Apologize? What, who, me?

Self Identity Through Ho'oponopono is known as a process of "repentance, forgiveness, and transmutation" so that our errors in throught, word, and deed can be cleansed and made right. But the part about "repentance" stops some of us cold. Even the phrase "I'm sorry" can rankle.


For some of us, the word "repentance" churns up evangelical connotations: sin, guilt, fire, and eternal damnation, from earlier religious training. We may have struggled against such seemingly condemning viewpoints all our lives.

And understandably, we don't want any of that stuff. It leaves us feeling hopelessly bad about ourselves. Any implication of wrongdoing triggers our shame. That's why saying "I'm sorry" can stir up our resistance.

Is Ho'oponopono about hopelessness and focusing on how bad we are? Hardly. Most religions aren't either, although the people practicing them may get stuck there.

I ran across a helpful reference to this issue in a report Joe Vitale recently wrote, called "Zero Limits Answers." It's a collection of questions and answers about "zero" that Joe, who was once homeless, gathered to benefit a foundation to end poverty.

The pertinent question:

""I am sorry!"? Does this mean apology or sadness? What do I have to be sorry for when everything in the Universe is perfect? I don't like having to say it. "

Joe's answer:

"You need to say 'I'm sorry' and 'Please forgive me' for being unconscious. it has nothing to do with regret, guilt, shame, or blame, but everything to do with realizing you've been asleep. When you bump into someone in the store, you say 'I'm sorry.' Why? Because you made a mistake. You were unconscious and did something while you were unaware. When you address the Divine and say those phrases, you are letting the Divine know you were unconscious. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful transformative tools you have. If you aren't willing to ask for forgiveness for being unconscious, you are probably blocking the Divine's flow in your life in other areas, too.

Having said all that, I once asked Dr. Hew Len what to tell people who complained about saying 'I am sorry.' He said, 'Tell them they don't have to say it.'"

Although some people object to Joe Vitale, this is one of the clearest responses I have seen to this question. I really appreciate his making it available.

Most of us don't realize we've been unconscious, because we still are. :-)

I like the simple notion of acknowledging a "Woops!" (as I've often heard Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len say also) and going back to my cleaning. It's so easy to fall back asleep and forget that my inner responses to others are, in fact, MY responses, and not necessarily what is true about them or the situation. I'm glad for the possibility to note these responses as they arise, clean, and move on. No self-flagellation required. (although I've certainly gone through periods of that)

In recent years, Dr. Hew Len has indicated that the phrase "I love you" covers all the other 3 ("I'm sorry," "Please forgive me," and "Thank you"). That's why we don't "have" to say "I'm sorry" if it really doesn't feel right to us.

But it's true that we are responsible for our misperceptions. The issue is becoming aware that they are indeed misperceptions and not "facts". Saying "I'm sorry" is acknowledging to Divinity that we recognize this, that the process has been going on for eternity, and we are now stopping the buck. The entire conversation is between us and Divinity, and we are asking for help.

It's been a particular "wake-up" call for me when someone transposes the "Please forgive ME" phrase into "I forgive YOU." We have such difficulty acknowledging our own errors, but sniff out those of others like bloodhounds. When this happens in my presence, I know it is my own recalcitrant ego/intellect showing up yet again -- time for more cleaning. So thank you, dear people, for showing me where to apply the spiritual Lysol (or solar water, or blueberries)!

Peace begins with me,


Herma said…
Dear Pam,
I would like to thank you for this blog - I've been working with Ho'oponopono for the last 4 years or so and your blogs have been brilliant in making me understand so much more. Here in the Netherlands (where I live) Ho'oponopono is not yet such an established 'system'(for want of a better word) and so your insights (with help of Mabel and Dr. Len and Jimmy of course..:-)) have helped me tremendously. I hope you don't mind that I've translated some of your blogs to Dutch, there is such a lack of Dutch information on Ho'oponopono that I felt it to be very useful when I try to explain to my friends and family what SITH is all about. So, thank you, I love you, Please Forgive me, I'm sorry. Met veel vriendelijke groeten, Herma
Pam Pappas MD said…
Dear Herma,

Thank you for your kind message. I am grateful you would take the time to translate my blogs into Dutch, and am glad that they are helpful. We are all cleaning with whatever we experience -- how wonderful people can connect throughout the world in doing this.

Peace to you,
Unknown said…
Thank you very much for your blog about ho'oponopono.

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