Cleaning the Mind with Regular and Disciplined Practice

Cleaning the Mind with Regular and Disciplined Practice

The biggest problem with a mistake that's not forgiven is that it becomes a piece of garbage cluttering up your mind. The longer you dwell on the mistake, the more it magnifies and distracts you. Soon, all you think about is this horrible mistake and how much it's impacted your life. Since we rarely, if ever, throw out our mistakes, our minds become a giant toxic dumpsite for all these things that we've done or had done to us. It results in perpetual unhappiness.

Imagine what your house would be like if you never cleaned it or if you never threw anything out. There would be dust and dirt everywhere. Huge piles of junk mail, newspapers, and catalogs. Add heaps of old clothes, decaying foods, broken appliances, worn-out furniture, and pretty soon you have a real mess going. All of this trash and ugliness would be contained in your house for you to look at and live with and remember. Day in and day out, you would be reminded of every little piece of trash you ever brought into your house.

This is what it's like to keep your past mistakes [or other people's past mistakes]. It's like walking through garbage, standing in garbage, sleeping in garbage, eating next to garbage, and pretending with all your might that the garbage doesn't matter. It's impossible to be happy when you're living in a dump. The solution is to stop living in such a toxic environment and clean up the dump! This is what forgiveness does for you. It cleans your mind and gets you out of your past.

Spiritual forgiveness is not a painful process. A mind that is free of darkness experiences the joy of light. When you forgive yourself or another, you open the door to this joy.

Forgiveness Is Fast

Spiritual forgiveness is very fast, and the social practice of forgiveness is slow. Many people believe forgiveness takes an extended period of time, perhaps even a lifetime. People waste years, literally year after year, trying to justify their anger. Trying to vent their anger. Trying to understand someone else's anger. Complaining about how hard or unfair life is. Or about how much they've been mistreated. Maybe they're living with great anxiety and guilt about something they said or did in the past. These rehashing practices are supposed to get rid of the anger and bring about happiness. But think about this for a moment. If you get what you focus on, is it possible to be happy when you continually focus on hate? No. Not now. Not ever! It is not possible in any way because the presence of anger and guilt blocks happiness. Therefore all the excruciating time spent on activities like the ones listed above is a colossal waste and results in nothing except more unhappiness.

The only way to be happy is to get rid of anger and guilt. This happens in an instant. It happens the moment you express your willingness to get rid of the hate that's in your mind. The notion that forgiveness takes a long time is a lie.

Forgiveness Is Not Hard

The social practice of forgiveness can be cumbersome and difficult, involving multiple stages and/or steps. First, you get ready to forgive. Then you do this. Then you do that. Then the person you want to forgive has to do something. Maybe you need professional help or expert intervention. And on and on.

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It's useful to remember that God does not take steps because his accomplishments cannot be partial or gradual. Therefore the spiritual practice of forgiveness is in God's likeness. It's extremely easy, extremely powerful, and it only involves one step: a change of mind about badness or wrongness. This one simple step results in an immediate effect.

The social practice of forgiveness is public in the sense that it always involves a dialogue between two or more people, usually face-to-face. Spiritual forgiveness is not publicly expressed and physical presence is not important. The person to be forgiven can be alive or dead, close or far away.

Forgiveness Is An Ongoing Practice

The social practice of forgiveness is typically done just once and then it's over with. Spiritual forgiveness is an ongoing effort, continually repeated over and over, to keep the mind free of hate.

A friend of mine was going through a painful divorce, and she decided to participate in a support group as a form of self-help. She noticed that a man in the group was hung up about a cheating spouse and constantly complained bitterly about her. "I tried to forgive her," he said. "I tried for a whole week. But it was no use, I can't forgive her. I hate what she did. I hate the way she did it. And I hate the way she screwed up my life!" My friend said that the other people in the group sympathized with the speaker's feelings.

It's not generally understood that forgiveness is something you do for yourself every day, like brushing your teeth. Plaque has to be removed from your teeth on a daily basis, just like hate has to be removed from your mind on a daily basis. It's helpful to think of forgiveness as a spiritual fitness program instead of a one-time event. No one starting a physical fitness program expects to be conditioned and fit in a week. Likewise, no one expects to build a big beautiful muscle the very first time a weight is lifted at the gym. If, for example, you're trying to build strong and large biceps, then you have to do hundreds of bicep exercises over several consecutive weeks to get a result. The same principle of repetition is necessary to become spiritually strong. Strength doesn't appear the first time you offer forgiveness. It comes as the result of regular and disciplined practice.

Forgiveness Strengthens Your Connection To God

When your thoughts are neutralized of condemnation, they are in alignment with God. That's because God, being love and only love, does not condemn. God does not hold your unloving thoughts, words, or acts against you. God does not even see them. In heaven, there is no such thing as a mistake. Therefore, a mistake is not real. It's something made by the ego self and can be completely undone and overlooked. This is why it's always appropriate to release unloving thoughts you hold against yourself or others. The spiritual practice of forgiveness is a refusal to focus on mistakes and the willingness to develop spiritual vision, which sees only goodness.

In addition, the act of spiritual forgiveness invites your Higher Self into your conscious awareness. It's a way to tangibly demonstrate and remember yourself as a loving, worthy being. You are the one, after all, who most needs to remember yourself in this way.

