“We forgive, not for the other person, but for ourselves.”
Forgive and forget. So we’re told, at least. But is it ever that simple? For many of us, if we feel we’ve been hurt or wronged in some way, we find it easier to just hold on to the anger or resentment and carry a grudge. There’s a certain degree of comfort in re-living the pain, and thoughts of revenge might even energize us. However, holding on to this negativity is not healthy, and even though the actions that wounded us may still remain part of our lives, finding forgiveness helps us live a life that is focused on the positive rather than the negative.
Living with a sense of hurt affects us physically, spiritually and emotionally, so while we work on finding the capacity to forgive, we should acknowledge that this may not happen instantaneously. If we’re reacting to events that took place early in life, it might even take us years to allow ourselves to forgive. But since deep-seated indignation usually causes us to bring that anger and resentment into our new relationships and experiences, it is important to make the effort to let it go.
This is so we do not have to carry around the heavy burden that holding onto wrongs done to us can bear. And this burden takes a toll on our health, as science is now proving.
Psychologists and neurologists have been researching forgiveness and have concluded that the act of forgiveness is health-promoting for the forgiver. On PubMed, the National Library of Medicine’s website, there are nearly 100 scientific studies showing the healing power of forgiveness. From the earliest 1969 study titled “Morality, guild, and forgiveness in psychotherapy” to the June 2006 study called “Effects of a group forgiveness intervention on forgiveness, perceived stress, and trait-anger,” researchers have found that forgiveness has important health benefits for the forgiver.
How Forgiveness Benefits Our Health
Researcher A.J. Clark, of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona, describes the biological and neurological components of forgiveness:
Memories of the hurtful act arouse fear stemming from the amygdala, the brain’s center for fear and trauma. This fear then activates the fight-or-flight response in our nervous system, flooding our body with the stress hormone cortisol. Under appropriate circumstances, the frontal cortex interrupts the pattern and quells the fear response in the amygdala. The resultant relaxation of muscular tension signals the cortex that forgiveness has occurred. The memory pathway from the rhinal cortex and hippocampus to the amygdala is thus inhibited. A tangible act confirms that the memories no longer stimulate the amygdala and the pattern of anger and stress does not recur. (A.J. Clark, “Forgiveness; a neurological model,” Med Hypotheses. 2005;65(4): 649-54.)
Psychologists developed the Heartland Forgiveness Scale (HFS) to measure the positive effects of forgiving. People who forgive experienced the four components of psychological well-being. People who didn’t forgive experienced lack of trust, feelings of vengeance, and hostility. (L.Y. Thompson, et al., “Dispositional forgiveness of self, others, and situations,” J Pers. 2005 Apr;73(2):313:59.)
Another research study showed that people with high levels of forgiveness and frequency of prayer had lower cortisol levels. (J. Tartaro. et al., “Exploring heart and soul: effects of religiosity/spirituality and gender on blood pressure and cortisol stress responses,” J Health Psychol. 2005 Nov;10(6):753-66.)
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and then discover that the prisoner was you.” ~ Lewis B. Smedes
How To Harness Plant Power To Help Us Forgive: Forgiveness Essential Oil Blend
Using essential oils, such as Forgiveness blend, has a direct influence on the brain because the sense of smell is the only sense directly wired to the brain. Olfactory nerves transport the aroma of essential oils to the limbic system and the olfactory sensory center at the base of the brain. The impulses are passed next between the pituitary and pineal gland and move to the amygdala, which is the memory center or fear and trauma. Healing and forgiveness can then take place.
The Forgiveness blend contains soothing and uplifting essential oils that may enhance the ability to release hurtful memories and move beyond emotional barriers. It includes melissa, geranium, frankincense, rosewood, sandalwood, angelica, lavender, lemon, jasmine, Roman chamomile, bergamot, ylang ylang, palmarosa, helichrysum, and rose in a base of sesame seed oil.
How To Use Forgiveness Blend
Forgiveness essential oil can be used topically or aromatically. To use it aromatically, place 8 drops in a diffuser or inhale directly from the bottle.
To use it topically, apply 1-2 drops around the navel, behind ears, on wrists, neck, temples, navel, solar plexus, or heart.
A lovely practice is to rub a drop clockwise around your navel at night before you go to bed, while saying this simple but powerful affirmation:
I forgive and release everyone and everything that is negatively attached to me.
Kundalini Yoga for Forgiveness
Kundalini Yoga offers many tools to release anger, bitterness and resentment, and to find ways to forgive. Emotional negativity takes a considerable physical toll on the body. Muscles tense, circulation and digestion are impeded, we can get headaches and neck aches, and the body releases cortisol, or stress hormones. It’s important to be aware of these physical reactions and work to counter them. A few minutes of long deep breathing can help to start.
A key component in forgiveness is to move away from our view of ourselves as victims. If we believe someone has victimized us, we are granting them power over us. We dwell on the injustice of the situation, sometimes feeling that there’s just no way to get over it. In some cases, we might even find ourselves repeating the same actions that led to the hurt in the first place! It’s important to take control of our lives and develop our personal power to change these patterns of behavior. A great kriya to help with this is the “Kriya to Relieve Inner Anger”. This relatively short kriya wakes up the third chakra, or navel center, and then opens the heart to love and understanding.
At times, the hurt is so deep or long-lasting that we have to overcome years of conditioning. We may never be able to accept what was done to us, and the other person may never apologize, but it’s important to learn to let go. Try practicing the meditation “Stress Relief and Clearing Emotions of the Past”. You can support your process using Forgiveness Essential Oil blend. Aply topicaly with a masaje around the nivel before your practice or difuse the oil aromatically.
Stress Relief and Clearing Emotions of the Past
This meditation is especially useful for dealing with stressful relationships and with past family issues. It addresses phobias, fears, and neuroses. It can remove unsettling thoughts from the past that surface into the present. It can take difficult situations in the present and release them into the Hands of Infinity. Practice for the full time given or until you feel relief from the stress.
Time: Anywhere from 3 to 31-minutes
1. Sit in Easy Pose with a straight spine.
2. Place the hands at the center of the chest with the tips of the thumbs touching each other and each of the fingers touching the corresponding fingers on the opposite hand.
3. Leave space between the palms. The fingertips are pointing upward.
4. Look at the tip of the nose.
5. Breathe 4 times per minute: inhale 5 seconds, hold 5 seconds, exhale 5 seconds.
A nice way to finish this meditation is to remain in the stillness of your heart while listening to a healing mantra. This is one of my favourites:
Hope you have a powerful healing experience through the art of Forgiveness.
If anything you’ve read here resonates with you in any way, do not hesitaste to contact me , I’d love to hear from you and answer to your questions.
Blessings and Love,
This is my obligatory disclaimer: The information on this website is based upon my research and personal use of Young Living Essential Oils. I am not a doctor. Products and techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and they have not been evaluated by the FDA. My blog may contain some affiliate links to help support the continued education from this blog. Read the full disclosure/disclaimer here