WELL BEING: Ho’oponopono

23 Aug
Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len

Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len

Several years ago, I was introduced to a Hawaiian meditation called Ho’oponopono.

My interest was piqued when a story surfaced about a Hawaiian therapist.  As the story goes, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len took a job working in a mental hospital filled with criminal violence.  The patients in this maximum security facility were extremely dangerous, heavily medicated and required shackles.  There was a regular turn-over of employees as the staff of doctors, nurses and handlers were afraid to go to work each day.

Dr. Hew Len refused to see a single patient.  As part of his job, he would sit in his office day after day, reviewing patient files while practicing this Hawaiian healing art called Ho’oponopono.

It was reported that after a few months of practicing this meditation, Dr. Hew Len’s patients were healing, behaving more peacefully and many who had no chance of ever being released were being freed.

What exactly is this ancient meditation practice?

Ho’oponopono is defined literally as hoʻo meaning “to” and Ponopono as “set to rights, put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat.”  The Hawaiian Dictionary calls Ho’oponopono a “mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.”

How does this meditation work?

It is suggested that the pain and trouble we often see in others is simply a reflection of what is unwell within us.  By focusing compassionately on someone who is suffering and meditating on 4 specific powerful phrases, we are practicing Ho’oponopono.

What are the 4 life changing phrases that are the basis of Ho’oponopono?

  • I’m sorry.
  • Please forgive me.
  • Thank you.
  • I love you.

That’s right.  Dr. Hew Len would sit in his office each day looking over each individuals case file while repeating these phrases again and again.  He claims that by looking within and healing himself he was then able to affect others in a positive way, thereby healing his patients.

I’ve never met this Hawaiian doctor nor have I read any evidence that substantiates his claims but there has always been truth in compassion and the acceptance of self-responsibility.

In terms of illness as a society, be it physical, mental, spiritual or emotional; there are times when difficulties become unbearable and those are the times people most need to be loved, understood and accepted.  Even when we feel we are “in the right,” we too are part of society and that means we may be part of the solution.

Practicing this thoughtful meditation may be as easy as extending love to those we meet, appreciation to someone we pass in the street and an apology to a loved one when confusions arrise or we make a mistake.

The 4 phrases of Ho’oponopono may unlock the secrets we keep that can make us heart-sick as well as physically and emotionally unwell.  By taking personal responsibility and confessing our heart through words, thoughts, or even a written meditation, we can free ourselves and potentially free others by restoring dignity and good relationships.

Read more of Joe Vitale’s story about Ho’oponopono.

2 Responses to “WELL BEING: Ho’oponopono”

  1. maggie August 24, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    Awesome, Lynn. Something else for me to try. Very simple. And who cares if it’s proven or not…Those are powerful words. 🙂

    Like

    • Lynn Van Noy August 24, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      Thanks for saying so.. I totally agree!

      A simple “thank you” goes so far & can unite people who don’t even speak the same language. Imagine putting all 4 statements into action everyday.. amazing.

      Like

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