Forgiveness is also a step towards enlightenment because each time you override the impulse to hate, you are temporarily disengaging the ego. When you repeatedly disengage the ego, over and over, in a consistent and disciplined way, you develop a kind of momentum. This momentum then works in your favor because you develop a predisposition or a habit to override the ego. This predisposition makes it easier and easier to stay focused on your Higher Christ self. The same thing happens, but in an inverse way, with so-called bad habits. When you continually overeat or drink too much, the predisposition to indulge takes over and becomes very strong. In both cases, you are dealing with the strength of momentum. It's just that in one case, the momentum works for you, and in the other, it works against you.


The time is now to forgive, my friend. No more procrastination. No more delay. No more deliberation about whether it's appropriate for you. No more wondering whether it will work. Forgiveness is always justified. It's always appropriate. It always works. Take the next 10 or 15 minutes of your life to rediscover your own, true, loving, Christ self nature. That's all it takes to see yourself and another through the eyes of kindness.


Decide, now, who you want to forgive. It should be someone other than yourself, as you will forgive yourself as part of the exercise. This other person can be living or deceased. It can be someone from far back in your past or from a current relationship. It can be someone you know casually or someone you know very well. Anyone who comes to the forefront of your mind is a good choice for this exercise. As part of the exercise, you'll be asked to identify all the things that bother you about this person. Don't leave anything out. Recognizing each and every one of your attack thoughts, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, is a way of neutralizing them. So be completely honest with yourself. This will enable you to get the maximum effect.

Whenever you're ready, find a quiet, private place where you won't be observed or interrupted. If possible, sit in a chair or on the floor, rather than standing up or laying down. Once you've found a spot and identified the person to be forgiven, become as relaxed and comfortable as possible. First, give yourself a minute or two to quiet your mind. If you're familiar with meditating, then meditate until you feel at peace. If you don't meditate, then just shut your eyes and breathe in a relaxed way. Once your mind is quiet, relax your body while keeping your eyes closed. If you notice any areas of tightness, briefly tighten them even more, and then let go of the tension. When you feel ready to begin the forgiveness exercise, open your eyes enough to be able to continue to read, but at the same time maintain your peaceful state.

The Exercise

This exercise starts with the forgiveness of another, and it ends with the forgiveness of yourself. By letting go of the judgments you hold against another, you're then able to let go of the judgments you hold against yourself.

1. Think of the person you want to forgive. Become aware of the hate in your mind that you hold towards this person. Recognize the hate and accept it without judgment. Don't make yourself wrong or bad for being hateful. So what if you have hate in your mind? We all do or we wouldn't be here. What matters is whether or not you choose to keep it once you become aware of it.

2. Start thinking about what this person said or did in the past that is bothering you. Maybe it's a long list of little things. Maybe it's one big thing. Maybe it's petty. Maybe it's selfish. Maybe it's silly. It doesn't matter. Bring whatever is bothering you out into the light. Write it down if you like. Then use the following phrase to neutralize each bothersome thing you identify:

My attack thoughts about ___________ [person's name]
and _______________________________ [the disturbance that is bothering me]
are dissolved in the light of forgiveness.


My attack thoughts about Jim
and the hateful, demeaning things that he says to me
are dissolved in the light of forgiveness.

My attack thoughts about Jim
because of the way he lies and tries to cheat me out of money
are dissolved in the light of forgiveness.

And so on.

3. When you're done, you now realize that you fully want to forgive this person, and so you say these words in your mind:

In the holiness of God's light, I forgive ___________ [person's name].

4. Now think about all the things that are bothering you about yourself. Again, it doesn't matter what the bothersome thing is. It could be from the past or present. Just bring it into your conscious awareness. Use the following phrase to neutralize each bothersome thing you identify:

My attack thoughts about myself
because __________________________ [the disturbance that is bothering me]
are dissolved in the light of forgiveness.


My attack thoughts about myself
because my carelessness caused an accident
are dissolved in the light of forgiveness.

My attack thoughts about myself
because I said mean things about Janice
are dissolved in the light of forgiveness.

And so on.

5. When you're done, you'll realize that you fully want to forgive yourself. So you say these words in your mind:

In the holiness of God's light, I forgive myself.


Say this prayer several times until it fully registers in your mind:

Forgiveness offers everything I want.
Today I have accepted this as true.
Today I have received the gifts of God.

Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Big Heart Books. ©2002. All Rights Reserved.

Article Source

The Book of Love: Awaken Your Passion to be Your Higher Self
by Karen Bentley.

The Book of Love: Awaken Your Passion to be Your Higher Self by Karen Bentley. The Book of Love gives the reader six powerful, practical and easy tools for overriding the impulse to be hateful or sad and for acting as a loving being, no matter what. They include harmlessness, forgiveness, gratitude, peace, communion and asking for what s wanted. Use of these tools automatically strengthens the connection to God and restores the reader s awareness of his or her own irrefutable, immutable goodness. Awareness of goodness is essential for a happy and wholesome life experience.

Info/Order this book.

About the Author

Karen BentleyKaren Bentley, author and in-demand speaker, is the nationally acclaimed creator of the Awaken Your Passion book and seminar series. Her goal is to revolutionize the way people think about love, to show how spiritual love is the source of all happiness and peace. Formerly, Karen served as the director for The Center for Forgiveness and the editor of The Spirit's Voice, a magazine for spiritual seekers. Visit her website at

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