Monday, December 20, 2010

The “I Might Consider Forgiving” Starter Kit

We can be mindful of how we forgive very minor incidents in two simple steps; first acknowledge, then release. Highly charged situations require a bit more attention, but we will get to that later and start with the basics.

A concrete example of forgiveness:
Think of something that annoys you. Don’t pick a major incident for this exercise. Choose something trivial and light. An interaction with a stranger is a good idea because there is no history beyond what pissed you off. Getting cut off in traffic is a good example.

Acknowledge what happened and make a fist. When you open your hand there is an automatic feeling of letting go. The natural state of our hands is to be open. Muscles and a tiny bit of energy are required to make even a gentle fist. Opening your hands relaxes the muscle. You are literally holding on and then letting go.

When your hand is in a fist, think of what annoyed you. When you open your hand think, “so what” and remind yourself of when you have done something similar.

I have bumbled a few dozen times behind the wheel. I am sure I have inspired a few fists amongst my fellow travelers. Assume whoever pulled an idiotic move isn’t doing anything you have not done in some form at some time. If you get stuck because you have never done anything requiring the stupidity in your example, think of something else you can remember doing.
When your fist is closed you may feel some degree or version of being: justified, angry, righteous, violated, better than, victimized, superior, offended, disrespected, dismissed, not appreciated or forgotten. The important thing to remember is these feelings are very likely charged by past events unrelated to this one. When I am already angry at something and get annoyed in traffic, I experience a stronger feeling than when I am more peaceful in general. This is an example of taking it out on something else.

The “I Might Consider Forgiving” Starter Kit
Your kit should include:
· An annoying interaction with a stranger
· A hand with a fist {okay, and a finger)
· A few thoughts
· A couple of emotions
· Intention to forgive {even a faint glimmer will work, pure skepticism and thinking I am out of my mind is fine too}

Make a fist. Your muscles tighten; think of what annoyed you; you feel upset.
Open your hand. You relax your body, mind and emotion.

As you go about your business practice holding on and letting go. Use this with very simple examples and let the awareness grow stronger. When more powerful examples surface these two steps begin to make even more sense.

Follow the blog for intermediate and advanced techniques.

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