Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

Having spent the past two weeks in Maui, I'd like to share the ancient Hawaiian forgiveness and reconciliation practice, Ho'oponopono. This simple practice can restore inner peace, harmony with others, and can be done by anyone at any time. Its benefits have also been studied scientifically. Ho'oponopono (pronounced Ho-o-pono-pono) literally means "to put right; to put in order, to rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat." The tradition is designed to clean the slate of negative karma caused by holding onto grudges, hurts and resentments. This makes it relevant for us all.

Ancient wisdom and modern science

The worldview of ancient indigenous peoples of the South Pacific was incorporated into their cultural practices. Four profound aspects of the Hawaiian wisdom teachings explain why Ho'oponopono can be so powerful. These are also verified by cutting edge science.

Harboring resentments, grudges and hurts causes disharmony, discontent and eventually disease in a person.

All life is one interconnected living matrix, and therefore the negative energy of any individual or group affects everyone in that family, that community and even extends to the entire world. Conversely, because we are all interconnected, releasing negativity from one person has healing benefits beyond that one person.

We are all responsible for the well-being of the entire living matrix because nothing and no one is really "outside" of us.

Sincerely forgiving and being forgiven on a regular basis restores life's natural state of harmony, allowing all life to thrive.

Powerful statements

At the heart of Ho'oponopono are the following four universal, powerful states of being: repentance, forgiveness, gratitude and love. In the practice of Ho'oponopono these are expressed in four simple sentences: I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.

These four statements can be repeated as many times as you want, and are most effective when practiced every day. They can be said in any order that feels right. They can be expressed silently and can apply to yourself, to any person or situation in your life. They can also be spoken directly to the person involved. The cumulative practice can even release negative patterns/events from this and other lives about which you are not currently aware. This deep dive into the essence of the human experience quiets the mind and in many other spiritual practices, a still mind allows the light and love of pure awareness to enter our being.

A novel Mother's Day application

Mother's Day is this coming weekend, and whether your mother is living or has passed over, we've all said less than kind things about our mother silently to ourselves, out loud to her and to others. No matter what she may have said or done, we are carrying that negativity inside us, and it is still reverberating between you and her, until we let it go. This Mother's Day, you might enjoy releasing any of the ways you've been less than honoring to your mother by using Ho'oponopono.

Sit quietly, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and bring the image of your mother to mind. Silently say to her slowly, so you can feel it, " I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you." In taking responsibility for negative thoughts and deeds with the energy of Ho'oponopono, you will be extending healing to yourself, to your mother and via the worldwide living matrix, to every mother in the world.

The ultimate mother

The Earth is a living being and is truly everyone's mother; without the Earth we could not exist. You might consider doing a Ho-oponopono: "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you," for our Earth this Mother's Day, too. PJH