Ho’oponopono – Ancient Art of Forgiveness or Powerful Healing Practice?

by: Kathy Best, Intuitive Living Expert, Empath Empowerment Specialist, CNT, CRRC, CHP, RM

December 12, 2020

The Hawaiian Dictionary defines “Hoʻoponopono” as “mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.

Literally, hoʻo is a particle used to make an action verb from the following noun. In this case, it creates a verb from the noun pono, which is defined as: “goodness, uprightness, morality, moral qualities, correct or proper procedure, excellence, well-being, prosperity, welfare, benefit, true condition or nature, duty; moral, fitting, proper, righteous, right, upright, just, virtuous, fair, beneficial, successful, in perfect order, accurate, correct, eased, relieved…..”

Ponopono is defined as: “to put to rights; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat.

Distinguished Hawaiian scholar, Mary Kawena Pukui, described it as an Ancient Hawaiian practice of extended family members gathering to “make right” damaged family relations. Her description is supported by oral histories from present-day Hawaiian elders. Pukui described it as a practice. Some families met daily or weekly, to prevent problems from erupting. Others met when a person became ill, believing that illness was caused by the stress of anger, guilt, recriminations and lack of forgiveness.

According to Professor Pukui, Hoʻoponopono corrects, restores and maintains good relationships among family members, and with their higher power, by getting to the source of trouble. Usually the most senior member of the family conducts the event. He or she gathers the family together. If the family is unable to work through a problem, they turn to a respected outsider. The process begins with prayer. A statement of the problem is then made, and the transgression discussed. Family members are expected to work problems through and cooperate, not “holding fast to the fault.” One or more periods of silence may be taken for reflection on the emotions and injuries. Everyone’s feelings are acknowledged. Then acknowledgement, remorse, and forgiveness take place. Everyone releases (kala) each other, letting go of the transgression(s). They discard the past (ʻoki), and together they close the event with a ceremonial feast, which often included eating limu kala or kala seaweed, symbolic of the release.

Morrnah Simeona, May 19, 1913 – February 11, 1992, is recognized as the first kahuna lapaʻau (healer) to create a modern version of this ancient practice. She taught this modern version throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. Morrnah was a practitioner of lomilomi massage. For 10 years she owned and operated health spas at the Kahala Hilton and Royal Hawaiian hotels. She combine her healing form of ho’oponopono and massage providing her services to a vast array of clients, some of whom were celebrities, including Lyndon B. Johnson, Jackie Kennedy and Arnold Palmer.

In the mid-70s, she was Divinely inspired to modify the traditional process of hoʻoponopono for the realities of the modern day. Praying to the Divine Creator and linking difficulties with reincarnation and karma resulted in a unique, new problem solving process. This new process was self-help rather than the traditional group process. Her new system used hoʻoponopono techniques to create a working partnership with the three parts of the mind (or self), subconscious, conscious and superconscious.

She presented her new modern form of ho’oponopono in numerous trainings and lectures, including: a presentation to the United Nations, almost a dozen states in the U.S., and in more than 14 countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, France, Russia, and Japan. She presented to the universities of Hawaiʻi and Johns Hopkins as well as medical facilities, religious institutions and business. To help circulate her hoʻoponopono process, she founded Pacifica Seminars and The Foundation of ‘I’, Inc.

Dr Ihaleakala Hew Len, was a student who worked closely with Morrnah. He is a well-known therapist in Hawaii who cured a ward of criminally insane patients…. without ever seeing any of them.

In 2005 the following article, written by Dr. Joe Vitale created quite a stir on the Internet, which brought immense attention to Dr. Hew Len and the Ho’oponopono community. Dr. Len is credited with expanding on Morrnah Simeona’s modern version of Ho’oponopono. The following article explains Dr. Joe Vitale’s first encounter with Ho’oponopono and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len.

Two years ago (2003), I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a complete ward of criminally insane patients–without ever seeing any of them. The psychologist would study an inmate’s chart and then look within himself to see how he created that person’s illness. As he improved himself, the patient improved. When I first heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could even the best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane? It didn’t make any sense. It wasn’t logical, so I dismissed the story.

