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Spotlight on Ho'oponopono: Shining a Light on the Humble Power of the Hawaiian Ho'oponopono Prayer

We’ve all heard of Ohana, family, but have you heard about the ancient Hawaiian wisdom of Ho'oponopono?

Hawaii. You’ve got the islands, beaches, surfing, snorkelling, the hula, oh, and Ho'oponopono - a recipe for paradise! 

It all started with therapist Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, along with what some people might call a miracle. Dr. Len is said to have miraculously aided patients with their recovery using the unique therapeutic method of Ho'oponopono.

Ever found yourself in need of a miracle? Some harmony? Inner peace? Ho'oponopono, pronounced HO-oh-Po-no-Po-no, could be just what you need!

Dr. Len is said to have moved through the wards repeating the simple

Hooponopono mantra, healing the patients from within himself. 

“I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.”

How can this be? How can healing ourselves heal others in turn? How can what we do internally affect everything externally? Everything around us? It’s key to know that in Ho'oponopono there is no “around us”, everything that happens to us in fact happens within our minds. That’s right, whatever you see, hear, experience, it all occurs uniquely in your mind. We may think that it’s an external force, that it’s beyond our control, but in fact it’s entirely within our control. We control how we react to it and how we react as a consequence to it, to what we have consumed or absorbed. If you watch the news, it’s your responsibility. It’s your responsibility to clear it, clean it and change it. 

This Hawaiian method of forgiveness has just four simple steps. It doesn’t matter in what order you apply them, what matters is the unique combination and power of the four combined. 

“I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.”

Ho'oponopono is something you can do entirely on your own. It doesn’t require validation from anyone else. No one needs to witness your Ho'oponopono, it isn’t even something you need to say out loud. Its power is in the feeling and the willingness to forgive and to love.

Repentance, Forgiveness, Gratitude and Love - A Self-Love Mantra 

1. Repentance

“I’m sorry.”

Accepting that we are responsible for everything in our mind can stir up some complicated emotions. For instance, upon hearing about a storm, you may question whether you some way, somehow had a part in creating, generating that storm. What if someone is injured, or upset? What part did I play in all of that? Accepting that you did indeed play some part in this can be conflicting at first, but once you witness first hand the effects of Ho'oponopono things will become clear to you. 

Start with something easy, something that you know, deep down, you are responsible for. Maybe you haven’t been taking care of your health, smoking, drinking. Simply acknowledging this by saying, I’m sorry, is the first step of Ho'oponopono. The more clearly you tell yourself and the more clarity you have in your mind the more impact it will have. Once you feel ready, try a lengthier message, “I acknowledge my responsibility for the issue I’m experiencing in my life and I feel remorse that something in my consciousness is the reason behind this.”

2. Forgiveness 

“Please forgive me.”

Ask for forgiveness. It doesn’t matter who you ask, just that you ask, put it out there in the universe. You can ask yourself if you like. Say it as many times as it takes, centring your thoughts on your remorse from the step on repentance. 

3. Say thank you 

“Thank you.”

Again, it doesn’t matter who or what you're thanking. This isn’t about thanking religious figures, a divinity, or individual people in your personal life. You’re just putting it out there in the universe, same as in step 2, when we asked for forgiveness. 

4. Love 

“I love you.”

Step 4 is all about love. Some people like to start with this as their step one. As we mentioned earlier, the steps are interchangeable and work just as well in any order, so you can do them in whichever order feels best to you. Show love to your body, show love to a higher power, your home, the world around you, the adversity you’ve faced, what challenges you, what changes you. It may seem simple, but it’s amazingly effective. Ho’oponopono is an ageless type of wisdom and an ancient Hawaiian practice, a unique method of clearing and cleansing the mind, body and soul. It’s more than just positive thinking, Ho'oponopono transforms negativity and fear using acceptance, because deep down acceptance is the basis for transformation.

