It is impossible to be truly present or at peace if you are harboring anger or resentment about past injustices. Forgiveness is a most powerfully elevating practice that cleanses and unburdens. Most famously, Jesus’ primary teachings were about the healing capacity of forgiveness.
There is so much to be said about forgiveness, but here I’ll share a forgiveness practice loosely based on Ho’oponoPono, an ancient Hawai’ian practice for familial and community harmony. A simple yet powerful exercise for conflict resolution, with it’s roots in Hawai’ian shamanism.
Whenever conflict or discord arisises, those involved practice in four steps:
I am responsible, I apologize…
First, each person takes responsibility for creating the situation. One might say, “As creator of my reality I take FULL responsibility for creating this situation, for my actions, for yours and all that has transpired here. I apologize to myself for creating this situation, which has caused suffering. I apologize to each of you. I apologize to the universe, as well, through which all are connected and through which all is impacted by this discord.” Each person involved follows with the same acceptance of total responsibility and apologizes.
Next, the apology is accepted and each person is forgiven for their having created the situation. “I forgive myself for creating this situation, which has created suffering. I accept your apology and lovingly forgive you, I forgive the universe for allowing such suffering to be created, and of which we are an extension.”
I Love You…
In the recognition that we are all one we say, “I love you.” Said because it connects hearts. Said because love is truth, love is spirit. (Love is God.)
I Thank You…
Said because there is nothing left to say. “I thank you for your forgiveness, it unburdens me. I thank you for your apology, for your willingness to re-establish harmony, and for the lessons we’re learning through resolving this conflict. I thank the universe and I thank myself.”
Traditionally, it is assumed that each person involved in the conflict participates. However, I find these same principals, applied privately, are powerful in helping me to forgive myself and others when its not possible or appropriate to ask the others to participate.
May we be blessed with great capacity for forgiveness, may we dwell in the peace that follows.