Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Finding Peace Amidst the War of Self-Destruction

Sometimes despite our best intentions and Ho'oponopono cleaning, outer situations don't change. In fact they may even seem to deteriorate.

This can be extremely frustrating, leading us to think that nothing we do -- including Ho'oponopono -- "works." Maybe we expect that if we clean (or share our supposed wisdom), others will do as we think they should do. When they don't, we get agitated.

There's a precious balance between doing what we realistically can in support of others, and expecting them to follow our suggestions. It can be hard to maintain this balance.

A situation in my family has been causing great pain, and I've been asked for my thoughts. I've been cleaning, and sharing when it seems right. But for the most part, my words fall on deaf ears. The question is recovery from alcoholism, a condition which eventually leads to death.

My upset is a complex blend of concern, love, indignation, fear, anger, and incredulity that others don't see things the way I do. There's also humor in finding such attitudes alive in me! I'm working on releasing this, using many Ho'oponopono cleaning tools in the process.

Homeopath Bill Mann in Escondido CA shared some profound thoughts about this kind of pain the other day:

"I believe so many of us are in a profound struggle, so many of us are suffering terribly. Sometimes all we can do is allow and let. Sometimes it is beyond where any of our own intervention can make a difference. Sometimes it seems the best medicine for others is your own ability to find peace and quiet.

I have witnessed so much madness and insanity in families, that nothing surprises any more. When alcohol is part of the mix---it seems disaster is at the door. Most cannot come to grips with the demons within---to ask one to confront such, knowing even for sure it is the right thing, just cannot be coerced.

The war of self destruction and spirit of life are always in interplay---sometimes the urge to destroy overrides all else.

How do we find peace inside of ourselves??? That is the true quest--and a worthy effort."

With this, Bill hit things square on the head. Remembering this ongoing dance between the spirit of life and the war of self-destruction is huge for me. It is like the choice we have any moment: to clean or to engage with the "problem".

I see that I don't know what another's spirit has decided and is bringing to fruition, or what God has in mind either. I can do what I am guided to do, yet realize that the outcome is not in my hands.

For me, practicing Ho'oponopono is one way to find this peace that Bill talks about. My homeopathic remedy is helping too! For others, mindfulness or still other kinds of meditation may be workable paths. It is all a work in progress, never complete.

I am reminded of the closing prayer in Ho'oponopono, available online and in many other publications:

Peace be with you, All my Peace,

The Peace that is "I,"

The Peace that is "I am."

The Peace for always, now and forever and evermore.

My Peace "I" give to you,

My Peace "I" leave with you,

Not the world's Peace, but only my Peace,
The Peace of "I".

I can't describe what I'm seeking through Ho'oponopono cleaning -- or even homeopathic treatment -- any better than that. Thank you, Bill, for your clear observations and truth.

Be well,

Peace Begins with Me

Friday, January 23, 2009

Homeopathy, Ho'oponopono, and Relationships

Why would you imagine that people come to see a psychiatrist -- and a homeopathic psychiatrist at that?

All kinds of stresses and suffering lead them to my door. But out of all the problems I hear, the most frequent is their relationships with each other.

That's right. Some want to be in relationships and can't find them; others are in relationships and want out. Still others are so focused on tormenting each other they wouldn't think of leaving -- but both partners become ill.

In homeopathy, we explore the person's inner experiences. This is not to create a chronological "who did what to whom" kind of document. Instead we want to discover how the life force has tried to adapt to perceived problems; this is revealed through the person's pattern of symptoms and ways of suffering. Through this understanding we can find a medicine from the natural world that contains this same energy pattern -- and thus can catalyze healing.

Believe it or not, there are similarities between this process and Ho'oponopono.

Last weekend Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len and Mabel Katz shared some wisdom about relationships that I have continued to ponder.

"People come into your life to show you what you need to let go of -- to bug you," said Dr. Hew Len. "The way they bug you is exactly perfect. "

Perfect? For what?

Perfect to point precisely to what needs healing -- in a way nothing else possibly could. We wouldn't be "bugged" if we weren't "buggy".

