Review of the Four Steps
Step 1: Take A Moment
~ What are you holding?
~ Who or what are you directing a lot of ‘negative’ attention to?
~ What past event revisits you in painful/traumatic ways?
Step 2: Own Your Emotion
~ What did you feel? What feeling arose from within you?
~ Invite your emotions to take up your full head and heart
~ Label and experience the depth of that feeling
Step 3: Reframe the Emotion
~ Notice that is your own feeling – dismiss external thoughts – focus on you!
~ Transform faux-feelings into genuine feelings – and feel into them.
~ Pause, and allow the experience to ripen – allow your emotion to wash over you.
Step 4: Forgive Your Choice
~ What were the other options in the moment?
~ How can you hold them with the same understanding of plausibility as you hold the emotion you chose?
~ Can you envision another person choosing differently? Can you imagine yourself choosing differently?
~ How would the person you would like to be have chosen in that moment?
Step 1: “S/He or It made me feel ____________, because”
Step 2: “I feel ______________”
Step 3: “I chose to feel _______________.”
Step 4: “I chose to feel ________, instead of ________, _________, or _______. And in owning that choice, I find peace with having made it, and understand my power in choosing differently in the future. I release my attachment to that singular emotion, or how I “should” have felt – and I release that story of hurt. My past returns to its place – a memory, instead of a mandate.”
The Next Steps
From where you are now, the paths of forgiveness branch outwards. You have the opportunity to walk each and every one of them. There is no ‘right’ motion here, nor ‘more effective’ next step. The choices depend on what you’re feeling and where you would like to go in your journey to become who you want to be.
Perhaps this is the time to cultivate empathy and forgiveness for the other person in your scenario.
- Work through the ‘Compassion for the Other’ page
Perhaps this is the time to move further into yourself and explore what forgiveness feels like as a way of being.
Perhaps this is the time to explore the practice of tonglen and learn more about the global human.
- Read through the appendix pages on Tonglen
- Check out some of the recommended reading on Tonglen from the bibliography
- Pick up a newspaper and move from observation to deep feeling as you read the stories
Perhaps this is the time to gain more knowledge around other paths and visions for forgiveness.
- Check in to the recommended reading list in the appendix.
- Perhaps you’re interested in exploring the links between forgiveness and mourning
- Perhaps you’re interested in the relationship between religion and forgiveness
- Perhaps you’d like to hear more about people who are currently living forgiveness
Whatever your choice(s) here, the remaining pages of this Path of Forgiveness will help to set your feet towards that moment. To that end, you may wish to skip forward to the most pertinent section on where you wish to go next. While all of these sections may serve you in one way or another, they also represent distinct practices: choose what feels like the next logical step for your growth.