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Forgiving and Atonement

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"Forgiveness is really not about someone's harmful behavior: it's about our own relationship with our past. When we begin the work of forgiveness, it is primarily a practice for ourselves."
~ Gina Sharpe, The Power of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a spiritual practice.

It is a very powerful practice. And perhaps the most difficult. It is not for the faint of heart. But as the quote above notes, it is primarily something we do for ourselves - for our own inner growth and well-being, and research bears this up.

Today, Jews all over the world commemorate the "Day of Atonement," which has always been one of my favorite spiritual days. I often put my own spin on the traditional practice of Tashlich.

I go down to the river not far from my house, and I meditate and pray.

I think of all of those who have hurt me - and those that I have in turn hurt.

And I say whatever arises in my heart, but it often goes something like this:

"I ask forgiveness of all those whom I have hurt…

The River Calls: Essential Precepts Practice Two

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There are many variations to this practice that I am about to share with you. 

Anyone who has studied Reiki will have learned a version of it and you can find them online.

There is no right way or wrong way to say them, just as there is no right way or wrong way to walk a spiritual path.

While many understand Reiki to be a healing technique with origins in Japanese and Buddhist practices and traditions, brought to the West and adapted to Western sensibilities, it is really at heart a spiritual practice aimed at the transformation of the self and the elimination of all sense of separation between the Self and others. 

It is from a Divine state of union that all healing transpires.

This is the second practice I do when I go down to the river to meditate and it follows Lovingkindness, which I described in the preceding blog entry. There was a time, over a decade ago, that I recited these religiously over the the course of a year or so, until I embodied them.

What I share with you here is my in…

The Rivers Calls: LovingKindness, Practice One

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Nearly twelve years ago I started this blog after a visit to the Potomac River, which is about a mile from my home. I had not planned on writing, I just came home and did so, following an inner prompting.

For years I came down to the river regularly. One year, it was almost a daily occurrence, and I sat on a bench during all seasons to do some meditative practices which evolved over time and transformed me in the process. 

Recently, I received a message which I perceived intuitively.


"Go back to the river. And take up these three practices once again. You need them!"
And so, I listened. Over the course of the next few entries, I will share these easy practices with you. They are simple practices, but powerful ones.

As I mentioned in my last entry, the purpose of spiritual practices and prayers is to transform ourselves, not others. Although others may change as a result of our own evolution as a spiritual being, that is not the focus here. It is about doing the inner work that is n…