Forgiveness is a transformative experience that enables us to release the energy and toxic emotions that live inside of us. It’s an alchemical inner process that integrates the body, mind and heart.

Through a gentle process, we harness our personal power and let go of the soul-sapping effects of anger, resentment and bitterness that erodes our health, inner peace and the quality of our lives.

After many years of practicing foregiveness, I’ve learned that it’s important to approach forgiveness from the perspective that we have a dual nature. Meaning we’re spiritual beings having a human experience.

This post focuses on the spiritual nature of forgiveness. From this worldview we view that all the experiences that arise in our lives are for the purpose of evolving our soul and for spiritual growth.

We realize that everything that happens to us is happening for us and is giving us an opportunity to grow and heal, returning to that place of wholeness. For this reason, the process is often called “radical forgiveness.”

In the book, Radical Forgiveness: Making Room for the Miracle Colin Tipping explains that “Radical Forgiveness challenges us to fundamentally shift our perception of the world and our interpretation of what happens to us so we can stop being victims.”

How does radical forgiveness work in real life?

Whenever we find that someone or something is pushing our buttons, we have an opportunity to grow from the situation.

It doesn’t have to be the big things that happen to/for us, it is just as important to deal with the little day to day irritations that rub us the wrong way.  The little things are actually the perfect place to start to practice.

There is a very powerful meditation practice that I like to use whenever I’m feeling annoyed, angry, resentful or judgmental. I have to admit that I like to “play” with different meditation techniques and this is one that really works for me.

Whenever you feel your buttons are being pushed, repeat the following mantra to yourself: “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, and I love you”.

This mantra is based on an ancient Hawaiian practice called Ho’oponopono, which means “to make right, or to rectify an error” as described in Joe Vitale’s book “Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More”.

This book shares the true story of a therapist who helped heal an entire unit of criminally insane inmates.

This book really stretched my thinking and was a bit “out there” at times, but I also realize that most times you have to think outside the box in order to get more in touch with what’s going on inside of us! Research has also validated its effectiveness as shared in Psychology Today.

What is the meaning of this ho’oponopono mantra?

The first thing to realize is that when you’re repeating the mantra you are not directing it to yourself or the other person, you are directing it to whatever force/power/energy/spirit, etc. that you believe in.

The 4-phrase mantra is:

  • I’m sorry” for the part I have played in creating this situation. I am not a victim, I am responsible for what is showing up in my life. I am sorry that we are experiencing this and I accept and acknowledge my role in it.
  • Please forgive me” for my part in this. I realize that I have responded in ways that I don’t feel good about and that isn’t my true nature of love and compassion.
  • Thank you” for this situation/experience that has created an opportunity for me to heal and explore what about myself has manifested this in my life? It may be painful, but thank you for the opportunity to grow and move closer to my true nature.
  • I love you” is triggering our healing from the level of our heart, not the head. When we stay in our heads, we will never experience true forgiveness and healing. We will never be at peace.

Here’s a guided meditation that leads you through the process:

I’ve found this mantra to be powerful and totally shifts my energy and feelings!!

I use it throughout the day when I notice I’m reacting to a situation or someone and I use it as part of my sitting practice when there is deeper healing that needs to occur.

Our community would love to hear from you. Please share your comments below.

(Original publication Dec. 14, 2014; Updated Nov. 16, 2021)