I believe I have choices in life. I make choices about happiness, about friendliness, about what I do, when I do, and how I do everything. And even when I do not have a choice (that I know about) I can still chose how I act or react to my surroundings.
Do I always make the choice I am proud of? No – with a capital “N.” But that’s the point, I’m human. I’m learning. And so are most of the people I know. Maya Angelou says, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”
In this tradition of choosing and doing better, there is a meditation Don Simmons, my regular meditation guide at Phoenix & Dragon bookstore, gives on a Hawaiian philosophy called Ho’oponopono (pronounce that however you like. If you giggle at the way you say it then you have pronounced it perfectly). It is a process where a person takes 100 percent responsibility for everything.
Don likes to say at the beginning of this practice, “Notice how when anything happens to you, the common part of it all is that you are there.” Then we all give a quick, nervous giggle. Taking 100 percent responsibility for all things in your life, and beyond, is a fairly tall order.
During the meditation, there are four statements repeated over and over. They are, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you, I love you. You say this to yourself, to loved ones you may have issue with, to acquaintances, and then to the world at large. By taking responsibility you gain compassion and release anger you might have at believing something is being done to you rather than something you have control to change.
Taking responsibility gives you the power to change anything you are not happy with in your life, even when you believe you do not have the power. And don’t mistake responsibility for blame; that is covered too. It’s not about blaming yourself; it’s just saying the mantra I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you, I love you. It is about observing happenings and circumstances without judgment.
I always leave this meditation feeling changed. Knowing that the control is in my hands and feeling much more compassionate for my fellow man.
Don’s meditations are known as Mindful Meditation. It consists of thinking, since we are thinkers by nature, but allowing that thought to pass by like a cloud. Standing outside of the thought, it is easier to let it float by while I say to myself, “thinking.” Or something to bring myself back to the present moment.
Sometimes when I am in meditation my thoughts might run like this: I wonder if my children are at a restaurant running from table to table while my husband yelled at them to sit down. How I really should have stopped by the grocery store for that bread we are out of. And, I think about what I will eat for dinner once I am done with this meditation. Each time I think, I put it aside and go back to my breath. Breath in, breath out, I say. Then somewhere along the way, the thoughts stop and it is just me and my breath and the sound of Don’s voice guiding me.
In Ho’oponopono, I am guided to forgive. Forgive myself, forgive my fellow man, take responsibility for my life and know that I am one with something much bigger than me.
If you are interested in learning more about ho’oponopono: This is a new moment. I am free to let go.http://www.hooponoponohelp.com/