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How to Practice Ho’oponono

Hawaii

We all want to see the world change for the better. But we’re doing it all wrong…

We want to change other people. We want to change situations. We even externalize our power to politicians and religious figures to come save us.

But how many people focus on changing themselves?

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.
– Rumi

 
We do so much to stay victims, blame others and avoid taking responsibility. Are we that afraid of our own power? Are we that hesitant to make our own decisions?

The only way that any change happens in your version of reality is if you change yourself.

There’s a reason why Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Not change other people (you can’t), hope someone else does something (*cough* politics) or passively complain about things, but simply embody the change you want to see.

You can only control yourself, not anyone else and not what life might throw at you (for the most part). But there’s a beautiful paradox here; when you change yourself, everything around you begins to change. Think about your perspective as a filter on reality. Change your filter and you experience a different version of reality.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
– Anais Nin

 
Here’s another aspect of the fallacy of trying to change others. How are you going to be an effective parent, teacher, psychologist, leader, coach or any other position where people are learning from you, if you’re blinded by your own biases, blocked by your own fears and possessed by your own pain? Everything you do will be based upon fundamentally skewed premises. If you’re disharmonious within, your actions will be from a place of disharmony.

The best teachers are essentially clear mirrors, leading by example and reflecting back to others undistorted answers to their questions.

Enter: Hoʻoponopono

There is a simple practice that leverages the truth of inside-out-change, and it’s called Hoʻoponopono.

Hoʻoponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. It means “to make right” or “rectify an error.” Hoʻoponopono is based on the actuality of healing a situation by healing oneself.

The practice of Hoʻoponopono consists of using these four affirmations:
I love you
I’m sorry
Please forgive me
Thank you

Hoʻoponopono has been traditionally used to solve family and community problems, and has similarities to many other shamanic and mystical practices throughout the world.

Think about it in terms of common sense, a family dispute will never be resolved if everyone blames each other. Forgiveness provides space for a solution.

So how do I get that across to people — that we are each 100% responsible for problems? If you want to solve a problem, no matter what kind of problem, work on yourself. If the problem is with another person, for example, just ask yourself, “What’s going on in me that’s causing this person to bug me?” People only show up in your life to bug you! If you know that, you can elevate any situation, and you can release there. It’s simple: “I’m sorry for whatever’s going on. Please forgive me.
– Dr. Hew Len

 
There’s even a story that Dr. Hew Len healed a hospital ward of mentally ill criminals by using Ho’oponopono. Who knows if it’s actually true? But anything is possible.

No Fuel for the Fire

Any pain that people are carrying needs something to react with. If you don’t give it anything to react with, it doesn’t become part of your reality. If you do react to something, it’s because someone or something triggered pain that already exists within you. Can you see how important clearing yourself is?

Here’s a relevant insight on relationships by Eckhart Tolle: (Note: This can apply to every kind of relationship, not just intimate relationships)

If you both agree that the relationship will be your spiritual practice, so much the better. You can then express your thoughts and feelings to each other as soon as they occur, or as soon as a reaction comes up, so that you do not create a time gap in which an unexpressed or unacknowledged emotion or grievance can fester and grow. Learn to give expression to what you feel without blaming. Learn to listen to your partner in an open, nondefensive way. Give your partner space for expressing himself or herself. Be present. Accusing, defending, attacking — all those patterns that are designed to strengthen or protect the ego or to get its needs met will then become redundant. Giving space to others — and to yourself — is vital. Love cannot flourish without it. When you have removed the two factors that are destructive to relationships — when the pain-body has been transmuted and you are no longer identified with mind and mental positions — and if your partner has done the same, you will experience the bliss of the flowering of relationship. Instead of mirroring to each other your pain and your unconsciousness, instead of satisfying your mutual addictive ego needs, you will reflect back to each other the love that you feel deep within, the love that comes with the realization of your oneness with all that is. This is the love that has no opposite.

 
Ho’opononopono distills these principles of clearing oneself into a simple, effective practice. You only have control of yourself and it’s the leverage point for all change. There really is no “out there” out there. Reality is a subjective experience and our interpersonal interactions are the intermingling of unique worlds.

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
– Wayne Dyer

 
How to Practice Hoʻoponopono

If you want to solve a problem, no matter what kind of problem, work on yourself.
– Dr. Hew Len

 
The practice of Ho’oponopono consists of visualizing a person or situation that is creating disharmony within you that you want to clear, then saying the four affirmations: I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you. You can just say the affirmations once or repeat them as many times as you like (either aloud or to yourself). Whatever works for you.

Affirmation 1: I Love You

Start with being in a state of love. It’s that unconditional, compassionate love which has no opposite. Literally become love. You can bring your hands to your heart if this helps.

Affirmation 2: I’m Sorry

This is simply acknowledging something in your reality that you want to clear (no need for guilt or shame). Think of your life as like a movie: If something is in your movie, you have to deal with it, because it’s in your movie.

Affirmation 3: Please Forgive Me

Don’t worry about who or what you’re asking for forgiveness. The point is to bring forgiveness into your being.

Forgiveness is more about clearing negativity from yourself than it is about another person or situation. Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else, it’s something you do for yourself to heal and move on.

Affirmation 4: Thank You

You don’t have to thank anyone or anything in particular. Just say “thank you” and feel the gratitude. Gratitude is a powerful emotion that opens the door to healing.

Ho’oponono

Are we 100% responsible for everything within our reality? Who really knows?

But it can only help if we use tools like Ho’oponopono. Think about it this way… How could the world around us not get better if we stop playing games of blame and judgment and incorporate practices based in love, forgiveness and gratitude?

It’s time to embody the change we envision.

Much love to us.

– Stevie P! (aka Just Another Aspect of Yourself)


UPDATE: There is even an online Ho’oponopono certification available now. If you enjoyed this article, consider becoming a master of this phenomenal tool here: Ho’oponopono Certification.

 

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Stevie P