It goes without saying that the first step toward healing is forgiving. Yet we use the word so loosely that we end up saying it out of habit, just like saying, “I’m sorry.”
Just count the number of times you say “I’m sorry” in a day. How many times is it a genuine apology? How many times have we said, “I’ve forgiven him/her,” and still hold a grudge? I’m not judging here; I do the same—we are human, after all—but there is a way to forgive completely, and I shall tell you how.
I always used to say that forgiving is my biggest challenge, that true forgiveness takes time, and that it is not an easy feat. But it was because I had no idea what forgiveness was really all about.
Yes, there are clichés that true forgiveness is not forgetting, that it is no longer allowing the person or incident to affect you. True, that is the end result, but how do you get there?
A couple of weeks ago, a friend and fellow healer/teacher, Kristie Reeves, came into town and gave a forgiveness workshop. She was amazed at how fast the workshop got sold out. It was then that I realized that forgiveness is a huge issue for lots of people. And this was not because we cannot forgive, but more because we really don’t know how.
In Kristie’s life-changing workshop, she shared a Hawaiian forgiveness technique called the Ho’oponopono. I know, it is a mouthful, but here is what it does. To put it in the simplest possible way: the way to truly forgive is to take responsibility for your role in whatever happened! You are probably wincing by now; so was half the class. The other half knew this, but didn’t know how. So here it goes:
1. Think of the person, incident or issue that you feel you need to forgive.
2. Where relevant, ask yourself, “What in me attracted this? What part of me would have acted the same way? What in me caused this to happen?”
3. Then connect to the Divine and say the following: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.”
4. Repeat this until you feel a shift in the energy, or until your feelings toward the person, incident or issue changes.
5. You may want to add, “I forgive myself” and “I love myself” to your mantra.
6. You can say it in any order you want.
How does it work?
1. It teaches you how to claim 100-percent responsibility for everything that happens in your life. Everything that happens in our life, we caused in some way. This takes away the blame game, the victim mentality, the martyr complex.
2. Since I caused this to happen, I can make it right again by saying sorry, asking for forgiveness, sending love and gratitude.
3. We can only change ourselves; changes in others happen when we change ourselves. We can never change another.
4. “Ho’oponopono” means to make right what was wronged. And only you can make it right again.
5. It teaches us how to love, how to let go and how to release—and that is exactly what forgiveness is all about.
6. Harmony with the self and with others can be restored only through love and apology.
7. When working with the Divine, the energy is miraculously transformative.
The Ho’oponopono is a variation of the ancient Hawaiian healing technique made popular by Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. He was able to transform inmates and people who worked in a prison facility who were deemed hopeless, just by using this technique.
Without seeing any patient, he simply got each person’s file, and using each one’s specific crime, meditated on that aspect of himself that would murder, steal, rape, and recited the mantra repeatedly. In time, the prisoners were rehabilitated.
His website is www.hooponopono.org; he gives workshops throughout the world.
Author Joe Vitale elaborates on this technique in his book “Zero Limits,” which is readily available online or in bookstores. I highly suggest that you pick up a copy, as it goes through the technique and explains it more thoroughly. It is one of those life-changing books.
Lia Bernardo is an energy healer and spiritual teacher. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.