But what does it mean to "not forget"? Does it mean to always hold onto anger and hate? To bitterness and sadness? Is that what we want when we remember? Is it possible to remember without it? Is it even possible to forgive that kind of act? To find peace? To find trust in the world again after it has been shattered by an unthinkable act? Is the kind of world we want to have even possible if we all hold onto the feelings we felt that day?
And if it IS possible, then how? How can we move beyond that terror and anger and wish for revenge?
Have you ever heard of ho'oponopono? A friend shared it with me about 3 years ago. It took me quite a long time to be able to say it the name! But barely any time to learn and understand the amazing value of the prayer. When she introduced it to me, I already understood that the things that annoy us in other people are the things that annoy us about ourselves. When I am furious at my neighbor for not respecting my property, it is often because I'm furious at myself for not respecting my property. When I am irritated at my child for being too shy and not wanting to join in a game with other children, I am probably more irritated at myself for being too shy and not joining in with others as a child, or maybe even still today. In both cases, I can try to push my neighbor or my child to change what they are doing to stop my fury or irritation. But the most effective method is to heal that fury and irritation towards myself, and then, quite often, the external situations either fizzle out and disappear or I am able to see them from another angle and with compassion and love, which is much more helpful and likely to produce a solution. This can be a hard pill to swallow at first, because we have learned that our life experiences are largely "out there" and beyond our control. It is so much easier to blame someone else and tell them to fix it so we can be at peace than it is to look within, see where we may be contributing, and create the peace ourselves. When talking about this with respect to our kids, I like to compare it to pouring water into a bathtub. The bathtub is overflowing and I am flipping out! I see that my child is pouring water in, cupful by cupful and I need her to stop NOW because there is already too much! I can yell at her, pull her away from the tub, punish her, take away her cup. But until I see that I am standing there holding a hose, the bathtub will continue to overflow. I have to see what I am doing first before I can help her stop. And often, just the act of me turning off the hose causes her to drop the cup and walk away.
The tendency can be, at first, to then just place the blame on myself. "It's MY FAULT he won't join in the game! I'm ruining his life and making him a social outcast!" or "I deserve the trash my neighbor throws on my lawn because I don't take care of my own stuff" or "The bathroom is ruined because I was too stupid to turn off my own hose". Unfortunately, that point of view tends to just shut us down, collapsed in a sobbing pile of shame. That helps no one! However, if we can look at it from another angle, amazing things can happen.
What if, instead of exploding at the grocery store because the check-out person is being to slow, and instead of saying "Ugh, it's MY fault this check-out person is being too slow and bothering me because I am always too slow and I can't stand it!"; what if, once we realize what's going on, we look at the check-out person with gratitude and silently thank them for bringing this feeling up so we can see it and release it? What if that check-out person is being too slow JUST to help us create more peace in our lives? Not consciously, of course. But what if that person has been placed there as a gift to bring us a happier life?
What?!? That's BS! Wake up and get out of your dream world, you are obviously not living in reality.
That's totally cool that you feel that way. I am not saying you have to change your perspective. But the option is there, just in case you want to try something other than anger and forcing people to change and being helpless to effect the things that happen around you. Which perspective FEELS better to you? Which would you rather go through life seeing from?
Back to ho'oponopono.
I am not a historian, so here is what I understand about it. Ho'oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian prayer of reconciliation and forgiveness. The modern understanding and application can be read about in the book Zero Limits by Joe Vitale and Dr. Len. An excerpt of that book can be found here.
According to Dr. Len, everything outside of us is a projection of what is going on on the inside. So, any pain going on outside of us can be healed by healing ourselves. He was able to heal a wing full of criminally insane people by healing himself. By looking at their pictures and saying "I'm sorry" and "I love you".
Woah, hold it, stop right there! Are you trying to tell me that all the crazy evil people out there are my fault? (Insert long string of expletives)
No, I am not saying that because, once again then we have placed ourselves in the blame and shame and unable to function perspective. (I can't speak for how Dr. Len would reply, however.) What I AM saying, what I have found most helpful, is that everyone in my consciousness (even the crazy murderous ones) is a possible messenger, a possible gateway to greater peace, love, and compassion for myself. And the more peace, love, and compassion I can create within myself, the more I can create in the world. Said in another way, everyone "out there" is a reflection of a something inside of me. A chance for me to see a piece I hadn't seen before. We have SO MANY hurting and angry and fearful pieces of us that are hiding out, away from view. Loving them helps us to become whole, healthy, peaceful people.
So how does this work with me?
Think of someone who really bugs the s#*@ out of you. Open the door to the possibility that maybe this person may be a messenger of greater peace for you. Now, move into your heart and say "I love you, I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you" both to the other person and to the part of you that they are showing you. Over and over again until you feel a shift. Feel what comes up and let it blow away. You may need to do this for days until you find that peace within you. And watch what happens with the relationship.
So you're saying we can use this to heal the parts inside us where we hold terror and hate and revenge? And that that will actually make a difference in the world? I still think you're nuts.
That is what I'm saying. And heck, I still think it's nuts quite frequently! But I've experienced the peace that comes from it and how my outside world changes, so it's a nuts I'm quite willing to participate in. And it's important enough and powerful enough that it's a nuts I've decided to share with you anyway.
Please forgive me,