Right now I’m experiencing the peace that comes from acceptance of what is – and that peace sure took its time. Usually easygoing, carefree and content – well, don’t check with my husband – today I felt infused with low-grade anxiety, impatience, boredom, feeling uneasy and not knowing why, being perfectionistic, feeling tired and finding fault with others and myself.
So how would I get peaceful back? I decided to forgive the traits I was feeling and I shared this process with a peer from California. What a gift to know people all over the world and be able to share straight-up where we are right now – this moment. I identified the traits I was feeling and then sat with that. What did that feel like? Heavy, wrong, wanting to do something about it. I let these feelings be, just be. They’re thoughts, which create feelings, and nothing else. Then I began the Hawaiian Ho’oponopono prayer: I’m Sorry. Please Forgive Me. I love you. Thank you.
These traits I’m feeling that I project over and over onto myself and others can not and do not define me but I allow these kinds of thoughts to disrupt my calm and serenity. Beneath the thoughts of feeling wrong, impatient and bored is the one, still, grounded presence. This is who I really am – the witness or presence that is before all thoughts and emotions. This “me” is always calm, always present and always accepting – letting it be, just like John Lennon’s words. Why do I forget this? Life has a habit – or is it my habit – of filling my mind with chatter and nonsense about tomorrow, yesterday and what I have to do when I get home. What will I write next and what if no one gets it? I don’t feel like going to the meeting. What did I give my friend for her birthday last year?
I learned the Ho’oponopono prayer a few years ago. It’s modern usage originated from Kahuna Morrnah Simeona, a Hawaiian healer, and is now taught by her student Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. Dr. Hew Len is a clinical psychologist who, among much work with people all over the world, reviewed the cases of mentally ill criminals at Hawaii State Hospital in the 1980’s. The crimes committed included murder, rape and kidnapping. Dr. Hew Len never saw the inmates personally and instead spent time going over their files at the institution and forgiving himself for the traits he recognized in himself that he (and we) project onto others including minorities and the “disadvantaged”. By the time he left the prison four years later, staff that had left because it was too depressing and violent returned, the gardens and atmosphere began to flourish and many inmates were released. The prayer is simple and is based on the knowledge that we can only heal and change ourselves and that ultimate healing of relationship, family, community and humanity can only begin with each of us first.
I use the Ho’oponopono prayer a lot, including in my work where people are sometimes very ill. I now feel a sense of completeness around the question “What can I do to help this person who is so sick.” I ask myself What do I do that makes me feel sick? Am I eating food that has no nutrients? What am I unwilling to heal? Identifying what in me is “sick” instead of assuming why others are –why don’t they stop smoking – I can then forgive those traits in myself and that is all I can do.
Following is my first interpretation of Dr. Hew Len’s forgiveness prayer. I have recently learned a deeper use of it with the spiritual education group AHAM who added to the basic Ho’oponopono prayer and uses it in their programs – with the permission and blessing of Dr. Hew Len.
I’m sorry (that I believe you are causing me pain or believe that you are wrong / that we are in this uncomfortable situation / that I’m letting this take up so much space in my mind / that I’ve hurt you in some way)
Please forgive me (for believing this to be the truth about you / about me / about us / for any wrongs I may have done to you / for not remembering the truth of who we are)
I love you (I do love you!) This one’s easier!
Thank you (for this opportunity to heal / for the ability to forgive / for the ability to see beyond the appearance of struggle / for being my friend/partner/sister/brother/father/mother)
The MORRNAH’S PRAYER (Hawaiian Shaman) below gives an added dimension to forgiveness and prayer.
Divine creator, father, mother, son as one…If I, my family, relatives and ancestors have offended you, your family, relatives and ancestors in thoughts, words, deeds and actions from the beginning of our creation to the present, we ask your forgiveness…Let this cleanse, purify, release, cut all the negative memories, blocks, energies and vibrations, and transmute these unwanted energies into pure light….And it is done.
For further information on Ho’oponopono please see: http://hubpages.com/hub/hooponopono
Christine Goyer-Swift finds expression through writing and dance, and inspiration through long walks and solitude. “Writing is a window into my life, recording, witnessing and continually emerging.”