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Forgiveness as a Therapeutic Tool – Henry Leo Bolduc (Is.13)

by Henry Leo Bolduc

Mr. Bolduc discusses the importance of bringing about forgiveness for past-life healing, and he suggests some concrete methods to achieve this. Some of what follows he presented before the full APRT Convention in May, 1995, at Washington, DC.


My awareness of the overwhelming importance of forgiveness is an outgrowth of my thirty-three years’ research into past lives. My experience during those years has convinced me that we are eternal beings, souls, who are given the opportunity to return to a physical life on Earth countless times to attend the “Earth School” for our spiritual development. Why are we granted more than one life? I believe that for more than any other reason, it is to learn the lessons of forgiveness. Almost everyone says they forgive others, but in reality, few of us really do so. Yet the many lessons learned in other lifetimes can enable us to forgive much more easily.

Forgiveness is a modern, powerful tool for healing our hurts and painful memories. Although forgiveness is often associated with religious work, it is far vaster; it encompasses the entire field of spirituality. The word “religious” pertains specifically to the beliefs or doctrines of a specific or collective religion, whereas “spiritual” is all-encompassing and relates to the fullness of life itself: the Creative Force or Life Force in all life.

Over the years, the lesson of forgiveness has become all-important to me. Amazingly, this one lesson—forgiveness—has seemed to affect the past lives (and thereby the present lives) of almost every person with whom I have worked. Although an original hurt or injustice may have been rooted in a lifetime that occurred centuries ago, people in their present lives still have difficulty forgiving themselves or others for that hurt.

Why should it be so difficult to forgive and release a hurt that may be centuries old and consciously forgotten? Why are some people so reluctant to forgive? Time by itself, it seems, does not heal all wounds. However, given time and proper healing procedures, buried memories can be forgiven.

Why Forgive?

Failure to forgive can be likened to a form of spiritual cancer, a disease that eats away at the spirit. Some researchers even suggest that a lack of forgiveness develops into physical and mental illness. Since my own work has been conducted from a non-medical background, I do not feel qualified to agree or disagree with that idea. I can say, however, that forgiveness work is a win/win endeavor. There is healing and benefit to be gained and absolutely nothing to lose in forgiving ourselves and others.

Past-life regressions by many over the years have shown us that often the very same souls, in different incarnations, continue to repeat the same scenarios in different settings. The countries and the calendars may change, but the basic issues remain the same. It is as we have all been admonished: “As you sow, so shall you reap.” We once planted the seeds of that which we later harvest, even though we have forgotten what we planted, or when, or where.

Repeated or recurring events are patterns. Forgiveness work usually begins with recognizing the patterns because the patterns reveal the area(s) of difficulty. This is an effort that takes personal honesty and courage. The first piece of the pattern may have been denial or hatred to avoid forgiveness. Such reactions lead, in turn, to retaliation and revenge in subsequent lifetimes, creating bad relationships that become based on mutual revenge and refusal to forgive. Past-life work can reveal centuries-old series of events. Without forgiveness, an action can lead to revenge, revenge can inflict more hurt, the hurt can lead to more retaliation, and so on in a vicious life-to-life cycle. Forgiveness is the golden rule that can break this pattern.

One approach to start this work is to ask the person (while in hypnosis) what they can do to release the hurt. Their higher guidance will instruct them in better ways of response. Merely replaying the hurts is like rubbing salt into open wounds, but forgiveness exercises are like a soothing salve that can heal the ancient hurts. True forgiveness is more comprehensive than just letting go and releasing a hurt or a seeming injustice. It entails analyzing the situation to avoid similar circumstances in the future. Most of all, it is an opportunity to truly learn and grow through life’s experiences. Often Earth School’s hardest lessons bestow the greatest rewards.

It is not just individuals who struggle with the lessons of forgiveness. Entire groups of people, sometimes including religions and nations, must learn the greater lessons of forgiveness. Retaliation and vengeance are the most destructive of all human characteristics. It is important for everyone to learn to forgive but not forget the lesson learned. Vast opportunities for healing, whether individually or collectively, are open to those who have the courage to forgive and heal.

Edgar Cayce, the renowned “Sleeping Prophet” of Virginia Beach who gave humanity much valuable insight and instruction on this topic, often counseled people to “Condemn no one.” He also suggested a method for individuals and groups to find common ground on which to start a process leading to forgiveness. The advice he gave was “Magnify the agreements and minimize the differences. Magnify the virtues, minimize the faults.” This means to actively search for the good in others while downplaying the shortcomings.