When homeopaths listen to patients' stories, we're always wondering what is problematic for them. What doesn't phase one person, drives another up the wall. How are events and circumstances so upsetting for this individual? We want to understand our patients' particular form of "bugginess" -- it is unique and personal. Homeopathy gently unearths these sensitivities so as to find help in healing the life force turmoil that generates them.

Ho'oponopono doesn't examine these in such detail, but respects their significance. In Ho'oponopono, our sensitivities are simply evidence of memories needing transmutation. We can start the process by choosing to "clean" (say "thank you, I love you, I am sorry, etc).

How to do this?

Suppose we're having trouble with someone in our lives. Dr. Hew Len suggested we might say to ourselves, "Thank you, _________, for giving me a chance [to make amends]. You've come into my life to bug me -- thank you! I didn't know I was so buggy!"

Then, rather than cause for unending distress, this seeming "problem" becomes an opportunity for healing.

Applying the homeopathic remedy that matches the pattern of distress can stimulate the person's healing responses. But apparently so can Ho'oponopono, once we realize the problem is not "out there" in the other person, but comes from a memory in us.

This subconscious memory could have been present for eons, running non-stop at low volume. The person "bugging" us turns up the volume, pointing to something that's up for healing. When we let go of it, it can come off others too.

Ho'oponopono adds a further twist to the problems our patients bring us -- one that might be a little harder to grasp.

Patients, with their suffering, come in to "bug" us in a very particular way. They give us yet another chance to release old memories running in our subconscious. If a patient comes to me with marital discord, history of abuse, addiction, depression, and anxiety, guess who's "buggy"? ME!!! Guess who needs to clean? ME!!!

According to Ho'oponopono, patients only come through my door when we have mutual karmic memories or debts to clean. Perfect.

Another piece of this, says Dr. Hew Len, is that "You're not here because people need you -- they need GOD. You're only here to save your own butt."

We can best make way for this by doing our cleaning before patients come in, while they're there, and after they leave. Then our interventions are more likely to be guided by Divine Inspiration than by our "stuff."

"The best help you can give someone," added Mabel, "is to do the cleaning." Her book, The Easiest Way, gives further examples.

Mind you, I listened to all this and thought I was hearing. At the end I went up to Dr. Hew Len and thanked him for "helping" me. He looked at me and sighed. "Nobody can help anybody else, Pam," he said. "I am just here to clean."

Somehow, this was one of the most truly caring things anybody has ever said to me. It also reminds me that even when I think I'm hearing, I still have wax in my ears. I guess Dr. Hew Len, Mabel, and I still have mutual de-bugging to do. :-)

Please forgive me, Mabel and Ihaleakala. I love you.

Peace Begins with Me,

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ho'oponopono: Unclogging the Soul

Sometimes we attend seminars and leave untouched; other times we are forever changed. I experienced the latter this past weekend, through "The Easiest Way Live Seminar" with Mabel Katz and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len.

Too many places in me were touched to write about them all at once. They'll have to come out over time.

One, though, involves the human fear of being "nothing" -- with the surprising recognition that there is also great freedom in this. For me this was like a spiritual cleanse, unsticking clogged energies like the best bran muffin one could hope for.

The very essence of Ho'oponopono is that we come from nothing (the Void) as an exact likeness of the Divine. "We are perfect, but we've got doo-doo [extraneous data or memories plugging us up]," said Dr. Hew Len. Hawaiians even have a term for this situation: kukai pa'a (intellectual constipation).

Ho'oponopono cleaning is all about letting go of this "doo-doo" so that we return to our original state of nothing -- "Zero". It is already present, requiring no extra qualifications. Only at Zero can we be our true selves, which is Love.

Many of us fear being nothing, and do everything in our power to stand out, achieve, get degrees, make money, "be somebody", and do great things. In fact, those of us relying on our intellects to make us successful find this "nothing" stuff really hard to grasp!

But Mabel and Dr. Hew Len uprooted all that this weekend.

"It is not the function of the intellect to know," said Dr. Hew Len. "It is the function of the intellect to clean."

Thwump! toppled my own need to "know".

Earlier in the week I had taught at American Medical College of Homeopathy here in Phoenix. Most of the class was participating, but one student in the front row read a book while I spoke and tried to engage with the group. The student flipped pages, often re-plunking the book on the table. It was a loud message.

