The Art of Forgiveness Begins With Ho’oponopono

Other than being difficult to spell, what is Ho’oponopono? (Pronounced ho-oh-poh-no-poh-no) Ho’oponopono is an effective psychological tool for cleaning up your subconscious, reconciling personal and external disharmony and managing stress.

The Ho’oponopono practice comes from the ancient Hawaiian code of forgiveness, historically popular in the South Pacific and utilized by healing priests. The ancient practice originally involved entire families being together. Each and every member of the family would take turns asking forgiveness with the help of a mediator.

The modern version of Ho’oponopono was taught by Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, a Kahuna Iapa’au (healer) and a Hawaiian Living Treasure. Today, the art of forgiveness can be practiced by anyone: an elder, a family member or even yourself.  The benefits of practicing Ho’oponopono include inner peace, stress relief and improved relationships with others.

There’s an art to forgiveness?

Practicing Ho’oponopono means talking 100% responsibility for everything around you, i.e. your actions and the actions of others. By taking responsibility we give ourselves the power to fix the problem plaguing our lives. By giving ourselves this power we can approach the future with a clean slate and open ourselves up to positive interactions.

Ho’oponopono consists of four phrases:

  1. I love you
  2. I’m sorry
  3. Please forgive me
  4. Thank you

Starting with the phrase I love you allows you to anchor into a heart-based response, where positivity, self-acceptance and love are centered. Saying I’m sorry and please forgive me, even when using Ho’oponopono as a way to forgive others means to take responsibility for those actions and cleanse your subconscious of those negative emotions. Saying thank you provides the healing and magnetically attractive vibrations of gratitude that help to bring more abundance in your life. These phrases can be used as a forgiveness mantra, repeating until your heart softens, your mood lightens or you feel that harmony is restored.

Ho’oponopono has an almost immediate effect on some practitioners while others take a while to feel the positive effects that come from practicing. In a culture where forgiveness skills are rarely taught, we now have a tool for us to approach life with inspired energy and a lighter heart.

How to practice

It’s simple. Just take a deep breath, visualize the person or situation in your mind that you want to resolve and repeat the four statements of Ho’oponopono. The key is to feel the love, feel the apology, feel the desire to be forgiven, feel the gratitude of being forgiven before it happens as you say the words. Repeat them until the feeling is real and natural. The change happens in you first and energetically transfers to the other person or situation.

You can do this in a dedicated moment of mediation, but you can also do it while you’re driving, walking the dog or grocery shopping.

Another way to practice Ho’oponopono is to listen to a recording of someone chanting the mantra for you. Listen to it while you are cleaning the house, working out at the gym or surfing the internet. It works best when you’re not to distracted and can focus on the words, however if you’re listening to the words they can be heard on a subliminal level.

If you’ve never practiced the art of forgiveness, you may feel skepticism… but just try it for yourself, on something small or big and then see what happens. Try it with a teacher, a co-worker, the policeman you just sped by or a loved one. Sometimes results are instantaneous and sometimes they are delayed. Every person and situation is different. But never forget, forgiveness begins with self and then extends to others in a very beautiful way.

Do you practice this ancient Hawaiian art of forgiveness? If so, how has Ho’oponopono changed your life? Sound off in the comment section below!