People ask, “Which is the best way to forgive, Hoʻoponopono or the Four Steps to Forgiveness?”
What people are really asking is, “What is the difference between the two?” Wise people (and I am sure that you are wise dear reader) know very well that there is no “better” way and that any method which helps us forgive is perfectly wonderful.
However, which method to choose? My answer is, “Choose both – eventually, but start with either one.” If you have tried one then try the other as they are both quick and easy to learn. Both are offered freely and openly on the web, so just pick one and give it a go.
A man at one of my Four Steps to Forgiveness workshops told me that he had problems with saying the “I love you” part of Hoʻoponopono and because of that he felt blocked from using it However, he had no problem with the Four Steps as it’s approach is very different. I imagine the same happens the other way around and that for some people, or for some situations, Hoʻoponopono is a better fit than the Four Steps. Yet, both work superbly for most people and for most situations.
Hoʻoponopono is a wonderful forgiveness method with deep roots in the beautiful spirit of the Hawaiian culture. The Four Steps to Forgiveness is a new secular method and has no particular cultural or religious associations. People use it as-is or they modify it to fit their religious or culture needs.
To understand where the Four Steps to Forgiveness fits in to the bigger picture it is important to keep in mind the current state of the world. In many places people are in process of loosening their connections with traditional religions and are wary of anything with religious associations (no matter how beautiful). In some countries it is actually a very serious criminal offense to appear to have renounced one’s religion (hard to believe, but true). Also in some countries the governments frown (or worse) on books or material which promote what might be seen as “religious” ideas. In these situations the completely secular, non-religious, roots of Four Steps to Forgiveness allows it to be openly available so people can use it without putting themselves in danger.
However, the Four Steps to Forgiveness is also being adopted by many people in the West, and other modern style democracies, just because they like it and it works well for them. It is growing more and more popular in Latin America, the Middle East, and Asian countries as well as in the English-speaking world.
Although I teach the Four Steps to Forgiveness I use Hoʻoponopono sometimes too. Similarly, I like ice cream – but I am not going to devote myself to one flavor of it. Why would anyone want to restrict themselves to only one “flavor” of forgiveness? Use one and then when you need a change switch to the other for a while.
Most of use have tried and benefited from more than one type of meditation practise, more than one type of healing method and more than one type of physical exercise. Why not also have more than one method of forgiveness?
Which forgiveness method is best? Whichever one you are using, or are about to use.
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William Fergus Martin