Perfection as a living experience is available
to anyone at any time under any circumstances.
Recently, I took a brief vacation to clear my mind and came across a book on Ho’oponopono, the ancient Hawaiian process of forgiveness and healing in relationships (with oneself and others). I scanned through it and was immediately stunned by its unique approach.
At the time, my back was against the wall, having been given notice to move from my home of 15 years within 60 days. On top of that, my job was very shaky. August was a very slow month for me, and produced almost no results. I wasn’t sure what to do besides reach out.
As I slowly went through the simple book by Ulrich Dupree, Ho'oponopono: The Hawaiian Forgiveness Ritual as the Key to Your Life's Fulfillment, his words popped out and began to speak to me. I went through his book several times within a day or two, and a whole new empowering perspective dawned on me.
Six weeks later, my situation had totally turned around. I found a delightful new home much better than the one before at a reasonable price. I was complimented by my boss, and had become highly productive. My partner had gone all out in ingenious ways to make sure everything fit together perfectly.
How could so simple an approach make so profound a change in my life?
The perspective of Ho’oponopono is truly a radical one, asserting that there is no one and nothing outside of you. Everything you experience, YOU experience. Everything happens within the context of your own ultimate being.
Everyone you meet is your mirror. What he or she experiences is what you experience. She emerges at just the right moment to reveal something about yourself that you don’t fully realize. If you want to help her, you must first help yourself. As you work on yourself, you heal her. Just the opposite of what you might reflexively suppose.
We all want to be reasonable about this. Surely, he or she exists independent of me. Therefore, what he goes through is not my problem. Quantum physics underscores our inseparability. We are all totally interlinked, whether we realize it or not.
In a relationship, we look for reciprocity, a 50-50 deal. I do my part, and you do your part. We are even. Don’t expect me to do it all for you.
However, in the Hawaiian Huna tradition, you are responsible for all of it with no exceptions. If someone hurts you deeply, you must forgive him and let go. To fail to do this will just add to your pain.
You are responsible, not only for what you do to someone else, but also what they do to you. You can never really plead justification. You are cause of both your actions and their responses.
However, Huna goes way beyond this. I am responsible for what another does to another, even if it is on the other side of the world. My world IS my world. Do I choose to own it? No excuses. No blame, shame or guilt, only responsibility. I caused it. If I want it different, I must work on myself.
The living master of Ho’oponopono, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, uses a clean white board to illustrate God as pure possibility. At Zero, there are no limits. As we add thoughts, ideas and attachments in our life, we migrate farther and farther from God, and from our True Self. Dr. Hew Len calls it programming, or data. To make progress, you simply delete the program and erase the data.
Dr. Hew Len must know what he is doing. He got famous by curing an entire ward of criminally insane patients, men who got there through murder, rape and child molestation. They had pled insanity simply to escape execution. Dr. Len didn’t do traditional therapy. In fact, he didn’t even see the patients clinically. He merely met them socially and had a good time with them.
On the side, Dr. Len would constantly review their records of misdeeds and get in touch with what was in him that caused their behavior. What painful, erroneous memory was playing within him to prompt them to do such horrendous deeds. It wasn’t them, it was the program pushing their buttons.
Within a few weeks and months, the patients were taken out of their shackles and isolation cells and put to work. They proved so responsible and cooperative that they were eventually released and sent home. Dr. Hew Len refused any credit for it. He claims God did it all, and Ho’oponopono was the means to let go and let God.
In Ho’oponopono, we have no choice but to surrender, and open up to inspiration. Contemporary neuroscience suggests that our thoughts and intentions happen well before we are consciously aware of them. Experiment after experiment reveals people being aware of a thought a fraction of a second after it lights up in the brain. As the original est training maintained, we operate like machines.
The way out is to surrender to the present moment. By appealing to our Divine Self, and thus the Infinite, we open the way for the program to be deleted. In its place, we receive a flash of inspiration. You might say from a conventional religious perspective, as we keep turning to God in difficult situations, He continues to reveal his will for us, along with a way out.
As you get comfortable with this process of surrender, your entire life begins to seem magical, with synchronicities and breakthroughs on a daily basis. In the last few weeks, people have opened up to me in surprising ways I would not have anticipated. I no longer know it all, or pretend I have it all together. They thus feel more comfortable reaching out.
As you get comfortable with this process of surrender, your entire life begins to seem magical.
Dr. Hew Len got so wrapped up in this process that all he ever wants to do these days is clean, clean, clean. As you will notice, problems keep coming up for us on a daily basis, no matter how spiritual we reckon ourselves to be. He actually enjoys this process of surrender. He is totally centered deep within.
