This was the original exercise created by Edith Stauffer. It is a very good introduction to the process of self-forgiveness. I found that at times more detail was needed by some people and the longer and more detailed version given elsewhere on this WebSite evolved.
1. Start sitting on a chair, on the floor or kneeling. Quiet yourself, be aware of your breathing. Then reach up in consciousness and ask the Higher Self to forgive you for...(whatever you seek forgiveness for)...........
(Initially it can be wise to start with only ONE thing until you get used to the process),
2. Next stand up, and with the eyes closed imagine yourself as the Higher Self looking down on your personal self. As the Higher Self identify with compassion - unconditional love - understanding - patience - feel these qualities as the Higher Self, and send these qualities to the personal self.
3. Speak to the personal self, assuring him or her you do forgive what they have asked forgiveness for.
4. The personal self waits to see if the Higher Self wishes to say more to the personal self.
5. When the Higher Self has finished speaking to the personal self, the forgiver returns to the first position and spends time receiving and absorbing the forgiveness and love.
The above exercise can be used for one person. Edith Stauffer describes how it can also be used with 20-50 people at once in a room large enough for each to feel some privacy.
The facilitator has each person list ONE thing they want to be forgiven for.
The facilitator demonstrates the steps in self-forgiveness using another person, or him or herself.
The facilitator gives the directions to the whole group at the same time. Each person finds a place where they can hear the directions. Usually facing a wall is best. This gives more privacy (as it is helpful to whisper or make a low sound, rather than thinking the words in one's own head only).
The facilitator goes through the directions as above, giving plenty of time for each step. The facilitator can ask "If you need more time please raise your hand. When you are complete, lower it." Those needing more time can be given it until all the group is ready to go on. The facilitator thus ensures that all have completed each step before moving on to the next.
Discuss the process. Were they able to experience the forgiveness to completion? If some have difficulty, let the group share in the discussion of what happened and how it might be overcome.
If time affords they could go out of the room and go through the experience on their own, say being given 30 mintues to do that. They are to return to the main room to discuss their experiences after that time.
If you need greater depth and detail use the longer version, link here to Self-Forgiveness Step One - Understanding the Definition of Forgiveness
Link here to return to Forgiveness Programme - Contents