A Forgiveness Ritual: To Close the Year and Begin AnewNov 30, 2021 10:00AM ● By Naomi Velazquez Greene
The end of a year is when many of us take time to reflect on the past and make resolutions for a New Year. This is also a great time to get rid of past hurts, and to start afresh.
Almost all religions beckon followers to practice forgiveness. But what does it mean to forgive? The Oxford dictionary defines forgiveness as something done “to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw or mistake.”
Psychologists generally define forgivenessas a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve forgiveness.
There may be times when we get caught up in others’ nightmares or situations, we or they may say or do something hurtful. In yoga we say that, mystically, any hurt we cause others, we are really causing to ourselves—especially any actions or words committed with intent.
In the overall scheme of things, it’s not so much about the other person. In yoga, we say that emotionally and spiritually, we are like bells—whatever thoughts, emotions or vibrations we send out to the universe, ring loudest at our own center of being.
Perhaps as we learn to understand, to forgive ourselves, to love the strange frail beings that we are, we can then learn to understand, to forgive and to love the strange frail beings that we ourselves are. This year, we can begin anew with a forgiveness ritual which is done privately and can help us to let go of past hurts, real or imaginary. Hurts that we may have made against others or even against ourselves.
As taught by Goswami Kriyananda, Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago
- Performed standing, start facing north, hands in prayer (Namaste) position.
- Say gently: “To all of you, whom I have hurt consciously or unconsciously, I ask your forgiveness.”
- Turn right facing east, repeat, then south, and west.
- Facing north again, say gently: “To all of you who have hurt me consciously or unconsciously,
- I forgive you.”
- Turn right, facing east and repeat, then south, then west.
- For the final step, only face north and say: “To this Mind-Body complex, if I have hurt you in any way, on any level, consciously or unconsciously, I ask your forgiveness.”
- Pause and reflect in silence for a moment. Follow with a prayer.
Naomi Velazquez Greene is a certified yoga instructor, writer and staff member at The Yoga Connection studio in Tucson.