The emphasis here is on the word learning. The reason that people cannot forgive is that their anger has worn a deep groove in the mind, and like water seeking a downward slope, their minds find this groove so easily that new channels of feeling cannot be formed.
Forgiveness is a feeling.
We are used to thinking of it as a moral duty or as a sign of maturity. True as those things may be, if you cannot feel the experience of forgiving, you haven’t achieved the real thing.
Learning to make a new groove for your feelings is the key. Once again, the steps aren’t mystical. You can forgive anyone who has hurt you by taking the following actions:
- Choose the intent to forgive, even though your feelings are still hurt.
- Have the intention to let new feelings come in.
- Encourage even the slightest hints of new feeling.
- Experience the old hurt and anger, but always say, “This isn’t me. This is not what I want anymore.”
- Keep challenging the old hurt with reasons why it should be replaced.
- Be patient and let yourself experience both the old and the new feelings until the old one begins to fade.
Adapted from Peace is the Way, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 2005).