For this student, I seemed to be nothing -- in a painful way to me. No matter how much I had worked with my material and wanted to reach all the students, it clearly wasn't happening, at least with this one.

Fortunately when Dr. Hew Len talks about "being nothing", he opens up a whole other realm of meaning.

It was marvelous for me (the quintessential intellect!) that he read about "nothing" from EB White's Charlotte's Web. It's a classic, often said to be a "children's book". My inner child was delighted.

In this book, Wilbur the pig is seeking playmates but finds none. He is very lonely. How many of us can relate to this?

He approaches a lamb, who tells him, "Pigs mean less than nothing to me."

"What do you mean, less than nothing?" replied Wilbur. "I don't think there is any such thing as less than nothing. Nothing is absolutely the limit of nothingness. It's the lowest you can go. It's the end of the line. How can something be less than nothing? If there were something that was less than nothing, it would be something -- even though it's just a very little bit of something. But if nothing is nothing, then nothing has nothing that is less than it is."

"Oh, be quiet!" said the lamb. "Go play by yourself! I don't play with pigs."

We in the audience laughed as Dr. Hew Len shared this little interchange. I felt my worries come up, collapse, and release.

Through his examples, he showed us that this "nothing" or "Zero" place is exactly where we all want to be. When you are nothing, you are limitless; there is no stuckness. Since the intellect knows nothing in comparison to the subconscious, we might as well acknowledge our cluelessness.

"If you're nothing," said Dr. Hew Len, "then Divinity can enlighten and inspire you. We have so much bull**** memories, CD's playing in our minds. We can let go and let God.

Be clear that you are perfect, created in the exact likeness of the Divine. The Light is always on, but you're stuck! Kukai pa'a! Ho'oponopono releases the kukai."

When we are ourselves, then all we need comes naturally. This might be ideas, opportunities, people showing up, anything. Be ourselves, and Divine Light comes through automatically. Ho'oponopono is about erasing and letting go of errors, allowing Divinity to transmute all these to pure light -- taking us back to Zero, nothing.

"You want the bank? It's at Zero! The perfect relationship? It's at Zero! Let go so you can be yourself," he added.

Mabel brought her own lightness and play to this learning. Here we are, she joked, going through life with a boom-box of CD's on our shoulder! We're playing them all the time, and wondering why the same things keep happening. They might be playing really soft, but they're still playing.

It's just another illustration of our "kukai pa'a" problem.

This includes, they both said, introducing lists of goals, intentions, and resolutions into our lives. This flies against most "Law of Attraction"-type teachings, yet in Ho'oponopono the only way to receive perfect information is to be at "Zero" (nothing, unobstructed with additional data).

"If I would have written how much money I would have, or how many rooms I want in my house, I wouldn't have 1/4 of what I now have," shared Mabel.

For Mabel, the only perfect question is, "How do I clean?" All others (such as "why?" "how come?" and "what if?") lead down the intellectual path to confusion, doubt, wasting time, or worse.

That's why she calls her work "The Easiest Way." More later.

Peace Begins with Me,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tarra and Bella: Living in the Now

What might it be like to live without extraneous data or memories affecting our relationships?

Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len often remarks, "Love is blind." One could be "in the moment", all the time, through practicing Ho'oponopono constantly. There could be a world without preconceived notions, judgements, racism, border wars, or other disruptive human rigidities.

We could recognize that we really know nothing, and deal with what shows up rather than struggle with what our intellects think "should not be."

I offer a story* about 2 very unlikely friends at The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee: Tarra, an 8700-pound Asian elephant and Bella, a fluffy white dog. The 2 are inseparable -- and they don't seem to care what anybody thinks about it, either.

Terra and Bella: A Heavenly Match

Born in Burma in 1974, Tarra was prematurely weaned and separated from her mother at 6 months -- then sold to an animal broker in the United States. After flying to the US in a small wooden crate on a cargo plane, she performed in circuses doing tricks like riding roller skates.

Until she met her caretaker, Carol Buckley (seen on the video), she lived in the back of a delivery truck. Fortunately, Carol gave her more freedom.

