Hoâ€™oponopono is a little known but extremely powerful self-transformation technique.
Originally from Hawaii, it is a simple teaching consisting of just four phrases, which encourage forgiveness of ourselves and others until zero point is reached. Zero Point is the state where there is no addition or accumulation by us of anything. Hoâ€™oponopono means to make right. Essentially, it means to make it right with the ancestors, or to make right with the people with whom you have relationships. The key point is that it involves taking 100% responsibility for every experience of our lives. This practice was originally used as a Hawaiin problem solving method for families: during a family meeting problems would be brought up and discussed and then everyone would be forgiven and the problem would be solved. Now, it is used as a personal tool for transformation.
How To Use The Technique:
The four phrases are:
I love you
Please forgive me
You just repeat these phrases like a mantra, without undue concern about the whys and wherefores. It doesn’t matter in what order you say each phrase. You can apply it to life situations, places, relationships, financial situations or anything you can think of. When something comes to your awareness, just accept 100% responsibility for it and repeat the mantra.
When we use these words each time we entertain a negative thought or make a judgment, we forgive our ego to the point of its annihilation, or zero point.
Note that when you say these phrases, you are not saying it to the other person, but to the Divine.
By using this technique you are cleaning up your unconscious garbage which is the unconscious memories that determine your thoughts, words and actions without your being aware of it.
Hoâ€™oponopono â€“ â€˜Testâ€™ Case
Dr. Hew Len was the first person who documented and confirmed proof of the healing miracles initiated by the Hoâ€™oponopono process, and this â€˜test caseâ€™ is pretty amazing in its results to say the least.
From 1984 till 1987 he worked as a staff psychologist for Hawaii State Hospital overseeing high security â€˜criminally insaneâ€™ patients – murderers, rapists and those convicted of assault. After 3 years of practicing Hoâ€™oponopono, wrist and ankle restraints were no longer used in this facility, violence almost ceased to exist, and eventually there was no need for this high security unit which was closed. This was documented, described my multiple witnesses and personnel. Sounds pretty miraculous, doesnâ€™t it?
According to Dr. Hew Len:
â€¢ He did not do any therapy or counselling with patients
â€¢ He did not attend any staff conferences on patients
â€¢ He practiced the Hoâ€™oponopono process on a daily basis â€“ ie he accepted 100% responsibility he experienced
- (â€˜Zero Limitsâ€™, page 142 â€“ Dr Hew Lenâ€™s book)
Dr. Hew Len, when asked how exactly he managed to heal the violent patients without actually seeing them one-to-one, his answer was:
â€œI didnâ€™t heal them. I healed part of myself that created them.â€
Jiddu Krishnamurti said the very same thing:
“Is that which is happening in the world outside different from that which is happening inside? In the world there is violence, extraordinary turmoil, crisis after crisis. There are wars, division of nationalities, religious differences, racial and communal differences, one set of systematized concepts against another. Is that different from what is going on inside us? We are also violent, we are also full of vanity, terribly dishonest, putting on different masks for different occasions.
So it is one movement like the tide going out and the tide coming in. We human beings have created what is going on outside and that cannot possibly be changed unless we human beings change. That is the root of it. We want to do something in the world, have better institutions, better governments etc, but we never say we have created that. Unless we change that cannot change. After the millions of years we have lived, we are just the same. We have not changed fundamentally and we continue to create havoc in the world.
The fact is, one is the world; not as an idea but actually. Do you see the difference between the idea and the actuality? One has heard the statement that one is the world and one makes an idea, an abstraction of it. And then one discusses the idea, whether it is true, or false and one has lost it. But the fact is, one is the world; it is so.
So one is responsible for changing it. That means, one is responsible, completely, for the way one lives one’s daily life. Not try to modify the chaos that is going on, decorate it or join this group or that group or institution, but as a human being, who is the world, go through a radical transformation oneself; otherwise there can be no good society.”
This is what is most remarkable about the Hoâ€™oponopono teaching: that we are 100% responsible for everything. This means everything, everyone and everywhere, not just your personal problems, mistakes, errors, and so on, but for all that comes into your awareness! It is about being 100% responsible for everything that comes into your sphere in any way shape or form.
