This forgiveness exercise is an excerpt from Lesson 121 in my book, A Course in Creating Confidence.
The purpose of this lesson is to learn how to forgive. When you forgive, you are released from self-condemning thoughts.
Meditation: Morning and evening practice - two times for ten minutes.
Forgiveness for an "Enemy"
Find someone in your mind that you want to forgive. Think of someone who really irritates you. Search for the person that you most dislike, judge or disapprove of, and want to avoid.
Close your eyes and see this person in your mind. Gaze upon this person for a while. Then make an effort to find a quality that you love or admire about him or her. Or, try to remember a time when this person was kind to you.
This may feel challenging. You might hold a harsh and ugly picture of the person you are having trouble forgiving.
Take your time to really find the spark of goodness in your chosen person.
Once you find it, visualize this spark of light growing. Then invite this spark of light to extend until the light covers the entire person.
As you meditate more deeply, expand on the feeling of this forgiving light. Amplify the one kind act or loving quality that this person has extended to you.
Feel the gratitude in your heart and allow it to grow until you feel the love coming out of your heart.
Then try to see this person as only the loving act or kind quality.
For the duration of the meditation, sense into what a friendship with this person would feel like if you both could connect soul to soul.
Forgiveness for a Friend
Now bring someone you consider a friend into your mind. Take the very same quality of light that you saw around your "enemy" and bathe your friend with this forgiving light.
Allow this light to intensify the quality of love in your friendship, deepening your connection and appreciation for your friend.
See the quality of your friendship becoming holy.
Forgiveness for You
Now, let your friend return the loving and forgiving light that you gave. Bask easily in the reciprocity for all that you have given.
Next, invite your former enemy to unite with the loving and forgiving qualities of your envisioned friend.
Feel them both offering you the same light of forgiveness that you gave to them.
Meditate on their forgiveness of you - for all of your human weaknesses, your selfish mistakes, and your personality shortcomings.
Feel the deep relief of guilt as you are forgiven for all of your mistakes.
See yourself as united with your enemy and your friend as one. As the Course says, "Now have you been forgiven by yourself."
Frequent reminders: Every hour, repeat the idea, "Forgiveness is the key to happiness."
Practice seeing yourself and others in the bright light of forgiveness today.