What is in me that is causing this problem for myself and others?
I repent of this damaging data and seek divine pardon to erase it, and set me free. This goes for international tension and who won the Presidency, as much as it has to do with my significant others and close friends.
The faster we clean and erase, the faster life seems to move. Rather than it being a burden, it becomes a joy. This paradox has been observed in Buddhist monks, who, despite their self-imposed deprivations, can be joyous and playful, completely present to life, themselves and others. Just the opposite of what we might expect.
Dr. Hew Len chose to popularize his work through Dr. Joe Vitale, star of the runaway hit book and movie combo, The Secret. When Joe came across his work he was stunned. A staunch proponent of the Law of Attraction, he saw a higher principle at work which he couldn’t explain. Joe learned everything he could from Dr. Hew Len and staked his entire professional reputation on Dr. Hew Len’s work.
There are just four simple phrases that you repeat in every kind of situation, usually silently within yourself:
1. I’m sorry.
2. Please forgive me.
3. I love you.
4. Thank You.
I’m sorry: We usually say this only under social obligation. Most of the time, we don’t mean it all that much, but mutter it to get out of awkward situations. However, sometimes we actually mean it, when we have blown it, and caused tremendous emotional pain to someone we truly love. For example, we can think of a teenager desperately hoping to get into Harvard blowing his final exam, only to face his parents. The reason you apologize is because you perceive that you suffer, which connects you to your deeper self, and your feelings. This way, you no longer reject the problem (blaming yourself or others), but instead, you know where you stand and recognize your learning task.
Please forgive me: Even if we are a born-again Christian leading a Spirit-filled life, we say this only occasionally. Since God forgives us for everything, we need not ask it. Good Catholics, on the other hand, with Mass and Confession, know the meaning of these words. If you have ever used these words to hold onto a precious relationship, you know very well just how powerful these words are. In other words, this phrase means: “Please forgive me for having until now judged you (or the situation), and in the past disregarded our spiritual identity and connectedness.”
I love you: You may recognize “Aloha” from a trip to the Hawaiian Islands. Its core meaning is love, and recognition of the divine in another person. The spirit of Aloha suggests the utmost hospitality and consideration. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you. You are uniquely precious to me. In other words, “I love you and I love myself unconditionally with all our weaknesses and faults.”
Thank You: If you have been to Honolulu, you have heard “Mahalo” over and over again. Profound gratitude is comparatively rare, and yet it can make all the difference in one’s life. It reminds me of the story of Jesus Christ healing 10 lepers from their horrible skin malignancy. Only one of them turned back to thank him. The Secret rightly pointed out that gratitude is the single most important factor in attracting what you want. When you thank someone, it invites more of the same. There is no easier way to more of what I want!
Since Joe Vitale went around the world promoting this ancient art, it’s becoming familiar, and we now have a variety of ways to learn and master this process. I would recommend viewing online Dr. Vitale and Dr. Hew Len together in seminars he promoted. I would also highly recommend both of Dr. Vitale’s books on Ho’oponopono: Zero Limits and At Zero. Joe is conscientious, diligent and thorough. He holds nothing back. He wants, you, the reader to take full advantage of everything that he has learned.
Mabel Katz, a long-time disciple of Dr. Hew Len, travels around the world giving lectures and courses. You can find much of it online. Mabel, being both Argentinian and Jewish, offers a delightful perspective on this work. It is most revealing that she started out a sophisticated skeptic and found God in the process. Much of her material is in Spanish, but you can find books and videos in English.
Many people have begun integrating Ho’oponopono into their work, and offer classes of various kinds. The youthful Dr. Matthew James started Kona University and combines it with advanced NLP work. Matt grew up with meditation. His parents study under a Kahuna master well acquainted with the process.
If you have a divine self, which Ho’oponopono maintains, then you are inherently perfect, even when the programming running through you separates you from that experience. Garbage data can result in profound dis-ease, where you are in need of healing. The sudden release provided through repentance, pardon and reconciliation can restore your sense of perfection.
Don’t let the idea of confession and pardon scare you away. These terms are freighted with negative connotations from religious practices that too often focus on guilt. They are actually meant to restore and release. Redemption in the Abrahamic traditions means to restore a person or thing to its pristine original condition, as though nothing had ever happened.
It just might be that the process of Ho’oponopono is the formula for healing our Planet and bringing us all together in divine love. Certainly, looking outside ourselves fails to satisfy. It is also futile to insist on reciprocity. “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” It all starts with “I.”
You can make perfection the context for your life when you realize that the ultimate truth is that it is all perfect, just the way it is. Always was. Always will be. You can get there through divine revelation, or through practicing Ho’oponopono.