Now, responsibility may need to be distinguished here from blame. We are not saying you are to blame for everything. Neither is Hoâ€™oponopono a ticket to a good ol guilt trip. It doesnâ€™t mean beating yourself up. Guilt is a waste of time, it only lets you off the hook, whilst you convince yourself youâ€™re really a â€˜good personâ€™ because you feel bad (which your guilt has a good thing). Feeling bad is just a con trick of the ego. Being 100% responsible and guilt are two diametrically opposed states of being. Responsibility means, â€œYes, we are One, and I am willing to see that which is in me, just as I am seeking to accuse you of that very same thing.â€
Ultimately, we know that we are connected, and someone elseâ€™s problem, somewhere along the line, is also to do with us. If it wasnâ€™t so, we would not feel pain when someone else feels pain, or feel the suffering of others. The fingers may appear different, but the wrist is one. Thatâ€™s why those who live in a gilded cage of luxury cannot be truly content when around them are people everywhere with so little. Innately we have a natural conscience, a â€˜responsibility guiding postâ€™ that is awakened to a greater or lesser extent depending upon how conscious we are willing to be. Hoâ€™oponopono provides a tool to activate our conscience and become more conscious.
Let me just say that some people do not feel conscience, and can take actions without concern for others, and this goes on not just with those that commit terrible crimes, but also in other smaller ways, and to those people I say, practice Hoâ€™oponopono. In the end talk is cheap, and we must take action. Hoâ€™oponopono is a most transformative practice.
You Are Cause, Not Effect
Choosing the energy of blame, guilt or judgment is to convince yourself why it is someone elseâ€™s problem, someone elseâ€™s fault. Isnâ€™t it always someone elseâ€™s fault?!
But we could say that there are actually just two camps in life:
Either: The world is being done TO you, and it is coming AT you;
Or: The world is being done BY you and it is coming FROM you.
When we take a position in the second camp, of being at cause, rather than being at effect, we are no longer the victim, but instead the one who is empowered. When we believe the world is being done to us we leave the betterment of the world to others and say, â€˜Itâ€™s not my problem.â€™ But the world IS our problem, because what you see around you, you will notice is the same as within you, as Jiddu Krishnamurti said. If we take the stance of being at cause, we heal, we empower ourselves (and others) and our experience becomes pure and alive. We find peace.
Letâ€™s look at worry. Ok, we may not go around blaming or feeling guilt (but I think youâ€™ll probably find some of that there too if you are honest), but rather we may be a worrier. When we do this however, it is like putting up a wall, and saying to the Divine, â€œIâ€™ll work it out myself, thanks.â€ But worrying never sorts it out, does it? Grace will not penetrate the opaque block of worry, not that It cannot, but rather worry is a use of our free will, and with this, the Divine will not readily interfere. Why? Because our very free will IS our Divinity. So the question is how do you want to use your free will? In worry? Or in empowerment? If the latter, then there really is no other option than being at cause.
Hoâ€™oponopono allows us to be at peace. Anything that is not peace is a memory that prevents us from experiencing anything as it truly is, ie new. What if we saw everything anew and fresh in each moment? What if all our pain was gone, and emotional memory was no more? We would be clear, and in the here and Now. We would have a clear, empty mind. By practicing Hoâ€™oponopono we invite Grace into the moments of our lives to release for us the unconscious emotions associated with people, situations, information, news. Every single issue we are faced with is an opportunity to wipe the slate clean even further. Even if we feel the problem is not ours, because it has arisen in our conscious mind, it is ours to heal. If you are not happy in your job, it is yours to clean. If you are not happy with your relationship it is yours to clean. If you are not happy in any other aspect of life, it is yours to clean. When you do this, there is space for inspiration to come, and when this occurs, you must act on it. So, stop seeking other peopleâ€™s advice and clean up – make a habit of this, and it will become natural. The energy of blame and guilt will not then sit well with you. You will transform in the truest sense of the word â€“ permanently. Ramana Maharshi said, â€˜Your own self-realization is the greatest service you can render this world.â€™ This means the same â€“ clean up on yourself.
Stop the â€˜Whyâ€™ Question
All too often, we would rather put forward reasons â€˜whyâ€™ we cannot do the cleaning. This is just the egoâ€™s cheap trick. Donâ€™t be fooled. There is absolutely no way that you can know the â€˜whyâ€™ of everything. It is impossible. Since we have shared lifetime after lifetime with people, even those we donâ€™t know well, we simply do not know what experiences we have shared with others, and what may need balancing in the energy dynamic of the relationship. Many people want to find out past life connections with people in their lives, or work out why something is happening. Or take this lifetime itself, how much of the past do you actually remember? To keep asking why is to keep going round and round in one of those revolving doors – youâ€™ll never find the answer, so you just have to exit the revolving door. Our brain is full of promise and potential, but our conscious mind knows and remembers very little. So to try to understand everything all the time is crazy. (Why me? …Why did this happen?….Why am I ill?â€¦ Why now….Why here? Why Canâ€™t I….Why am I…. Why Do I….etc) is just a waste of time and energy. Only to some extent, can such questioning be helpful, but only initially in order to draw one into self-questioning with the intention of letting the â€˜whyâ€™ question go. However in truth, we never know everything (anything) definitively, and knowing knowledge, information and memories, which is the ego-based mind habit, does not further us spiritually. The â€œwhy?â€ really doesnâ€™t matter, let it go.
