Imagine the effect it might have on your experience of life to continuously acknowledge everything and everyone present to your attention with these nine words – “I thank you, I love you, I forgive you”.
I call this process “real-time practice” – real-time thanking, real-time loving (what the Buddhists call “mettÄ”), and real-time forgiving.
Whether you thank a specific person, object, or situation, or else thank the universe for creating it, the basic ideas and implications of the process are similar.
To make this exercise more concrete, consider these specific examples – your spouse / significant other or the absence of same, the part of your body that you believe looks the worst, God, your favorite food, your mother and father, your left eye, the sky, your business card, tigers. If you don’t like these examples, it’s OK – life will provide you with others.
I thank you
This phrase is for the happenings that you have judged to be good. You can give thanks in advance for the things that you want to happen. You can give thanks in the present for things that you like. And, looking back, you can give thanks for situations that went the way that you wanted them to go.
I love you
This phrase represents the transmission of unconditional loving-kindness (mettÄ), to all people, things, or situations. A person doesn’t love because they hope it will earn them something or get them something. Some people often label that process “love”, but when it’s conditional, it’s more of a transaction, not genuine love. This phrase acknowledges and honors reality, exactly as it is.
I forgive you
This phrase is for the things that you have judged as “bad”. Recognition of the potential limitation of your own powers of judgment and acknowledgment that the things that you deem “bad” might yet bear fruit in unexpected ways. And even if they don’t, recognizing the truth of reality, as the absolute. Forgiving God – forgiving reality – for not living up to your expectations and demands, is a powerful spiritual practice.
“I thank you, I love you, I forgive you”. Chained together, these three phrases provide a simple and yet profound statement of celebration of reality exactly as it is, now.
A interesting and powerfully transformative experience can emerge from what I call the “crossovers”.
For example, when you thank the universe for getting a result that you don’t really like, or forgive the universe for giving you what you want, you may feel a bit uneasy or resistant. (“Why would I want to give thanks for something I didn’t want?”) Unpredictable and possibly uncomfortable feelings are likely to arise when you stretch your mind and your thinking in different and seemingly contradictory ways. When these feelings emerge, sit with them and understand what they are trying to teach you.
It can also feel like a release to acknowledge that you don’t necessarily believe what you think – the situation that you judged to be “bad”, you can nevertheless thank, because you recognize it may turn out to be “good” in an unexpected way in the future. Or, it may not, and you can thank it anyway because it is a part of reality – and reality always wins any argument.
Even though you perform these practices in real time, you may encounter situations where you truly resist the practice. The words may feel insincere or hollow at times. Perhaps you really, really don’t want to thank the universe for something that you don’t think is good. Perhaps it feels silly to forgive the universe for permitting you to reach one of your most important goals. This is not a problem – recite the words anyway, and observe the thoughts, pictures, sounds, and sensations that emerge in response.
Resistance is part of the process. Don’t try to force your way past it. Instead of resisting resistance, and setting up a vicious circle, just observe the way you resist thanking, or loving, or forgiving. If you can’t accept the process itself, at least accept your resistance to the process. And if you can’t accept that, accept your resistance to the resistance. Eventually you will discover a level at which acceptance and peace prevail – at this level, you can thank, love, and forgive as normal. For some situations it may take time to thank, love and forgive – for others it will feel natural immediately.
Hold these nine words constantly in mind – “I thank you, I love you, I forgive you” – especially when you experience emotional extremes or stresses. In doing this, you will remain aligned with the reality of things as they are. You will keep your mind clear of confusion and distortion and illuminate your experience of life with the clear light of truth.
 You may also prefer to use “God”, or “Source”, or whatever other name works for you.
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