Healing Our Hearts and the World with Ho’oponopono

four tea light candles in a row symbolize healing
Photo by Nadia Szopińska

As we mourn the victims of another mass shooting, we are flooded with emotions, numbness being one of them. We mourn the lives lost, as well as the loss of the world as we knew it. Perhaps we even see the dysfunction and unhealed wounds, both individual and collective.

Acknowledge your feelings

How do we hold the place of peace inside of ourselves and the world in the midst of madness and malignancy? We cannot put our heads in the sand and ignore the suffering. Let’s look at it and feel it, as painful as it is.

In shocking and traumatic situations, we often contract and feel alone and separate. We may feel disconnected from the spirit or source of life that is actually sustaining us. If we call this source God, we may feel angry and abandoned, not able to accept a pain we don’t understand. Remembering our connection with this source of life, which includes all of life, sustains us and gives us the strength to go on. It gives us the inspiration to know how we might become agents of change as healers of this shared wound.

Healing ourselves is healing the world

There is great wisdom and healing in the Hawaiian practice Ho’oponopono, which means to “make things right.”

We are all connected; as we clear ourselves, we clear each other and our world. Through this practice of saying, “I’m sorry, I love you, please forgive me, I thank you,” we can bring awareness and allow release in patterns of fear, negativity and trauma. We also allow love and compassion into our hearts.

In a time like this, you may feel such despair that you wonder, “How can I forgive someone who has engaged in such violence? How can I love them, when they have caused so much pain?”

It may not be easy, but we do have an opportunity to consider the bigger picture, the situation beyond the individual. What dysfunction in the perpetrator allowed this manifestation? What is the nature of this potential in human beings to snap and do great harm? How far back into individual or collective history does it go? All this is what needs to be acknowledged and forgiven.

Give attention to your self

In contrast to focusing on the external, ask, “What in me needs to be forgiven?” We can say we are sorry for all we have knowingly or unknowingly done, and for that potential that all humans hold to cause pain.

We can say “I’m sorry” to the many beautiful people who lost their lives in this recent attack, and in addition to their families and friends whose hearts are broken. All of us can feel this pain.

Furthermore, we can say thank you for all of the blessings in the midst of the madness. We also can cultivate the place of peace one breath at a time and breathe it out to the world. Finally, we can choose love and say, “I love you.”

I was attracted to this practice as soon as I heard of it. I said the words like a mantra, not to anyone in particular, but I broadcasted loud and clear. It is sacred, a prayer.

I’m sorry, I love you, please forgive me, I thank you

After about two years, the words came through me in song. Singing is the language of the heart. It opens up the breath and ultimately moves energy up and out. Singing, making sounds, laughing, and crying release energy and emotions.

When chanting Ho’oponopono, I feel I am being breathed by the breath of spirit and sung by the song of life.

On my website, you can download a free five-minute chant. May you find it a blessing!


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