How can you recognize people who are mired in anger or vengeance? Sometimes it is obvious: by their own words, such as “I’ll never forgive him/her,” or “I’ll never forgive that hurt.” These are fairly clear messages! Yet many people hold on to destructive anger but mask it more subtly, an attitude called passive aggression. They may seem to strive to do good, but actually devote their time to reaction and retaliation. They may want to do good, but spend most of their time discussing evil. They may constantly contemplate their current devil instead of demonstrating their love and caring.

True forgiveness is more comprehensive than just letting go and releasing the hurt or seeming injustice. Forgiveness entails an analysis of one’s situation in order to avoid similar circumstances in the future. The following story illustrates some of my points.

A woman in her 50’s came for help with her depression. She felt that there had been some tragedy, but had no idea what that had been. We began by examining her childhood and earlier in her present life, but nothing meaningful emerged. We found what we were looking for, however, in one of her past lives.

She recalled being a young woman in a secluded village, a good, obedient daughter and a member of the church choir. As my client had sensed, there had been a terrible tragedy: the young man whom she loved had been killed in an accident or a war. She never got over this loss, stating emphatically “I could never love again.” Time passed, and eventually, despite her feelings, her parents pressured her to marry another man. After awhile she succumbed to their arguments; she realized that maybe she couldn’t keep on loving a dead man all her life. However, the marriage was a lonely one, although she had children and was busy and active. But she never learned to love her husband and was always depressed, never forgetting the young man who had died.

Toward the end of her session, I asked her what she could do to alleviate the depression that seemed to have carried over into the present lifetime. She said that she was still looking for “that perfect person” whom she had loved, and that she should let herself grieve. When I asked her what tasks she could give herself to help heal, she said she should concentrate on helping others and not on herself.

Then we turned to the forgiveness exercise. First I directed her to send forgiveness to everyone in that lifetime. She did this well with everyone except the young man who had been lost to her. She would not or could not let him go, or forgive him for leaving her. I asked her to talk to him, and a few moments later she said “He wants to go.” Upon realizing that, she was finally able to forgive him, bless him, and let him go.

The next time I saw her, three weeks later, she seemed a different person. She said it was as if a giant weight had been removed.

How to Forgive

As in all past-life work, forgiveness exercises should start slowly and carefully. As strength and confidence build, bigger and bigger issues can be forgiven. And as in all of Earth School’s lessons, one must find the path between foolish optimism and pathetic pessimism. The optimist hopes that forgiveness will come without effort; the pessimist fears it will never come. Forgiveness comes with realistic approaches and practical solutions based upon one’s personal situation (or a group’s situation).

There are numerous effective techniques for building forgiveness in past-life work, but it is important first to find the best techniques for each person. The person’s inner guidance will help in this. Whenever possible, I like to include visual, auditory, and kinesthetic approaches so that the person can work with whichever approaches are best for him or her. Some can work with all approaches, others with one or two only.

1) Visual: For those who are primarily visually oriented, I ask that they look into the eyes of the past-life person who hurt them or whom they hurt. Then, as best they can, I ask them to send love and forgiveness from their eyes to the eyes of the other person, to send their forgiveness and blessing, then let them fade. This process may take only a few seconds with some people, several minutes or even longer with others. Therefore, it is a good idea to say “There is no rush for you to do this, take all the time you wish. When you are ready, just tell me, and we will continue.”

2) Auditory: For auditory people, I ask that they hold a conversation with the person involved. Depending on the situation, my guidance will sound something like this: “Now put into words and speak aloud what you really want to say to that person. Say whatever it is that comes to you. Just begin when you are ready.” Then I ask them to express aloud what they think the other person would have said to them. The first exchange may be full of anger and recrimination; encouraging the person to see things from the other’s point of view can defuse this and eventually lead to forgiveness and understanding.

3) Kinesthetic: For kinesthetic people, I ask what specific tasks they could do in their present lives to help heal or balance the old memory. In this their inner guidance can be very helpful. I ask them to describe their feelings and the feelings of the other person involved. These emotional episodes are healing in themselves, and the tasks people give themselves are realistic and effective.

After Forgiveness

The power of forgiveness should never be used as an excuse to intentionally hurt or allow oneself to be hurt. Forgiveness can break the pattern of revenge, but it is not a scapegoat for continued negative behavior. Earth School is a continuing educational program to “do good unto others,” but don’t expect everyone to have learned this lesson. They will learn it with time. Parents especially have an opportunity to teach sincere forgiveness to their children while they are still young. It will probably be the most valuable lesson they teach—and learn—for their children and for themselves as well.

The two most important principles for all humanity may be: “Love every person as you would love yourself,” and “Treat others as you would have them treat you.” In other words, the Golden Rule. This is the great lesson that our cycle of lives teaches us. If everyone would abide by these ideals, there would be no need for forgiveness because there would be nothing to forgive.