Are you in need of a miracle? If so, try this: put all of your heart into repeating these four simple sentences: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” Say them out loud or to yourself. But say them with intention and watch the magic unfold.
Whether you’re dealing with a difficult person, your own feelings of guilt and shame, or forces that seem beyond your control like sickness or crisis, these mighty words have the potential to shift energy and vibration in powerful and positive ways.
The first time I learned about this ancient healing Hawaiian prayer called Ho’oponopono (to pronounce it, break it down to hō-ō, pōnō, pōnō) was from a wise and spiritual friend. He witnessed an angry woman yelling at me at my workplace. As she stormed away, he told me to repeat the four phrases, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you,” until the anger in me subsided and I felt more at peace.
I was shocked and confused. Why was he suggesting that I apologize and ask forgiveness from someone who had just publicly humiliated me? And send her gratitude and love? It seemed absurd. But I trusted him so I gave it a try. At first it felt false and uncomfortable but by the second round my mind and body began relaxing.
Many scientific studies have proven that forgiveness, gratitude, love and prayer have legitimate effects on the mind and body. They can improve mood, sleep, energy and even lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health. The Stanford Forgiveness Project has shown that participants who are trained in forgiveness experience decreased blood pressure, less muscle tension, lower heart rates, and fewer illnesses and chronic health conditions.
While it makes sense that the person doing the praying would experience benefits, the miraculous part of my encounter with the angry woman was that she had a radical energy shift as well. When I approached her about 10 minutes later, she was exponentially calmer, kinder and open to discussion.
The Hawaiian Dictionary defines Ho’oponopono as “mental cleansing.” Traditionally a senior member of the family performs the prayer during a structured ceremony in order to right wrongs and heal sickness and relationships. In the 1970s, it was adapted into modern practices and its use expanded to include individuals looking for a general problem solving process. If you search it on YouTube, you will find videos that put the prayer into song accompanied by stirring images.
This string of phrases takes us out of a defenseless victim mode and puts us in an empowered hero position. The key ingredients, forgiveness, gratitude and love, are each great healing forces but when combined they become transcendent.
Give it a try. You have nothing to lose. It’s free and there are no harmful side effects. If you want to start small, the next time someone is driving poorly, rather than reaching for an arsenal of profanities, repeat, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”
While this won’t make them a better driver, it will make you a healthier and happier person and your passengers will feel better too.