Ho’Oponopono

Today’s idea comes from Hawaii, hence the surfer picture. For I am a child of the sixties. Because of the TV series with the catchy theme tune and titles from my childhood, it was the first thing that came to mind.

After an unsuccessful dabble with evangelical Christianity in my youth my spirituality has evolved. I now describe myself a syncretic, as least I think that I did on the last census form. That might have stumped the pen pusher who was trying to categorise me! The term simply means that I pick and choose what I believe in and mix it all up with the aim of becoming a better person, bit by bit, day by day.

Ho’oponopono is a practice that I’ve been working with on a daily-ish basis for a few months now. I was inspired by the story of how a Hawaiian clinical psychologist is reported to have cured a entire ward of patients in a forensic mental health hospital just by reviewing their notes and internally repeating a prayer that goes along the lines of ‘I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you, I love you’. Maybe it’s because I work in a similar environment, with traumatised men that have committed terrible crimes that the story resonated. I’m up for being out of a job if it works. It’s a bit of a sticky one for the Western mind to get around but apparently I might be able to heal the trickiest of people that I work with by healing myself. Just by a bit of silent chanting! It seemed worth giving it a go.

So I’ve incorporated the prayer into my morning meditation and say it in my head whenever I remember during the day. This seems to happen particularly if I’ve been a bit snaky or bitchy. Or sometimes I’ll run it through my mind when a personal or professional issue comes up. Of course I don’t tell my son or boyfriend what I’m up to and never write in my notes. People think that I’m a little loop the loop anyway without adding anything else into the mix! However I’ve read with interest that its practice is built into the Hawaiian justice system so one day….

There’s a lovely lady, Mabel Katz, who I listen to on Youtube. She likens the process to cleaning and says that you don’t even have to say the whole prayer out loud. ‘I love you’ will suffice. She also explained that you don’t have to force any meaning into the prayer and likens it to pressing the ‘delete’ key on a computer keyboard. Who am I praying to? I haven’t a clue. Does it work? Let’s see. Apparently it can bring about miracles. I’m always up for a few of those!

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