Learning to forgive

Below is an excerpt from a guided meditation I am working on on forgiveness.  Sometimes it is best to forgive from afar. Sometimes it is best to forgive up close.  Allow the heart to forgive and wisdom to guide you in appropriate relating.

“We must all learn to forgive. There is no one on the earth who hasn’t felt hurt, betrayed, and disappointed at times. It is up to each one of us to decide how we will respond to the various hurts and disappointments that we will encounter. Will we respond with anger? Will we respond with an eye for an eye? Or will we learn to respond with love, with light, with compassion, and with understanding. The choice is ours. One choice keeps us locked in a world of competition, of anger, and a world where there is no peace. The other choice, the choice of forgiveness offers another way. It brings us into a world of peace, of compassion, of love, of forgiveness, and of healing.

What is the world you wish to live in?

Begin the practice today of offering forgiveness both to yourself and to others. Forgive so that you can feel peace. Forgive so that you can feel expansion. Forgive so that you can feel love and light. And forgive so that you can step into an elevated awareness and can be a force of good in the world. Forgive so that you can be an agent for peace on the planet. There is a cloud of anger and unrest that fills your world. Forgive so that you can begin the process of dispelling that cloud and bring peace to the earth. Let this process begin with you. It is easy to wait and want others to go first. Especially if you feel that you were wronged. Be willing to take the high road. Be willing to forgive first. Be willing to lead the way. The world needs spiritual leaders. To be a leader in this way you must be willing to lead in love and light and compassion and understanding. You must be willing to go first and you must be willing to hold these spiritual principles even if you hold them alone. And so do this for yourself and do this for your world. Practice forgiveness daily. Let this be a process for the act of forgiving often takes time and repetition.

And so forgive daily and step into an elevated awareness. Step into an elevated point of view. Step into your radiance. Step into your light. Step into your love. Step into your compassion. Step into the person that you were meant to be. Step into the highest version of yourself. Step into the life that you were meant to lead.

At your core you are a radiant being of light and love and compassion and understanding. Step into this elevated version of yourself and be a true force for good on the planet. This role is a big responsibility and takes vigilance and discipline of the mind and body. Begin your endeavor today.

See yourself as a being of light and affirm:

I am a radiant being of light.
I am a radiant being of love.
I am a radiant being of understanding.
I am a radiant being of compassion.

I radiate light.
I radiate love.
I radiate compassion.
I radiate understanding.

This is my daily practice and this is my daily discipline.

I offer light.
I offer love.
I offer compassion.
I offer understanding.

Sometimes I offer this from afar and sometimes I offer this up close.

I am a healing force in the world and all who come into my presence are healed.

I am a radiant being of light.
I am a radiant being of light.
I am a radiant being of light.

~Hayley Mermelstein


“The quieter you become, the more you hear.” Rumi

Learning to quiet the mind is a valuable tool that opens you up to guidance from a higher source. Learning to quiet the mind allows you to hear the whispers of your own inner spirit as well as the whispers of spirit all about you. I had a client call me on the phone this week for a phone session. This client was in the process of making an important work related decision. When she called me on the phone, I thought to myself, that I really didn’t want the responsibility of influencing such a big decision so I decided I would practice deep listening with this person and hope that the very act of “listening deeply” would help this person come to their own conclusions about what would be best. (There is a whole school of thought about this actually where the very act of listening deeply to someone helps them get in touch with their own inner wisdom and clarity).

Anyway, this client called and I began the endeavor of listening deeply. She told me the pros and cons of the decision that she needed to make. I listened deeply and heard the panic in my clients voice and felt my own head start to spin. From a purely intellectual point of view we could make a case for either choice.

I talked to my client about the value of deep listening. I told her about how as a culture we have been taught to think through our problems but that there is another way. We can learn to ask for guidance and then listen deeply for an answer. My meditation teacher, Ellen Tadd, calls this asking and listening. I asked my client is she would like to try asking and listening. She said she was open to anything that would help.

Since my client was open I took a moment and walked her through a short-guided mediation exercise. I instructed this client to take a deep breath and remember who she was. I instructed her to remember that at the core of her being is a place of great wisdom and great clarity. I reminded her that there was a place within her that already knew the answer to her problem. I had this client imagine that waves and waves of gold light were shining down upon her and that this gold light was filling her with wisdom and clarity and was shedding light on this situation. I had this client sit in this waterfall of golden light allowing the light to bring illumination and calm and peace and clarity. Once my client was relaxed, I simply instructed her to allow everyday brain chatter to quiet down and to simply ask, her question. I instructed my client to allow her mind to quiet but at the same time to be open to insight and clarity coming from a deeper source. We both then sat in silence together and listened deeply. After a minute or two of listening deeply together, I guided my client to bring her attention back. When she came back I asked her about her experience. She said that she heard the message to not let fear rule her decision making process and in addition, she received an answer to her question. My client was somewhat shocked by how clear the answer was. The explanation she heard in meditation made total sense to her but was something she had not thought of when “thinking through” her problem.

I share this story here with you today because in our culture we have been taught to think through our problems, weigh the pros and cons and analyze the facts. And while this approach to problem solving has some merit, I have been taught another way. I have been taught to ask and listen. I have been taught to connect to a deeper source of wisdom than our analytical brain. The brain is a wonderful resource but it has limited awareness. On the other hand, when we ask the universe to guide us we open to deeper levels of awareness and understanding that transcend the limited mind alone.