However, I heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist had used a Hawaiian healing process called ho ‘oponopono. I had never heard of it, yet I couldn’t let it leave my mind. If the story was at all true, I had to know more.

I had always understood “total responsibility” to mean that I am responsible for what I think and do. Beyond that, it’s out of my hands. I think that most people think of total responsibility that way. We’re responsible for what we do, not what anyone else does. The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility.

His name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete story of his work as a therapist. He explained that he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years. That ward where they kept the criminally insane was dangerous. Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients. It was not a pleasant place to live, work, or visit. Dr. Len told me that he never saw patients. He agreed to have an office and to review their files. While he looked at those files, he would work on himself. As he worked on himself, patients began to heal. “After a few months, patients that had to be shackled were being allowed to walk freely,” he told me. “Others who had to be heavily medicated were getting off their medications. And those who had no chance of ever being released were being freed.”

I was in awe. “Not only that,” he went on, “but the staff began to enjoy coming to work. Absenteeism and turnover disappeared. We ended up with more staff than we needed because patients were being released, and all the staff was showing up to work. Today, that ward is closed.” This is where I had to ask the million dollar question: “What were you doing within yourself that caused those people to change?” “I was simply healing the part of me that created them,” he said. I didn’t understand.

Dr. Len explained that total responsibility for your life means that everything in your life – simply because it is in your life–is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world is your creation. Whew. This is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or do is one thing. Being responsible for what everyone in my life says or does is quite another. Yet, the truth is this: if you take complete responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste, touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is in your life. This means that terrorist activity, the president, the economy–anything you experience and don’t like–is up for you to heal. They don’t exist, in a manner of speaking, except as projections from inside you. The problem isn’t with them, it’s with you, and to change them, you have to change you. I know this is tough to grasp, let alone accept or actually live. Blame is far easier than total responsibility, but as I spoke with Dr. Len, I began to realize that healing for him and in ho’oponopono means loving yourself. If you want to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you want to cure anyone–even a mentally ill criminal–you do it by healing you. I asked Dr. Len how he went about healing himself. What was he doing, exactly, when he looked at those patients’ files?” I just kept saying, ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I love you’ over and over again,” he explained.

According to Dr. Vitale and Dr. Len, loving yourself is the best and fastest way to improve yourself, your life, and your world. It’s not about saying anything to anyone it’s simply invoking the spirit of love to heal within yourself what is creating the outer experience of the circumstance.

To improve anything in your life, look first within yourself.

“When you look, do it with love.” Dr. Joe Vitale

The order of the phrases does not matter. It only matters that you say them as often and as much as you need to remove the internal misperceptions that are causing the external situation. Let your intuition and inspiration guide you in the sequence that feels best to you. According to Dr. Len it isn’t even necessary to say all four phrases. Just saying “I love you” and “thank you” are enough to have the desired effect.

Letting the order of the phrases and anything about them distract or discourage you is another thing to “clean” or “clear”. Ho’oponopono is a simple tool to use for cleaning or clearing your mind and heart. That’s it. Fear of doing them wrong is another thing to clear.

  • This is not intended to be spoken to anyone else.
  • You are saying it to yourself to clean and clear the part of you that’s perceiving an external problem.
  • It’s never about anyone or anything else. It’s about the external trigger that caused you to see a problem and want to change it.
  • It’s not about changing or fixing anything external. It’s about changing the internal perception.
  • You use the Ho’oponopono phrases to do that. You are addressing the Divine – no one else.
  • You say “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me” to yourself for being unconscious. It’s not about regret, guilt, shame or blame. It’s simply about realizing you’ve been sleepwalking through life. (When you bump into someone, you say “I’m sorry,” because you did something accidentally. You weren’t paying attention and did something unintentional while you were unaware.)

Repetition is key.

To reiterate, you don’t focus on anyone else or anything else. It’s not the person, place, or event that’s the problem. The problem isn’t external, it’s in you. Focus on the problem as you experience it, inside your mind and body. You always experience it both in your mind and in your body. Your body is like a giant sponge that absorbs everything you perceive, feel, believe, experience and processes it with pain or pleasure impulses that impact every organ and cell.

