Ho’oponopono may be daunting to say or spell (HOE-o’-POE-noe-POE-noe), but it’s a surprisingly easy and reliable spiritual practice that comes out of Hawaii.
It’s an empowering four-step process for taking responsibility for our own lives and cleaning them up. It’s as easy as saying these four short phrases. Think about something you’re wrestling with, and say to yourself:
- I’m sorry.
- Please forgive me.
- Thank you.
- I love you.
I’m Sorry: Please don’t let the word “repentance” put you off. That’s the first step. You see, you’re apologizing … to yourself, and to whatever higher power you believe in out there … for the thoughts you think that get in the way of your happiness, growth and ultimate life’s purpose. Even if it seems like it’s something outside of you that’s bothering you, part of it is in your mind … and what you tell yourself about it! I find it works best if you can hold on to the feeling that goes along with
Please Forgive Me: Maybe you feel like you don’t have anyone to apologize to. Maybe you’re totally an innocent victim! Just do it. If something’s a problem for you, when you take some responsibility for it, you start to clear it for yourself. And you’re apologizing to yourself, and to whatever God or force of nature you think is out there.
Thank You: Undoubtedly one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself, spiritually. To God, to the universe, to yourself … just saying “thank you” can help add clarity to a confused situation, and assumes that all is well even if it doesn’t feel that way. Say it here, too.
I Love You: You’ve taken responsibility for cleaning up your share of what’s troubling you and you’ve asked for forgiveness. You’ve expressed gratitude. Love is the final key. “I love you.” Again, it doesn’t really matter what or who you’re saying it to; it doesn’t even really matter if you feel that love through and through. Saying it creates the intention that you want to increase the love in your life.
A couple of hints to make it easier and more effective: first, hold some of the feeling in your body when you’re working on cleaning something. In other words, if you’d like to clean up how you get treated by someone, feel how you feel when that happens. Hold that feeling in your body as you start saying “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” You may find that, if you are focused and persistent, when you’re done, it’s harder to get in touch with that same feeling!
Also, once will probably not be enough. Saying these four phrases just once through is fine, but you’ll find ho’oponopono has more personal power for you if you do it over and over again.
You don’t necessarily have to stop what you’re doing to do this. Think about the times of day that your brain tends to remind you of the stuff you don’t like thinking about. That tends to be when you’re not actually focusing on something else, right?! You know the times … driving the car, standing in the shower, doing mindless tasks, and so forth. Give your brain something POSITIVE to focus on, and do some ho’oponopono. “I’m sorry; please forgive me; thank you; I love you.” You won’t remember every time, especially at first. It’s like working a muscle; it feels awkward at first, and then it becomes more natural and flowing pretty soon afterwards.
These four steps even work if you do them out of order!
If you’d like to see a bit more formal, structured way of doing ho’oponopono, there are videos online. But don’t over-think this; part of its success is in how easy it is to do it often.