What is the Hawaiian Practice of Ho’oponopono all About?

Often in life, a challenge a lot of us face is being able to stay present in the moment, as our thoughts usually cause us to drift away. Have you ever had an unpleasant memory from your past resurface in your mind, disrupting your present happiness? The ancient Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono is all about forgiving your past and letting go of what doesn’t serve you anymore. The practice itself is quite simple and anyone can incorporate it into their daily routine. Learn more below in What is the Hawaiian Practice of Ho’oponopono all About?

History of Ho’oponopono

Ho’oponopono originated in several Polynesian islands in the South Pacific and Ancient Hawaii. Back then, it was believed that illness was created out of a person’s own personal errors, such as stress of anger, guilt, or lack of forgiveness.

In order for that person to heal, they needed to confess their errors and seek forgiveness from the gods, usually with the assistance of a priest. Ho’oponopono was also used traditionally for juvenile and adult offenders, as a form of alternative dispute resolution.

Traditional Ritual of Ho’oponopono

As mentioned, the traditional practice of ho’oponopono is used to heal broken families and get to the root of the problem. The ritual is a time for family members to talk through their issues openly.

Every person has a chance to speak, and at the end of the session, or multiple sessions, ‘kala’ occurs, where everyone ‘releases each other’ and lets go of the past. The completion of ho’oponopono is symbolized with a ceremonial feast, and the gift of a lei from the fruit of a hala tree, as a symbol of release.

Modern Use of Ho’oponopono

The teaching of ho’oponopono was created by Morrnah Simeona, who was a renowned healer in Hawaii in the 1970s.

Simeona created effective change to the practice, in stating that an outsider was no longer needed to facilitate healing, but that it can be done entirely by oneself. Simeona’s student, Dr. Hew Len, further adapted the ho’oponopono practice in his work as a staff psychologist for the criminally insane.

His healing was done by the use of a simple mantra that would be repeated several times by his patients:

1) I am sorry
2) Please forgive me
3) Thank you
4) I love you

These four sentences are meant to encourage healing from the past.

The practice of ho’oponopono has been around longer than you might think. The four point mantra: 1. I am sorry, 2. Please forgive me, 3. Thank you, and 4. I love you – is meant to help you forgive and let go of negativity or the suffering that accompanies a narrow, constricted sense of identity, and thinking, and doesn’t serve you anymore. Practice ho’oponopono today—you have nothing to lose!

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