Dr. Hew Len put it this way, “Have you ever noticed that when you have a problem, you are always there?” His point is that your problem is in YOU. That’s where you put your attention and direct the cleaning process. You are essentially asking your Higher Power to remove the “emotional charge” that you are feeling inside as you witness the external “problem.”

There is so much “ emotional data” in the world – programming, conditioning, beliefs, misperceptions, fear, negativity – that our task is lifelong. No, this is not a one and done process. You have to continue using this process, daily. But it’s not difficult or time consuming to repeat “I love you” and “thank you” inside your mind. It simply takes practice and intention.

You don’t need to tell anyone else about your internal cleaning practice. Dr. Hew Len has spent over 25 years cleaning himself. He says it’s the only reason he is alive. It makes no difference if anyone else does it. It only matters that You do it, consistently.

If you hear a problem from someone else don’t advise them to practice Ho’oponopono – it’s not theirs to clean and clear, it’s Yours. You should initiate it right then and there. It’s never your job to advise someone else to practice Ho’oponopono. Whatever you hear or witness is yours to clean and clear.

Ultimately, this is about restoring you to your Divinity. In Dr. Joe Vitale’s audio program, The Awakening Course, he states that there are four stages to awakening – victimhood, empowerment, surrender, and divine embodiment. According to Dr. Vitale, most people never leave the first stage of victimhood. Movies like The Secret, What The Bleep, and The Compass have helped many people get to level two, empowerment. Books like Conversations With God, Zero Limits, There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem, and A Course In Miracles enable some to attain level three, surrender. But the fourth level, where you awaken to your Divinity and Divine Consciousness breathes through you, is a level that few attain. Dr. Vitale’s Zero Limits program offers one way to clear out all of the mental and emotional baggage that stands between you and your expression of Divinity. It’s about clearing all of the dense emotional data, mistaken beliefs and mental static so the you embody Divine awareness and love.

The single goal of Ho’oponopono, (cleaning), is to help you clear and delete the garbage that’s preventing you from experiencing your true Divinity. The more you clean, the more positive results you’ll experience. You may receive healing or some other benefit, but that’s simply a side effect of doing the process, not the goal. The intention is to get to the space where the Divine expresses through you, as you, effortlessly and unfailingly. When Dr. Hew Len worked in that mental hospital for the criminally insane, he didn’t work to heal the patients, he worked to heal his internal dialogue, beliefs, thoughts that witnessed his patients as criminally insane. Miraculously, it worked.

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful transformative tools any of us has. If you aren’t willing to ask and accept forgiveness from yourself, for being and behaving unconscious, you’re probably blocking the flow of good in other areas of your life as well. When Dr. Vitale asked Dr. Hew Len what to tell people who protested about saying “I am sorry,” Dr. Len said, “Tell them they don’t have to say it.”

The world is made up of emotional and energetic forms of data and that’s what needs cleaned. We receive and process all that “data” internally, so that’s where the cleaning needs to take place. In other words, our external perception is really a projection of our internal state. The problems are an internal experience because we choose what emotional data to assign to everything external, so that’s where the cleaning needs to be done.

Here’s the Zero Limits process by Dr. Joe Vitale:

1. You notice something wrong. Triggers can be thoughts, another person, an event, or anything else. This is the stimulus. Before Zero Limits, a problem was always considered “out there.” After Zero Limits, you realize the problem is inside You. Whatever the instance, the first step is noticing how you feel. Maybe you’re angry, distraught, anxious, scared, or any other of a wide range of feelings that could be labeled as unhappy.

2. You start to “clean” on the feeling. You don’t clean on the other person, the thought, the situation, or anything external. You know the real problem is inside yourself. You’re the one aware of a problem, so you’re the one who has to clean it. Saying “I love you,” “I’m sorry,” “Please forgive me,” and “Thank you” is the way to clean. Say the phrases in any order. Say them non-stop in your mind while feeling the problem as you perceive it.

3. You can say each phrase in your mind or you can pick and choose which phrases you wish to use for this specific feeling. The key is repetition.

4. Now let go until you’re inspired to take action. Dr. Hew Len once told Dr. Vitale that he cleans a decision three times. If the answer is the same after three cleanings, he takes the inspired action. This means if you get an urge to do something to resolve a perceived problem, you might clean on it three times before actually taking any action. This way you ensure the action is divinely inspired and not an analytical response.

