Ho'oponopono, A Hawaiian Method for Healing


Many years ago, I read a book called "Zero Limits" by Ihaleakala Hew Len and Joe Vitale, which introduced me to Ho'oponopono.

Since then, I have found great peace by repeating the simple mantra introduced in the book, "I love you. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you."

The History of Ho'oponopono.

The word ho'oponopono generally means "to make things right" or "to make good." 

Pacific Islanders believed that breaking spiritual laws, misconduct, or anger caused illness. The only way to heal the sickness was to confess the transgression and ask for forgiveness. 

Traditionally, families would meet together, and the party or parties would talk through whatever was causing the disruption. Then, a community elder or Healing pries (kahuna lapa'au) would lead discussions that allowed all parties to express their point of view and feelings. 

Expressions of gratitude and love followed repentance and a request for forgiveness. Finally, the elder-led family discussion would bring balance and harmony, and the offense was put into the past.

Present Practice of Ho'oponopono.

The current practice of Ho'oponopono is based on the concepts of the ancient ritual in that repentance, forgiveness, gratitude, and love are expressed as a mantra. But the focus is on oneself rather than as a form of family healing. 

Morrmah Simeona, a healing priest or kahuna lapa'au, changed the tradition of family mutual forgiveness to the more modern process practiced today. In 1976, she was the first to use this practice as a general problem-solving process outside the family and self-help rather than a group process.  

Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len studied under and worked for Simeona. In 1992, he wrote the book "Zero Limits" with Joe Vitale, again taking the original premise of Ho'oponpono and using it as a way to heal all aspects of one's life. 

"Self-I-Dentity through Ho'oponopono" is the basis of Dr. Hew Len's healing practice. The mantra, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you." is used to reach the state of Self-I-Dentity. 

Dr. Hew Len believes that we are 100% responsible for everything in our life. By what he calls "cleaning," repeating the mantra, we can heal the memories causing pain or disruption in our lives and the lives of others. 

It is healing others.

When we practice Ho'oponpono and clean away our memories to heal ourselves, we also clean the collective memories of others. 

Dr. Hew Len famously cured a group of mentally disabled criminal inmates at a hospital in Hawaii by cleaning his memories. He never met with any of the inmates in person. 

He focused on each inmate while cleaning.

Over time, there was a noticeable shift in the dynamics of that hospital unit. What had been a tough unit to control, making it hard to staff, became calmer and more peaceful. 

There's more to it.

Dr. Hew Len believes we all share our collective memories; by healing ourselves, we can heal others. The theory behind Ho'oponopono is more complex and very interesting if you want to delve deeper. 

My practice is simple, and I find it very effective.

When memories pop up that cause me to feel shame, hurt, embarrassment, or another negative emotion, I start repeating the mantra to myself. The order of the declarations is not essential, and I change them around quite often. 

I repeat it until I feel at peace with myself. 

If I feel angry at someone or hurt or wronged by their words or actions towards me, I will repeat the mantra asking for their forgiveness. If we are 100% responsible for everything in our life, then we are accountable for the actions of others with whom we interact.

I've always believed that our external world reflects our internal thoughts. Therefore, something within me has caused this action to happen. Asking for forgiveness and giving gratitude and love will clear away the negative energy. 

Apologizing and asking for forgiveness is not easy, especially if you feel like the wronged party! 

It is natural to get angry, hold grudges, blame others and point fingers. But that doesn't make for a peaceful life!

Taking responsibility for everything in my life does give me a feeling of control. How can we change anything if we don't take responsibility for it?

You know people like this.

I'll bet you have met people who have problems with everyone in their life. 

They are in a fight with their neighbors. Their co-workers are out to get them. Their children or other family members have cut them out of their lives. 

And it's never their fault.

These continual problems are examples of real-life reflecting their inner thoughts and memories. 

Give it a try.

Take a minute now and think about a relationship you might be struggling with or a painful memory that keeps popping up.

Now repeat the mantra in whatever order resonates with you. Repeat it as many times as necessary until you start feeling more peaceful.

Notice over the next few hours or days if there is a shift in your relationship or memory. Repeat the process as many times as you need until you feel things changing. 


Here are some videos that will help you learn more about ho'oponopono.

My favorite guided meditation:

Ho'oponopono - Inner Child Meditation

This video is an excellent description of the mind by Dr. Hew Len. Best to listen with headphones as the sound quality isn't clear.

How Does Our Mind Work by Dr. Hew Len

Question and answer session about Ho'oponopono

What is Ho'oponopono by Dr. Hew Len

What do you think?

Ho'oponpono is a very different way of thinking than the typical Western way that we experienced our whole lives. 

Does it resonate with you, or is it too "woo woo?"

If you try it, please let me know your experience. Did you feel a difference in whatever you cleaned on? 

I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.


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