“Why forgive one who wrongs you? Because if you angrily strike back you misrepresent your own divine soul nature—you are no better than your offender. But if you manifest spiritual strength you are blessed, and the power of your righteous behavior will also help the other person to overcome his misunderstanding.” ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
A Kahuna is a “keeper of secrets” in the ancient Hawaiian tradition, and they practice a special healing art called Ho’oponopono. Within their glossary of loving attention and creative action, problems are solved and stress is reduced by accessing information in ways that are not ‘traditional.’
A descendant of Queen Liluokalani and a native Hawaiian, Morrnah Simeona has been invited to teach her wisdom as a Kahuna all over the world. She explains:
We are the sum total of our experiences, which is to say that we are burdened by our pasts. When we experience stress or fear in our lives, if we would look carefully, we would find that the cause is actually a memory. It is the emotions which are tied to these memories which affect us now. The subconscious associates an action or person in the present with something that happened in the past. When this occurs, emotions are activated and stress is produced.
Four Little Phrases
Though the Kahuna use many devices to impart their wisdom, Ho’oponopono is on the top of their list of effective tools. It involves primarily utilizing just four little phrases and a conscious look at an issue to evoke new insights and forgiveness. These are:
I love you.
It is profoundly straightforward wisdom, but really difficult for many of us to practice.
In this ridiculously simple system, there is no need to analyze, solve, manage, or cope with problems. You simply offer them to Divine Mind in the context of please, thank you, I love you, and I’m sorry.
In my many years living in Hawaii I saw this simple practice work effectively over and over again. It was uncanny how the ‘aloha spirit’ that tourists and locals alike in Hawaii gloat about was perpetuated through ideas like Ho’oponopono. Total strangers became friends in no time, and saying ‘I love you’ was an everyday occurrence. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘thank you’ was continuous music to my ears, and this inspired in me – a formerly mainland dwelling, break-neck speed, egoic-go-getter, to cool my jets and enjoy the trade winds. I slowed down long enough to see that I was creating so much of my own stress. It inspired me to forgive – even when that forgiveness needed to be directed toward myself.
Clearing Karmic Patterns
Now, as a yoga teacher, I use Morrnah’s advice aimed at those in the healing profession:
It is important to clear Karmic patterns with your clients before you start working with them, so that you don’t activate old stuff between you. Perhaps you shouldn’t be working with that person at all. Only the Divinity knows. If you work with a person and it isn’t your business, you can take on the person’s entire problem and everything associated with it. This can cause burnout. The Ho’oponopono gives the tools to prevent that from happening.
Peace, Pono, Practice
Matthew P. James, PhD had the great luck to study Huna, the ancient healing art which also uses Ho’oponopono, with the late Uncle George Na’ope who was named by the State of Hawaii as a Golden Living Treasure. His family was chosen to carry on a distinct lineage within the Huna tradition. In an article written for Psychology Today he says:
We’ve been led to believe for so many years that we are disempowered, that we live at the whim of circumstances around us. No doubt external factors – the loss of a job, our health or an important relationship – can affect our outlook. Yet there are some basic ideas from Hawaiian culture that we can reclaim to tap into a sense of empowerment, peace, Pono.
As someone who was blessed to live and work with individuals that embodied the best of the Hawaiian culture, I can enthusiastically support this crazy simple wisdom. I hope we all practice it collectively more often, no matter our cultural background.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that in some cases, forgiveness implies judgement, that something “wrong” has been done. Instead of thinking in terms of “right” and “wrong,” it’s better to view these instances as experiences, stepping stones and opportunities.