I’d like to share with you the meaning of Kamsahapnida. Typically, when a Korean person says, “Kamsahapnida,” we simply think it means, “Thank you.” But actually, there is a deeper meaning. What it actually means is that you are saying to another person, “You are divine; you are like God. I see the divine in you.” When you’re thankful to another person or when someone is thankful to you, it means that to them, you are divine. Through this expression of gratitude and respect to another human being, you are expressing your divinity.
In the year 2000, I offered the Prayer of Peace at a summit of spiritual leaders at the United Nations. At that time, so many people had expectations about peace in the new millennium. Since then, I’ve thought very deeply about how we can create peace for humankind. How can we transcend culture and nationality and spread that spirit? What I came up with as the answer to that over the past 15 years is the Earth Citizen Movement. The Earth Citizen Movement seeks to spread the mindset and lifestyle of an Earth Citizen. This begins with Kamsahapnida: I see the divine in you. What if this kind of mentality became dominant throughout the whole world?
You probably say, “Thank you,” casually several times a day. Besides being good for the recipient, this is good for you as well. People who say, “Kamsahapnida,” a lot are more likely to become happy and successful. People who don’t say thank you that much, however, have a lot less happiness. And, it’s easier to get along with others when you are happy.
For some of us, though, it’s hard to just say, “Thank you,” and “I love you,” that much. Why is that? Often, it’s because we feel angry, sad, or lonely. These emotions hide gratitude and happiness. So, in order to be really good at saying thank you and I love you, there are two things you need to choose. Choosing these two things will change your destiny. The first is to apologize to the people you need to apologize to. The second is to ask for forgiveness. After you say, “I’m sorry,” and “Please forgive me,” then you can say, “Thank you,” and “I love you.”
There may be times when it hurts your pride to apologize, so you don’t say sorry when you should. A lot of times, people will reduce or shrink their “I’m sorries” to others. But, if you hold your apology in really tight, is it comfortable or uncomfortable? It’s really uncomfortable! Because what happens then is that your energy is not connected, and it doesn’t circulate. When you hold your apology tight, your energy, your mind, and your body is tight as well. So, if you really want to have a life that’s filled with gratitude and love, it takes courage. You have to be brave and say, “I’m sorry.”
But, sometimes, there’s the kind of sorry where you’re forcing yourself to apologize. You are not completely sincere about your apology. Then, it’s really hard for the other person to accept. If you just say, “I’m sorry,” and then move right on to, “Thank you,” then something feels missing. That’s just the way our brain works. So, after you say, “I’m sorry,” there has to be a clear expression of, “Please forgive me.” When you only say, “I’m sorry,” if the other person feels really blocked about it, then they will likely have a little doubt about your sincerity. That’s why you have to say, “I’m so sorry,” and follow it with, “Please forgive me.” That’s what humility is. There’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It’s because people have trouble with that that so many families are dysfunctional or relationships fall apart. But when you practice, “I’m sorry,” and “Please forgive me,” it makes your heart and chest so much lighter, and then you can really say from your heart, “Thank you.” And then you can also say, “I love you.”
These four phrases, which are also a part of Self-Identity Ho’oponopono, are the basics for being an Earth Citizen. I hope at least 100 million people can live an Earth Citizen lifestyle in which they put gratitude, humility, harmony, oneness, and love before pride or anger. Being an Earth Citizen takes courage, but it is the courage of remembering that you, and me, and all of us, have divinity inside.