Ho’oponopono~ Pacific Islanders’ Practice of Putting Things Right
The Hawai’ian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness
I want to introduce the powerful Hawaiian tradition of putting “things right among people.” The Pacific islanders have long understood the value of Ponopono, which means “to put to rights; to put in order.” They have a word for it, Hoʻoponopono.
When something isn’t right, or someone has been hurt, the people of Hawaii are willing to sit with family or community members and offer the gift of a simple chant: ” I am sorry, please forgive me, I thank you, I love you.”. And when a wrong has been acknowledged, relationships can begin to heal. The community regains its strength.
Mistakes, big and small, personal and collective errors of judgment, are the stuff of everyday life. They are so frequent that they shape how we learn and grow. And we can all testify that life offers numerous opportunities to forgive ourselves and others. In most societies, we are trained by religion, history, and culture to blame, guilt and shame as default positions. What about reconciliation and healing, then? We in the west have inadequate tools. We must go to great lengths to figure out what happened; it takes lifetimes of hurt and generations of lost opportunities for peacefulness. And for those among us who want to break family patterns, it takes years of reflection, prayer, or therapy.
How do we make things right? With ourselves? With others? With our ancestors? With the earth and all life? Consider learning the traditional chant of a people who value peaceful relations. And as we embark on a creative and liberating life review, I offer this practice in the spirit of Hoʻoponopono.
It is uncomplicated yet potent. It is as straightforward as looking at the other with an open heart, saying, ” I am sorry.”
4 steps to learning a simple healing practice
- We begin by connecting with the earth. Place your hands on your belly, close your eyes, and allow your breath to expand your abdomen. Breathe for a few minutes connecting breath and earth.
- Bring to mind a person or situation you want to make right. Start with something small, a hurtful word to a friend or the dismissed child due to impatience or fatigue. We will address bigger hurts and a greater need for forgiveness with practice. But for now, imagine the person or the situation in front of you and say:
- I am sorry. Please forgive me. I thank you. I love you.
- Repeat until you feel complete
Ho’oponopono, Mantra Meditation, Hawaiian Prayer, Theta Binaural Beats