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The Importance of Forgiveness By Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick

Excerpt from 

Remembering the Light Within: A Course in Soul-Centered Living 

EVER WONDER WHY forgiveness is so important? In February 2014, we had the privilege of listening to Patrick Chamusso, who had been incarcerated with Nelson Mandela for the better part of 17 years at the Robben Island maximum-security prison in Cape Town, South Africa. He was speaking to a group of students and alumni at a University of Santa Monica event.

Patrick talked about how Mandela stressed the importance of forgiveness. But it wasn’t “forgiveness” as many of us understand that word—forgiveness for those who have done “bad” things to us. As Patrick so beautifully expressed it, along with an upward gesture of his hand from his heart, “You must take the pain out of your heart and let it go.”

What does that really mean and how can we do that? Just what is the “pain” that we must release from our heart, and how do we “let it go”?

We all resonated with the pain that Mandela was talking about as the suffering that automatically results within us whenever we engage in the process of judgment—which is blaming, making wrong, condemning, vilifying, and so on. Think of it this way. If you got a thorn in your hand from picking roses from a rose bush, would you be more concerned with blaming the rose bush or getting the thorn out of your hand?


Compassionate Self-Forgiveness is the process that releases the thorn from your hand. It dissolves judgments and brings a healing balm of loving to the places inside where emotional pain resides. Without this process, freedom from emotional suffering would be impossible. Once you uttered your first judgment, there would be no way to retract it. You’d exist eternally in a self-created hell where you’d erect buildings, rituals, and philosophies that all supported eradicating the dangers of rose bushes—none of which would do anything toward releasing the thorn. You’d be like the proverbial prodigal son, only you’d never find your way home.

Compassionate Self-Forgiveness is your return ticket. It’s the simplest and most effective way we know of returning home—of being restored to your heart and to the awareness of the loving that is your essential nature. This is so important that it’s worth reviewing in a bit more detail.


Complete Forgiveness means letting go of any and all judgments. By so doing, you literally move within your consciousness from the place of judging to the place of loving through the healing power of forgiving. You might think of it this way: To travel from the land of judgment to the land of Loving, you ride on the train of Forgiveness. In other words, it’s a key for remembering who you truly are.

It’s through the healing action of forgiving yourself for judging that you are liberated—not through the action of forgiving others for “causing” you pain. While forgiving someone else for doing something you perceive to be “bad” or “wrong” is surely a positive step in a healthy direction, can you see that inside yourself you are still holding a belief that what they did was “bad” or “wrong”? You are still engaged in the ego’s way of thinking; when you so engage, you are simply entering into a more subtle level of judging.

And why Compassionate Self-Forgiveness? Because the word compassion means to be with someone who is suffering—and to be with them in a loving way. It is an action of the heart. It is a way of compassionately being with yourself when you are the one who is suffering. It’s a good thing to keep in mind that you, just like everyone else, are really doing the best you know how to do given your spiritual curriculum. That realization immediately takes you to a place of compassion, and compassion makes the forgiving process so much easier.

Remember, the emotional suffering you experience takes place in the ego-centered dimension operating in physical-world reality where you exist within the imprisoning duality of right and wrong as defined and perceived by you. In order to alleviate such suffering, consider how your current definitions and perceptions of reality —which lead to judgments of yourself and others—are at the root of your mental anguish and emotional suffering.

The good news is that you can experientially test this possibility and observe the results of your experiment. You can release the judgments, limiting beliefs, and misinterpretations of reality that you are holding; restore yourself to a place of peace; and experience for yourself the degree to which your life changes—all through the method of Compassionate Self-Forgiveness.

Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick are pioneers and worldwide leaders in the field of Spiritual Psychology, as well as Teachers and Facilitators of Awakening in Consciousness. They are renowned educators, authors, and the Founding Faculty and Co-Directors of the University of Santa Monica (USM), where they have designed, developed, and facilitated Educational Programs for the past 35 years. They are also the authors of Loyalty to Your Soul: The Heart of Spiritual Psychology, published by Hay House and available in 12 countries and eight languages.  www.ronandmaryhulnick.com

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