Of all the things I have come across in my search for being a better me, nothing has been as easy or as effective as ho’oponopono. It is a Hawaiian term that translates into “to make right right”. It is pronounced hoe-oh-poe-no-poe-no. It is easier to practice than to say. I practice a simplified version. You can go full-tilt meditation/prayer with it, too.

The simple method is simply this: Whenever you are not at peace, however minor or major, say the following four sentences in any order, to yourself.

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

Say the four sentences over and over until you feel calmer. You can say them in any order. Say them any time, even when you’re not feeling bad in any way. This is called “cleaning”. You are cleaning your own subconscious mind.

We get upset by a co-worker, the customer with 20 items in a 15-items-or-less line, the evening news, our own family member, ourself. We are upset because something about the current situation is triggering a past upset in our life that we may not even be aware of; it’s in our subconscious mind. By cleaning or healing whatever is in our subconscious mind, we no longer attract that particular upset.

Hawaiians believe we are all one, as do many other cultures. What happens to you, happens to me and vice-versa. You can also say that whatever is on your mind, is also what you experience, which ties in with Western psychology. Both points of view can explain why self-healing also helps another, why this method isn’t as illogical or delusional as it sounds. I have practiced this method for a few years now, and it has removed a lot of annoyances in my life, replacing them with joys, and it has also lead me to other tools and teachings that have helped me heal myself even more. One of those is “A Course in Miracles” (ACIM). Ho’oponopono dovetails perfectly with the forgiveness work ACIM teaches.

Flowers against summer sky

I tripped across ho’oponopono when I heard about a Hawaiian psychiatrist, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, who had healed an entire ward of criminally insane patients without ever offering them counseling or therapy sessions. Instead, the doctor had read his patients’ journals and whenever he got emotional in a bad way about what he read, he knew he had something in himself that also needed healing. And he would meditate and pray and also say, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.”

His story is described in “At Zero” by Joe Vitale, which is a follow-up to “Zero Limits”. “Zero” is what Dr. Hew Len calls the state you are in when you have no subconscious triggers. In this state, you are open to inspiration, divine or whatever floats your boat, and you can hear it clearly because nothing else is getting in the way. I find his choice of words interesting, because in Buddhism, “nirvana” translates into English as “void” – a nothingness…zero.

The first book I read about ho’oponopono and that helped me get started, is Mabel Katz’ “The Easiest Way”. I enjoyed her book, a fast and easy read. This book and the others also suggest objects and phrases that can remind you to say the four phrases, to clean, if you need that. (Other books about ho’oponopono keep popping up. These are the three I have read and can recommend.)

And all the stuff about wealth and happiness and success that is also in the titles or blurbs of these books? It’s true. It is what happens when you stop getting in your own way. It is better than affirmations, the method I have sworn to since the age of 17, because you don’t have to know what’s wrong, where your itch is and what caused it. Just do the four sentences, over and over, and watch the crap you thought you had to have in your life because Life, melt away.

Then watch new problems show up. Yep, they do. Because you’re peeling layers, like in meditation. You keep going deeper, you keep going to the really painful stuff. And you clean that, too. It won’t be that painful, either.

I had a contentious relationship with mother ever since she and my father divorced when I was 6. I grew up with my maternal grandparents in Norway. My mother and I became strangers, and neither was mature enough to handle that well. After I started practicing ho’oponopono, and through it, also started reading books about “A Course in Miracles”, I came to a different place in my head. I finally let go of needing to find fault with my mother, and equally, of needing to think I had no blame in our difficult relationship. The most amazing thing happened: My mother apologized to me, I told her I loved her and meant it, and we had the most wonderful day together. I was 52. Since then, we have gotten along like loving, healthy and happy people do, and it is the biggest miracle in my life yet.

If you’ve spent your whole life fighting with someone you’re supposed to love, or you think you’re going to, do give ho’oponopono a try. Whatever is bothering you in life, it is a simple method that is hard to get wrong.

In my life, not only has my relationship with my mother healed, I have been through some other upsets that would normally have me running scared, but where I found myself automatically staying calm and positive. That sort of thing doesn’t go unnoticed, and I have been told I inspire others. I try now to do what Dr. Hew Len did: Heal others. I ho’oponopono on their behalf. They are in my life, making me aware of their issues, so those are my issues, too. The healing and blessings continue.

I wish you, too, healing and blessings.

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