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Ho’oponopono – What is it?

Dr. Len

Ho’oponopono is a process of atonement or reconciliation among individuals of the same family or community.

D. Hew Len

History of Ho’oponopono

Ho’oponopono is an essential element of Huma, the traditional healing and spiritual shamanism of Hawaii. Formerly a carefully guarded secret, the process is now available for all to use in creating harmony in their lives and peace in the world. 

Ho’oponopono is an ancestral Hawaiian custom that traditionally was invoked “to make right, establish harmony, correct what is wrong and restore order”. When individuals had disagreements, or relational problems appeared in a community, everyone gathered in the presence of all the protagonists and there, under the guidance of a kahuna (priest), all were granted forgiveness. 

Morrnah Simeona

This was the custom when shaman and plant healer Morrnah Simeona began to develop a new form of the practice in 1976.  Morrnah had been born into a family of healers.  Morrnah maintained that the process of Ho’oponopono could be greatly simplified by eliminating the presence of a guide or priest, and that all individuals could practice themselves.  Using her approach, individuals can personally grant themselves forgiveness, love and peace on their own. 

Peace starts with me and no one else.

Morrmah Simeona

Morrnah believed that we are weighed down by our memories.  The objective of Ho’oponopono is therefore, to free ourselves of these memories and beliefs so that, by getting rid of the veil they form, we can discover the divinity within each one of us.  In this way it will be possible to discover who we really are, which is essential. 

With this process, and guided by the divinity within, memories are freed and transmutes into pure energy.  This could be described as a kind of alchemical process in which fears and memories are transmuted into pure love.

Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len

Dr. Len was Morrnah best known student, for it was through his efforts and extraordinary testimony that Ho’oponopono spread across the world. 

Dr. Len is a Clinical Psychologist and was asked to head a ward for the criminally insane at the Hawaiian State Hospital.  When Dr. Len first arrived, we noted that the atmosphere was heavy and danger was such a daily threat that staff were in a constant state of fear.  Absenteeism and staff turn-over were very high. 

Dr. Len collected the client files and tucked himself away in his office each day, insisting no-one disturb him.  He never met with any clients.  He had very little interaction with staff. 

After about 3 months, it was noted that the ambiance of the facility and the relations with the patients was beginning to improve.  Staff pointed this out to the Doctor and inquired about what he had been doing in his office all this time.

Dr. Len explained that he had cleansed the memories he had in common with each patient when he was studying their files. 

Dr. Len explained that he had cleansed the memories he had in common with each patient simply by repeating: “I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you, I love you.”

He continued in this way for four years and at the end of this time, the ward was closed because there were no more patients.   They had either been cured, or no longer required that level of care. 

How does this work?

What exists outside of you is, in fact, only a projection of something that comes from you, something that could be called beliefs, thoughts or memories. 

Whatever happens, you are not a victim, nor have you ever been one!  You are the creator of 100% of what befalls you. 

This is something that can appear really difficult to accept at first glance.  Yet it is the entire Ho’oponopono practice.  It is absolutely essential to incorporate this idea entirely before beginning the practice in an effective manner. 

A negative thought will create a negative reality the same as a positive thought, will create a positive reality.  Therefore, we need to accept that everything is inside of us; there is nothing on the outside that we have not caused to be there. 

We have been taught to place blame on the other party and that the events of our lives come to us, from the outside.  With Ho’oponopono the perspective is reversed.  We have always subconsciously created our reality. 

What does this really mean?

The practice of Ho’oponopono requires us to accept full responsibility for the events that have transpired in our lives.  By being accountable, we are then able to forgive ourselves. 

When something is happening around you, ask yourself what is happening inside you and around you.  What are you in the midst of experiencing?  Be fully accountable for what you are feeling and in the process of creating.  Once you have accepted the situation, you can begin to cleanse all the memories or beliefs that are causing your annoyance.  Your memories cause irritation because they give you no respite.  They rule your life at the subconscious level and prevent you from expressing your free will. 

Ho’oponopono permits you to clear these memories.  Memories are not intrinsically good or bad; we make that judgement about them. For example, the memory of your marriage is good, until it ends in divorce and then you deem it a bad memory.

Inner Child

All of our memories and beliefs are stored in our subconscious mind.  It is the headquarters for our thoughts and emotions.  In this part of the self, the inner child requires reassurance and love.  Ho’oponopono invites you to ask your inner child to release all fears and be freed of memories that are the root cause of any troublesome problems or situations. 

The Mother

The conscious mind represents the intellect, and we have been raised to believe this is the epicenter of control because this is where we make choices.  The conscious mind’s role is important because this is where we choose to either accept this process or dismiss it.  It requires great humility because in making the choice to cleanse the memories, the conscious mind must let go of the reins.  It must display trust in the divine intelligence.

The Father

The superconscious mind, or the superego or soul, is in direct contact with the inner divinity.   This part of the self will request that you clean away your memories once the subconscious mind has released them.  The request is addressed to the superego which immediately relays the message to the inner divinity, whose role is to cleanse and purify the cause of the problem.  It is also possible to address the inner divinity directly, but we will talk about that later. 

