The reason that people cannot forgive is that their anger has worn a deep groove in the mind, and like water seeking a downward slope, their minds find this groove so easily that new channels of feeling cannot be formed.
Learning to make a new groove for your feelings is the key. Once again, the steps aren’t mystical. You can forgive anyone who has hurt you by taking the following actions:
Choose the intent to forgive, even though your feelings are still hurt. Have the intention to let new feelings come in. Encourage even the slightest hints of a new feeling. Experience the old hurt and anger, but always say, This isn’t me, This is not what I want anymore. Keep challenging the old hurt with reasons why it should be replaced. Be patients and let yourself experience both the old and the new feelings until the old one begins to fade.
You will be working with yourself, privately but not alone. Unhappiness is solitary; healing is not. Healing is bigger than personality. When someone gets a cut, we don’t say, “Maybe his skin will heal, who knows?” It all depends on the kind of person he is. Your skin heals independently of who you are.
Psychologically healing works exactly the same way. You don’t have to be nice, good, smart, or deserving. Yet how many of us secretly believe that we should continue to suffer because we deserve to, or because we aren’t nice enough, good enough, or smart enough to change?
The big difference between healing the skin and healing the mind is that you have to participate in the latter. But this difference is not a stumbling block once the healing gets under way. At the level of the soul there lies an entire healing mechanism every bit as effective as the body’s immune system. If you have the intention to heal, you give new energy permission to come into you and clear away obstacles.
Adapted from: Peace Is the Way, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2005).