As a result of social distancing,
I challenged myself to reflect on my life, choices and circumstances. During the Road of Trials, the hero spends
time alone in a mountain, underwater or well. This period of isolation is a chance for
internal reflection and renewal. As I contemplated
on my life, I recognized choices that I am proud of and situations that I wish
I handled differently. These experiences were opportunities for growth.
I still have more to learn. While it is healthy to reflect on our lives, it is also important to practice self-compassion. Last month, coincidentally, I was introduced
to a Hawaiian forgiveness ritual known as Ho’oponopono. What is Ho’oponopono? Let’s discuss….
What is Ho’oponopono?
I am reading the book, Ho’oponopono,
The Hawaiian forgiveness ritual as the key to your life’s fulfillment, by Ulrich
E. Dupree. The ritual “proceeds from the understanding of the unity of
everything in the world, which is true even though we feel ourselves to be
‘Ho’o’ means ‘to make’. ‘Pono’ is
translated as ‘right’ or ‘correct’. In
essence, Ho’oponopono means ‘to make rightly right.’ According to the law of causality, every
change in nature is produced by some cause. Nothing happens by chance. Everything is related; both the seen and
The Ho’oponopono ritual is
powerful because it recognizes the human fallibility of blaming ourselves or
others when the seeds we plant do not grow, people fail to act the way we
want them to, or when things fall apart. Being human means understanding that
no one is perfect. We all have a shadow.
Name a person who has never made a mistake.
Exactly. You cannot.
The Ho’oponopono ritual involves
reciting four sentences. Say these four sentences to yourself, a loved one or
1. I am sorry: I take responsibility for
the role I played in causing disharmony.
Usually, when relationships break down, we have a tendency to point our
fingers at others and focus on what we think the other party did wrong. We ignore our own false assumptions, expectations
and beliefs which contributed to the disturbance. We only see one pixel instead of the
2. Please forgive me: Once we take responsibility
for our actions, we ask to be forgiven. We cannot revisit the past and change
what happened. “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different”, Oprah Winfrey. It is acknowledging the harm that was done,
whether consciously or unconsciously.
3. I love you: I care about your spiritual growth, as well as my own. I accept what happened, and I will change my behavior as a result. I see your humanity, as well as my own. I recognize that we are all connected. My actions impact you both directly and indirectly.
4. Thank you: I accept this situation as an
opportunity for growth. You taught me
what I could not have learned on my own.
Thank you for being my teacher. I bid you peace.
In essence, the goal of the
ritual is to free an individual, family or community from carrying the heavy
burden of unforgiveness, resentment and anger.
I have heard of family members giving each other the silent treatment
for years due to a perceived slight. As
a result, they miss out on family dinners, weddings, birthdays and events. Innocent
people suffer. Forgiveness is not
easy. Actually, it can be difficult, especially
for the harmed party. However, what is
really painful is carrying around years of unresolved anger. Once we can accept our own challenges and
humanity, then it is easier to forgive others.
Forgiveness is a gift we give to
ourselves. If we do not respect ourselves,
then chances are our relationships will reflect the same. The Ho’oponopono ritual, or any other forgiveness
practice, is about freeing the past for a brighter future. In a previous post, we discussed how seeking external love and fulfillment can make us vulnerable to trickery and deception. We should forgive, but it does not always mean
to reengage. If a person refuses to see
you as an equal, gives you the bare minimal attention, disrespects you and has
a pattern of causing you inner turmoil, then it is probably a good idea to love
that person from a wide distance. Yes,
we are all connected, but sometimes it is best to set healthy boundaries to
protect ourselves from harm. Learn the difference between your true friends,
colleagues, associates and acquaintances. A lot of pain in life comes from putting
people on pedestals, making unfounded assumptions and having unrealistic expectations.
Trust Your Feelings
When a relationship feels right,
you will be energized. It is
natural. On the flip side, when a relationship
is not right, you will feel drained, suspicious and unsafe. We often talk
ourselves into situations due to fear, loneliness and regret. What we do not
realize is that refusing the call to adventure only delays our progress. We are
destined to learn what we are supposed to learn. When you feel naturally inspired
without being manipulated or forced, then you know you are on the right
Ho’oponopono and Acceptance
The Ho’oponopono forgiveness
ritual helps us accept two universal truths – some events are beyond our
control and we all make mistakes. We cannot always control what happens
to us, but we can control how we respond. Just like we would like to be
forgiven for our mistakes and lapses in judgment, we should offer the same courtesy
to others. Usually, we do the best that we can based on the available
information we have at the time.
Do What is Best for You
Some people recite the four Ho’oponopono sentences daily. I have incorporated the sentences as a part of my meditation practice. Do what is best for you. According to Dr. Martin Luther King, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
Dupree, U. Ho’oponopono, The Hawaiian
forgiveness ritual as the key to your life’s fulfillment. Earthdancer-Inner
Traditions. Rochester, Vermont. 2020.
Spiritual Bypass: (7/5/2020) Wikipedia Retrieved from