“I Love You”

“I’m Sorry”

“Please Forgive Me”

“Thank You”

Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. Similar forgiveness practices were performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Traditionally hoʻoponopono is practiced by healing priests or kahuna lapaʻau among family members of a person who is physically ill. Modern versions are performed within the family by a family elder, or by the individual alone.

At this point in the game, the word “Ho‘oponopono” is not nearly as well known as it will be within the next 6 to 12 months, so I am putting forth this basic description of Ho‘oponopono so that you can decide for yourself if you would like to engage in some further study.

Polynesian antecedents

Map of Oceania

In many Polynesian cultures, it is believed that a person’s errors (called hara or hala) caused illness. Some believe error angers the gods, others that it attracts malevolent gods, and still others believe the guilt caused by error made one sick. “In most cases, however, specific ‘untie-error’ rites could be performed to atone for such errors and thereby diminish one’s accumulation of them.”

Among the islands of Vanuatu in the South Pacific, people believe that illness usually is caused by sexual misconduct or anger. “If you are angry for two or three days, sickness will come,” said one local man.The therapy that counters this sickness is confession. The patient, or a family member, may confess. If no one confesses an error, the patient may die. The Vanuatu people believe that secrecy is what gives power to the illness. When the error is confessed, it no longer has power over the person.

Like many other islanders, including Hawaiians, people of Tikopia in the Solomon Islands, and on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, believe that the sins of the father will fall upon the children. If a child is sick, the parents are suspected of quarreling or misconduct. In addition to sickness, social disorder could cause sterility of land or other disasters. Harmony could be restored only by confession and apology.

In Pukapuka, it was customary to hold sort of a confessional over patients to determine an appropriate course of action in order to heal them.

Similar traditions are found in Samoa,Tahiti, and among the Maori of New Zealand.

Traditional practice

A lei made from the fruit of the hala or pandanus tree. A hala lei was given at the completion of hoʻoponopono in the tradition of kahuna Makaweliweli of Molokaʻi

Overlooking Kalalau Valley from Koke’e State Park, where Nana Veary held retreats to teach hoʻoponopono

“Hoʻoponopono” is defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary[11] as “mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.” Literally, hoʻo is a particle used to make an actualizing verb from the following noun, as would “to” before a noun in English. Here, it creates a verb from the noun pono, which is defined as

…goodness, uprightness, morality, moral qualities, correct or proper procedure, excellence, well-being, prosperity, welfare, benefit, true condition or nature, duty; moral, fitting, proper, righteous, right, upright, just, virtuous, fair, beneficial, successful, in perfect order, accurate, correct, eased, relieved; should, ought, must, necessary.

Ponopono is defined as “to put to rights; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat”.

Although the word hoʻoponopono was not used, early Hawaiian historians documented a belief that illness was caused by breaking  or spiritual laws, and that the illness could not be cured until the sufferer atoned for this transgression, often with the assistance of a praying priest (kahuna pule) or healing priest (kahuna lapaʻau). Forgiveness was sought from the godsor from the person with whom there was a dispute.


Hoʻoponopono corrects, restores and maintains good relationships among family members and with their gods or God by getting to the causes and sources of trouble. Usually the most senior member of the family conducts it. He or she gathers the family together. If the family is unable to work through a problem, they turn to a respected outsider.

The process begins with prayer. A statement of the problem is made, and the transgression discussed. Family members are expected to work problems through and cooperate, not “hold fast to the fault”. One or more periods of silence may be taken for reflection on the entanglement of emotions and injuries. Everyone’s feelings are acknowledged. Then confession, repentance and forgiveness take place. Everyone releases (kala) each other, letting go. They cut off the past (ʻoki), and together they close the event with a ceremonial feast, called pani, which often included eating limu kala or kala seaweed, symbolic of the release.

The basic idea behind Ho‘oponopono stems from the meaning of the word, given to us by the Hawaiian culture. Loosely translated, Ho‘oponopono means “to set things right”, or, in more simple terms, to fix stuff!

Everyone has things that they want to have fixed, and Ho‘oponopono is not only a powerful way to fix literally everything that you can imagine, but it is so ridiculously simple to use that there is really no reason to not take advantage of this powerful technique.

The basic concept behind Ho‘oponopono is going to first require you to realize the immutable fact that your entire existence comes from within, not from outside of yourself.

