Many Roads Lead to Rome
In Yoga Sutra I.2, Patanjali defines yoga as Citta Vritti Nirodaha, yoga is the stilling of the mind. Yet there are many different styles of yoga. You must find the style that works best for you; what may work for me won’t necessarily work for you. I have noticed that Ashtanga yoga is what works for me. But even so, I am open to trying other practices. How can you possibly know if something works or not if you don't give it try? My way isn’t the best way, it’s just one of the many ways.
A friend of mine who doesn’t practice yoga started attending a program called The Art of Living. She has learned many different methods to relieve stress and worry, and she is very happy with the benefits they have brought her. These practices have helped her to remain calm in stressful situations and break free of negative thought patterns. She's learned how to get a good nights sleep and the effect her breath has on her emotions and reactions.
Last week she told me about a technique she learned that I found interesting, I decided to do a bit of research on it. It is an ancient Hawaiian practice called Ho’oponopono. In the Hawaiian language, it means mental cleansing. It is a practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.
In many Polynesian cultures and the surrounding South Pacific Islands, it is believed that a person’s mistakes cause illness. The way to cure the illness is to confess to the mistake. The technique is quite simple and involves four steps. The order of the steps is not that important. Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Love are the forces at work – believers in this method claim that these forces have amazing power.
You can do Ho’oponopono by yourself. You can “say” the words in your head. The power is in the feeling and in your willingness to forgive and love.
Repentance – I’m sorry
The idea here is to recognize and accept that you are responsible for everything in your mind, even if it seems to be external. It requires a conscious decision to take full responsibility for your actions and that of others. This includes, everything you see, hear, think and believe.
Ask for Forgiveness – Please forgive me
Don’t worry about who you’re asking. Just ask! Say it over and over. Mean it.
Gratitude – Thank you
Say Thank you – it doesn’t really matter who or what you’re thanking. Thank your body for all it does for you. Thank yourself for being the best you can be. Thank God. Thank the Universe. Thank whatever it was that just forgave you.
Love – I love you
Say I love you. Say it to your body, say it to God. Say I love you to the air you breathe, to the food you eat. Say I love you to your challenges. Say it over and over. Mean it. Feel it. There is nothing as powerful as Love.
I love that different cultures and civilizations over time have developed their own techniques for clearing and cleansing the mind that bring peace and healing. You are free to explore different practices and decide for yourself which work best for you. Everything you do should bring you peace or at least be guiding you in that direction so that you can become the best version of yourself.
I'm sorry, forgive me, thank you, I love you,