Simple Steps to Healing: Ho’oponopono
I Love You, I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank You

[PFC Note: I felt an overwhelming sadness for a tree that had been damaged by under watering during our hot summers. I have been working to bring it back to health and during this sad moment I leaned against the tree in a meditative manner and began to say the ho’ pononopono while thinking about the trees pain at not being watered when it needed it. Moments after I began I felt a surge of comforting energy around me. It felt as if I had opened a door to a global healing presence. It was surreal! This has real power and everyone can use it when they want to help another…even a tree.]

by Dr. Joe Vitale

Two years ago, 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.”

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.

That’s it?

That’s it.

Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your world. Let me give you a quick example of how this works: one day, someone sent me an email that upset me. In the past I would have handled it by working on my emotional hot buttons or by trying to reason with the person who sent the nasty message. This time, I decided to try Dr. Len’s method. I kept silently saying, “I’m sorry” and “I love you.” I didn’t say it to anyone in particular. I was simply evoking the spirit of love to heal within me what was creating the outer circumstance.

Within an hour I got an e-mail from the same person. He apologized for his previous message. Keep in mind that I didn’t take any outward action to get that apology. I didn’t even write him back. Yet, by saying “I love you,” I somehow healed within me what was creating him.

In short, Dr. Len says there is no out there. It would take a whole book to explain this advanced technique with the depth it deserves. Suffice it to say that whenever you want to improve anything in your life, there’s only one place to look: inside you.

And when you look, do it with love.
Note: This article on ho’oponopono is edited from the book Zero Limits by Dr. Joe Vitale and Dr. Len. You can listen to Joe talk about his experience with Dr. Len and ho’oponopono along with his involvement with the inspiring movie, The Secret, on News for the Soul by clicking here. He starts talking about Dr. Len and ho’oponopono at minute 15 in this highly engaging one-hour interview.

Dr. Len’s message may be quite hard to believe, yet it’s amazingly simple. He states that we are all responsible for everything that we see in our world. By taking full personal responsibility and then healing the wounded places within ourselves, we can literally heal ourselves and our world. As related by Joe Vitale in the radio interview, Dr. Len suggests a four-stage process for this ho’oponopono work. Whenever a place for healing presents itself in your life, open to the place where the hurt resides within you. After identifying this place, with as much feeling as you can, say the below four statements:

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

For several inspiring articles on the ho’oponopono process, see the official ho’oponopono website. Even if you are skeptical, consider giving this simple healing method a try to see what happens. Many have found it to be incredibly profound in their lives. And for a powerful online lesson which brings this all home, click here. Thanks for taking the time to read this story and may your life open to ever more healing and miracles. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

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  1. Before I leave you to your whatever things that you like to do…………I would like to explain why /how it is……that there is NO OTHER GOD , BUT YOU.
    As I said before, we humans are DUAL. The SPIRIT (yang) and the Ego (yin) both are inside the physical body When we incarnate, we crawl inside our mother’s womb, the union of sperm and ovum creates the SPARK OF life, the individuated, non-broken aspect of CREATOR. The ego is much like a computer program that was implanted in us before or during birth to take over the identity of SPIRIT. A perfect creation/tool for the game we’re in.
    Hence, we never know who we truly are.
    This SPIRIT is called many names……….Life-force, Essence, Spirit body, Astral body, Higher Self….it is just ONE energy being. , the real YOU. It is the superintelligent mind energy being that is inside your submolecular level, there is NOT a part of you that is NOT SPIRIT ….as you know….the physical matter is the illusory expression of SPIRIT….Essence runs your physical, mental emotional bodies endlessly, flawlessly, continuously,….until it decides to close off this incarnation. It does trillions of chemical calculations every second to keep us animated. Essence is also the master of the Universe. While inside the body and the ego is at work, it is in stasis, but it goes out , takes care of the Universe when the physical body is asleep. this is the I AM PRESENCE, the angelic being that clairvoyants see sometimes……..the stories that the I AM Presence is outside of you is a LIE. YOU ARE THE I AM PRESENCE. there is NOT a part of you that is NOT.
    Now, you know who you are.

