In this article, we will learn how to practice one of the most powerful healing tools I’ve ever found. We can practice Ho’oponopono every day, and we can watch ourselves peel back layers that no longer serve us. This Hawaiian prayer allows us to be who we are meant to be.
It contains four different sentences. When we say them, our vibration begins to shift, allowing us to heal within and in our relationships.
Origins of Ho’oponopono
Ho’oponopono (pronounced Ho-oh-po-no-po-no) is a Hawaiian teaching for healing through forgiveness. One meaning of the word is “to make right” with self and others. Another interpretation of the words is “to cause things to move back into balance.” The word pono and what it stands for can be seen as one of the pillars of the Hawaiian culture. The word is also found in the State emblem, and it’s motto. ”Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono” or the most commonly translated phrase ”The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness”.
Due to the intricacy of the Hawaiian language and the context that is needed for proper translation, words can have many meanings. If you like to get an idea of the possible applications for the word pono. I invite you to visit my favourite Hawaiian/English translation tool at wehewehe.org.
Dr Ihaleakala Hew Len, a Hawaiian clinical psychologist, discovered how asking forgiveness using certain words can have healing powers. He participated in the healing of patients in a Hawaiian mental hospital without ever having done interventions or therapeutic sessions with any of them.
The psychologist went through each patient’s file and imagined their mindset, which he believed allowed him to connect to the person on a subconscious level. Then he used the power of Ho’oponopono to ask for forgiveness.
A critical component was that he believes that there was something in him that co-created the situation, and he began to practice Ho’oponopono.
Dr Ihaleakala Hew Len believed that we all share an energetic connection to every person on our planet. With our thoughts, we impact our surroundings, either negatively or positively.
The teaching was widely used as a family healing practice within the Hawaiian culture. When Ho’oponopono gained attention outside of Hawaii, the practice started to be used in more diverse contexts as well.
Why Is practising forgiveness important?
Forgiveness raises our vibrational frequencies because we can let lower vibrational emotions like shame, fear, and anger go. It can also clear the energetic cords we established with others.
Furthermore, it’s about letting go of the perspective that someone did something to us. It allows us to take our power back and as a consequence to heal. In many instances, we’re hurting others with our actions as well, and it is here that we can start to make things right.
The reason we forgive other people is that we choose to no longer carry negative emotions around with us. If we hold on to the pain we experienced through other people, we uphold a connection to the past event. Often times we also justify a distorted perception of the agent(s) who harmed us.
What is even worse, we project these experiences into the future and thereby continuously relive the pain in our present moment. I wrote more about “The Victim Quagmire” in a related article you can find here.
The nature of the topic makes it a highly responsive and reactive one. If someone had told me, in the midst of my pain, that I had a distorted view of the perpetrator and their actions, I would have been beside myself with rage and anger.
Letting go of the pain we carry and transforming it into a sacred wound is the most important yet most difficult task we face when we set out on the journey of healing and wellbeing. The most significant thing to remember is to be good to ourselves.
If something is too painful to let go, to stay loving towards ourselves and to know that we are on our way. Practicing Ho’oponopono means love and compassion for what was, is and will be. The quest for healing begins with that love and compassion for ourselves. If we can’t forgive someone, we always have the chance to forgive ourselves for holding on to the feelings and judgements that hurt us.
Depending on the severity of the pain, we may feel that some people don’t deserve our forgiveness, but we deserve to be free from being tied to and reliving these emotions.
Our thoughts can be seen like miniature tractor beams, affecting our own energy field and those who are around us. These thoughts then link up with our environment. If we have angry thoughts, they can have the power to pull something or someone like-minded into our life. The key is to clear out the negative/low frequencies in this energetic field.
Research begins to show that the act of forgiveness may even reduce symptoms of anxiety, and depression. The traditional Ho’oponopono ceremony concluded in all participants forgetting what happened and to never mention it again. Not through suppression, but by truly letting go and forgiving.
What are the Benefits of practising Ho’oponopono?
Ho’oponopono is a way to regain the power we lose by allowing unpleasant memories and feelings to fester. We have full control of the process, and we don’t need anyone involved to initiate forgiveness. It is a conversation between us and the Great Spirit.
In the long run we experience fewer negative emotions and the ones which come up are more easily identified as such. As a result, we get the chance to start new with ourselves or the people who knowingly or unknowingly hurt us.
As an additional layer of resolve, we are able to lovingly cut the energetic cords with other people. I will release a follow-up article on how to successfully cut such energetic cords and what needs to be considered in the process. Sign up to the newsletter if you would like to be notified when it’s out.
By releasing injuries from the past and acts of others that affected us, we create a new beginning for ourselves. We also establish new, positive connections with our self and others.