Stopping asking â€œwhy?â€ is therefore a most important spiritual practice. This allows for the free-flow of energy. It changes us from being energy-leaches, desperately pulling towards us answers, knowledge, remedies, solutions, practices and information, and always being in a state of needing or wanting something, towards a clearing. A clearing is a humble statement to the Universe that says, â€˜Assist meâ€™ and â€˜I am open to your inspiration and guidance.â€™ Such humility allows for a reverse energy dynamic, from pulling energy towards you, to simply receiving that which flows towards you. It is surrender. Stopping the ‘why’ question, stops our thoughts for a moment, and through such emptiness, we may become the empty vessels for Divine inspiration.
Hoâ€™oponopono is a simple but most profound practice that shows us that the only vital thing to do is to clean our slate of all our accumulations. When we do this, and enough people do this, the world will naturally change. How could it not? Once we are the empty vessel for Divine energy to have its way with us, the creative ideas flow, wisdom comes from within, natural self-governance (conscience and wisdom combined) takes the helm, and solutions are obvious. Jiddu Krishnamurti said,
â€œRelationship is a mirror in which to see ourselves as we actually are. But most of us are incapable of looking at ourselves as we are in relationship, because we immediately begin to condemn or justify what we see. We judge, we evaluate, we compare, we deny or accept, but we never observe actually what is, and for most people this seems to be the most difficult thing to do; yet this alone is the beginning of self-knowledge.â€
Those we are in relationship with, as well as those that we meet in the course of daily life â€“ shopkeepers, strangers, bankers, the homeless, neighbours we donâ€™t know â€“ are simply showing us a mirror of something within us already. Hoâ€™oponopono is the tool that helps us see that what is within us already, rather than seeing others as the perpetrators. With the cleaning up of our â€˜insideâ€™ we come to know peace in the here and now. Human beings who experience peace within, will lead â€“ automatically â€“ to a peaceful world. It could not be any other way, just as the lack inner peace and joy is reflected in the insane world that we see at present.
A Personal Note
On a personal note, I have to say that I spent many years completely brain-washed by my own beliefs and judgments, blaming somebody or other for almost everything that wasn’t to my satisfaction in my life – and boy, I can tell you there was a lot of this. On top of that, I knew I was right in my assessments! I knew so much! And it was too much knowing, too much judgment, too much justification.
People say knowledge is king. I used to believe this too at some level. For example, I used to regard the intellect as very important and would judge people very harshly based on whether they had a university degree or not. This was part of my conditioning. Many Asian families lay a lot of store by professional qualifications whilst stifling a childâ€™s natural talents and preferences and make their children basically do what they want them to do. (Read Jiddu Krishnamurti – he speaks at length about this.) Over the years this became an ingrained value judgment and source of personal pride (I had a 2:1 from a Uni – no less, but of course!).
Then three years ago, a spiritual catharsis hit and I had to admit â€“ reluctantly â€“ that the fact is I knew (know) so little, if anything at all. I had to ask if knowledge and intellect were the modern-day elixir then how come I felt defeated? For the first time in my life my own responses failed to satisfy even my own ego. I asked further: How come everything suddenly lost all meaning? How come I didnâ€™t know what exactly was happening to me? What good was my intellect now? How did it help me now? What benefit was it to me except in practical terms? I could speak to a Frenchman in French, or I could create websites, or I could get a job because of it, or I could speak impressively on certain topics, but now, where it counted, in this catharsis situation, did it actually help me at all?
This was the first time I began to look at my self with honesty. In an experiential way, I gradually came to see, in a nutshell, that real intelligence wasnâ€™t the accumulation of letters after your name, but the extent to which one was able to choose the Here and Now.
This is because to be able to stay in the Now moment requires a level of self-knowledge, and this knowledge is that which is beyond mental knowledge (logic, intelligence, value judgments, analysis, left-brained stuff). It simply cannot be LEARNT – it is what is KNOWN. This is the true meaning of the word, knowledge, after all.
Don’t get me wrong. Knowledge is essential! This world would fall apart without it!
