What Is HO’PONOPONO and How Does It Work?

Two years ago, I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients – without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would study an inmate’s chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person’s illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved.

 The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people had an advanced new perspective about total responsibility.

His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len.

He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. That ward where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to live, work, or visit.

Dr. Len told that he never saw patients. He agreed to have an office and to review their files. While he looked at those files, he would work on himself. As he worked on himself, patients began to heal.

“After a few months, patients that had to be shackled were being allowed to walk freely,” he told me. “Others who had to be heavily medicated were getting off their medications. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed.”

“Not only that,” he went on, “but the staff began to enjoy coming to work. Absenteeism and turnover disappeared. We ended up with more staff than we needed because patients were being released, and all the staff was showing up to work.”

This is where someone had to ask the million dollar question: “What were you doing within yourself that caused those people to change?”

“I was simply healing the part of me that created them,” he said.

Dr. Len explained that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life – simply because it is in your life – is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is your creation.

Note: This article on ho’oponopono is edited from the book Zero Limits by Dr Joe Vitale and Dr Len. You can listen to Joe talk about his experience with Dr Len and ho’oponopono along with his involvement with the inspiring movie, The Secret.

The Hawaiian Secret of Forgiveness,Ho‘oponopono can help anyone let go of resentment.

What is ho’oponopono?

On the surface level, many people have understood ho’oponopono to be a mantra where one repeats the words ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you’ as a form of mental and spiritual cleaning that could be compared to buddhist techniques for clearing karma. It has been defined as a forgiveness and reconciliation practice, cleansing of ‘errors of thought’ – the origin of problems and sickness in the physical world, according the the Hawaiian worldview. The literal translation is ‘to put to right; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat.”

At the core of Dr Hew Len’s perspective is the idea of taking responsibility for more than your personal self because ‘you are in me and I am in you’. His way of expressing Ho’oponopono contains an awareness that the discordance we find in others and in the world outside ourselves is due to ‘errors’ in thought stored in our personal and collective memories. The belief in these errors existing in some form of collective memory accessible to all allows for a person practicing Ho’oponopono to clean these errors, whether the error originated in their personal thoughts or not.

For people living in Hawaii today Ho’oponopono is less about it being a personal shamanic practice through chanting a mantra internally or externally, and more about a traditional system of dispute resolution. It’s a practice that still holds the values of making things right and correcting errors, however in this incarnation it is focused on making things right with our relations; coming back into right relationship by correcting errors with living relatives, ancestors and deities.

So, how does the cleaning work? When the intellect chooses to take 100% responsibility and to let go, it is like an order that goes to the subconscious mind (the inner child in you). The inner child in you is the one that holds all the memories and is the one that makes the connection to your superconscious mind (the part in you that is perfect) and it is the superconscious the one that makes the petition to the Creator.

Immediately after, Mana or divine energy comes down and cleanses you spiritualy, mentally, emotionally and finally physically. The response is automatic.

Important to know: All your problems are a memory playing in the subconscious mind. They are not at the physical level. The problem is the memory or the thought that created your problem at the physical!

I have been applying Ho’oponopono to my life for many years. One of the things I learned early on is that forgiveness is not just forgiving whomever I felt slighted me, but to forgive myself for allowing myself to be slighted.

To apologize to myself for giving away my spirit and to love unconditionally anyway, being thankful that my healing begins and ends with my initiative for I may only know God by cleaning and clearing all the thoughts that I believed in, that no longer serve me and simply replacing those thoughts 24/7 with;
I love you, Thank you, Forgive me,I’m sorry.

Every time you say “thank you” or “I love you” you are letting go, giving permission to this part of you that knows better. This part knows even why that problem showed up, and what the perfect solution is for it too!

And, it is the law of the Universe. Every time you knock, the door opens.

The cleaning is like the game of the Universe and the rules are:

 1) You trust that every time you say thank you, something happens even if you cannot feel it or see it.

 2) No expectations. You do not know where it is going to come from. You do not know what is right and perfect for you. Sorry! Just trust and be patient.

Become an observer of your life. You are not your problems. You are above your problems.

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