Language is powerful. The people of Hawaii use 11 select words to ignite transformation and healing.
The simple four-sentence forgiveness prayer is called Ho’oponopono.
What is Ho’oponopono?
I learned about the ancient Hawaiian Ho’oponopono prayer a few months ago during one of my mental health therapy sessions. The prayer is part of Huna, or the spiritual, psychological and physical healing discipline passed down and followed by many generations of Hawaiian people.
Ho’oponopono literately translates as:
ho’o = to make
pono = right
This means “to make right right”. The word right , or pono, is repeated twice to indicate wellness for both others and the self.
Yes, this is the age-old “let shit go” idea, but with an actual practice to help make it happen.
And, it works.
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What Does Ho’oponopono Do Exactly?
The indigenous peoples of Hawaii created the Ho’oponopono prayer to nurture forgiveness by releasing the preconceptions of others and ourselves.
It helps us extinguish feelings of revenge or avoidance for difficult situations and people, according to Matt James Ph.D., president of The Empowerment Partnership in Hawaii and the author of The Foundation of Huna: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, in a Psychology Today article.
To be effective, this prayer must be part of an ongoing spiritual practice, and used as often as needed to process tough emotions.
The Ho’oponopono Prayer
So, are you ready to give it a try? There are many ways to practice this prayer, with variations rooted in the specific lineages of the Hawaiian people.
This is how I was taught.
Sit down and relax your shoulders. Take a few deep breaths and think about a situation or person you’d like to forgive. Remember, you can choose yourself! With your intention in mind, repeat out loud for yourself to hear:
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Now, repeat the four lines again. And, maybe once more. How do you feel? Are emotions bubbling up? How does your body feel? Tense? Relaxed? Just notice.
I’ve since woven this simple mantra into my multicultural spiritual practice and am loving the sense of peace and calm it brings.
If you give this Hawaiian prayer a try, let me know in the comments below.
Until next time,
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