Ho’oponopono

I attended a National Speaker Association Convention in San Diego in 2007 and met Dr. Joe Vitale.  Vitale was just publishing a book entitled “Zero Limits” where he outlined the Ho’oponopono discipline he had learned from a Master in Hawaii named Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len.  Here’s an excerpt from his book, Zero Limits explaining how he was introduced to this fascinating discipline.

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.


When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane?
 
It didn’t make any sense. It wasn’t logical, so I dismissed the story.
 
However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian healing process called ho’oponopono. I had never heard of it, yet I couldn’t let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more.
 
I had always understood “total responsibility” to mean that I am responsible for what I think and do. Beyond that, it’s out of my hands. I think that most people think of total responsibility that way. We’re responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does. The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility.
 
His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete story of his work as a therapist. 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 me 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.”
 
I was in awe.
 
“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. Today, that ward is closed.”
 
This is where I 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.
 
I didn’t understand.
 
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.
 
Whew! This is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing. Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another. Yet, the truth is this: if you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life.
 
This means that terrorist activity, the president, the economy–anything you experience and don’t like–is up for you to heal. They don’t exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you. The problem isn’t with them, it’s with you, and to change them, you have to change you.
 
I know this is tough to grasp, let alone accept or actually live. Blame is far easier than total responsibility, but as I spoke with Dr. Len, I began to realize that healing for him and in ho’oponopono means loving yourself. If you want to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you want to cure anyone–even a mentally ill criminal–you do it by healing you.
 
I asked Dr. Len how he went about healing himself. What was he doing, exactly, when he looked at those patients’ files?
 
“I just kept saying, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you’ over and over again,” he explained.
 
That’s it?
 
That’s it.
 
Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your world. Let me give you a quick example of how this works: one day, someone sent me an email that upset me. In the past I would have handled it by working on my emotional hot buttons or by trying to reason with the person who sent the nasty message. This time, I decided to try Dr. Len’s method. I kept silently saying, “I’m sorry” and “I love you,” I didn’t say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evoking the spirit of love to heal within me what was creating the outer circumstance.
 
Within an hour I got an e-mail from the same person. He apologized for his previous message. Keep in mind that I didn’t take any outward action to get that apology. I didn’t even write him back. Yet, by saying “I love you,” I somehow healed within me what was creating him.
 
I later attended a ho’oponopono workshop run by Dr. Len. He’s now 70 years old, considered a grandfatherly shaman, and is somewhat reclusive.
 
He praised my book, The Attractor Factor. He told me that as I improve myself, my book’s vibration will raise, and everyone will feel it when they read it. In short, as I improve, my readers will improve.
 
“What about the books that are already sold and out there?” I asked.
 
“They aren’t out there,” he explained, once again blowing my mind with his mystic wisdom. “They are still in you.”
 
In short, there is no out there.
 
It would take a whole book to explain this advanced technique with the depth it deserves. Suffice it to say that whenever you want to improve anything in your life, there’s only one place to look: inside you.
 
“When you look, do it with love.”
Imelda Duffy, an Irish Psychotherapist and author of Into Angels adds:

According to the Ho’oponopono philosophy, the intellect working alone can’t solve these problems, because the intellect only manages.  Managing things is no way to solve problems. You want to let them go!   

When you use Ho’oponopono, the Divinity, or Source takes the painful thought and neutralises or purifies it. You don’t purify the person, place, or thing. You neutralize the energy you associate with that person, place or thing.  So the first stage of Ho’oponopono is the purification of that energy. 

Not only is that energy neutralized; it also gets released, so there’s a brand new slate.  Buddhists call it the ‘Void’.  The final step is that you allow the Divinity to come in and fill the void with light. 

Whatever is the OUTCOME of the energy clearing, that’s the outcome we need to accept. In accepting the outcome, we can know without a doubt, that the ‘Universal Manager’ has the answer: the outcome that is best.  

We can’t see beyond our own reasoning, which is why the reasoning intellect alone cannot solve problems. When we can let go of what we think; how we think it should be, we create a ‘space’ for the Source to flow in and clean up – and sometimes the outcome is much more beneficial than we could ever have imagined.

Who or what in your world gives you constant grief?  Who at your workplace is your biggest antagonist?  Perhaps you are the cause.  When we look at a poor street kid with metal decorations perforating his facial skin, his pants down around his knees and an attitude, is that the child?  Or is that our creation of that child?  Surrounded by critics all day every day for his entire life, he grows up to fulfill every expectation of a whole community of folks who expect nothing more.

You have the choice to be responsible, not only for what you say and do but what everyone else in the world says and does.  By cleansing your past, throwing away the rear-view mirror, you can look upon the child and say “I love you, I’m sorry”, and cure yourself.