Energy Work, Self-Care

Ho’oponopono: A Healing Practice of Forgiveness and Love


Ho’oponopono: ‘To Put to Rights’

This past month I came across a healing technique called, “Ho’oponopono.” The Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert (University of Hawaii Press, 1986) defines Ho’oponopono as:

“(a) To put to rights; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat, administer, superintend, supervise, manage, edit, work carefully and neatly; to make ready, as canoemen preparing to catch a wave. …(b) mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationship were set right (ho’oponopono) through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.” (p341)

To be honest, I am not sure what today’s practice of Ho’oponopono looks like within Hawaiian families; but I can say it’s taken on a whole other life in energy work circles. Huna (Hawaiian energy work) practitioner and teacher, Serge Kahili King, mentions two key players (Hawaiian healer Morrnah Simeona and Dr.Ihaleakala Hew Len) as having developed this system into an individual practice (i.e. not requiring a group effort) in which one “express[es] forgiveness for something on behalf of someone else” and even extending “one’s identity to include anything or anyone else who needs healing.”

How do I practice it?

Currently, you’ll find a lot information online citing Dr. Hew Len’s four-step process for practicing Ho’oponopono. Depending on the source, you likely will see two approaches to the order of statements made:

  1. I’m sorry
  2. Please forgive me
  3. Thank you
  4. I love you
  1. I love you
  2. I’m sorry
  3. Please forgive me
  4. Thank you


Some sources list a more detailed method, such as the one outlined on AncientHuna.com. Other folks have just repeated the words “I’m sorry,” and “I love you” over and over again. And others have simply directed the four statements to their Inner Child, asking for forgiveness of the ways in which they have forgotten they are whole. As I am not an instructor of this method, I encourage you to read up on it and make a choice for yourself about what feels true, and helpful.

Can self-healing help others?

There is a famous enough story of Dr. Hew Len who while working at Hawaii State Hospital helped to heal those in the ward by working on himself– repeating the words “I’m sorry,” “I love you” over and over again. Dr. Joe Vitale quotes Len as saying, “I was simply healing the part of me that created them.” If you subscribe to a co-creative learning paradigm, wherein we are all expressions of the whole; it naturally follows that by working on ourselves, we affect the greater field. Making changes ‘within’ ourselves inevitably affects the world ‘outside’ of ourselves. You could also go down the rabbit hole with this one, looking more closely at why we see what we see in the world – why we meet the people we do, experience what we do. I believe this is really what Dr. Hew Len was referring to when he took ‘full responsibility’ for everything he was encountering in life (in this example, mentally ill persons at the hospital).

Is the story true?

While I am a big proponent of citing facts, I also appreciate proof in the pudding more. So, I want to add here that I have read folks tried to contact the hospital to verify the story and did not get very far (there are multiple branches of the hospital, and he could have worked as a chaplain or volunteer in which case he would not have been considered an employee). I think it’s fair to say we don’t wholly know.

If not, could the technique still be helpful?

Even if the story proves not to be true, there are still countless firsthand accounts of people creating great healing in their life through using this method. It can be a powerful method of relieving the Inner Child of guilt and re-establishing a loving connection to both the Inner Child (i.e. Low Self, Subconscious) and High Self (i.e. Supraconscious).

Proof is in the pudding

Have you already been using this technique? How has it impacted your life? Leave us a note in the comments!


For more information on the system, you can read:

What is Huna? Basic Huna / Ho’oponopono: “We carry inside us as parts of the Unconscious Mind, all the significant people in our lives. (These parts of us often look very much like Carl Jung’s archetypes.) Ho’oponopono makes it “all right” with them. The process of Ho’oponopono is to align with and clean up our genealogy as well as to clean up our relationships with other people in our lives.”

Ho’oponopono / Traditional Ways of Healing to Make Things Right (book): “This approach is not only holistic, it also targets the root causes for ‘sickness’ instead of just its symptoms or manifestations, such as being tired or having a cold.” (6)

Self Identity through Ho’oponopono: “As with all the cleaning tools given in the Hooponopono process, embedded in each of the tools is taking responsibility for the problem, saying I’m sorry, please forgive me and allowing LOVE to transmute the problem.”

Interview with Ihaleakala Hew Len: “I made a deal with myself ten years ago that I would treat myself to a hot fudge sundae—so huge it would make me sick—if I could get through the day without having some judgment of someone.”

I also have really enjoyed this audio track accompanied by binaural beats (use headphones when listening):


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