Practice today opening to something bigger. If there is a decision that you need to make consider the facts but then ask the universe for assistance and guidance and then quiet your mind so that you can hear the whispers of spirit that are all about you.

Life becomes quite interesting when you learn to ask and listen and allow yourself to be guided down the path that is most appropriate for you. Again, the analytical mind is useful but has its limitations. My client had gone as far as she could weighing the pros and cons. She found she needed to open to something deeper. When she got quiet and listened rather than continually think about her problem she quickly received the guidance she needed to make her decision.

Practice today the simple task of asking and listening. Practice pausing between events to simply listen. What is the universe trying to tell you? Open to guidance and you will receive a plethora of insights about every aspect of your life. All of life is speaking to us, all we need to do is learn to listen so we can reap the benefits of a source of wisdom that goes beyond our limited intellect.

If you would like help with learning to ask and listen feel free to join our weekly Thursday night meditation class where we practice this skill frequently or contact me directly to schedule a private phone session that will greatly assist in deepening this capacity.

I look forward to hearing from you! Have a good week!

Hayley Mermelstein

When we feel betrayed

I was home sick with a cold for much of this week and this gave me some time to think and reflect.  Memories of time when I felt betrayed by a friend rose to the surface.  I felt waves of disbelief and anger rise within as I allowed myself to relive old memories.   How could this have happened?  How could someone I trusted turn on me in such unexpected ways?  Questions surfaced and feelings of blame arose:  How could she have behaved that way?

And then I remembered hearing that when we are feeling anger, sadness, regret, blame or any imbalance to turn to deeper levels of self acceptance and it is there that we will find peace.  This advice made no sense to me on the surface and I found myself thinking, what, my friend betrays me and I need to focus on greater levels of self acceptance??  But despite my skepticism I found myself curious about what would happen if I focused on accepting myself more in this moment.  And so I turned my attention away from my former friend and began to fill myself with a feeling of complete self-acceptance.

I repeated the affirmation:

I accept myself completely.
I accept myself completely.
I accept myself completely.

As I went more deeply into self-acceptance I had a sudden flash of insight.  I realized that the original imbalance lied within me.  I realized that I had a habit of seeing the best in people.  An admirable habit except that I also had a habit of not honestly looking at their weaknesses.  As I result I’ve been blind sided when the weaknesses revealed themselves.  I realized that in this case I had given my trust to someone who wasn’t trustworthy.  This friend has left a trail of broken hearts behind her and I knew that but hadn’t registered that she would ultimately do the same with me.  I hadn’t been willing to look honestly at this persons strengths and weaknesses.

I had a choice, I could blame her for betraying me or I could accept myself more deeply and take responsibility that I hadn’t been discerning enough in the relationship to see this persons strengths and weaknesses.  If I had looked honestly I wouldn’t have been surprised at all by this persons actions.  I would have expected it and seen the potential all along.

We always have a choice.  It is easy to blame others and focus on “what they did”.  And we may even be justified.  But their imbalance is their imbalance and their karma too.  Experiment for today with dropping the focus on them (whoever they might be ) and bring the focus back to yourself.  Fill yourself with a feeling of complete self acceptance and affirm:

I accept myself completely.
I accept myself completely.
I accept myself completely.

What is it that you need to accept about yourself?  What are you dodging by focusing on them?  What is it that you are to learn from this situation?

And so go deeply into self acceptance. Instead of focusing on the imbalances of others learn instead to focus deeply on accepting yourself.  Every time your feathers are ruffled, every time you find yourself focusing on what they did experiment with turning your attention back to yourself and accepting yourself on deeper and deeper levels.  This does not mean to turn a blind eye to the imbalances around you. Look honestly but then return to a place of complete self acceptance.  As you accept yourself on deeper and deeper levels you will grow calm.  When you are calm you will see both yourself and others more clearly.  When you see clearly you will have a deeper understanding of your own responsibility in the situations that you find yourself in and you will feel less blaming and judgmental of others as well.  When you accept yourself you will see the lessons that you are learning.  You will see the purpose of all that is transpiring.  And so make this a daily practice.  Fill yourself with complete self acceptance as you go through your day.  When faced with your various challenges of the day turn to deeper self acceptance.   When faced with the imbalances of others accept yourself on deeper and deeper levels.  Again, your increased self acceptance will bring you calm and your calm will bring you greater levels of clarity.  And so make this your practice for today.  Be gentle with yourself for learning to accept yourself in your entirety is a process.  Learn to accept both your strengths and your weaknesses for everyone has strengths and everyone has weaknesses.  Learn to accept the fact that you, like everyone else are learning and growing for the earth is a school and you have come for learning and growth.

Accept yourself on deeper and deeper levels and learn to look honestly at those with whom you relate.  In this way you will not be so caught off guard by the imbalances of others but instead aware of the nuiances of each relationship, aware of the strengths and weaknesses of those which you engage and aware of level of trustworthiness of those with whom you interact.

Affirm frequently:

I accept myself completely.
I accept that I have strengths.
I accept that I have weaknesses.
I accept that I, like everyone else, am learning and growing.
I accept myself completely.