We have just started a new year with all its challenges ahead. Navigating through these is going to be quite a feat and I feel it is timely to share some tools and techniques to help you ride the waves.

Every month I will be presenting one particular tool that one culture or another found of benefit for their well-being. Most of these tools have strange names as they are derived from foreign countries and so are in another language, but we will explore the concepts behind them that have stood the test of time with their insights and wisdom.

I myself only became acquainted with these fascinating ideas in these last few years and I am sure they are worth sharing – and fun to know about.

Firstly, it is important to understand that a great way to ensure health for oneself is through cultivating a holistic regime that covers, body, mind and spirit. Health does not consist of just keeping our body fit with the right exercise and nutrition. It is just as important to feed our mind and the way we think with the right fodder to function at its best. In fact, if our thinking is somewhat disarrayed, the body is affected and can even get diseased. We live as we think. So, the functioning of our mind needs to be in place too.

Another dimension to our persona is our level of consciousness. How spiritually advanced are we? And are we on a journey to work on this area? Spirituality has nothing to do with religious beliefs. It is intrinsic to everyone of any belief system whereby one gets to a point of integration and at peace with oneself and with all around. And this needs work to achieve a balanced demeanour.

The first concept to explore − ho’oponopono − comes from Hawaii. It is a technique of reconciliation and forgiveness and has nothing to do with any religiosity but is powerful enough to make life less stressful through mental and spiritual cleansing.

In Hawaiian, the word ‘ho’o’ means ‘cause’, while ‘ponopono’ means ‘perfection’. So, the whole term ‘ho’oponopono’ can be translated as ‘correct a mistake’ or ‘make it right’.

The term became known from an experience lived by the therapist and teacher, Dr Ihaleakala Hew Len, who managed to cure an entire building of mentally ill criminals in Hawaii with this technique without even talking or interacting with any of them. By analysing each patient’s records, the therapist applied the ho’oponopono keywords − to himself − regard­ing his emotions towards these inmates such as of anger, shame or disgust − and the repetition of the technique changed his mood.

The idea is to cleanse ourselves from memories and perceptions and get to a situation of gratitude

Consequently, the mental activity of the detainees also changed. The results were so surprising that, in a few months, Len was able to heal the inmates out of their institution through healing himself.

It is a technique for getting rid of bad memories and feelings that tend to burden us. It can be said that ho’oponopono is a problem-solving process that must happen entirely within oneself.

The fact is that we go through a lot of stuff in our life but what mostly matters is how we deal with it. Having negative repercussions is all our making and these can be likewise healed by ourselves too. The important thing is to take responsibility.

The practice consists of saying four particular phrases repeatedly that confront four issues, namely: repentance, forgiveness, love and gratitude. And the phrases are: ‘I’m sorry’, ‘please forgive me’, ‘thank you’, ‘I love you’.

Now, this is not New Agey stuff or mambo jumbo. These phrases are addressed to a higher power (God, higher intelligence, etc) that can release us from our perceptions of what we are experiencing within us (whether consciously or unconsciously). These phrases are powerful. By saying ‘I love you’ we are transforming anything as we are opening the combination lock to the universe. Loving everything (what we like and even what we don’t) transmutes stuck energy. With love we are expressing gratitude, reverence and transformation. We are part of the divine and, therefore, perfect in our home.

We say ‘I am sorry’ for letting ourself experience a problem (being our perception); we say ‘I forgive you’ to forgive ourself for letting this to happen to us; and when we say ‘thank you’, we are thanking our higher power for giving us the chance (through awareness) of releasing us of this.

Understanding that we are part of a divine love we don’t need to be weighed down with negativity – hence the request for forgiveness in forgetting this reality.

By releasing our negative energies, we are encouraging a calmer disposition as we get rid of blockages to happiness and fulfilment. Healthier relationships also manifest through the practice as we discard the passive idea that others are always in the wrong and realise that we are part of the problem (through our perceptions). By understanding this, our communication improves.

Ultimately, we do create our reality and by repeatedly practising Ho’oponopono in silence and frequently, we neutralise and cleanse the mental energy of memory we have associated with a particular person, situa­tion or belief. Thus, we begin to experience feelings of compassion, new inner sensations, inspirations or a simple relaxation of mind. 

The idea is to cleanse ourselves from memories and perceptions and get to a situation of gratitude and thus open up to inspiration and be in touch with divine love.

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