Stages of Forgiveness: Stage 7
Updated: Mar 3
By Dr. Allen Novian
Stage 7: Stay in the Present
“Bury the hatchet” is a phrase you may have heard many times. There is wisdom to this phrase if you understand its original meaning. The phrase comes from spiritual traditions of North American Indians who would put all weapons out of sight while smoking a peace pipe. This is the spirit of the final stage of forgiveness.
For your own forgiveness work, you must keep the original wound out of sight, or out of present mind, both while in the presence of the person who hurt you, and while you are alone. It is necessary to acknowledge what happened, to not forget it, but also not drag it up again as a fresh wound or a new weapon. Resurrecting the event and bringing it up again and again with the person who harmed you will cause you to feel the associated feelings again as well. Balance your memory of the event with your memory of the forgiveness work you have done. Practice loving those you don’t feel warmth towards. All of your forgiveness work can be undon, and the resentment rekindled if you begin to dwell on the event again. If you begin to rerun your mind’s movie of the harm, then you may find yourself in an angry and hurt state again.
It is the nature of your mind to ruminate, and therefore you must develop self-discipline and remind yourself that you have completed forgiveness work around this issue. Thank your mind for the intrusive thought, and send it off into the far reaches of the universe. Refuse to bring the past into the present again as it will re-trigger you back into hurt and anger. Continually rise above the injury or injustice! Practice compassion and unconventional love towards all people.
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