  2. well,…..DUH….! Glad it works fer ya guys. I’m not going to be knocking a good thing.,…! So, consider what I’ll say as a weird opinion. I totally respect and love what works fer u.

    Many years ago, when I looked into this technique… it did not sit well with me. Later on, as I become more savvy about how this world runs………I can NOW tell you why it did not agree with me. Along the way….I was soooo shocked when i found out that I was navigating the physical world as EGO. Up to that time (of realization) I actually thought I AM SPIRIT HAVING PHYSICAL EXPERIENCES. Well….I corrected my mistaken identity, and proceeded to embody who I truly AM, which is SPIRIT.
    SPIRIT is who we truly are….ehhh…. called TRUE SELF; and Ego is who we are NOT….called FALSE SELF. …..both nicely tucked in inside this human vehicle, called flesh body.
    Whatever EGO did and is doing…..I as SPIRIT DID NOT DO IT….because although they both live inside my body…..they have different separate frequency. The LEFT brain does not know that the RIGHT brain exist.THEY LIVE IN SEPARATE WORLDS,…. THEY JUST DON”T TALK.
    Remember…. we live inside a flawed reality, where anyone and anything can stick to you ,….you did it or not…………AS LONG AS YOU AGREE THAT YOU DID DO IT,……AND then…YOU run around , ASKING TO BE AT THE MERCY OF SOME ( piece of t….d, my bad.) POWERFUL GOD OUTSIDE OF YOU TO FORGIVE YOU.
    These nasty energies of pain, unforgiveness, rejection, will continue to victimize you … long as you hang on to it, as long as you agree that you are culpable////guilty of crimes you did not even know you committed………….ayyy…… AND………..THESE ARE NOT EVEN YOUR CREATIONS.

    ahemmm……..isn’t it obvious by now that there is NO GOD outside of you…?

    think about that..

  3. Yes!!! It works! This is powerful because it forces us to accept the responsibility of accepting error beliefs about ourselves and others and any and all error actions that have created negative energies. It empowers us to change the energy – intention, not guilt!

  4. Thank you for posting this. I’ve seen so many turn to judging and blaming everyone else for the ills of the world…ME included…even though we all know that humanity is part of ONENESS. It’s not easy to practice unconditional love towards people who disagree with you, sometimes violently even. But, as words are powerful…repeating the mantra of forgiveness help us shed our fears and embrace humanity.

    At first, I repeated the words routinely while gritting my teeth…almost forcing a child to say sorry. It didn’t take long to realize that I was brought back to higher vibration with little delay. Now, I ask for forgiveness whenever I feel at discord…and immediately declare I Love You! Sometimes I don’t feel sincere but I’m gonna continue practicing.

  5. Thank you so much, Diane for posting this article! I have known about ho’oponopono for about 6-7 years now, and have used it very successfully on a number of occasions…to resolve situations with others mostly. However, lately, I have found myself sometimes using it, but without really tapping into the situation and the emotion…pain, unhappiness, etc. that is part of the situation. You also explained it with a bit more information that reminded me what a miraculous gift this healing method is…so simple and so effective. It is especially good on this site….we read articles about so many difficult situations on Earth that need healing and it gets overwhelming. I am going to REALLY start using this again but making sure I do it when I can concentrate enough to really feel the feelings and my personal inner issues that need the healing so it will be truly effective again. I have also been meaning to write an article about the powerful teachings of “Abraham” channeled by Esther Hicks. In one of their sessions they say that we are so powerful!….creators of universes and we don’t even realize it! (Most people don’t). We go through life observing what we see and what would be far more effective is to decide what we want to create and focus on that instead. ALL THE TIME! They say one focused person is more powerful in creating what happens than 1 million unfocused people. (Focus and intent do create our lives, lack of focus creates many confusions and unfulfilled goals). Thank you for ending your article with ho’oponopono… was beautiful and actually really reached a inner part of me that needed healing. Thank you, and divine blessings to you and all…..


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