You have to understand that Hawaiian culture is founded on love, on the spirit of aloha. All kinds of languages, especially Hawaiian, can be understood on many different levels or registers. You may think that the Hawaiian word “aloha” simply means hello and goodbye, but usually there is a far deeper meaning that can be translated as follows:

“Alo” can mean both sharing and being in the present.

“Oha” can indicate pure joy, or a joyous affection.

“Ha” is our life energy, more literally it can mean life itself, or just breath.

So, when someone greets you with aloha, they are facing you, they are present with you, presenting their “ha” to you, their breath, their energy and their life. 

Back to Ho’oponopono. It’s a foundation for love and forgiveness and it’s something money can’t buy. Ho’oponopono has similar layers of depth and understanding. “Pono” simply means balance, so one interpretation is making things right, twice. Some people talk of a forgotten Hawaiian chant of Ho’oponopono, used to invoke our higher self and cleanse the subconscious mind. 

Ho'oponopono

People say that when it comes to practicing Ho’oponopono, patience is the mother of all virtues, while any resistance indicates areas that need some work. Ho’oponopono is the path towards letting go, starting with letting go of your expectations. Perhaps nothing was wrong in the first place. Everything is merely a matter of perspective.

So how often do I need to practice Ho’oponopono? Do I need to set aside time each day? Once a week? Once a month? 

The traditional advice on how often to practice Ho’oponopono is that you should practice each and every time you feel any form of internal imbalance, for as long as the imbalance remains. 

Okay, but how can I say sorry, or ask for forgiveness, for something I didn’t do? 

A lot of people find this to be a stumbling block when it comes to practicing Ho’oponopono. If you’re finding this challenging, think of the “I’m sorry” as a way of apologising for time you’ve wasted in your own life allowing yourself to be upset about the situation. We all have a finite amount of time, breaths, moments. Someone may have used some or many of those moments hurting you, which actually wasn’t about you at all, and more likely was about them and their issues. 

The “I’m sorry” is an apology to yourself for wasting your own precious moments and choosing sadness for yourself, taking accountability for this. Focus on not wasting any more precious time. Don’t let time slip through your fingers dwelling on these life experiences or negative emotion, negative energy. Don’t live in that hurt, make the most of the time left and don’t let that pain take away from your present and current relationships.

Ho’oponopono is not meant to change the world, but your perception of the world. Take the simple example of a breakdown in communication in a relationship. A broken relationship is only broken as long as you want to believe it is broken. Even if you have negative emotions towards me, if all I feel is love and respect for you, then where is the broken relationship in my eyes? 

There is a wealth of information available on Ho’oponopono, on the internet, in books, training courses and retreats. Another theory about Ho’oponopono is that every human thought and action in the conscious mind has an original positive intention from our subconscious. Smoking may have started out as simply wanting to belong. Overeating can be linked to a desire to feel emotionally full. Anger can make us feel important, significant, noticed.

Ho’oponopono can be a way of acknowledging that positive intent. Showing gratitude and acceptance towards that behaviour for its role in your life, except that now you no longer need it. It’s so much easier to move forward and heal once something has been framed in a positive light with acceptance. Deep down, we are all seeking a state of love, acceptance, peace. Once we release those parts of ourselves that we’ve struggled with and any negative memories or negative thought, we can thrive. Make the transition from surviving emotionally to thriving emotionally. Some similar forgiveness practices and meditation programs describe it as an outlet for love. They talk about aspiring to be an endless well of love, pouring in all directions, rather than a black hole of love, where no matter how much love we receive, from whichever source, it never feels like enough.

We hope you’re inspired to try out Ho’oponopono for yourself. Just think of the impact Ho’oponopono could have on your life, and then imagine if thousands joined you. So give it a try, then spread the word. Start the healing process. You’ve got nothing to lose! Take the first steps towards compassion and inner peace. It’s not about changing the world, but our perspective and way of seeing the world. 

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