hide it or pretend it doesn’t exist, they physically and emotionally express themselves when they feel they have been wronged or hurt and then simply move on once their pain has been expressed.
The Toltecs say that there is so much that we can learn from children in this way. Just as it is a child’s nature to be forgiving, in the moment, and functioning in their fullest authenticity, it is our nature to be loving and capable of effortless forgiveness.
“Forgiveness is a great way to give love to yourself — and to other people. Love is your nature; don’t resist what you really are. You can improve your life just by expressing what you are, just by following the love in your heart in everything you do. Today is a wonderful day to open your heart to love and forgiveness.” – Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love.
The spiritual benefits of forgiveness are vast. When you forgive, you are actually opening yourself up to receive love more fully. You become lighter and freer when you let go of the hurt and pain someone has inflicted on you. It is only when you forgive that you can move forward in your life with a clean slate and genuinely make progress on your spiritual journey.
In this article, let’s look at the 11 amazing spiritual benefits that forgiveness can offer you. We will also look at a forgiveness meditation that you can use to cultivate more forgiveness in your life.
11 Spiritual Benefits of Forgiveness
1. Forgiveness heals you on a cellular level
When you hold onto resentments and grudges, negative emotions build up in every cell of your body. It’s like you’re carrying around a lot of extra weight. It might not seem like much, but it can slow you down and make you feel drained and lethargic. When you begin to forgive, you slowly start releasing these negative emotions and this is where the healing begins. As you continue, many years of accumulated negative energies will begin to release making you feel lighter and more energized with a new sense of freedom, clarity and empowerment.
It’s no wonder that forgiveness has been linked to a host of health benefits including reduced stress levels, improved sleep, increased energy, optimistic outlook and mental clarity.
2. Forgiveness is the basis of self love
Forgiveness is an act of self-love. It is only when you learn to forgive yourself that you can really start to love yourself unconditionally.
One way to start practicing forgiveness with yourself is to sit down and make a list of all the ways you have hurt yourself in the past. This could be anything from eating unhealthy foods to not speaking kindly to yourself. Once you have made this list, you can start to forgive yourself for these things one by one. You can do this by writing down what you did and then saying out loud or in your mind, “I forgive myself for _____.”
While learning how to forgive yourself may be difficult at first, this process does get easier over time. As you get better at forgiving, you develop a better relationship with yourself as your understanding of yourself expands. And this is the basis of self love.
3. Forgiveness helps you let go of the past and manifest your true desires
When your attention is focused on the past, it is difficult to see what lies ahead. This leads to lack of clarity which can keep you stuck in your current state of reality. To move forward and manifest what you truly desire, you need to break free of the shackles by letting go and forgiving.
Remember that forgiving does not mean saying that the other person was right. It does not mean befriending the person who did you wrong or involving them in someway in your life. It just means, you stop giving energy to feelings of vengeance and instead refocus your attention and energy on what you truly desire. You do this by choosing over and over again to let go of focusing on these feelings and refocusing on things that matter. Your attention/energy is a precious resource, always be wary of where you are expending most of it.
4. Forgiveness helps raise your vibration
Your energy is sacred and precious which is why it is important that you expend it wisely on things that serve you the most. When you do not forgive, you are essentially holding on to negative emotions of hate and anger that drain your energy and lower your vibration. Forgiving is akin to letting go and when you let go you free up all that energy that can now be used for a better purpose. Also, the more energy you have available the higher your vibration will be.
5. Forgiveness helps you develop inner strength
Forgiveness is not for the meek. It takes a lot of guts and inner strength to let go of your anger than to hold on to it. But although it might seem extremely difficult in the beginning, the more you do it, the more natural it becomes. Because, the more you forgive, the stronger you become from within.
With time, you begin to gain more control over your mind and emotions rather than your mind/emotions having an unconscious control over you. You also learn to focus more on yourself and your own thoughts and emotions than on the person you are forgiving. All of this builds inner strength and courage.
6. Forgiving makes you a more conscious person
A person who is completely lost in their mind (deeply unconscious) cannot forgive. An unconscious person will hold on to feelings of hate, resentment and anger because they are essentially one with their beliefs.
To forgive you need to learn to consciously look at your thoughts and beliefs. Hence, just like meditation, forgiveness expands your conscious mind. It helps you become conscious of your subjective beliefs and perceptions and teaches you to look at things objectively and from different perspectives. And the more you do that, the more conscious/aware you become of your own mind, body and spirit.
