Ho’oponopono is an ancient healing method. The focus is forgiveness. It teaches to forgive yourself and forgive others as a way of moving forward in your life. Ho’oponopono is practiced in many regions of the South Pacific Islands, including Hawaii.

What is Ho’oponopono

The concept is that if one has done something wrong or been angry that the bad feelings cause illness. Unless someone admits their mistake and asks forgiveness, the sickness will get worse. They believe that once the hurtful or angry feelings are brought out, they don’t have power anymore.

Sometimes the confession will come about along with, or because of a ritual, conversation or family conference. Ho’oponopono is about living a life in accordance with spiritual laws. This behavior is in relation to yourself and those around you.

If there is a disturbance, that creates and imbalance that leads to illness and unhappiness to everyone. The confession and request for forgiveness is what brings about reconciliation. There is no punishment involved. Only that the person is repentant.

Hawaiian Traditional Family Values

It is written by Hawaiian historians that there were often family meetings held to discuss problems and feelings. This was to avoid the accumulation of any guilt or anger. If a child became ill the healer would ask the parents if they had argued or had any bad feelings between them.Vintage Hawaii

The benefits of healing the child would come only if the whole family were honest, apologetic and forgiving. If the family was unable to solve the problem a Kahuna, or healer, would intervene and conduct a family discussion.

What is Four Secret Words?

There are four simple steps to practicing Ho’oponopono. The first is to say, “I’m sorry.” This means taking responsibility for your own actions. This may be something you only thought. You are the one whose consciousness is sorry. Nobody else caused the negative feelings you have. You may be reacting to someone or something else, but you are the one holding on to bad feelings.

Second is to ask forgiveness. This is not to one person. You repeat the statement, “please forgive me.” As you do, you acknowledge your own bad feeling that have caused negativity in others and yourself.

The third step revolves around gratitude. You say, “thank you.” This is not to a specific person. You are thankful to everyone and everything. Repeat the gratitude statement with feeling to God, yourself and everyone else.

Lastly you say, “I love you.” You bring love to the situation that brought about the new wisdom. You love yourself and your breath. You love your family. You love God. The important thing is to profoundly have awareness of love.

The steps may be in a different order. I like to start with “I love you.” It is amazing how potent these words can be when directed toward a disturbance. It may seem impossible forgive someone who is truly evil. You might need to be sorry to yourself for being involved with them. Or you might be sorry to God for forgetting he/she was there to help.

Hawaiian History and Huna

The term Kahuna refers to someone who is a master. In ancient times there were Kahunas for many fields. “Huna” means secret. So, these people were the keepers of the secret knowledge of what they specialized in. The ancient Hawaiian spiritual Kahunas had power over mind, body and spirit. They practiced what we call today, miracles.

A Kahuna could be of service for many needs. Here is a list of a few: Kahunas may be a high priest or great prophet. An interpreter of dreams, omens and spirits. Diagnosis and treatment of illness by touch, bone setting, and spiritual healing. Experts with herbs, massage and medicines. Specialists in music, art and sculpture. Military expert. Those who possessed knowledge of farming an weather. One who predicts  and has ability in chanting.

A healer knew of the power of the subconscious and its relation to the higher self and Higher Power. There were other aspects of involving spirit, animals, nature and the elements, earth, wind, fire and rain.

Many beliefs and mystical principles were practiced in the South Pacific islands. Some even believed God had to be fed “Mana” on a regular basis. Unfortunately to men captured from other nations, the food was a healthy male. All Polynesian Islanders didn’t practice the love and truth belief system of the Hawaiians.

White Man Lands

Europeans landed in the islands and ancient religions were abandoned. In some cases, they were outlawed by the upper white class, which was now the law of the land. Very soon the about two-thirds of the native population died from disease imported from the Europeans settlers.

Mental disease didn’t exist in Hawaii before the white man landed in the 1820s. This is something we need to explore in this time of metal illness, anxiety, depression, and drug addiction. The Royal Hawaiian family held fast for years with the hope that they could coexist and live in harmony with the outsiders.

In the early 20th Century Max Freedom Long visited the Hawaiian Islands. He began to explore the mystical aspects of the natives. He pulled some strong concepts out of many beliefs and combined them into one system named Huna. This was never an actual Hawaiian religion. It was a metaphysical system derived from all Hawaiian knowledge and faith. Long continued his research for many years.Polynesian family

There are currently Kahunas that have a profound effect with their teaching. Morrnah Simenoa is a modern teacher of Ho’oponopono. Simenoa has updated the traditional Hawaiian practices including the subconscious and higher consciousness.

Modern Interpretations of Hawaiian Secret Wisdom

There are many takes on the ancient beliefs of the South Seas. The Huna tradition has expanded. Max Freedom Long wrote extensively until his death. There are also descendants of Kahunas in Hawaii who continue to carry on the principles of their descendants. They practice the ancient Ho’oponopono rituals.

There are other modern messages that have adopted old beliefs and explained them an updated manner. They are taught and practices as metaphysical philosophy and psychological self-help.

Dr. Vitale and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len do workshops and lectures on what is called Zero Limits. The zero refers to a person striving to get to a place of zero attachments to memory. Negative energy from old memories hold us back from reaching our full potential. Much of the negativity comes from a person blaming other people or things for their pain. Zero Limits stresses that you are responsible for everything in your life.

Keep Cleaning

Dr. Len’s cleansing process is simply repeating the phrases from the 4 steps of Ho’oponopono. These simple words hold a wealth of emotions.

Cleansing is meant to connect one with the subconscious and God. It is that living in the moment can never contain memories of past hurts without harming you. Zero Limits also holds beliefs that everything is sacred. We must treat everything in the universe as sacred. Humans must connect with the forces of nature and live harmoniously with the environment.i LOVE YOU

The process of cleansing goes on over a lifetime. It is not a one-time ritual. Every time someone is disturbed then they are letting the past pull them down. It may also involve clearing memories inherited or involving an entire family. This relates to Carl Jung’s thoughts of communal archetypes.

This is like traditional Ho’oponopono and elements of Huna philosophy with additional beliefs. Dr. Len has several methods for clearing such as drinking water from a blue bottle that has been in the direct sun. As a psychologist he treats people at a distance, meaning he doesn’t need to be in the same room. Len once healed a whole ward of psychiatric criminals who he didn’t even see.


Ho’oponopono in the Hawaiian language means “to make right.” The basic principle is, if you make a mistake in life, which we all do, you have a chance to make it right. This involves accepting your responsibility. You ask forgiveness of those you hurt, including yourself and God. You express gratitude for everything that you have been given in life. Being grateful is shown by a gift through your Higher self to God. That gift is simply the breath of life.

An additional facet of Ho’oponopono is to live your life in constant awareness of your feelings and how you relate to the environment, other people, and the creatures of the world. Every atom of every creation is sacred, and every person is connected to that sacred quality. The result is that you don’t just make your self right. You make the universe right. You are what you create.

Learn more about Ho’oponopono and Zero Limits. Watch the entire workshop in video format. Your life will never be the same after seeing Dr. Vitale and Dr. Len discuss and demonstrate these profound principles.