Learning how to forgive and extend love and compassion to others is one of the most important things we can learn. Holding grievances hurts ourselves far more than anything anyone else has ever appeared to “do” to us. It puts a veil over the Light that shines within us, cutting us off from our experience of being connected with God, and therefore, love.
In order to forgive, we first have to arrive at a place where our personal peace and happiness is more important to us than the desire to be "right" and make someone else "wrong."
Even though arriving at that point can take longer in some situations than others, eventually the discomfort of holding someone out of our heart just becomes too painful. In doing that we hold a part of ourselves away from our own love and there is nothing more painful than that.
Before we can learn how to forgive others, we generally have to do some self-healing first. The first step is to acknowledge where we are in pain. We can't heal something until we admit to ourselves that it is there and take responsibility for our own feelings. Then we can bring loving compassion, acceptance and forgiveness to ourselves.
After that, it is easier to extend compassion, love and forgiveness to others.
Another reason why it helps to do our own personal forgiveness work first before learning how to forgive others is that it helps us to see our own underlying wounds and how they cause us to act in "off balance" ways toward others.
This makes it much easier to see that others' actions are motivated by THEIR wounds. With this understanding, we begin to open, soften, and move toward letting go of our grievances toward them.
We learn how to forgive "others" for our own healing because actually there is only One Being here, and it is Us. Whether we appear to forgive someone "out there" or ourselves, it is all Us.
After years of holding onto some large grievances, I finally generated enough desire to learn how to forgive because I was tired of suffering over the negativity I was choosing to hold onto. It was just too debilitating. At that point my strong desire attracted the introduction of a very clear path to learn how to forgive and heal anything, finally and completely.
My forgiveness path opened up in two steps: Ho'oponopono opened the door to the realization that forgiveness was POSSIBLE, and then studying The Disappearance Of The Universe and A Course In Miracles helped me to walk THROUGH the door of forgiveness, and into the Light of the Truth of who we all are.
First, I'll tell you about Ho’oponopono.
I had the great honor to attend a weekend workshop with an amazing Hawaiian shaman named Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. He teaches an ancient Hawaiian tradition of forgiveness named Ho’oponopono. That weekend was life-changing for me.
Let me first give you a little background on the Ho’oponopono perspective then I’ll show you how it can be valuable in learning how to forgive.
Ho’oponopono is born out of the fact that all life is interconnected, and is all made of the very same Essence. Further, we create every single thing that occurs in our life, big or small, by the vibrations that are dominant within our own being. We are like a human projector.
The vibrations within us project out and create images and dramas that are reflections of the energies within us. If it is in our life, it came from within us, otherwise it could not be here. This includes so called “other” people as well as every single thing we experience.
For instance, 10 people could attend the same party and have 10 very unique experiences, meet different people, have different conversations, and come away from the experience with 10 different sets of perceptions.
Each of those 10 people will experience parts of themselves at that party, which will be different from the other 9 people, who are all uniquely experiencing parts of themselves as well.
Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len
Ihaleakala Hew Len, PhD, is famous for curing a complete ward of criminally insane patients at the Hawaii State Hospital, but without ever “treating” any of them. He didn’t even meet with them, except to occasionally play tennis or other recreational activities. At the workshop I attended with him, I met the woman who was the director of the ward at the time and she verified the following facts.
Instead of the usual psychological treatments, Dr. Len practiced Ho’oponopono. Without meeting in person with the inmates, he studied each person’s chart. From the perspective that there is really only one Being and it is Us, he looked within himself to see how he created that person's mental illness.
He then healed the part of himself that created their distress, by focusing love on that condition. He took total responsibility for whatever he saw that needed healing. From this perspective, he ignored the boundaries we are all conditioned to falsely believe, that there is some boundary between “me” and “you.”
As he focused on each person he said “Thank you, I’m sorry, and I love you,” to them over and over again, day after day after day. This is the essence of Ho’oponopono and this is ALL he did.
“Thank you for bringing this part of myself into my awareness so that I can take responsibility for it and release it.”
“I’m sorry for harboring separating thoughts that have created suffering for Us.”
“I love you. You and I are One with God and each other.”
Learning how to forgive is really about taking responsibility for our life in a far deeper and broader way than most of us have ever even considered. Total responsibility means that everything in our life is our responsibility. Everything. This means every person that comes into our life experience as well as their actions, everything we see or hear or experience, is here because they are a reflection of something within us.
By the Law of Attraction, nothing could be in our life unless we resonated with it in some way. It couldn’t be in our life unless it was a vibrational match to something inside us, whether we are conscious of it or not. What we dominantly put our attention on manifests in our life. The kind of thoughts that we think create reflections of that same vibration all around us. So, in a sense, we CREATE them. Each of us creates the world that we live in.
