Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Ho'oponopono: It's not what you think
I've been fortunate to attend several teleconference calls with Mabel Katz and also a live seminar with Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len this past week. These are two of my most treasured teachers in the ho'oponopono process, a way of living that keeps me mostly sane these days.
At first my intellect was doubtful that saying things like "thank you" "I'm sorry" "please forgive me" or "I love you" could make any difference in this tumultuous world of ours. How can such a nonsensical process solve problems? I'm trained to think through problems, dissect causes, consider options, and pick the most sensible way to fix them. My intellect loves to think it's in charge.
Instead, ho'oponopono holds that our intellects can't possibly know what the problem truly is. After all, our conscious minds can be aware of only ~15 bits of information at a time, yet there are 15 million bits of information flooding our brains in any one moment! (Please check out "The User Illusion" by Tor Norretranders for more about this.)
We could be thinking about something, but be clueless about the real problem. Dr. Hew Len likens problems to Gordian knots, intertwining throughout billions of people, places, eons, and lifetimes. They are the unconscious memories we carry within us, manifesting before our eyes.
So what's a thinker like me supposed to do? Get frustrated and gnash my teeth? Unfortunately this is what sometimes happens -- the ego can hang on with a grip like alligator jaws.
But the idea of ho'oponopono is to let go, and recognize that we don't know what's going on. This allows the part of us that DOES know to get to work. This part is in direct contact with what some call God, Divinity, or other names. Supposedly if we let go and keep on "cleaning" by using "I love you" or other tools, we will be more open to divine inspiration . . . leading to effective action on our parts.
This is far from a passive process -- in fact it's mighty hard at times to do! But through examples, questions, and commentary, Mabel and Ihaleakala show how. And I can attest to the peace within and without that results. I may not know just how things will show up, but somehow something always does.
When I was in therapy earlier in my career, my analyst told me that I needed to let go of certain life situations and hoped-for relationships. In confusion I asked him, "But how do I do that?" He really couldn't explain; it wasn't found in psychoanalysis.
Years later, I think practices such as meditation and ho'oponopono are more likely to show us "how" to let go -- even when our intellects are running amok like crazed monkeys. If I never personally solve another problem in my life, I'm clear that letting go of those monkeys is a far, far easier way to live. Lots more possibilities can come up in the process, too!