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Ho'oponopono - A Forgiveness Practice

There are things that we face in life constantly that may not match with our expectations or our perceptions. We may even be hurt by life whether it is mentally, physically or emotionally. Sometimes we even are the ones who may hurt another. This suffering is an inevitable part of life. How we choose to heal these things becomes a spiritual practice if we choose it. One of the practices of forgiveness, whether for myself or for another, is the Hawaiian practice known as Ho'oponopono.

Ho'oponopono Mantra

What is this practice then you might wonder? The word Ho'oponopono translates roughly to mean "to bring back into balance." When we are hurt by life, people in our lives or circumstances our emotional system can be thrown out of balance. This mantra helps us to restore our emotional system back to center.

The entire mantra is:


I love you

I'm sorry

Please forgive me

Thank you

By chanting this phrase as a mantra, in a circular manner, and picturing the circumstance or person whom we need healing around, this mantra holds our injured hearts in a place of forgiveness that we may seek understanding within for what has happened.

Hawaiian Story

There is a story in the Hawaiian culture that shares that at birth we are all born free and clear of any suffering. We come into this world with a "bowl of light." With this bowl of light we are able to shine out into the world and share our inner joy with those around us. Over time, however, we may begin to accumulate metaphorical "stones" in our bowl of light. Our parents may criticize us and that stone if not let go of sits within our bowl. We may have a falling out with a friend or family member, another stone. We may face rejection in the path we are on in our career, another stone. All of these stones accumulate until our "bowl of light" dims, and we are not able to shine so brightly. The story share that it becomes our responsibility to heal the stones within our bowl of light by practicing forgiveness both for ourselves and for those we either hurt or who we have been hurt by.

In his song "Bowl of Light" Trevor Hall shares more of this Hawaiian story to help us understand what it means to heal and forgive these injured places within ourselves.

Using the mantra to heal our Bowl of Light

This is where the Ho'oponopono mantra becomes an important tool. Ho'oponopono asks us to see that all the things in our lives are a reflection of things inside ourselves as well. As we ask forgiveness for ourselves, we honor the ability to forgive others as well. Forgiveness allows us to let go of the heaviness that sits inside of us. Forgiving someone doesn't mean that we are okay with what that person may or may not have done, but we also don't hold it as a resentment inside of ourselves where it can create bitterness. Working directly with the Ho'oponopono mantra over time allows us to understand the lesson and what we have learned by the circumstance.

Below is a link to the Ho'oponopono practice I have recorded if you would like to try this mantra practice for yourself.

Taking Time for Shifts

I use this mantra practice more regularly if there is a particular heaviness that I am working with around where I feel angry or resentful toward a person or situation. It allows the healing and understanding to unwind more quickly than if we sat in the energy of anger or resentment constantly. It is not magic nor is it an easy practice. We, in the end, have to be willing to let go of the hurt in order to allow ourselves to heal.

The Hawaiian culture is born into the Spirit of Aloha, both a welcoming and a sending off. As we welcome this Hawaiian forgiveness practice into our hearts, we allow the old energy around our hurts to be sent off with this Spirit of Aloha so that our bowl of light within us can once again radiate into the world.

May the Spirit of Aloha bless your day!


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