One of the basic proverbs of THE DICE MAN, one that offends many people, is “This Truth above all: fake it.” Yet, used appropriately, pretending, faking it, lying, dishonesty: all of these have value.
I was reminded of this when my friends Kathy Zant and Mark Ryan introduced me last year to a mantra that seems to capture the essence of surrender, and of faking it. It comes out of the Hawaian Ho’oponopona tradition, about which I know almost nothing. One of its masters is quoted as saying “You’re all clueless,” which is pretty close to what I’ve been saying for several millenia: We are all fools.
The Ho’oponopono words that I have inaccurately called a mantra are called by the Hawaiians “Cleaning Tools,” which is probably a better way of describing them. The cleaning tools are simply four very short statements:
I AM SORRY.
I LOVE YOU.
What I find interesting about these four Ho’oponopono cleaning tools is that although they are brilliantly useful, they are all, from the point of view of oneness, lies. All four of them use the words “I”, “me,” or “you,” and thus imply the existence of a separate self. The wisdom of Ho’oponopono I’m sure sees separateness as part of the basic disease. So essentially their wisdom is using lies to assist people to be at peace and become one with what they are always at one with.
Let’s see how these cleaning tools work.
Let us assume that some human says to another: “You hurt me,” or “You made me unhappy.” Human beings say such things to each other several trillion times a day, so it is a good place to start.
“I AM SORRY,” says the Ho’oponopono wise man.
Now if someone knows he is part of the One then saying this is clearly untrue. There is no “I” so there is no one to be sorry, and moreover, anyone who is part of the One knows that there are no regrets, that what is, is, and that one can in that sense never be sorry for anything. But still:
I AM SORRY.
The person who had felt that you have hurt them or made them unhappy will not be satisfied with your saying “I am sorry.” Human conflicts are rarely that easily resolved. Instead, the normal human will say to you, “You’re not sorry, you’re just saying that to try to avoid a fight,” or “Sure, pretend to be sorry, but you’ve still hurt me.”
“PLEASE FORGIVE ME.”
Now you have abased yourself to this person twice and although the person will probably still persist that you did something that made him or her unhappy, the third attack on your cruelty will probably be a bit less severe than the first two.
Now so far you have told two lies. Since you know you have no “I” and know that each of us causes our own happiness or unhappiness, you feel both that there is no one to be sorry, and that since the other person is causing his or her own unhappiness, nothing to be sorry about.
So too with saying “Please forgive me.” Since no one separate from the complaining person has done anything, there is nothing to forgive and, in fact, no one around to forgive.
So you have told two lies but things are in fact getting a bit more peaceful.
Now let us take a look at what would have happened if instead of telling these two lies you had instead insisted on telling the complaining person the truth. You were honest and truthful and therefore in reply to the complaint “You hurt me” or “You made me unhappy” you said something wise and truthful like this:
“Remember that each individual creates and is responsible for his own happiness or unhappiness. What you say happened may have happened exactly as you say, but you yourself created your feelings of hurt and unhappiness. You could just as easily have laughed and said ‘forget it’. Take responsibility for your life.”
Bet how well that works.
Every normal human who is told they create their own happiness or unhappiness just after they’ve complained of another hurting them will respond by simply getting angrier. They will feel that you are being right and making them wrong. They will complain louder and more angrily.
And if you then are honest and truthful and say “You should try to control yourself, there’s no reason to be upset,” the poor typical human will just get angrier yet.
Truth and honesty are wonderful things, but they rarely do much good in the realm of human conflict. Because truth and honesty are all about being right and being right is the main formula for being unhappy.
What works to increase the chances of peace and oneness is well-placed lies.
After you have said “PLEASE FORGIVE ME” the other person will probably persist in outlining the reasonableness of his or her complaint about your hurting them. So you must use the third cleaning tool:
Now if as happens in a few cases the other person has become reconciled and calm after your saying “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me” then the “Thank you” will make sense and be a further balm on their troubled soul.
But if the person has just laid into you a third time then your responding by saying “Thank you” sort of stops them in their tracks. We’re thanking them for hitting us again? We’re nuts.
The hurt person will probably try to continue the argument although he or she is beginning to find it difficult to fight with someone who every time he’s hit simply rolls with the punch and refuses to swing back.
So the person talks on a bit and then you say
“I LOVE YOU.”
Now if you had said “I love you” at the very beginning, just after the person had made the original complaint that you had hurt them, the person would probably have replied “Fuck you!” because the statement would be totally unearned.
But coming now after you have abased yourself three times and seem to be honoring everything the person is saying, the words have weight. They work.
“Maybe, but you still hurt me,” might be the reaction now.
And how do we respond to this?
No matter what the person says next, whether it’s yet another “You hurt me,” or “You’re a sweetie,” your next words should be:
“PLEASE FORGIVE ME.”
The other person will say something.
The other person may still be spouting or may be hugging you but in either case you next say simply:
“I LOVE YOU.”
Even the normal human being, whose capacity for creating his own unhappiness is seemingly infinite, will at this point probably be smiling and forgiving.
You have avoided honesty and truthfulness, you have pretended and faked it, and yet somehow the world is one again.
Of course it was never anything else anyway.