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Forgiveness: A Key to Inner Peace

Posted by admin on Sep 4, 2010

©2002, 2010 by Annabeth Meister

So often nowadays we hear people who have suffered a great wrong insisting that they must have CLOSURE before they can let go of what happened. The demand for closure has become a modern Must Have, as though it were an inalienable right like liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, this vengeance-based demand has the potential to create nearly as much unhappiness as the original wrongful act.

If you believe that you must have closure, what happens when those who wronged you go unpunished? What if they are acquitted, or if they elude capture, or you don’t know who did it, or if the thing that was done is not even against the law? What if it were long ago and the person is dead or has disappeared from your life? What if you confront them, even repeatedly, and they simply won’t acknowledge that what they did was harmful? Are you then stuck for the rest of your life with an aching sense of unfulfillment or unfinished business due to this mental attachment to the idea of closure?

Even people who succeed in getting closure may not find satisfaction in it. Have you not seen interviews with people who witnessed the executions of those who killed their loved ones? Many of them say they feel empty afterwards, as though the person’s death was not enough. The closure that seemed so essential, then, may very well not bring inner peace.

What does seem to bring peace is forgiveness. People who have had the courage to work their way through past wrongs to forgiveness are happy and free. They are no longer troubled by their history, nor do they feel like victims. They stop feeling alienated from the Divine and from humanity, reclaiming their kinship with All That Is. The rewards of forgiveness are many, but it is admittedly far from an easy task. Forgiveness is not usually instantaneous but instead is a process that takes time, commitment, effort, and even prayer. I have, however, found a number of flower remedies that support people who want the peace of mind that forgiveness brings.

In the early years, with only the Bach remedies in my repertory, I didn’t have much luck in helping clients with forgiveness issues. I would give them Willow for resentment and Holly for hate, sometimes for months at a time, and even the most willing did not seem to make substantial progress toward forgiving and releasing their wounds. They did change in positive ways, most notably in not accumulating new resentments in the present and thus having better connections with those around them. The pattern of being an injustice collector, obsessively chewing on current grievances, certainly diminished. Forgiving long-ago wrongs, however, did not generally follow, so I began looking at remedies from other companies.

Two forgiveness remedies that are very potent are Salal (pictured here) by Pacific Essences and Mountain Wormwood by the Alaskan Flower Essence Project. Since I almost always give them together in the same remedy mixture, I have a hard time distinguishing between them. The companies’ descriptions also do not help separate them, since they only discuss the very real benefits of forgiveness. However, I do find that mixing the two together is more potent than either remedy given on its own.

It was one thing to give these two remedies to clients — who clearly benefited — and quite another to experience them myself. Out of desperation, I took them in a situation where I had lost my temper with an extremely provocative client. I was having trouble forgiving her and also forgiving myself for what I felt was unprofessional behavior. I had to deal with her again in a day or two, so  I began taking the mixture every couple of hours like Rescue Remedy.

It worked quickly but had unforeseen side effects that I wasn’t especially thrilled about at the time. I found myself forgiving folks indiscriminantly, individuals I had no intention of letting off the hook, even those who in no way deserved it! A parade of people, living and dead, marched through my nightly dreams saying, “We understand you’re having a special on forgiveness. Could we get in on that?” In the end, several important past relationships were healed and the connections renewed. By now I can’t even recall why we were estranged, but consider myself blessed to have these individuals back in my life.

One reason some people are unwilling to forgive is that the attention and sympathy they gain for having been a victim becomes a reward in itself. They become overly-attached to the drama of their story, feeling it makes them important, somehow. Unfortunately, the laws of metaphysics ensure that if you cling to the image of yourself as a victim, then you continue to attract experiences where you once again are victimized.

Pictured here is Southern Cross, an Australian Bush Flower Essence offering which is extremely helpful for those who see themselves as victims. It helps release that destructive self-concept and replaces it with an awareness of your power — and your responsibility — to create your own reality. Additionally, if clinging to your victim story has become a way of getting attention, then perhaps Bach’s Heather would be appropriate.

Forgiveness is hard work, no two ways about it, and you may very well wind up facing things about yourself and your part in the situation that you’d just as soon not know. However, the lightness and freedom that forgiveness brings is immeasurable. So much energy that was bound up in obsessing on the past becomes available for living more fully and joyously in the present. Even if you think you are not willing to tackle forgiveness or that it is impossible, try some of the remedies described here. You may surprise yourself!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ANNABETH MEISTER is a longtime essence practitioner and therapist now retired into private life. She occasionally graces our pages with articles based on her many years of experience, and we are always glad when she does. The rest of the time she grows prize-winning irises and dahlias and pursues other joys of life as a senior citizen.


What an excellent article. I plan to add these essences to my medicine bag. Thanks for sharing your experiences and the synergy between Salal and Wormwood.

September 5th, 2010 | 6:51 am
Anne Ryan:

What a wonderful article. I truly appreciate the spirit behind it as well as the practical information.Wise considered and not preachy, it is non the less powerful and practical too. Thank you!!

September 5th, 2010 | 8:38 am

Wow, your opening paragraphs are SO true!! I have noticed many people not knowing how to truly forgive others, or how to forgive themselves. They don’t know the difference between forgiving a person, but making a decision to not have certain behaviors in your life – the person and the behaviors are two different things. When you forgive the person, that person MAY still cling to behaviors you have not chosen to have around you – and then in that case, that person has chosen not to be around you anymore because of their attachment. When people learn to see there is a difference between a person’s soul to forgive and behaviors that they decide they won’t have in their life – Forgiveness will be tremendously easier!! Thanks for this excellent post, I am already familiar with Mountain Wormwood, but will look into the others! :-)

September 6th, 2010 | 12:20 am
Linda Watts:

Thank you Annabeth for such a beautiful story. Having worked with Hospice thpatients for 8 years I would like to start using your remedy (if I may have it). So many carry burdens thorough out life only to be solved quickly. Others, especially the veterans I’m currently working with at the VA hospital have much more difficulty in facing old situations. I beleive I need a bach course to supplement my energy work, Reiki, gemstones, therapeutic oils, etc. I’m thrilled to know many alternative modalities in which to help others. It works. Please send me more information. Thank you and enjoy your senior years. Linda

September 6th, 2010 | 12:39 am

Annabeth, thanks so much for this in-depth analysis of forgiveness. I’m very curious about the essences you suggest. In my counseling experience, I have found that the victimization syndrome can often be addressed by the BFR Chicory. The repetitive aspect of constantly attracting victimization opportunities frequently yields to the BFR Chestnut Bud.

September 6th, 2010 | 5:01 am

I made an essence a few years ago called ‘SURRENDER’ from organic Basil flowers which I give to clients who are working through similar issues. It is very gentle yet very effective and seems to work quickly. Once they surrender and allow the Will of the Divine to flow through them, so much gets resolved (and healed) so quickly.

September 6th, 2010 | 12:24 pm

Many thanks for this article on a subject that often goes to the very heart of emotional and physical problems experienced ‘down the line’. So useful to learn of essences that work with this issue.

September 6th, 2010 | 12:25 pm
Kimberly Sabrosky:

Thank you for the great article. I am very familiar with AFEP’s Mountain Wormwood, but would like to try it in conjunction with Salal, which is new to me. The need and ability to forgive is so important!

September 8th, 2010 | 1:26 am
Annabeth Meister:

What wonderful replies! Thank you all for sharing in the sorting out of what is in no way an easy issue. Annabeth

September 8th, 2010 | 3:29 pm