This means that when we see a politician or even a terrorist and we don’t like what we see, what we are actually seeing is a part of our self and it is being shown to us to give us an opportunity to heal it. These “others” don't exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside us.
The problem isn't with them because there is no “them” that is separate from us. In order to change “them” we have to change our self. This is learning how to forgive.
Yes, this seems hard to grasp at first because it is so different from how we are conditioned to believe. It is an ongoing process to fully accept and actually live from this perspective. Basically, it comes down to loving yourself as the You that is everything you see and experience.
As you love everything you experience, your world begins to change, because your outer world is a projection of your inner world. In order to improve your own life, you have to heal your life – and your life is you and everything IN your life. As we learn how to forgive, our life automatically shifts into a more loving realm.
As Dr. Len took responsibility for everything that was happening with each of his patients, they each improved! Basically he worked on himself and they changed because they are a reflection of him. He worked on how to forgive them as himself.
Dr. Len joined the Hawaii State Hospital, staff turnover was outrageously high because it was such a dreary place to live, work in, or visit. The heavy pull of the negative burdens the patients carried was far too overwhelming for any of the staff to endure long term. They couldn’t even keep any potted plants on the ward because the energy was so toxic the plants died.
However, in the four years Dr. Len was there, big changes happened. As patients that had to be shackled began to heal, gradually their shackles were removed because they were no longer a threat. Medications were gradually reduced, then eliminated.
The inmates got better and better and the staff stabilized and began to enjoy their jobs. Eventually they closed the ward because all the patients were released! All of this came as a result of one man who was dedicated to learning how to forgive.
For a beautiful and inspiring account of how one woman used Ho'oponopono for healing, please read her letter in the right column of this page.
After I began writing this article something happened that provided me an opportunity to practice what I’m sharing here. It demonstrates the power of forgiveness, using the Ho’oponopono technique.
A few months ago some new neighbors moved in next door. I met them early on and liked them immediately. They also have two large dogs in their family. Recently there were a number of occasions when the dogs were outside and one of them barked for hours, only a few feet from my office window.
Irritation developed into anger and alas, I didn’t fully take care of it energetically inside me. I did some Ho’oponopono with it, but not consistent enough or long enough so it didn’t fully clear. I was caught up in the events of my life at the time, and put aside the fact that I know how to forgive.
A few weeks later the barking went on for hours once again. I spoke to the woman on the phone and all the unhealed energy in me came to the fore as anger. Understandably, she became very defensive. It was extremely uncomfortable for both of us.
I felt sick for a couple of days over it. I amaze myself sometimes at how long I’ll hold onto something that causes me intense pain. Actually, the part that was the most painful was the judgment I aimed at myself for losing my temper.
After the second day of feeling miserable, dysfunctional and inept, I had had enough. I knew how to forgive – it was time to finally do it!
I sat down, closed my eyes and blazed all the love and light I could visualize into me, my home, them, their home, their dogs, our yards, and the space around us. I repeated again and again, “Thank you, I’m sorry, and I love you.”
At first I could feel myself resisting my own words, still wanting to make them wrong. But at that point my desire for peace was much stronger than my desire to be “right.” I kept on until it was about 50% love and 50% wanting to be right. Then it was about 60% love and 40% wanting to be right. I kept at it, for about an hour, until I was so flooded with love I wanted to run over to their house and apologize.
I bought them a package of chocolates, then wrote up a card for them, apologizing and showing my willingness to come to peace with them. Then I knocked on their door, with my peace offering. The man answered the door with so much love in his eyes and immediately began apologizing to me for the dogs, before I could even say anything.
While we talked, I saw the love in their small children’s eyes, and I even felt love for the dogs wagging their tails at me through the sliding glass door on the back porch. I felt absolutely high with joy, relief, and love.
The next day the woman called me and thanked me and then the following day she left a package of cookies and a hand-made heart shaped card, expressing how sorry she was, and wishes for a harmonious New Year together in our beautiful neighborhood that we share.
Whew! I still feel tremendous love for them. Whenever I hear sounds coming from their house, I feel warmth and comfort just knowing they are there. And, ever since that meditation I have not heard their dogs, except for one quick bark, then silence.
In learning how to forgive myself and them, I healed the place in me that held that particular pocket of chaos. I am no longer projecting that particular energy out into the world and recreating the same negative scenario.
It is really quite miraculous how this works! We just have to remember that we DO know how to forgive. We just have to be willing to do it.
It is important to remember that sometimes long-standing issues need to be healed in layers. We need to be kind and forgiving with ourselves as we keep at this process, not expecting to heal deep wounds all at once.
A wonderful thing I’ve discovered in learning how to forgive is that this Ho'oponopono technique works even if I resist doing it at first. When I first learned this technique I began using it with someone who I had a long-standing grudge against. It was very painful to continue to carry the negative energy toward them.
