Recently, a beautiful friend of mine gave me an article which posed the question:
“What would the world look like if everybody took 100% responsibility for everything within their realm of experience?”
On first posing myself this question my inner voice arced up immediately and indignantly: “Don’t be silly Anna, remember how you have an over-inflated sense of responsibility as it is…how can you possibly take responsibility for what other people do! You’re only responsible for yourself!”
Logically speaking that voice was making complete sense, because how can we possibly hold ourselves responsible for everyone and everything merely because it is in our sphere of awareness, but then another little inner voice said quietly, “but we’re all one and this is our collective creation“.
As a note of caution here, I think it’s important to clarify the difference between: taking 100% responsibility for what goes on inside of you vs feeling responsible for how other people feel. These two things are very different because the former is about self-love and healing yourself whilst the latter is about not being differentiated from others and wanting to control/fix things because you don’t feel ok yourself if others are not ok.
The article talked about a Hawaiian therapist, Dr Ihaleakala Hew Len, who uses an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness called *Ho’oponopono* which means “to make right“. The idea behind the practice is that by accepting that all things are happening within yourself and therefore focusing on healing yourself you can heal any situation.
Dr Len’s story reads a bit like some urban myth: He cured a ward of criminally insane patients (whom he never met face to face) by looking at their medical charts and then looking at himself to see how he created their illnesses. He then worked on healing himself using the Ho’oponopono practice which resulted in healing the patients.
But how can healing yourself change anything outside of yourself?
The paradigm shift answer to that questions is that there is no “outside of us”, everything that we perceive to be happening outside of us is happening in our minds and we are 100% responsible for our internal world. It seems like a lot to swallow because it means we are responsible for all the terrible things that we are aware of in the world, but if we look at it as taking responsibility for loving ourselves and healing those parts of ourselves that are in pain which then reflects that pain into our shared reality, then to me, that makes it feel possible.
So what exactly does the practice entail?
This is the bit that sounds almost too good to be true, but it literally is a case of saying and feeling the Ho’oponopono:
“I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank You, I Love You“.
The “I’m Sorry” is the part where it’s natural to experience the most resistance I feel, because we have to accept the concept that there is no “out there” and therefore no one to blame. It can feel hard to be saying sorry for something our minds have so long held to be “not our fault” (all the stuff happening in the news for example). But then, when you think about what we all say to someone we know who is experiencing hardship, illness, pain, misfortune of some sort, which is generally “I’m so sorry”(that this situation has come about) then it isn’t such a leap in my view to extend that further.
Once we can accept the “I’m Sorry” part then the next step of asking for forgiveness “Please forgive me?” makes total sense, as does the step of giving thanks for being forgiven “Thank you” and then offering up love “I Love You” for being given the chance to make things right.
When I practice Ho’ oponopono, I think of myself standing around a large body of water which is our collective water source. There are bits of rubbish and dirt and pollution and other horrible things in this water, which I know could and should be beautiful and crystal clear. I think of myself as being responsible for the state of the water (along with everyone else) so when I am saying the Ho’oponopono I am actually saying in my mind the following but substituting the *water* for whatever fits the circumstances:
“I’m so sorry that something in my mind has created this pollution, dirt and rubbish that has tainted our beautiful crystal clear water. Please forgive me, it wasn’t intentional. Thank you so much for forgiving me and giving me the opportunity to clean and clear the water, you’re so amazing I love you so much.“
I feel that this practice is IMMENSELY empowering and very much mirrors everything I have studied in my reiki training. By accepting 100% responsibility it steers us clear of blame and towards self-love and healing.