by Rev. Dr. Barbara Billey
I invite you to close your eyes and to feel into your breath, the gentle rise and fall of inhale and exhale. With each wave upon wave of breath, enter the refuge of welcoming silence. Feel yourself embraced by the luminous quiet of Mystery, of Holy Presence. What you need is here.
Ask yourself: Is there someone with whom I need to reconcile? A person with whom I am angry or who has hurt me deeply? Someone who incites my judgment, avoidance, or exclusion?
If comfortable, allow the image of this person to surface in your imagination. Notice thoughts and memories that arise, how these live as feelings or sensations in your body.
Gaze into this persons’ eyes. She/he is sometimes afraid, hurting, angry, joyful, and loving, a person with hopes and dreams, sorrows and joys. She/he, like you and all of creation, is filled at the core with Holy Presence.
Bring your awareness to the space of your heart. Breathe deeply into this space the always abiding and already healing love of our Holy One. Breathe out peace and healing into the heart of the other.
Repeat this circle of breathing until you feel a softening in your heart, a release from separation and alienation from this person. (If this is not possible, surrender any and all judgment of yourself. You can return to this prayer at another time.)
Allow the image of your person to fade.
Take a few more moments of silence to rest into the freedom of healing and peace. What you need is here.
You might end this prayer by dancing the dance of releasement, writing a poem and/or listening to lovely music.
Often we are unwilling to surrender our “righteousness” perspective or we refuse to accept “what is” true in the reality of our life situation, leading to all kinds of suffering within ourselves and between persons. There are also persons who have caused us immense pain through abuse. We can forgive them, too, without engaging in further relationship, thus releasing ourselves into peace and healing, while wishing them healing and all good things. This is often a longer process.
A helpful resource is found in a chapter from “The Grace in Aging” by Kathleen Dowling Singh entitled Forgiveness as Liberation from Aversions: Freedom from Anger and Judgment.
Another resource is: “Forgiveness in the Service of Justice” by Sr. Margaret Farley
Barbara J. Billey, M.Ed., M.A., D.Min.
Registered Canadian Art Therapist
Priest, ARCWP, Windsor, ON, Canada