The Art of healing: Hoʻoponopono

life quote

Hotmail delivered an email by a troubled soul I no longer consider as friend, refer to my emotional rant in the article ‘A can of worms’. Technology amazes me, how you can still receive emails from a ‘blocked’ person is one of the wonders of modern society. In this instance however, gratitude is the order of the day.

Her email, as always, was a forwarded email that goes by the subject line: “I’m sorry” and “I love you”.  I must be the only dyslexic in the world who just can’t resist reading a well-written email, even if it is from someone I have officially blocked from my life. What can I say? We all have our quirks; curiosity is mine.

This particular email was so intriguing it warranted a post, for those who are familiar with my musings you know that I rather stay silent than write for the sake of writing, yes all you social media marketers, I am guilty of the number one SMM no-no. I have never been one to conform and my viewpoints are different at best but never run-of-the-mill.

Hoʻoponopono is the ancient Hawaiian belief system that offers cures for a world steeped in pain and sickness. According to Wikipedia, “Hoʻoponopono” is defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary as “mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.”

This particular email made references to Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients without ever seeing them, by improving himself. Total responsibility, the belief that everything in your life is your responsibility and not in a guilt tripping depressing way but in an uplifting empowering way.

I am not completely sold on the technique or the results, nor am I convinced of the authenticity of the claims, however what I am intrigued with is the underlying empowerment message. Yes, I am a sucker for inspirational, motivational and downright simple common sense. As a catholic, I can totally resonate with, ‘prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness’.

For the longest time however, I always thought that all the above were for your own mental health. As a proponent of, ‘You have the power to change your past’ I found it quite interesting that I, me and myself encompasses the universe.

The question, ‘what have you done?’ being posed to the parents when any child was ill, really struck a nerve. The fact that one out of my brood of three is perpetually ill might have something to do with it. My counsellor, as my son might have Asperger’s, is always drumming the circle of parenting principles, one of her favourite being, the solution to all behavioural issues with children is to spend more quality time with them. To rejoice in them and delight in them, kind but firm is what every parent should aim for. Screaming, yelling and generally loosing it is my modus operandi, but Libby and I are working on that.

Apart from the fact that if you are at peace with yourself, everyone around you will also absorb that calming presence (a kindy teacher who is confident and calm always has her class attentive to her), the ability to heal others by taking responsibility for them mentally, seems to make a lot of sense. In this world where everyone is harping on their freedom to curse, insult and abuse, a message of peace, harmony, forgiveness and most importantly responsibility might just be what we need in these troubled times.

To heal the world, our community, our families, by first healing ourselves, makes a lot of sense. Every troubled teenager, criminal and war monger needs to be taken responsibility for, we as a community need to step out of our shells, our private little perfect worlds and embrace the troubled, lonely and even the criminally insane with love, forgiveness and acknowledgment. Distancing ourselves form the problem doesn’t make it go away, doing something about it does.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we all make a beeline to the prisons and hospitals; that would be nice, however what we can do is stop this mental demarcation of them versus us. Total surrender and total responsibility, at least mentally for starters, who knows we might just change the world and save it while we heal and love ourselves.

family quote

Where have the villages gone?

A joke from my husband over a delightful dinner with friends got me rattled into a passionate speech about our loss of village culture and the impact it has on our youth. My husband, a perpetual toastmaster, had us all guffawing with his jokes when one particular ‘joke’ plucked a nerve.

A 1960 versus 2012, Johnny helps himself to some leftover firecrackers from guy Fawkes and blows up a wasp’s nest.

1960: wasps die

2012: bomb squad arrives, parents and siblings taken into questioning, Johnny charged with domestic terrorism… the details are a little lost on me. This set the pace, but the following one really touched a nerve.

Johnny falls down while playing and hurt his knee, Ms. Mary (I think) his teacher gives him a hug and helps him up.

1960: Johnny goes on to become a great football player.

2012: Miss. Mary is charged for inappropriate contact and subsequently dismissed from her role as teacher and Johnny is made to undergo five years psychological counselling and ends up gay.

 

While I understand that this world in not safe and the threat of sexual child predators and terrorism is very real and as a mother of three I appreciate the social concern to protect the vulnerable, but I cannot condone the extent at which this protection has exceeded. While this is a rather extreme portrayal of the current political correctness culture and government national security protocol, it might end up a reality in the not too distant future. Our continual ‘evolution’ towards a more socially, morally and culturally policed human race will no doubt be our undoing.

 

Is it really wise to replace all acts of humanity with a cold and distant politically correct decorum? To incarcerate every juvenile mistake with life debilitating consequences is taking things a little too far. I remember how as a child while walking down the street I would come across an old ‘aunty’ yelling at the town rowdies, “stop your tom foolery Johnny or I’ll be dropping by tonight to have a chat with you father.” Johnny would immediately stop his ‘actions’ and sheepishly apologise and even help aunty with her shopping bags.

Everyone knew everyone and cared about each other. The grand Aunties and uncles had implicit authority to reprimand youngsters on sight and parents had no choice but to take responsibility for their young. No foster homes just the community pitching in to help whichever family was on the brink of collapse. I remember making rounds with my mum to visit some strange family just to inquire as to how they were coping with some terrible loss that was alien to me.

Peacemakers abounded at every alley and gossipers who kept track of everyone’s whereabouts in a strange way policed the morality of the youth and vulnerable adults. The politically correct stalwarts of 2012 would be appalled at the dictator ship attitude of the grand aunties and uncles, the blatant disregard of personal privacy of the gossipers and the social norm accepting such behaviour. No, it was far from perfect, nothing human ever is, but the village community spirit reinforced humanity in each and every one of us. We were subconsciously programmed to forgive, harbour love for our neighbour, concern that had to result in action and to always expect to be judged, all this invariably strengthened the resolve to be good. The only draw back being that the social authority figures, your grand aunties and uncles, had to be decent, caring individuals. They could ruin lives and breed disharmony if they were anything short of decent humans. However, there was an invisible control, public support that prevailed only for decent individuals keeping this prominent role out of reach for undeserving individuals.

The dawn of the 21st century destroyed the village community spirit, with the death of the last grand Aunty and uncle began the slow and painful death of humanity. Horrific incidents of abuse, rape, and molestation became the norm instead of the exception, freedom is unbiased, and it can free both the victim and the hidden predator.

Freedom without morality is the advent of hell on earth. The demand for political correctness and liberal thought gave birth to the impersonal, irrelevant and absolute disregard for the community spirit. Blind justice cannot and should not replace compassion, mercy and forgiveness. Robots and even animals can be cold, cruel and indifferent, only humans have the ability to sacrifice, motivate, help, and most importantly forgive.

Evolution is not about being politically correct and culturally tolerant, it is about inspiring greatness, practicing humility, serving mankind selflessly and learning from suffering. In the past, our medieval ancestors, glorified the honourable and venerated saints; today we debase these heroes and saints as liars and charlatans, insisting that it is very human to live to just to satisfy one’s needs and do as one pleases, a human birth right.

Often, as I visit an aged or lonely neighbour, I am asked what joy could I possibly get from such an interaction. I cannot put in words the sense of comfort I receive when I engage with the elderly, listen to their sincere advice or hear of their wonderful anecdotes. It’s the only time, apart form when I play with my little children, that I actually ‘feel’ human, connected of sorts with some great cosmos. Perhaps this is what is missing from all those troubled youths or those suicidal individuals, the inability to feel belonged, cared for and part of this great human race?