What Is Ho’Oponopono and How Can It Improve Your Life?
Ho’oponopono is a method of healing that has been developed over centuries in Hawaii. One of the leading practitioners of Ho’oponopono is Dr. Hew Len and his teaching on this ancient tool of spiritual healing is known throughout the world.
Ho’oponopono consists of four different statements that are designed to allow the individual to accept responsibility for their own thoughts, actions and feelings. The four statements are:
- Please Forgive Me
- I Am Sorry
- I Love You
- Thank You
The statements are used whenever a negative reaction such as guilt, fear, anger or judgement occurs in our life that is caused by something outside of ourselves. They can also be used when we find ourselves becoming critical of those around us. According to Dr. Hew Len this practice prevents projection from occurring. Projection is the behaviour of assigning our own thoughts and unresolved conflicts and emotions onto others. A better way to explain this may be that everything that we see in others is a part of ourselves, even though we may not be consciously aware of the fact.
Reacting to an external trigger should cause us to look internally for the part of ourselves that is being reflected. Are you really angry at the person or is it a part of you that they are reflecting that is the source of the anger? Do we blame others for not paying attention when we never take the time to listen to ourselves? Is it possible that the attitude that the other person is annoying us with is the very attitude we dislike most in ourselves?
Ho’oponopono is a personal exercise that you can engage in anywhere at anytime. Stop and ask yourself the following questions regarding the specifics of the situation or the part of you that is in disharmony. Let us examine a situation where you are angry at another person. Go within and find the part of you that you are angry with, or find your own anger. Begin to say to yourself
- Please Forgive Me
- I Am Sorry
- I Love You
- Thank You
The key is to take the time to really mean what you say and feel how it feels to acknowledge your part in it when you say these 4 statements to yourself. You should feel the anger dissolving and repentance, forgiveness and an ability to let go of the negative emotion replacing it. Typical examples of negative traits you may be projecting or attributing to others include feelings of victimhood, ungratefulness, anger, unwillingness, lack of concern, violence, emotional unavailability and selfishness. You may also project weakness or controlling behaviours, bossiness, laziness, martyrdom or co-dependence.
Through reflecting on the issues that you project, you can also use Ho’oponopono to discover information about yourself. If, for example, you are upset at others because of their laziness, where do you feel lazy in your life? If you see weakness in those around you, were do you feel weak or victimized?
One of the many benefits of using Ho’oponopono on a regular, ongoing basis is that you become more open and honest with yourself. The underlying reasons for your behaviour can come to the surface for examination and improvement. This system has been used very successfully with the most difficult of individuals and situations.
A very clear example of this can be found in Dr. Hew Len’s work. He was, in 1983, a new psychologist on a high security prison unit. This unit housed the worst of the worst in the criminal justice system. They were all violent criminals that were a threat to other inmates and the prison warders. There were no family visits for the inmates and many where shackled and kept in seclusion because of their violence. The staff dreaded working at the unit and there was a high rate of sickness, absenteeism and staff turnover.
Instead of trying to work on changing the inmates and staff as others before him had done, Dr. Hew Len used Ho’oponopono to focus in on himself. Through changing his own perceptions and not projecting his emotions onto others, incredible changes started to occur. Within a short period of time the inmate population was out of shackles and allowed to have family visits. By the end of three years all the inmates were off the unit and it was completely closed down.
Through changing his inner perception Dr. Hew Len actually changed the world around him. He did not project blame, judgement or criticism onto the inmates in any way, he worked solely on himself and his belief systems. Taking time to learn what the other persons’ story is, and not projecting our own version of their story onto them, is very healing for both parties. Not only do we understand and learn about others but it also allows us to examine and change our own behaviour.
Everyone in society wears masks to hide behind. Sometimes, despite sharing the same needs and wants deep down, our actions and choices cause conflict. This is unintentional as most people are seeking love, acceptance, understanding and peace. The issue lies in the way that we have learned to get these things, and this is where the conflict comes as others have learned different ways.
By using the simple yet highly effective tool of Ho’oponopono we can examine our perceptions and behaviour as they relate to our internal beliefs. By moving our misperceptions out of the way, we can view ourselves and those around us for whom and what they really are. Your ability to understand, love and support others will increase dramatically as you let go of the negative perceptions you hold within. The best thing about Ho’oponopono is that you can begin immediately to make these changes in your life, leading you to much more positive interactions with all you come in contact with.
My website is the culmination of many years of seeking answers about my own health and well-being, and studying the human condition. I write articles, am a healer and give talks about subjects relating to spiritual growth and personal development. I am passionate about healing, recovery, and assisting others to grow.