08/15/2012 05:11 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2012

The Power of Forgiving

I had something happen that I think will
change me forever, and I felt compelled to
share it with you even though it is pretty
embarrassing and personal.

It's a somewhat lengthy story and if you stick
around until the end, you might get a lot of value
and you might think it's really funny.

So, Here goes... I am at a retreat doing a seven-day liver, galbladder and colon cleanse. (I will
spare you the details of this; this is not what
this is about...) Each day, we do yoga in the
morning here for an hour and a half.

One of the other people here for the liver cleanse
is John. John is a 55-year-old, very successful
business owner from Wisconsin. A few days
ago, John had shared in one of the sessions
we had that he would get irritated when people
didn't send him thank-you cards when he did
something for them.

Yesterday, the teacher of our yoga session told
us that we were going to be doing very aggressive
deep breathing and that we would probably want to
clear out our sinuses with a tissue before
we got started.

So, John jumped up and volunteered to pass out
the tissue to everyone. After John handed me
a tissue, I commented to him, "Don't worry John,
I am going to send you a thank-you card for this."

John had no response and appeared to me to
be very angry at the comment. I felt really bad,
as I really like and respect John and immediately
regretted opening my big mouth and saying
something so offensive that made him mad.

The yoga session started, and as we were
going though the different poses, I couldn't
get out of my mind how I had upset John and
I continued to punish myself with regret, wishing
I wouldn't have done what I did. I was miserable
and not enjoying the experience of the yoga at all.

After about an hour and 15 minutes of going
through the yoga session, I thought to myself,
"This is crazy, I am in nature, in a beautiful
place and I am torturing myself with regret
because of this comment to John at a time
when I should be really enjoying this experience."

So, I thought to myself, "What can I do to fix this,
because I don't like it at all..." So, I tried something.

I closed my eyes, I visualized John, and I sent
him my deepest apologies and I wished him
white light and love. I sent him positive energy,
loving energy, in a very intense and real way.
I also sent myself positive energy and forgave
myself in a really real way.

Immediately, I felt night-and-day different. I went
from regret and sadness to being full of love and

Then I thought, "Hey, that worked really good, let
me try this with some other people."

So next, I searched my soul for anything in my
current and previous relationships, both business
and personal, where I had either been offended or
hurt by someone else's actions, or offended or hurt
someone else with my actions.

I kept bringing these people to mind, one by one,
people who had done things that crushed my feelings,
people that have said negative things about me, and I
also thought of people that I had harmed because
of my actions, and peoples feelings that I had affected,
and wished them love and forgave myself.

After each person, I kept feeling better and
better, feeling more and more powerful with
each person -- I was radiating with positive
energy and felt incredible.

What I realized after the yoga session was that
I knew intellectually that forgiving myself and
others was important, and I thought I had
forgiven people and myself because in my head
I knew that holding resentment was detrimental
to making money, having a great marriage and
everything else in my life.

But the truth is, I had not forgiven others and
I had not forgiven myself despite the fact that
I thought I had.

When I truly wished them well and wished them
success and love, even the really bad ones,
it changed everything.

So, here comes the part that is really funny.
I walked back from yoga and I was nervous to
approach John. I could tell he was still angry
by the way he was walking and the expression
on his face.

Five or six times I began to walk up to him
and pulled back because it was so
uncomfortable. Finally, I grabbed the
courage and went for it. John was sitting
down on a couch. I walked up and sat down
next to him and said, "John, I want to
apologize and I want to tell you that you gave
me the greatest gift."

John's response was, "What did I do?"

I told John, "When you were passing out the
tissue at the beginning of yoga, I said to you,
"Don't worry John, I am going to send you a
thank-you card for this."

His response was priceless -- he said,
"Oh, I didn't hear you say that"

I was so amused I almost cried. I thought
about how much I had abused myself over
this comment and how it was all made up in
my head. It was completely untrue.

Lesson number one that I got was that true forgiveness
from the core -- not intellectual forgiveness --
is very powerful.

Lesson number two that I got was that I wonder how
many times I make up a story that isn't true
and allow myself to be in fear because of
the perceived event.

The reason I felt compelled to share this
story with you is because one of the things
I have learned over time is that you can't
create bad things when you feel good,
and you can't create good things when
you feel bad.

By forgiving others, and more importantly
yourself, you will feel better and thus, make
more money, have better relationships,
maintain a healthy weight and
stay in shape.

If you try this, please share what your
experience is in the comments, we would love to hear it.

For more by Lanny Morton, click here.

For more on forgiveness, click here.