Many people don't realize that elephants can suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) just as humans can. PTSD is a syndrome that encompasses life-threatening events; the individual is usually unable to escape. Like so many of her kin, Tarra has this kind of history.

Remember the saying, "An elephant never forgets"? Well, Tara would have a lot of memories to forget. And yet, here she is finding a most unusual friend rather than living completely in fear.

Maybe she knows innately how to do Ho'oponopono.

Most of the dogs at the Sanctuary will have nothing to do with the elephants, and vice versa. Another unusual aspect of this story.

So, how could it be with us, do you think, if we could release our traumas and prejudices as Tarra and Bella seem to have done? I like imagining this possibility . . . not caring what color anybody's fur is, or whether they even have any.

Ho'oponopono offers a method for getting to this point in any moment. You can learn more through The Foundation of I, Inc. Also, Mabel Katz and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len are presenting a joint seminar this weekend in Los Angeles -- care to join in? For further information, click here: Ho'oponopono Seminar January 16th and 17th.

By the way, one more thing about Tarra and her sisters: they're getting holistic and integrative veterinary care. Looks like they're smarter at the Elephant Sanctuary than many of us are in the human world. :-)

Peace Begins with Me,

*video sent by my colleague, Dr. Dan Benor of Wholistic Healing Research -- thanks, Dr. Dan!

Friday, January 9, 2009

100% Responsible -- For What?

Over the last few months I've been dealing with a family situation that's had me stumped. A mixture of love, concern, anxiety, hurt, anger, and guilt comes along with it.

The specifics aren't so important here, but one issue for me has been what -- and how much -- I personally should "do" about this situation.

After all, one tenet of Ho'oponopono is that we are "100% responsible" for everything that shows up in our lives. Does this mean that when the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, we have caused it -- with all attendant blame and guilt? And if we have caused it, does it mean we need to fix it?

Maybe other people get confused about these questions too.

My feeling of stuckness led me to ask Mabel Katz last night to talk about the "100% responsibility" part of Ho'oponopono. We were chatting on one of her Thursday night Ho'oponopono question and answer calls.

When in the thick of things, she said, "it can be hard to remember that this is only a movie -- maybe a horror movie that we don't want to see." What seems to be "out there" is only a reflection of the collected memories playing on our inner projector.

The projector might be perfect . . . but Lord! Those movies!

"It is not about what they are doing, saying, how they are acting," she continued. "It is to remember that they are only my thoughts, and we don't take it personally."

She reminded us also of Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len's comments about such things: "You clean for your family to behave nicely? I clean to be with God!"

This can be a challenge, depending on what's going on. But the goal is to be at peace, no matter what's happening.

"Taking 100% responsibility is giving it to God," added Mabel. "It does not mean you are responsible for taking decisions, for knowing everything. In fact it is the opposite -- you know nothing!"

"The more you let God take care of it [through doing your Ho'oponopono cleaning] the more God DOES take care of it and things happen." Cleaning through "Thank you," "I love you," and other tools gives God our permission to take care of our family members, or whoever/whatever we might be concerned about.

That said, choosing to do the cleaning [rather than getting all tangled up with the seeming scenario] is a huge responsibility. If we don't, no one else may be willing to do it -- leaving everyone stuck.

"You are responsible", emphasized Mabel, "because they are your thoughts [of pain, upset, worry, anger, etc]. You are not responsible for anything else but to LET THEM GO. Your are responsible to set them free so that your family can set themselves free. Allow God to do it."

"You think you know what they need?" she asked me.

No, I definitely don't, I answered -- and this is a problem too. I am not sure whether there is something I am "supposed" to be understanding that I simply don't. What if I "miss" it?

"The only question any of us needs to ask," replied Mabel, "is: 'am I cleaning enough?'" People only come to us, both she and Dr. Hew Len have said, to give us another chance to make amends and set them free.

What an amazing possibility, I thought. What if, in the midst of what looks to me like a mess, this is instead an exciting opportunity to let go of things that have been plaguing my family, relatives, and ancestors for generations?

"You can give permission to God in you to take care of your parents," she said, "or you can worry and God is going to love you anyway. You can say to God, 'I want what's best for everybody, but I don't know the solution.' God is waiting for you to give permission for Him to help."