5. Repeat for each perceived problem. There are no shortcuts for cleaning and reaching Zero point. If you’re feeling frustrated or impatient around the practice that needs cleaned too. Wanting instant gratification is another opportunity to practice cleaning. Your Higher Power has no sense of urgency. Wanting things to unfold faster than they are is another wonderful opportunity to clean. Dr. Vitale says, “I keep cleaning because it makes me feel lighter, happier and healthier; it is a fast track way for me to remove the data in my being so I can get closer to the Divine, and because it’s easy, effortless, and free. Until the Divine gives me another way to clean, I’ll keep on cleaning.”

“Complete responsibility means accepting it all – even the people who enter your life and their problems, because their problems are your problems. They are in your life, and if you take full responsibility for your life, then you have to take full responsibility for what they are experiencing, too.” – from Zero Limits by Joe Vitale and Dr. Hew Len

Your Purpose is not a Destination, It’s a Lifestyle

Written by: Kathy Best – Intuitive Living Expert, Nutrition Specialist, Angel Communicator, July 5, 2021

As an intuitive living expert and nutrition specialist I am passionate about helping people, especially empaths, learn how to tap into their intuition, trust themselves, harness their gifts and live a purposeful, passionate life doing something they love in service to their greatest good. When you start doing what supports your own greatest good, not what you think you should be doing or what you think will make you the most money, you create a resonance with the Universal flow of good that emanates out into the world increasing the good for everyone.

I have always had a resistance to being seen and heard, or being the center of attention. I much prefer to be in the background helping others be the center of attention. I recognize that I sometimes sabotage myself, because of my aversion to being visible. This is one of those times. I joined The WellNest Roanoke near the beginning of the year as a collaborator and founding member, because I believed in their vision of creating a holistic hub for the Roanoke area and I wanted a place to start offering classes in my area of expertise and knowledge.

When I started taking steps toward my goal all of these road blocks kept coming up, like my health issues that had been improving tremendously started flaring back up, then my husband’s health started declining, then I lost my inspiration and my motivation to post on social media regularly, then the classes I did post didn’t get any interest, so when another avenue of potential popped up for me I jumped into it, thinking this was how I could pursue my passion in holistic healing without being front and center.

As soon as I started down this new side path I received all kinds of warning flags and messages from my intuition, but I disregarded them because I wanted this new path to be my easier, safer way of pursuing my passion. Well it was not easy or safe and everything and more that I had been trying to avoid was still being asked of me, just in a different setting, format and in ways that did not resonate with me at all. I kept pushing through it for a while because I knew there was a potential for immense prosperity and radical change in the business world, but ultimately I had to heed the repeated warnings of my heart and soul that things just weren’t quite right and this was not the path for me.

So I made up my mind to divest myself from this potent opportunity and circle back toward my true passion and purpose as a collaborator with The WellNest Roanoke. My point is that even experts have times of insecurity and struggle to live their passion and purpose. It’s about the willingness to reassess, do the internal digging, find the issue, address it, and pivot again, moving ever forward on the journey toward self-realization. It’s being able to accept what is and viewing our own growing pains without contempt, criticism, or feelings of failure. In reality there is no such thing as failure. It’s all about discovering what you really want and what aligns most with your gifts, talents, skills, and abilities. It’s seeing through the fear and insecurity with compassion and understanding that eventually enables each of us to begin to embody our true essential self and become a light and an inspiration for others.

I could have continued on that alternate path and I am sure I would have been prosperous with multiple sources of income. I had put so much energy and belief in it that the Universe was lining up everything I needed to achieve what I thought I wanted, but I would have had to sacrifice some of my principles and dilute my true passion and purpose to be successful. The further along I went, the more my internal guidance system was raising the alarm bells. The funny part is that I it from the beginning, but I didn’t want to let it go, because it felt safer than standing in my full power and potential and being who I came here to be. In the end I decided the cost was too high and I bid my fond farewells to the many new friends I had made sending them all love and gratitude for their encouragement, support, and care.

You see, living your truth, your passion, and your purpose is not always easy or comfortable, or even clear. We are all blessed with many gifts, talents, skills, and desires as well as the free choice to decide how and when we use them. It’s not something you accomplish and then put away.

