Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ho'oponopono: the Original 12-Step Process?


Recent family events have led me to review my 12-Step work in Al-Anon . It's a coming back to center on important principles that have helped me before.

Some of the similarities between this and Ho'oponopono are striking.

For instance, the first 3 "Steps" in Al-Anon say:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

We make moral inventory of ourselves, taking responsibility for our wrongs; we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings. Through prayer and meditation we seek to improve our conscious contact with God, praying for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

For some, Step One is extremely hard; so is the thought that any power but us will really be there for us. Learning to trust in something like this (as we understand it) can be a major struggle.

In Ho'oponopono, we also are taking 100% responsibility and asking God to transmute our errors -- making more room for Him in our lives through inspiration. There is also complete acceptance of Divinity's being "in charge", and, having created us, knowing what's right and perfect for us.

Some of us struggle with this too.

A life coach I had at one time was adamant that human intention ruled outcomes. For her the alternative was complete lassitude and giving up. Feeling that this was a very limiting view, I soon stopped working with her. It wasn't that I felt my actions didn't matter, but the sense of a partnership with Divinity resonated deeply within me.

Another similarity between Al-Anon and Ho'oponopono is concentrating on caring for the self -- as opposed to trying to "fix" or control other people or situations.

Many of us in Al-Anon have tried to change the alcoholics in our lives, sacrificing self-care to do it. That's the "unmanageable" part in Step 1. Time and again I'm shown where I'm not taking sufficient care of myself, and whose business I really need to "mind": mine!

Ho'oponopono also suggests we're here to save ourselves rather than anyone else.

In this way it's an antidote to co-dependent behavior where we focus on others to the exclusion of our own needs. Ho'oponopono's attitude could sound completely selfish until you realize that it also recognizes the universe as one. We are all connected whether we like it or not.

This means that what I clean from "me", comes off of you at the same time; also, what you clean from yourself comes off of me. Our only mutual chance at freedom is if we each take care of ourselves -- yet it benefits the entire planet if we do. That's why Mabel Katz and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len can say, "If you are fine, everyone else will be also."

I don't know if Bill W. (the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous) knew of Ho'oponopono, but the two spiritual processes do seem to harmonize well together. There is even a "12 Step Process" taught at Ho'oponopono Basic seminars. Though these are not the same 12 Steps described in Alcoholics Anonymous and other groups, the names are curiously similar.

Perhaps someone can shed light on this? I am grateful to have both ways of working with myself these days.

Peace Begins with Me,
Pam

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