“There's a new wind blowin' like I've never known
I'm breathin' deeper than I've ever done
And it sure feels good, to finally feel the way I do
Now, I wanna love somebody
Love somebody like you
An' I'm lettin' go of all my lonely yesterdays
I've forgiven myself for the mistakes I've made
Now there's just one thing, the only thing I wanna do
I wanna love somebody
Love somebody like you”
Keith Urban – Somebody Like You
Prayer is powerful. Prayer works. I have had a lot of experience with this. I have also learned that there are many ways to pray.
Yesterday, I was rereading a book called Zero Limits, by Joe Vitale. In it Vitale describes a process called Ho’onoponopono, a spiritual process that originated in Hawaii. The idea is to “clean” one’s inner space by reciting four statements whenever any negative or judgmental thoughts arise. The four statements are these:
· I love you.
· I’m sorry.
· Please forgive me.
· Thank you.
According to the book, the founder of this movement, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, Ph.D., healed an entire psychiatric ward of the criminally insane by simply reciting these four sentences whenever he saw, felt or thought something negative in himself. He was not trying to heal the patients, but himself. His premise was that we are each responsible for all the negative things that come into our lives, directly or indirectly. In other words, I am not only emotionally responsible for my relationships and actions; I also carry responsibility for something I see on TV. If I see news about a plane crash in New York or an earthquake in Turkey, I have accountability for that and I need to clean the negativity and judgment I have around those incidents. I need to “clean” myself.
To say that I created everything I see in the world potentially puts me in the place of God, an idea I’m not comfortable with. That is the ultimate line of reasoning for any belief system, including Christianity sometimes, that says things depend on what I do, not what God does. Some strains of Buddhism and some of the New Age beliefs even go so far as to say that we are all God and that everything is God, including rocks, straws and the chair I’m sitting in. “We are all divine,” according to this belief.
If there is any divinity in me, it is because God, his son Jesus and the Holy Spirit dwell within me. I’m not divine in and of myself. I do, however, have access to the divine. I’ve never understood the desire to be God. Perhaps it comes from the Enemy who wants us to believe we can be greater than God. Or perhaps it is a desire to be greater than we are. Either way, I’m happy to let God be God and let me be me.
Still, overall, I like the ideas presented in the book. I’m not a scholar or an intellectual, but I like reading and I like new ideas. I don’t have to agree with everything I read, but I can at least consider it. So yesterday, every time a negative, angry, self-pitying or judgmental thought came up, I said, “I love you.”
I was saying “I love you” to myself, to others, to God, and I was allowing Him to say it to me. I was cleaning up the negativity in my own heart. I did this all day long. What I noticed was how subtle, powerful and pervasive my own negativity is. I pride myself on being optimistic and positive, and perhaps that pride is part of the problem. The truth is, and I really saw this yesterday, I have a huge dark reservoir of pain, anger, sadness and fear. This is not a judgment; this is a fact. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. Sometimes it’s so subtle, I don’t even realize how impure my thoughts are. When I say “impure” I don’t mean lust; I mean judgment of others, fear, rage, sadness, bitterness… the list could go on for a while. St. Paul says, “Make every thought captive to Christ.”
Saying “I’m sorry” is not expressing apologies but regret for what I am or someone else is enduring, such as saying, “I’m sorry you’re sick.” I am wishing for better to whomever I’m saying “I’m sorry.”
“Forgive me” means I am asking forgiveness for whatever part I have played in my pain or the pain of others. As I said, I have a lot of my own negativity and I need forgiveness from God, others and myself for the pain I have inflicted on the world, intentionally or otherwise.
What does all this have to do with Purpose? I think this four-sentence prayer, like any prayer prayed in faith, can keep me focused in the present. It can help me to clean my thought life, as being in Purpose also does. It can open up my thoughts to God, to forgiveness, to peace, joy and love. It can help me to Get Started and Keep Going.