Practice: The Welcoming Prayer

I’d like to offer you a form of contemplation—a practice of accepting paradox and holding the tension of contradictions—called The Welcoming Prayer.

First, identify a hurt or an offense in your life. Remember the feelings you first experienced with this hurt and feel them the way you first felt them. Notice how this shows up in your body. Paying attention to your body’s sensations keeps you from jumping into the mind and its dualistic games of good-guy/bad-guy, win/lose, either/or.

After you can identify the hurt and feel it in your body, welcome it. Stop fighting it. Stop splitting and blaming. Welcome the grief. Welcome the anger. It’s hard to do, but for some reason, when we name it, feel it, and welcome it, transformation can begin.

Don’t lose presence to the moment. Any kind of analysis will lead you back into attachment to your ego self. The reason a bird sitting on a hot wire is not electrocuted is quite simply because it does not touch the ground to give the electricity a pathway. Hold the creative tension, but don’t ground it by thinking about it, critiquing it, or analyzing it.

When you’re able to welcome your own pain, you will in some way feel the pain of the whole world. This is what it means to be human—and also what it means to be divine. You can hold this immense pain because you too are being held by the very One who went through this process on the Cross. Jesus was holding all the pain of the world, at least symbolically or archetypally; though the world had come to hate him, he refused to hate it back.

Now hand all of this pain—yours and the world’s—over to God. Let it go. Ask for the grace of forgiveness for the person who hurt you, for the event that offended you, for the reality of suffering in each life.

I can’t promise the pain will leave easily or quickly. To forgive is not to forget. But letting go frees up a great amount of soul-energy that liberates a level of life you didn’t know existed. It leads you to your True Self.

[by Richard Rohr,]


==========================Another Version======================

The Welcoming Prayer: A Practice for Letting Go

1) Identify someone who caused pain in your life.

2) Feel the hurt that they caused you in your body.

3) Welcome the grief and the anger. Resist the urge to blame or analyze. Dive into the pain and let go of oppositional energy.

4) When you have stopped resisting the pain, you will be led into a broad and spacious place where you can feel the pain of the whole world. This is what it means to be human.

5) Hand the hurt over to God and ask for forgiveness.

In forgiveness, you change your investment in your own painful story. It is one of the most radically freeing things that human beings can do, coming from a deep place of inner awareness.

Forgiveness reveals:

1) The absolute goodness of God.

2) The goodness of the one you choose to forgive.

3) Your own goodness.