Holding onto grudges, anger, resentment and bad memories is a lot of work. Past traumas and negative experiences can silently sap the vital energy that could be put to use in the present moment to create the purposeful and vibrant life that we want to live NOW, and often, it is just as important to forgive ourselves as it is to forgive others. To “forgive and forget” is not always so easy, because negative memories of the past can reside in our sub-conscious mind and in our bodies in the form of habitual nerve impulses and muscle memory.
Talking to a therapist, meditating and self-introspection can be wonderful tools and can be very revelatory, but sometimes the intellectual and logical understanding needs to be grounded into physical reality. Here are some tools to help you to do just that.
Ho ‘oponopono is the practice of forgiveness initially introduced by Dr. Hew Len and later by Dr. Len in collaboration with Dr. Joe Vitale. The story is that Dr. Len cured a whole ward of criminally insane hospital patients in Hawaii without any face to face interaction. He simply studied the patient’s chart and then looked within himself to see what HE was holding onto that would reflect outwardly as the person’s illness. As he addressed the issues within himself, the patients improved. Dr. Len accomplished this feat with the simple repetition of these four phrases:
“I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.”
This is a basic working description of the practice of Ho ‘oponopono. Basically all you need to do is bring a past situation, person, relationship or feeling to mind that you’d like to heal, then repeat these four phrases until you feel clear. It’s a practice of self-acceptance and forgiveness that can transform your thinking if you lend yourself to it. At the very least, it’s a powerful positive affirmation of love, thanks and forgiveness. Give it a try!
We hear a lot about tapping these days and it’s a great way to anchor affirmations into the physical body, nervous system and meridian system. It’s based off of traditional Chinese acupuncture meridians and points, which, historically, were depicted as being closely related to many of the body’s major nerve pathways long before the development of the modern western anatomical model. If you are not familiar with the basics of tapping, you may first wish to familiarize yourself with it. There are many resources that teach several styles of tapping to the same basic end-release of stuck energy, thoughts, and emotional patterns.
There is a dual action with this sort of exercise. The vocalization of an affirmation is a powerful way to convince our mind that it is true and the power of the mind is such that it is capable of changing our physical state. As many traditions recognize-word and sound have great power. This, in combination with tapping on the body’s energy/nerve points is a great way to integrate intellectual realizations and affirmations into the body’s nervous/meridian system.
All you have to do is create an affirmation based on your desire to forgive yourself or someone else and tap on the points. The more conviction you state the affirmation with, the better the effect. Say it so you believe it! Don’t be afraid of being heard by your neighbors! True healing is unashamed! An example affirmation that could be used would be:
“Even though I feel hurt by________ experience, I still love and accept myself.”
“I am abundant, I am strong, I am loveable, I am helping people.”
Play around with it and have fun!
This is one of my favorites. It’s funny (pun intended), but we all just need an excuse to laugh. The laughter is always in there, there’s just not always a good reason to let it out. Well, I have good news! You don’t need a reason! More and more, western science is validating the physiological relationship between laughter and healthy states in the body. Once again, the ancients have it! It’s nothing new, but it can be a new practice for you to introduce into your daily regimen. You can either attend a laughter yoga class, or simply practice at home or with friends. One practice that can easily be done daily is as follows:
- Deep breathing exercise for 3 minutes
- Meditate for 15-20 minutes
- At the conclusion of the meditation, place hands on the abdomen below the belly and laugh!
You can laugh loudly or quietly, but laugh fully! Feel the joy that comes from your decision to feel good in that moment. Recognize that it is your choice! This works into the forgiveness practice because it brings you into the realization that how you feel about any particular thing and how you feel in general is your choice. Focus on the NOW, and LIVE!
Dr. Isaac S Haynes, DAc, MATCM, LAc. holds a Doctorate in acupuncture and Tui na from Zhejiang Chinese Medical University and a Master’s Degree in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine from Yo San University. His practice is located in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information about health coaching, consultations, or goods and services, please visit: www.madisonacupuncture.net. or connect with Isaac on:Facebook and Google+