Apr 18, 2011

I love you. Thank you.

Some time last month, I was listening to a new spiritual podcast, and the speaker said that we can all heal ourselves and each other by stating, "I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you." Apparently, this series of four short statements healed all the patients of a psychiatric facility, simply by being uttered by a doctor while he was looking at the patient files.

I was intrigued.

So I googled the phrase and discovered it comes from a Hawaiian spiritual ritual called ho'oponopono.*

I found a blogpost that described this "cleaning" process. I found an online article claiming that you can heal the whole planet with ho'oponopono because everything that comes into your sphere of experience is your responsibility.** I searched Amazon for books describing ho'oponopono. I bought Mable Katz's book "The Easiest Way".***

And her title may not be an exaggeration.

After reading her short book, I have replaced my usual rituals for starting my day with simply repeating over and over, whenever I manage to remember (i.e. brain not occupied with other thoughts) either "I love you" or "Thank you".

The "Please forgive me" part is for addressing mistakes or bad behavior. Then you say to yourself, "Please forgive me for whatever made me do this." (You can be specific.) The nice thing is that you don't have to actually know what mechanisms triggered you into bad feelings or reactions.

Here's the deal: Ho'oponopono is about erasing whatever junk is stuck in our subconscious. These subconscious memories get triggered and replayed over and over, and make us react inappropriately. You don't have to know what the memories actually are, however. The Universe knows. Your inner child knows. You just have to start the process of healing or cleaning by asking to be forgiven.

I haven't done that consistently yet. I am still reading Katz' book, so this is all so fresh, it has to sit on the window sill and cool for a bit.

But the experience so far is so fun and encouraging, I want to share it now, not later.

My usual ritual for starting my day consists of some breathing exercises and lots of affirmations, usually said silently as I walk to work. These have become, I realize, virtual crutches, but my personality has a limp so the affirmations help. Repeating them until they "stick" (I agree with them) focuses my mind and my feelings and I can feel the difference.

Anything repetitious will focus the mind. This is the function of a mantra. The mantra can have meaning or be a nonsense sound. But imagine walking around, repeating in your mind "I love you" or "Thank you" while looking at other people, at complete strangers.

That reminded me of the experiment I did once, asking God to teach me to find God in other people. Wandering through one's day, dwelling on "I love you" or "thank you" whenever the mind remembers has a similar effect: It makes me warmer, friendlier, more tolerant and compassionate, more joyful. The day becomes happy.

I'm actually amazed at the profound effects of such a simple technique. I had a good test on Friday because I was attending a class with the same instructor for the third time. The last time I was there, I snapped at him (he kept calling me "missy", which was funny up to a point, at which I snapped). This time, my behavior was more focused and interested, and his was more respectful and also interested. A chance comment on my part had him and his co-worker enthusiastically finding books I could borrow so I can spend Easter learning Wordpress. (Thanks, guys! :-D)

All I do is say "I love you. I love you. I love you." or "Thank you. Thank you. Thank you." Should an annoyance or critical thought pop up in my mind, I say a series of I love you's. Back to peace.

Katz says that since you can't listen to someone and be reciting "I love you" in your head at the same time, pay attention to the speaker, then say, "Thank you, I love you" (for example) before replying. Your reply will then be far more appropriate.

There are pleasant side-effects to ho'oponopono. The usual ones: Clean yourself, find yourself. Find yourself, become happy. Become happy, become rich. Something like that (which some of the links above get into). Although Katz mentions this, the focus of her book isn't wealth and success; it is on healing or cleansing. Her point is that as long as you keep letting past pains call the shots, you can't be your best self.

There is much more to ho'oponopono than what I've outlined here or than what Katz presents in her book, but that requires delving into the religious traditions of the Hawaiian Kahuna. Katz's version may not be traditional, but it does seem to work, and to work without harm.

Footnotes:

*) The book I have read is based on the modern practice.

**) A comment on Amazon left for Joe Vitale's book suggested not taking on someone else's problems because you may make bad karma for yourself.