Finding your true passion and fulfilling your purpose are decisions, a conscious choice you have to make over and over again.

It is a commitment to being and living a certain way, every day.

It’s not a destination, it’s a lifestyle.

Most people want success and a purposeful life, but when they realize that it takes a commitment to growth, expansion and conscious living they start coming up with all sorts of reasons why it can’t happen for them.

Purpose, just like prosperity, is a birthright and a responsibility we must choose to accept if we want to fully live.

If you choose to live your purpose it will take strength, courage, and a willingness to be uncomfortable – to really dig deep inside yourself to acknowledge, asses, and correct all of the garbage that you’ve been conditioned to believe and accept about yourself and about life. There will be struggles and challenges and opportunities will present themselves to move back into your comfort zone, but once you truly commit to become the highest version of you, no matter what, you will always find your way back on course. Each side track will be easier to recognize and move out of as you experience the growth and expansion that is a lifelong process, not a destination.

If you feel you are ready to discover or pursue that small voice inside that keeps nudging you to be more, to live more purposefully, to fulfill your essential soul calling, then schedule a complimentary breakthrough session with me to discover how I can support you in stepping into your power and claiming your full potential as a divine expression of creative life force energy. You can register on my website at the top of the home page or on my Facebook business page under services. Make sure to choose the complimentary 45 minute session. I look forward to seeing you shine your magnificent light out into the world and becoming a catalyst for positive change in your life and the lives of everyone you meet.

With love and gratitude,

Kathy Best

Intuitive Living Expert, Nutrition Specialist, and Angel Communicator

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Becoming a Force for Good

written by: Penny Best – Certified Life Coach, Author, Angel Card Reader, Numerologist

What if you woke up one morning and everywhere you looked the people around you were filled with Light?  Almost everyone you saw was glowing with light of different colors.  A few seemed to have clouds or smog dimming their light, but it was still there waiting to shine.  You begin to recognize that the colors relate to the main characteristics of each person….sunny yellow, a mainly happy outgoing person; bright green, a healer, a person who loves nature; pink, a gentle loving person; blue, a thinker, a practical individual; purple, a person who seeks to understand the spirit. 

What about the clouds and smog?  You quickly recognize that those individuals are battling Fear, Stress, Anxiety, Poor Health, and a few seem to be infected with something darker that has pushed their light down to a small spark. It occurs to you that most of these people just need a little help, a reminder, a smile, connection, so their light can shine more brightly. A few others may need something that’s not in your power to give, but a greater power cares for them.

As you continue to observe you realize that those inner lights are not different for people of different ethnicities, or genders, or social status. The light in each one makes all those surface differences unimportant. You begin to feel a growing sense of community and connection with people. You feel lighter. You are smiling at strangers and they are smiling back.

As you go about your day you notice the people around you are more pleasant, more thoughtful. The drivers on the road seem more courteous.  People you interact with at work, while shopping, on the streets, seem less hurried, more gracious.  Something wonderful is happening.

Now hold on to this image. This is the power of the change that is unfolding. Every person who accepts the possibility adds to the momentum. Every person who intends to Be a Light adds to the momentum.  The unconsciousness of a few will not stop what has begun. Even the darkness of some who are caught in Ego dramas will not stop this. We are awakening from the spell of separateness and our “only humanness”.   Are you ready to shine your Light?  Are you ready to claim your power to be a force for Good? Return to this image daily or more often. See the lights grow bigger, brighter. Feel excitement and joyful anticipation.  Imagine our world based on Courtesy, Compassion, Equality, Earth Stewardship, Forgiveness, Integrity, Inner Vision, and Generosity. Know in your heart that every time you engage in this vision you are making it more real in your outer world.

Penny Prentice Best is a former Childhood Education Director, a Spiritual Counselor, Certified Life Coach, Numerologist, environmental activist, Certified Angel Card Reader, jewelry designer, author and lecturer with over 45 years of knowledge, wisdom, and experience in child education, conscious communication, intuitive counseling, numerology, life coaching, quantum science, expanding human consciousness, and environmental awareness. She is an inspiration and a way-shower to all who know her and has touched thousands of lives with her kindness, compassion, wisdom, and counsel. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or Facebook.

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