Ho’oponopono is a beautiful practice of forgiveness from traditional Hawaiian culture. Practised alone or with others, it has the power to bring peace and understanding to those tough relationships in your life.
From time to time we all have tensions and conflicts with other fellow human beings, sometimes even with our most beloved ones. And sometimes there can be quite a long time between the moment we realise that we should forgive or apologise and the moment we are actually ready to do that.
Sometimes the wound is deep, sometimes we still have waves of anger and in a way, it can be healthy to give ourselves time. There is a natural internal journey of processing our emotional and mental charge regarding a difficult situation.
At the same time, if we wait too long and hold on to replaying the situation again and again in our mind – it can become a form of self-harm that does not serve us or the other person. A saying that exists in various forms states: “In fact, not forgiving or hanging on to resentment is like drinking poison and hoping that it will kill someone else.”
In the Hawaiian culture, there is a very special practice that aims to help people to make peace with themselves and with each other called Ho’oponopono.
The expression comes from the word ho’o (meaning to make or to try) and pono (meaning right or honest). The repetition of the word pono indicates that the intention is to “make things right” both for yourself and the other person.
Ho’oponopono is a beautiful practice of loving yourself enough to let go of what does not serve you anymore and to prepare you to take care of your relationships in your life.
The contemporary version of the practice consists of a four-step mantra:
– Step 1: say – I am sorry
– Step 2: say – Please forgive me
– Step 3: say – Thank you
– Step 4: say – I love you
In a meditative state, you think of the situation you would like to heal and get over, the other person(s) involved and then start to repeat the four steps:
“I am sorry – Please forgive me – Thank you – I love you – I am sorry – Please forgive me – Thank you – I love you – I am sorry – Please forgive me – Thank you – I love you…”
The beauty of this practice is that it gives you the freedom of not having to wait for the cooperation or involvement of the other person initially. Just like any kind of practice that helps you to get back to or stay in your centre – e.g. yoga, meditation – Ho’oponopono is something you can just do by yourself.
And then, of course, there is the catchy question:
Does this replace (in any way) actually making the move and contacting that person(s) and forgiving or apologising?
Not at all… this is rather a preparation for that.