Only God in us can transmute memories. That is getting to the problems' source. Everything else is simply managing, playing in the land of the intellect and seeming outer effects. Cleaning needs to be constant.

I got worried, of course, about this. What if, in my attempts to clean, worries creep back in? Will this negate any potential good I have done?

"No," said Mabel. "Not as along as you are doing your best. God is watching you."

She reminded us all that we can use the glass of water tool as a reminder for times when we "slip" and worry rather than clean.

For this, fill a glass of water 3/4 full, and maybe put a little blue corn meal in the glass. Leave it out. Change the water at least twice a day, but as often as you notice yourself worrying or suffering again. It's like saying to God, "I am giving you permission to transmute whatever is going on in me that this situation is showing up" -- even when you aren't consciously thinking about it. None of us cleans perfectly.

Ceeport stickers, pins, and other products are also ways to keep this cleaning going in difficult situations. But the glass of water is free. :-)

Peace Begins with Me,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Ho'oponopono: "The Light is Always On"

A new year is always a chance to start anew, releasing what no longer fits.

Some of this could be grudges and hurts held for years. You know the ones: she said this to me; he didn't do that; I got passed over for a promotion; my spouse left me . . . and on and on.

Sometimes we simply aren't speaking to someone, and we can't even remember the original insult because it happened so long ago. Perhaps the length of passing time makes it feel too embarrassing to break silence -- after all, how could we explain that we've been stewing in resentment all this time? We might continue the glacial freeze rather than lose face.

One of the most painful situations can be when we've sincerely apologized to someone for a hurt we've caused, but they continue the silence anyway. Then we're left with both guilt from our earlier transgression as well as feeling rejected anew.

Oh, we can really get embroiled in our woundings.

Sometimes we can become so aligned with having been hurt that this becomes our identity. I am an "Adult Child of an Alcoholic", for instance. This may be factually true in one sense, and yet I am also more than this.

This "more than" part of me, this inner observer, makes it possible to choose to let go of resentment and pain.

As a psychiatrist I have heard more stories of hurt, abuse, torment, rejection, abandonment, despair, fear, and anger than most. I used to think years of therapy were the only answer for working through these kinds of pain. A therapist can be helpful while one is processing and healing, and feeling pain is certainly human enough. We've all been there.

But what if none of it is real, and what happened is not what we think?

I don't mean that hurts don't happen and pain isn't real. But, what if Ho'oponopono is correct, and we really don't know anything about what we think we're seeing or experiencing from others?

What if we're all flailing at ghosts of our own making -- or simple misperceptions -- when we attack or get angry at others? And what if our egos (which we've created for self-protection and getting along in the world) are what we're defending most of the time?

According to sages such Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed, we all have Souls more eternal and pervasive than any of these more temporary facades that are so prone to squabbles and pain. If Ho'oponopono is true, then our actual Identity is complete and outlives all that.

This also makes it possible to forgive, no matter what happens. We don't need to blind outselves to current danger signs or fall prey to the same kind of hurt or misuse again, but we can release old burdensome grudges we might be lugging around.

One thing Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len is fond of saying is that we are here to clean the memories that are clouding our vision and experience. In doing that, we find out Who We Really Are: Zero, the potential from which everything is created and all is possible.

To be nothing and everything at the same time is great freedom.

Dr. Hew Len and Mabel Katz spoke about this and more on a free (and recorded) interview through Blog Talk Radio on 12/17/08.

One phrase of Dr. Hew Len's in particular sticks with me:

"The Light is always on."

He was talking about Peace, our true Identity, the Zero state where no memories or chaos are clamoring for attention.

To experience this state we can clean with "I love you" or any other Ho'oponopono tool we choose. We can decide in any moment to hang onto whatever anguish or struggle we're experiencing, or forgive and let it go . . . thus giving it to Divinity. The clouds are illusions created by our perceptions; the Light is real and always on.

Ho'oponopono is not the only spiritual practice leading to this kind of release, but it does offer a very simple way to do it. Forgiveness like this seems a wonderful way to start 2009 . . . with gratitude to Dr. Hew Len, Motel 6, and lighthouses all over the world. When the Light is always on, everything is possible.

Peace Begins with Me,