Even so, I couldn’t seem to let go of the “I’m right and you’re wrong” energy. I began saying “thank you, I’m sorry, and I love you” to them over and over again, during my meditations, and at idle times during the day.
Gradually, over the course of a few days I noticed that even though I still felt a fair amount of negativity toward them, I was now willing to let go of the grudge. I continued on with the process and after a month or so I had a healing experience in meditation:
I was a hand on a huge body. I traveled all over the body and came upon the hand on the other side of the body and that hand was this person I had been wanting healing with. I experienced myself “globally,” as being the whole body, yet at the same time I could feel myself as the person called “Kai” as well as the person who was the other hand. We were quite literally all the same thing.
With continuing to forgive this person, eventually I was able to completely release all my negativity toward them.
As you begin practicing Ho'oponopono, you'll probably notice that your investment in being right and separating from the other person gets dismantled. Barriers seem to melt and the underlying truth of connection with the person shows itself. I think this is the reason this works.
At the core, there is no separation between any of us, no matter what any of us has done. Holding back love creates the illusion of separation. Then saying “Thank you, I’m sorry, I love you,” melts that illusion.
After my workshop on Ho’oponopono, I did some healing work with a medical intuitive. During that session I realized that there were was an energetic chord that connected me to a person I was in conflict with. In this case it was belly-to-belly because it was a power struggle.
While I worked with the medical intuitive, I said to the person I was releasing the chord from:
“I release you to your wholeness. I forgive you. I forgive myself. I give you permission to forgive me. I give you permission to forgive yourself.”
Whew! Repeating these words released the negativity on a much deeper level and I saw light in my inner vision.
As you're learning how to forgive, In some cases a negative bond may be quite strong and you’ll need to repeat this process several times.
As stated before, as you begin the words, it’s okay if your heart isn’t totally into forgiving someone at first. I guarantee you that if you stay with repeating the words anyway, it will be. If you feel moved to do the exercise at all, it means that your heart really is wanting to learn how to forgive, but since the negative energy is there, it will color your thoughts. Just keep at it and you’ll
release the suffering around the situation.
I mentioned before that learning to forgive and love yourself is as important as forgiving another person. Actually it ends up being the same thing. If we hold a negative judgment against ourselves it is like trying to live in a strait jacket. It stifles joy and love.
When we remember that this Ho’oponopono tool is available to us, we can say “Thank you, I’m sorry, I love you,” directly to ourselves – to the thought form of self-judgment itself. This releases self-judgment, revealing the love that is always underneath as we learn more about how to forgive. Doing this unlocks chains that guard and constrict our own hearts, our own love.
A powerful way to bring a group into harmony is to practice Ho’oponopono at a gathering. Just look around the room, focusing on each person at a time and silently say “Thank you, I’m sorry, I love you,” repeating it until you feel love for that person.
If you are a group facilitator, you can also do this before your meeting. Go down your list of registered participants, focusing on them individually and saying the words until you feel love. It will clear whatever is on the surface of the group, so that by the time you meet together, you can more quickly get down to the purpose of your meeting. I’ve used this technique before potentially “sticky” meetings and have been delighted to see how smoothly things went.
We can also practice this when we see a politician on TV, or anyone to whom we feel resistance. It reminds us that they are not separate from me and that our resistance is our own responsibility to heal.
This is a powerful thing we can do together for our planet and all of us beings on it as a whole. Just envision the planet and say “Thank you, I’m sorry, I love you.” Keep repeating it until you feel love permeating your being.
I’ve noticed that after I do this I see much more evidence of love in the world. I hear reports of selfless people working for harmony. I firmly believe that THIS is a way to heal our planet. By healing ourselves, by learning how to forgive, we heal our world.
After learning how to forgive with the Ho'oponopono technique, I was able to unwind a lot of trauma in my life. However, it wasn't until I started reading and practicing what I learned from The Disappearance Of The Universe and A Course In Miracles that I was able to release the deeper grievances that I didn't even fully realize were there.
A Course In Miracles thoroughly, clearly and lovingly explains the fact that the only way it is possible for us to be happy is to learn how to forgive. What keeps us creating suffering for ourselves is that we decline to take responsibility for our own lives and then try to project blame onto someone else. The fact is there isn’t a “someone else.” It is all us.
If we hold negativity for someone else, WE are the ones who hurt from it. Everything that happens to us is a reflection of our own mind. Therefore, we create and design everything that has happened to us, usually unconsciously. Once we realize this, we can’t blame someone else for our lives. This realization is essential before we can fully learn how to forgive.
For more information and to give you an experience of the power of learning how to forgive, I invite you to try this easy, yet powerful Forgiveness Meditation.
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