John Assaraf does a great job of vocalizing this concept during part of his teachings in the movie ‘The Secret‘. John says “There is no ‘out there’ and ‘in here'”, and that is the very truth of our Universal existence.

We are all one with all things at all times. That may be tough to grasp for some, but it’s true. We are all simply extensions of “source energy”, which is the very “stuff” that the entire Universe is made out of.

So, if we are made out of this source energy – which we are, and based on Quantums Mechanics, we are all creators of our own existence (which we are), then one very simple truth rears it’s head for all to see, and it is quite undeniable:

Everything is your Creation!

Everything that you see, hear, feel, smell, touch, think, remember, or emotionally react to – these are all things that YOU have created. And yes, that includes the good, as well as the bad. Each of these things exists because on some level you want them to exist, which takes us back to Ho‘oponopono.

If everything that you perceive in the world exists BECAUSE you perceive it, can you guess what amazing and God-like power you have at your very fingertips?

That’s right. You can either make more of it, or you can make it go away!

No, I’m not talking about creating thousand dollar bills out of thin air, or wishing away annoying in-laws. However, it is indeed possible for you to create your life so that you HAVE thousand dollars bills, or that your in-laws are no longer an annoyance to you.

That tip alone is probably worth the price of admission, right?

How is all of this done via Ho‘oponopono? By simply accepting responsibility.

When you truly grasp and get your head around the fact that you are literally creating every single piece of your existence – from the smallest molecule up through the tallest skyscraper, from the most heart-felt Love to the most gut-wrenching hatred – then you realize that you can effect change over each and every one of those things because you are responsible for them being there to begin with.

You do this simply by showing Gratitude for the things in your life that you are thankful for and that you want to grow and flourish, and by showing Forgiveness for the things that you want to go away or diminish.

Now, let’s see if you have been paying attention:

If you are responsible for all things in your existence – the good as well as the bad – and you have the power to diminish or to allow those things to grow simply by showing Gratitude or Forgiveness, who are you showing Gratitude and Forgiveness TO?

Okay, time’s up. It’s YOU! If you created something that is wonderful, you are thanking yourself for doing so, thus ensuring future occurrences of that same positive behavior. If you created something terrible, then you are forgiving yourself for doing it, thus making sure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Here is where it gets tough to swallow, but these concepts are just as true on a “microcosm” level as they are on a “macrocosm” level:

You are responsible for everything that is part of your existence. I always like the bad news first, so I’ll share that courtesy with you (thus creating more courtesy for myself, if you’ve been paying attention):

Terrorism is your fault. Murder is your fault. Famine and disease are your fault. School shootings are your fault. Taxes are your fault.

OUCH! That hurts, doesn’t it? You bet it does. But here’s the good news:

Love is your fault. Childbirth is your fault. Families are your fault. Friends are your fault. Medical miracles are your fault. Firemen are your fault. Pets are your fault. A child’s curiosity is your fault. Unadulterated JOY is all YOUR fault!

Are you starting to see your power now? You can do it all. In fact, you ARE doing it all. Right now, at this very moment as you read this. You are both creating and destroying your world, because it is all YOU.

When you go to bed tonight and you can’t sleep, you created that. When you pass out face down on your pillow and get the best night’s sleep of your life, you created that, too.

When you get out of bed in the morning and it’s raining so hard that you can’t even see your car in your own driveway, that is your creation. When you get up in the morning and you are greeted by a dawn that could literally be the dawning of Time itself (and it is), that is also your creation.

It’s all you. All the Good, all the Bad, and everything in between. And you can control these things by learning to control your Gratitude and your Forgiveness reactions to them with Ho‘oponopono.

Different practitioners have different methods of invoking the power of Ho‘oponopono, but since I believe in Dr. Joe Vitale (after all, he is MY creation), I am utilizing his methods of invoking Ho‘oponopono, which can be summed up in the 4 phrases that he uses whenever he wants to invoke Ho‘oponopono, which is also called “cleaning”:

“I Love You”

“I’m Sorry”

“Please Forgive Me”

“Thank You”

That’s it! By creating a mantra of saying those 4 things pretty much as often as you can day after day and week after week, you will quickly come to the realization that by Loving yourself, by Apologizing to yourself when you have done something wrong, by Forgiving yourself for that wrong-doing, and by Thanking yourself for the opportunity to create Good, as well as to stop creating Bad, that you can create your life to be “right”.



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