7. By forgiving you free yourself from the karmic loop
You are locked into a karmic loop with this person you cannot forgive. In other words, your hate for this person will energetically pull this person or others similar to this person into your life. The way to release this person (and other similar to them) from your life is to let go and forgive. This way you free yourself from the karmic loop and move toward attracting the right type of people into your life.
8. Forgiveness helps activate your third eye chakra
Forgiveness opens your third eye chakra, which is the chakra associated with psychic abilities, intuition and spiritual insight. Negative emotions like resentment and anger act like clouds that block your third eye chakra. You can’t see clearly and you can’t tap into your psychic abilities. When you finally let go of all resentments, your third eye chakra begins to open and you will be able to tap into your psychic abilities again. Your intuition and spiritual insights will be stronger than ever before.
9. Forgiveness helps you attract inner peace and calm
There is an old Buddhist saying, ‘one who angers you, controls you.’ And this is so true. When we are hurt and angry, it’s easy for us to spend countless hours, days or even months thinking of the event/person responsible. We lose our peace of mind to the extend that we cannot even sleep properly.
When you forgive, you let go of the negative emotions associated with the hurt. This leaves you feeling more peaceful and calmer.
10. Forgiving helps you learn from the past
When your energy is not constantly being consumed by negative emotions of hate and anger, you have the opportunity to reflect on the events of the past from a more neutral perspective. This type of conscious self reflection helps you learn valuable lessons from your past while also become free from it. This is the path to true wisdom.
11. Forgiveness helps you become more responsible
Learning to take full responsibility is the path to change your life and achieve what you truly desire. When you are constantly blaming others for your current state of affairs, you remain stuck in the loop not able to move forward. Forgiving allows you to let go of blame and take responsibility for your life so you can begin to change.
For instance, a person who believes that their current state of reality is the direct result of their childhood upbringing and constantly blames their parents for it will have a hard time changing that reality. This is because most of their energy is focused on fueling their feelings of hate over their parents. Instead when you let go and forgive, you realize that as an adult you have all the power within you to work on yourself and change your reality to achieve your true desires.
It is important to remember that forgiveness is not always easy. It is a process that takes time, effort, and practice. However, the rewards of forgiveness are definitely worth it! When we learn how to forgive, we open ourselves up to a world of spiritual and physical benefits. So start practicing forgiveness today and see how it can transform your life.
The Tale of Two Monks; A Buddhist Story About Forgiveness
Because the path to forgiveness is not always easy, sometimes it is helpful to draw on a story about forgiveness to quickly remind us of its importance and power. The spiritual benefits of forgiveness are so profound, there is a popular Buddhist tale about two monks and forgiveness that is worth committing to your memory.
In the steep mountains of Tibet, there were two monks who both happened to be in prison at the same time. During their time spent in prison, both monks experienced a lot of suffering from their captors.
A few years after they had both been released from prison, they came across one another. The first monk asks “have you forgiven them (their captors)?” The other replies “No! I will never forgive them, not ever!”
“Well I guess they still have you in prison, don’t they?” the first replied.
What is the spiritual significance of this story? Forgiveness is the unwavering practice of liberating yourself from your automatic feelings and responses and finding meaning in even the worst situations imaginable. When you practice forgiveness, you free yourself from resentment, feelings of rage, and you gain a clearer sense of purpose which comes with a sustainable peace. The spiritual benefits of forgiveness will only come when you practice unlocking yourself from forgivenesses’ counterparts; anger, resentment, bitterness, etc.
A Short Meditation for Cultivating Forgiveness
Now that we have discussed the spiritual benefits of forgiveness, let’s go over a short meditation you can do to cultivate forgiveness:
- Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your eyes closed. Relax your whole body and take a few deep breaths, bringing your attention to the inhalations and exhalations.
- Now, bring to mind someone who has hurt you or someone you are having difficulty forgiving. Visualize this person in front of you.
- Imagine that this person is standing before you, begging for your forgiveness. Listen to what they have to say. Feel the emotions they are expressing.
- Now, in your mind’s eye, visualize yourself forgiving this person. See yourself hugging them or shaking their hand. Imagine the relief and release you feel in your heart as you forgive them.
- Take a few deep breaths and when you’re ready, open your eyes.
This meditation can be difficult at first, but with practice, it will become easier. Remember, forgiveness is a process and it might take some time before you’re able to fully forgive someone. The spiritual benefits of forgiveness are only as accessible and potent as the intention and effort you apply in every act of forgiveness. You will look back one day and see that the moment you started forgiving was the moment you reaped the most benefits spiritually.