I am not talking about knowledge per se, but our attachment and attitude to it. These are the stumbling blocks to true self-knowledge and it crumbles with great reluctance due to its position on the pedestal.
The process of de-accumulation of the mind’s accumulations and un-learning had begun for me at this time, and my need to know everything weakened. I don’t mean un-learning intellectual knowledge, but un-learning my conditioning and attitudes. I found freedom in the knowledge that I needed to no longer keep my mind and thinking run some imagined Olympic race. And in the end I found the mind’s incessant workings, justifications and explanations not just exhausting but preposterous!
To think we know even a minute fraction of what there is to know given the minute fraction of our brain we actually use, given the mysteries of the universe, given the incredible human body, given this mind-blowing Earth and all the rest of this intricate and highly intelligent creation that stretches way beyond our imagination is not just the height of arrogance, but the height of stupidity! It’s the antithesis of intelligence! Always, always, I kept coming face to face with the ironies of Universal Truth and Reality, and it made me smile. That we – a tiny little human being in this vast, mysterious Universe could have such a hard time saying ‘I don’t know’ but rather we go around pretending we know so much and that we’re right – well, it really is hilarious. On the one hand, there is the human being’s grandiose but truly pathetic self-image (lovable as it may seem sometimes) and on the other you have the awesomeness and unfathomable-ness of the Universe and all that one doesn’t know. Hmmm! No, knowledge is not king! IMHO!
Jiddu Krishnamurti said: “To be an integrated human being is to understand the entire process of one’s own consciousness, both the hidden and the open. This is not possible if we give due emphasis to the intellect. We attach great importance to the cultivation of the mind, but inwardly we are insufficient, poor and confused. This living in the intellect is the way of disintegration; for ideas, like beliefs, can never bring people together except in conflicting groups.
As long as we depend on thought as a means of integration, there must be disintegration; and to understand the disintegrating action of thought is to be aware of the ways of the self, the ways of one’s own desire. We must be aware of our conditioning and its responses, both collective and personal. It is only when one is fully aware of the activities of the self with its contradictory desires and pursuits, its hopes and fears, that there is a possibility of going beyond the self.”
When our mind is full of thinking, what we say and do is usually a reaction arising from this thinking (which in turn is determined by past experiences that have not been released), it is not authentic. As such, it fails to satisfy, and moreover, creates further reactions. But when we are emptied out, there is space for authentic expression. This does not mean perfection, but it does mean a level of genuineness. Thus, the process is one of emptying, not continuous analysis. Meister Eckhart said, “To be full of things is to be empty of God. To be empty of things is to be full of God.â€
A New Experience
I would say that forgiveness of self (ego) is the most powerful and quickest way to evolve spiritually. This is because it dissolves that version of â€˜Iâ€™m not good enoughâ€™ that we believe deep down, and it is this which is in the way of the flow of Divine Love and Light. Self-forgiveness is synonymous with freedom and compassion, and with forgiveness of others. As we learn to forgive ourselves, we become softer on ourselves, and this simultaneously leads to greater kindness towards others. This whole shift provides a new experience. This is a critical turning point. You may recognize these realizations:
â€¢ Freedom and compassion are experienced DESPITE all the negatives we thought we were. (Can I really feel peace despite all that I have known myself to be? Can I really give up the hard time I usually give myself? Our experience answers with a Yes.)
â€¢ We are able more comfortably to â€˜be with what is.â€™ We see that the â€˜meâ€™ that was doing all the believing is not the ultimate after all, since if it was, we could not witness it as a separate entity.
â€¢ The new distinction between the ego (â€˜meâ€™) and that which is aware provides a sense of non-personal experience of ourselves.
â€¢ This new experience is synonymous with an inner knowing, which we cannot readily explain in a logical, analytical way – but the fact is we just know know.
â€¢ We see that being in the new non-personal space is peaceful, but getting involved as the ‘me’ is not.
â€¢ A greater momentum for peace as our experience and thereby responsibility for our own internal state of affairs arises.
â€¢ Taking full responsibility becomes more automatic.
â€¢ We see that what stands in the way of peace or lack of it is just a belief, which is a role that the ‘me’ plays. In such seeing, these beliefs lose their hook for us.
And if you don’t get the above? Well, you have Hoâ€™oponopono. I have practiced this teaching on and off here and there, but not in an intentional way for very long, so I shall now be putting Hoâ€™oponopono into practice for the next month (till 21st September). Why not join me?
I love you
Please forgive me
And remember too, what Dr Hew Len said, â€œI didnâ€™t heal them. I healed part of myself that created them.â€ Ponder this!
To Emptying Out And Tumbling Into Reality,