Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian spiritual healing technique centred around repentance and forgiveness. Today it is practiced all over the world for its powerful transformational and healing benefits.
The objective of the practice is to purge negative emotions, such as guilt and shame, from the heart and mind of the practitioner. This helps them restore their inner balance and peace and allows them to let go of the pent up guilt that comes from past errors and wrongdoings.
The ho’oponopono technique can be used as an approach to shadow work or as a self healing process in and of itself.
Historical roots of the ho’oponopono technique
The words pono pono essentially mean ‘to put things right, to revise, to adjust, to rectify, to tidy up, to amend, to make things orderly or neat’ in Hawaiian. Ho’o is used simply to make an active verb of the following noun.
In Ancient Hawaii, where the ho’ponopono technique originated, people believed that if someone broke the spiritual laws, kapu, illness and misfortune would soon follow. The Ancient Hawaiians believed that the guilt that com from wrongdoing is what attracts malicious forces and sickness into a person’s life.
The purpose of ho’oponopono is to clear away this mental-emotional debris to ward off sickness and accidents.
Traditionally, a ho’oponopono ritual was performed under the instruction of a praying priest (kahuna pule) or healing priest (kahuna lapa’au).
The person or persons going through the ritual would have to seek the forgiveness of the gods, or of the person they had wronged.
Once forgiveness had been obtained and the miscreant was able to let go of their own guilt and shame, the negativity was considered dispelled.
Ho’oponopono in the New Age and beyond
Thanks to a few pioneering spiritual teachers, the ho’oponopono technique practised today preserves the heart and essence of the traditional practice, while keeping it approachable and easy to incorporate into our busy modern lives.
Born in 1913, Morrnah Simeona was the first traditionally trained lapa’au to modify and adapt ho’oponopono for the modern age and for an audience beyond Hawaii.
The unique ho’oponopono technique she developed was less focused on banishing malicious spiritual forces and more focused on relieving stress and create a positive working partnership between the conscious, unconscious and super conscious parts of ourselves.
Blending and blurring the lines between her native roots and her interest in other cultures and spiritual practices, she eventually ended up teaching her brand of ho’oponopono to students throughout the United States, Asia and Europe.
Dr Ihaleakala Hew Len and Dr Joe Vitale
More recent proponents of ho’oponopono include Dr Hew Len and Dr Joe Vitale, both prominent figures within the New Age. The two of them co-authored the book Zero Limits about the ho’oponopono technique and its benefits.
Len and Vitale’s take on ho’oponopono follows the tracks laid down by Morrnah Simeona, but streamlining the process even more and direct it towards overcoming inner barriers of guilt and limiting beliefs.
Ho’oponopono, the art of healing
Ho’oponopono is the art of self healing through atonement.
The psychological effects of allowing ourselves to let go of any guilt and shame we feel in connection to another person can be transformative and liberating. In a true sense, taking steps to purge and dispel the pent-up negative feelings we carry around can be a significant step in any personal healing process.
How do you use the ho’oponopono technique to have a better life?
Healing confidence and self identity
There is something uniquely cathartic about making a sincere apology and seeking forgiveness for our perceived transgressions.
Atoning can help us shed any negative feelings we hold against ourselves in the wake of wrongdoing.
Healing your relationships with others
If a problem or conflict has torn a rift between you and a friend, the ho’oponopono technique can help you heal it.
The willingness of others to forgive you can never be guaranteed – but if you work at it, you can grant yourself the forgiveness you need t0 stand tall and proud in life.
Ultimately, the greatest gift of applying the ho’oponopono technique is not the forgiveness you might receive from the people you have harmed, but the forgiveness you grant yourself by going through the process.
Transcending limiting beliefs
The ho’oponopono technique is helpful when you are working on transcending limiting beliefs.
Limiting beliefs stem form internalised insecurity and from having your efforts shamed or belittled by others. If this happens enough times, you begin to believe it.
By recognising that the problem doesn’t stem from you but from other people in your life projecting their own fears and limitations onto you, you might be able to forgive them and finally put down the metaphysical baggage they heaped on your shoulders.
Indeed, ho’oponopono works two ways – you can seek forgiveness, or you can grant it.
Healing the body-mind connection
The chief purpose of the ho’oponopono technique today is to help people let go of stress, and to encourage healing and rebalancing of both the body and the spirit.
Carrying a lot of mental baggage inevitably causes stress, anxiety, tension and depression. Severe stress comes with a host of potential health problems, from ulcers to decreased immunity.
Working on reducing our emotional pain and lowering our stress levels impacts our wellbeing in a myriad subtle ways. Everything adds up.
How to practice Ho’oponopono
Introducing the ho’oponopono technique in your everyday life does not have to be complicated.
How do you practice Ho’oponopono prayer?
The ho’oponopono technique entails one simple prayer. It goes like this: I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you.
That is all there is to it. Of course, you may choose to modify the prayer to suit your specific situation or needs by turning each section of the prayer into a sentence of its own. If you are seeking forgiveness from a specific person, you may want to insert their name after the ‘I love you’ part, and you may want to add the reason why you are feeling sorry and asking for forgiveness after the ‘sorry please forgive me’ part.
The ho’oponopono prayer as mantra
The words can be spoken out loud like a prayer, or chanted many times over like a mantra.
Words have power, and their power is amplified if spoken out loud. However, if you are not able to do that, you can say or chant the words internally.
How do you practice Ho’oponopono meditation?
Ho’oponopono meditation can be done anywhere from the privacy of your own home to the busy train commute on your way to work.
Close your eyes and still your breath, until it is calm, deep and slow. Once in the meditative state, chant the ho’oponopono prayer internally. Of course, if you are in private, you may choose to chant out loud for extra emphasis.
Let the prayer flow in a looping string of words: ‘I love you I’m sorry please forgive me thank you I love you’ and so on.
If your meditation is focused on a particular person or inner wound, visualise this person or situation as you chant the mantra. In your mind’s eye, blow love and peace in their direction.
How does Ho’oponopo heal your body?
Carrying a lot of negative feelings such as guilt and shame can build up anxiety in the body. As stress chemicals flood your system this can have a negative impact on everything from the quality of your sleep to the cortisol levels in your bloodstream.
A regular meditation practice, drinking plenty of water and practicing self forgiveness through the ho’oponopono technique are all key to soothing and healing your body.
Ho’oponopono in daily life
The ho’oponopono technique is for anyone willing to study and apply its principles in order to better their lives.
Aspects of the technique can be adapted and moulded to suit your particular lifestyle and requirements at any time. You may slip a little ho’oponopono into the pockets of your everyday life when a little karma cleaning it is needed, or you can choose to adapt it as part of an existing shadow work or self healing practice.
Every person can be their own ho’oponopono practitioner
Although the ho’oponopono practice was originally supervised by a native priest, anyone is free to to chant the prayer, do the meditation and atone in any way they see fit.
Practicing the ho’oponopono technique helps us let go of of guilt as well as practice self forgiveness and self acceptance. If we are fortunate, ho’oponopono may help us heal our connections with other people, whether we are the wrongdoer or the person that has been wronged.
Why not grant yourself the gift of adapting and applying the ho’oponopono principles in your own life?