Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ho'oponopono: Power Lifting for the Soul

 
People's experiences with Ho'oponopono are very individual.  For instance, after practicing this for awhile some feel peace, some feel nothing at all, and some might notice that they feel worse -- at least temporarily.

Given our varying sensitivities, it's easy enough to understand the first two.  But feeling worse with a spiritual practice like Ho'oponopono?  How can this be?

It might even scare some people away from doing it.

My own experience has been all three (as well as others) at different times.  

In this practice, we're adopting a world view that differs from most other cultural norms: accepting 100% responsibility for everything that shows up in our lives.  For many, this is a deal breaker and they get no farther.  After all, how can we be responsible for things we've never even been involved with in this lifetime?  Afghanistan?  Iraq?  Massive oil spills?  Patients committing suicide, or dying of cancer?

We may not understand our personal connections with any of this, and yet Ho'oponopono suggests that our own faulty memories are fueling these events.  If that's so, how can we not feel absolutely crummy for bringing all this on?

Hence, that's one way people might feel "worse" as a result of practicing Ho'oponopono.  

It's interesting that Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len frequently says that when we're born, we "come in with it all."  Meaning, we are laden from the beginning with ancestral, possibly even universal, memories that it is our task (or opportunity) in life to clear or "clean."   The most recalcitrant and tedious memories are often our ancestral ones.  These may show up in our current, external experience -- or we painfully embody them ourselves in sick ways of responding to others, and to life. 

In his book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, Eckhart Tolle expresses a similar concept that he calls the "pain body": an involuntary, automatic, and repetitive emotional response pattern that seems to take over our entire beings at times.  Often we're so immersed in this we don't realize what's happening at all.  It can be like a haze that permeates, surrounds, and even lives our lives for us.  

And "pain bodies" can interact:  they can collide or even fuel each other -- much the way Ho'oponopono memories (housed in and expressed by our "Inner Child" part) can do as well. 

Is it any wonder that becoming aware of such ancient and powerful things in ourselves might leave us feeling a little, um, puny?

Fortunately, Ho'oponopono does not leave us alone with this, though.  It also offers a method that brings us back to awareness of who we really are (NOT the memories or "pain bodies" masquerading as us).  Peace and pureness of heart come with the process too.

But the tension before feeling that can be intense.  

My friend and colleague Dr. Lucinda Sykes recently shared a beautiful metaphor with me.  An accomplished mindfulness meditation teacher in Toronto, she describes the results of meditation as being like a small green sprout pushing through concrete.  The concrete might be the "stuff" we feel we must do or accomplish -- or even masks we feel we must wear -- in order to get along in the world.  Or it could be our thinking and opinions, layer upon layer upon layer.

Burdening ourselves with all this takes us away from our natural, essential selves (the sprout).  Mindfulness -- paying attention to what we're experiencing, moment to moment and without judgment or expectation -- is one way of bringing us back to ourselves.  Our green sprout might seem small, but it's a life force with deep strength and resilience.  It can be fortified with consistent, patient mindfulness practice.

As she spoke, I couldn't help but think of Ho'oponopono cleaning -- especially for people new to the practice.  After all, we're invoking a whole new way of approaching life when we do this.  (Even though it may ultimately be "The Easiest Way", as Mabel Katz writes so well.)  

A question for you:  when something new is coming up in your garden, what do you see first?  

The green shoot?  No!   You see a little mound of dirt!  (See the photograph above, as the sprout's innate life-force heaves dirt off its back).

What must that sprout experience before breaking through the ground?  Pressure?  Pain?  Intense effort?  Is it like Atlas holding up the earth?  I can only guess.

To me, the practice of Ho'oponopono cleaning is like this.  Thank you, I love you, Dewdrop, Lightswitch, or applying myriad other cleaning tools.  Only, I have no concept of all the "dirt" (memories, data, crud, etc) my Divinity-within is lifting off as I do my moment-to-moment cleaning.  It can seem like hours, days, weeks, months, or even eons before I see the sun -- or relax into peace (break through the ground).  But eventually, this does come.

Dr. Hew Len has also said, "Once you do your part, Divinity has to do His part (transmute the memories into pure light)."  A loving father would have it no other way. 

I'm always amazed that little dry seeds can turn into such powerhouses of life force -- but they can.  I invite you to try this in your own yard.  Get some relatively big seeds, such as sunflower, squash, or cantaloupe.  (I suggest larger ones so you can really see the dirt mounds as they're coming up.)  Plant them in some soil, and water.  Observe daily.  You may get impatient, but don't dig them up.  :-)   Think of your Ho'oponopono cleaning process as liberating your own pure-hearted self . . . but there's some dirt to throw off first.
 
Even though we practice Ho'oponopono with no expectation, it can't hurt to have a little visual metaphor from time to time! 
 
Thank you, Dr. Sykes, for the tip.

Peace begins with me,
Pam

3 comments:

permissiontoheal said...

Thank you for this lovely reminder, Dr. Pam. I felt my body settling down as I read it.

Abby Caplin

Barb said...

I've noticed that it seems to make things worse initially. For instance, today I was cleaning as I was grocery shopping and feeling quite good. As I got in line to the cashier, another woman arrived at the same time and she motioned me to go first, but I said no, you go first cause you've only got a couple of things. So, she did. We ended up in a lovely conversation, which she initiated. And then, out of the blue, she started yelling at the woman ahead of her who was having an issue with the teller....and this woman in front of me created this huge scene. It was awful! I could feel the energy swirling...like it was out of the twilight zone or something. How odd....I was cleaning, and then whammo! This huge awful conflict brews right in front of me. Of course I ho'oponoponoed it right after, but is this usual? Do these kinds of things happen when one is cleaning...as if the Divine is bringing things up for us to clean on?

Pam Pappas MD said...

Hi Barb,

Thanks for your comments and experience. I think Dr. Hew Len would probably say, "Good for YOU!" Only Divinity knows for sure what was going on in that grocery store line. But in the Ho'oponopono process, things are dredged up first so that Divinity can transmute them. The order is not ours to determine. ;-) Choosing to clean rather than get further immersed in the stuff makes all the difference!

Peace,
Pam