***) While reading the blogpost and an excerpt from Vitale's book, I kept struggling with the Hawaiian word. It wasn't until I was reading the excerpt from Mabel Katz's book that I realized how to pronounce ho'oponopono, so I took that as a sign and bought her book.

15 comments:

Asbestos Dust said...

Interesting. Assuming I overcome my hard-edged rationalism and skepticism about this sort of thing at all, I'm not sure how all that would work for someone like me. After all, I'm essentially a social maladroit, said malady brought on by the fact that I really don't care what any but a very select few think of me in the first place.

This does not lend itself well to unqualified expansion of affirmations of value and love to anyone and everyone outside of my own head.

In short, I have an extremely limited set of people I respect enough to care what they think one way or the other. (Sometimes, I comment on their blogs...) So applying this as a general principle strikes me as - difficult, at least in my case.

But, as I say, it's interesting. I'll be curious to see how it develops.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Dust, I'm a bit of a social maladroit myself. I do this stuff because it helps me deal with the crap that can keep me from being happy or getting along with others - crap like depression, guilt, anger and regret. I'm tired of always having to apologize for my temper or big mouth, and focusing on the spiritual brings out the best in me - which motivates me to keep doing these things. It's not like I want to be mean. If the side-effect is that everyone shares the happy, so much the better. Win-win makes for easier living for everyone.

alice said...

:-D Oh, this post made my day.

I was sitting in the dentist's chair this morning, waiting to get a filling. As you may know, I have a problem with the dentist, but it's not the same problem others have -- I don't mind the pain, but I hate, hate, hate the novocaine and that dead feeling in my face.

Anyway, I'm sitting there, waiting for the dreaded novocaine to kick in and I pulled out my phone, flipped on my rss feed reader, and this was the post that came up next. Though my panicky fog, I read enough to find something to cling to and then spent the rest of the appointment -- through the drilling and tooth reconstruction -- silently repeating "I love you I love you I love you, thank you thank you thank you, I'm safe as long as I'm breathing, I love you..." and so on. Haha. Ken meets ho'oponopono!

Thanks! It helped me get through the morning.

alice said...

That "though" should be "through." Gah. I'm not all there yet, I guess. Face is still half dead...

Keera Ann Fox said...

I'm glad my post was helpful! And hopefully, the tooth and face are all better again. (I need to consider getting an RSS-feed for my phone, I see. :-) )

alice said...

The feeling is just starting to return to my face, which is a relief because I'm soooo hungry, but didn't want to eat with a numb mouth (I might end up chewing on my tongue that way!).

And yes, so handy to be able to check my blogs on the go. I just use Google Reader's Droid app. It's free!

Keera Ann Fox said...

I rely on yoghurt for such cases. And I will check out the Android app. Thanks!

alice said...

Yogurt!!! /faceplant
I wish I'd thought of that two hours ago! Oy. That novacaine really did fry my brain. ;)

BTW, I love the pics that bookend this post. It that in your neighborhood?

Keera Ann Fox said...

The planters are on the main city plaza, Torgalmenning.

Sparkling Red said...

Long time no speak! This was an inspiring post. I feel that there are variations on that theme in many traditions, and for good reason. I have noticed that since I stopped going to church I have not been remembering to focus on love and forgiveness, and I have become noticeably more grouchy. Time for some increased awareness! Just because church wasn't for me doesn't mean it's time to stop loving and forgiving! Thanks for the reminder.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Hi, Red! My experience, too, is that the heart of all religions is the same; how to act it out is what varies. "Thank you" is the best mantra ever!

Elizabeth said...

Perfect post!!!!

Keera Ann Fox said...

Thank you, Elizabeth!

SolSionnach said...

Better late than never! I guess *I* need to get an rss feed for my phone so I don't miss gems like this.

"These have become, I realize, virtual crutches, but my personality has a limp so the affirmations help."

I LOVE THAT METAPHOR!!!

Thx so much. Off to the Kindle store. and LOL @alice. Ken meets hoponopono indeed!

alice said...

:-D