Cleaning Memories

There are four very simple phrases that are used.

I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you, I love you

I’m sorry demonstrates your accountability for the memories you carry within that have created the situation around you.

Please forgive me is the requisition to the inner divinity for cleansing of the memory.

Thank you is trusting that your request will be granted.

I love you because love heals all. 

Daily Practice

Repeat these 4 phrases either as a silent prayer or out loud.  Repeat them until they replace the inner dialogue that has plagued your mind since childhood. 

Allow this process to become your go-to phrase in times of stress, discomfort, fear or anger.  Use this practice all day, every day. 

Ho’oponopono allows you to heal old wounds and forgive events of the past without having to fully bring them into your awareness. 

Past Traumas

We all have events in our past that have created deep emotional wounds.  The practice of Ho’oponopono does not require you to sit for long hours replaying those events in order to gain clarity.  You simply acknowledge that whatever situation is happening around you, is in direct relation to a memory you have stored.  Cleanse that memory by reciting the four phrases until you feel a sense of calm and peace.  Focus your mind on the phrases, not the situation.  Within a few minutes you should feel much better and have regained the ability to fully assess the situation and gain clarity on how you should respond. 

Let Go

The purpose and main objective of the Ho’oponopono process is to connect you to your inner divinity through your soul. 

To do this, you will need to let go of all expectations because once you have embraced the Ho’oponopono energy, it is no longer necessary to seek understanding or have expectations for any result. 

When you expect anything, it means your mind has gotten involved.  Once the conscious mind takes control, the soul relents, and nothing happens.  The conscious mind blocks the superconscious mind as well as our path to the inner divine. 

Letting go of expectations is difficult because it means not wanting anything.  We have been taught to pursue our dreams, achieve our goals, research data, create a plan, learn from past mistakes.  This is the conscious mind holding all the power.  Every thought, emotion and decision are based on memories held in the subconscious mind.  By remaining vigilant to this way of thinking, we are blocking our own superconscious mind and thus, the path to our own inner divinity. 

The Empty State

Dr Hew Len’s theory is to return to a “zero state” by continuously cleaning away our memories.  Once we reach a zero state, our memories have all been cleaned and we can truly live in Ho’oponopono. 

The mind only exists in the past and the future.  By living in the NOW, we are truly allowing the flow of energy from our subconscious mind to our superconscious mind and thus, to our inner divinity.  Now is the zero state. 

Now is filled with love of self and it is important to maintain this energy.  To do this, meditate on the four phrases.  Before you set about any task, ask your inner divinity to cleanse any potential issues that may arise.  When you encounter an obstacle, pause, and repeat your four phrases.  This will slow your conscious mind from reacting in the moment based on past events. 

By practicing this several times a day, you will gain a sense of self that you were previously unaware of.  You will discover you have values such as gratitude, forgiveness, empathy, compassion, humility and self-esteem. 

Ho’oponopono Prayer

The prayer above is an excellent way to start your day, your gratitude practice or meditation.  Ho’oponopono believes that memories from our ancestors are brought to us through birth, thus carrying the same beliefs our family had a hundred years ago to today. 


You must clean your subconscious mind just as you would every room of your home.  When your home is clean and free of unwanted clutter, you feel lighter, more energetic and purposeful.  The same can be said when you clean your subconscious.  You will feel unburdened, more creative, and have an unobstructed view of your truest self. 

As with any new practice, time is your friend.  The more you practice, the greater the results.  Consistency is key.

Implementing Ho’oponopono into your daily life

  1. Practice while paying your bills – say Thank you when you receive a utility bill or statement in the mail.  Be grateful for the service that you have used and exchange that energy by paying the bill. 
  2. Send Thank you cards in the mail – at least once a week, I send a thank you card to someone that pops into my conscious thinking.  I include a simple little note that says something like I was just thinking of you and wanted to thank you for bringing a smile to my face. 
  3. Unconditional Positive Feedback – just about everything we do these days requires assistance from someone or even something.  When we eat out for dinner, I always speak to the manager before we leave and offer positive feedback on our visit.  I love of leave positive reviews on business listing on-line.  I always thank the ATM for accurately completing my request. 
  4. Clean your social network – scroll through your friends list, say a name followed by one of the four phrases.
  5. Donate with love – when donating to a charity, either financially, giving your time or gentle used items, always include a Thank you note for the service they offer and for allowing you to witness their generosity.
  6. Message in a bottle – yes, this is what Sting was talking about (for those of you old enough to know Sting).  Find an old wine bottle with cork top.  Write a love letter expressing your deep admiration for the reader and release it into a river, lake or the ocean.  You may choose to do this anonymously or include your contact information. 

Please enjoy this process, give it time.  Learn to love you.

You must live as you think, otherwise you will end up thinking as you have lived.

Paul Bourget

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