Furthermore, the prayer empowers us to take responsibility for our life. It restores self-love and inner balance. Releasing toxic memories, emotions, and expectations helps to bring the mind and body back into a calm state.
How to Practice Ho’oponopono in Four Simple Steps
The Ho’oponopono healing has 4 basic steps. We begin by setting an intention. Do we have someone or a certain circumstance in mind? When we begin with this practice or have experienced a high degree of pain, it is important to start with smaller things. As small as those incidents might be, it is essential to be specific with our intention.
Take a few deep breaths and then slowly repeat the phrases
please forgive me,
I love you”.
End the prayer with a few moments of silence.
It is also possible to turn on some music in the background. I love to listen to beautiful songs like this one from Noelani Love. The music touches me deeply and helps me to connect with my intention and my feelings.
Ho’oponopono can be used as a form of mantra where we say the words over and over, but it is most effective when we feel the words we are saying. There are also amazing guided Ho’oponopono meditations on YouTube.
I’m sorry (e kala mai ia‘u)
The first step is to accept the fact that everything starts within myself. To say I am sorry admits responsibility for my involvement in what happened, which removes all blockages. My sincere apology removes the tendency to defend, deflect, or blame things on others.
The other day, I realized I had been condescending towards someone who did their best in helping me. In my mind, I belittled the person and judged them very harshly. When I went to bed, I realized what I had done and expressed my sincere apologies.
Please forgive me (huikala mai ia‘u ke ‘olo‘olo ‘oe)
After accepting my responsibility, it’s time to release the burden and ask for forgiveness. If I am not able to address a person or being, I can direct my apologies to the Great Spirit or a higher self. “I am sorry” is opening up to the co-creation in the unfolding of the event, asking for forgiveness, is the next step.
I admit full responsibility for it and ask for forgiveness for my actions involved in this situation. This is important, I only claim responsibility for my participation, whatever that might have been.
As an example from my past, I had to admit that my inaction and neglect of setting clear boundaries, co-created a harmful situation. I let the perpetrator come too close to me so that they were able to hurt me.
“Please forgive me” is a cleansing method that removes negativity. It helps me to move on with my life.
Thank you (mahalo nui loa iā ‘oe)
Gratitude brings in the fresh air of positivity. Being grateful for the positive results that stemmed from this incident. Even if it is “only” a lesson I learned in how I decide to act, be or wish to be treated.
It is a significant part of the healing process because it teaches us to focus on the good that lies within every situation and experience. As an example, I can say “thank you for the healing and for the positive change in my life”.
One example I would like to mention, is that I practice Ho’oponopono for the planet or the countless beings that are negatively affected by humanity, including my actions.
When I say thank you, I really feel that whomever I devoted the Ho’oponopono to is accepting my first two sentences. In the mentioned example, mother earth or a species of animals I am addressing.
It is here that I get a clear feeling of whether my apology and appeal for forgiveness has been sincere. It is during this step that I feel a deep sense of gratitude.
I might not know at the moment why this happened, but I can say it helped me to become who I am today and as a result, am much more loving and compassionate towards my self and others.
I love you (Aloha wau iā ‘oe)
Saying “I love you” connects me with the essence that underlies and runs through everything. It sends vibrations of love into the universe for myself, my circumstances and for others. Love is the highest vibration, and it has a highly transformative impact in my life.
It has been a long and winding road for me, and I can honestly state that by allowing love into my life resulted in living a completely different life. The words Aloha wau iā ‘oe when we really feel them are among the most powerful “spells” I encountered in this world.
We learned that by using Ho’oponopono we come to terms with the past and let go of the lower energies that are represented by emotions like fear, anger, jealousy, blame, and judgement and so forth.
We are able to do this by beginning to be forgiving and loving towards our self and with the circumstances that lead us up to this point. When we progress with the practice, we include others, like people who harmed us or people we injured along the way.
The four simple steps every one can memorize are:
I am sorry
Please forgive me
I love you
When we integrate this powerful practice in our lives, we begin to see our reality shift and change. Relationships with people that have been challenging or even toxic, as in the example of Dr Ihaleakala Hew Len, begin to transform.
As a result, our life loses much of the drama and suffering, we have gotten so much used to over the years. It takes courage and perseverance and as someone who walked this path and experienced the difference it made, I encourage you to experiment with it.
One of my great teachers, Ram Dass, said after he experienced a severe stroke and had come to terms with it: “I don’t wish you the stroke, but I wish you the grace of the stroke”.
Similar to his words, I don’t wish for you to have to go through old wounds and suffering, but I wish you the peace of mind the practice can lead to.
Mahalo nui loa iā ‘oe!