Ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian shamanic practice for clearing karma especially in relationship to people and personal relationships.  It is based upon the simple awareness that our world comes from us (Ike).

I learned the practice from reading and from a class with Ihaleakala Hew Len.  The simple prayer that I recite as a mantra:

I’m sorry

Please forgive me

I love you

and I thank you.

More information about the practice can be found on Wikipedia.

The longer version I use is:

Divine creator, father, mother, daughter, and son as one.  If I, my family, relatives and ancestors have offended you, your family, relatives and ancestors in thoughts, words, deeds and actions from the beginning of our creation to the present we ask your forgiveness.

Let this cleanse, purify, release, cut all the negative memories, blocks, energies, and vibrations and transmute those unwanted energies into pure light, now.  Thank you.  It is done, it is done, it is done.

You can also read more about Hawaiian Shamanic principles in my related post.

Hawaiian Shamanic Principles

At the beginning of the year I started working at the Hawaiian Experience Spa in Scottsdale.  There I was trained in Temple Style Lomi Lomi massage (see video).  Although I have been using Ho’oponopono (not that hard to say,  four syllables:  Ho O Pono Pono)  for years I wasn’t familiar with other aspects of Hawaiian Spirituality.

In the Hawaiian system there are basic spiritual principles that define correct world view.  They are:  Ike, Pono, Mana, Kala, Makia, Manawa and Aloha. These seven form a complete system of emotional, physical and spiritual health. Lomi Lomi massage is part of that healing system.

The foundational concept is Ikethe world is what you think it is. Ike can be interpreted in two ways – and both are useful for maintaining health. One way to interpret Ike is that your experience of the world is based on your thoughts. For instance, if someone cuts you off in traffic you can think, “what a rude, inconsiderate person” or you may think, “wow, that person is preoccupied with someone they care about”. The first thought leads to anger and a series of biochemical changes within the body which cause disease. The second thought tends to open the heart and create body biochemistry that supports health and well-being.

Another way to view Ike is that the world you see and experience is actually created by your mind. Do you know that despite all of our sophisticated technology there is no proof that anything actually exists outside of our minds. Our world really could be like described in the movie, The Matrix, where the solid objects around us are projections of our minds. Our world is “real” because our minds make it so. We are the cause, in some mysterious way, behind the world we experience.

This concept is not new or unique. Buddha said the world is “mind only” and created by the movement of our mind. Jesus taught “as you sow so shall you reap”, suggesting that we cause the things we experience. Here we find the same idea in Hawaiian shamanism. Ike is a way of defining or explaining our world. If you have this world view, and someone cuts you off in traffic you realize that ultimately you “caused” the incident. Similarly, you’ve cause every pleasant thing that happens to you too.

The beauty of this is that we inherently have the power to create a world that we find more likeable. Ike, in either way we interpret it, guarantees that a change in thinking will change our world. Having this world view leads to an understanding of Mana, another Hawaiian shamanic principle that means all power comes from within. All power comes from within us and flows from our mind and into creation. We have everything we need within us to be happy and pain free.

You may wonder, “Can I really create a ideal world for myself?” The answer is Kala – there are no limits. And the answer to how to do it is found in the principle, Makia – energy flows where attention goes. Begin to direct your attention to what you want to create and the things you do not want will fall away. If you want peace then when someone cuts you off, make a choice to think of the situation in such a way as to create peace. This mental process is called reframing. For me this takes quite a bit of vigilance. I seem to have a deep seated habit of viewing things from a negative perspective for no rational reason.

All power may come from within (Mana), but the moment of power is now. Right now is the spiritual principle of Manawa. It is only in the present moment that we can make changes. This requires us to notice what we are doing, and deciding if it is in alignment (Pono) with what we say we want. If we are saying we want peace, but requiring someone on the outside to change (like that other driver) then we have given our power away and the peace we want will remain elusive. If it is peace we want then we can ask ourselves right here, right now (Manawa) if what we are doing and thinking will lead to peace.

These Hawaiian shamanic principles form a foundation of right thinking that leads to health on all levels. When the mind is in turmoil and riddled with negative thoughts and emotions the biochemistry of the body changes. This stress and biochemical imbalance leads to a compromised immune system and a compromised immune system contributes to cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, cancer, neurological diseases, and hormonal diseases. Simply put, our health is based on how and what we think. Try it out and see how you change. See if it is pono. Pono means effectiveness is the measure of truth. In other words something is pono when it works because things work (are effective) when they are true or in alignment with truth.

Mindful Weeding

One of the things I value most is living in harmony with nature.  My garden is one of those places where I get to interface with a wide variety of creatures on the planet.  When I work in the garden I am mindful of what I am doing and why I am doing it.  This is the same process of awareness that I use when I am doing all other activities, but the content of “why” varies slightly.

Two months ago I harvested huge heads of cauliflower.  Once the flowering head of this vegetable has been picked, the plant is fairly well past its prime.  Many people would then pull the whole plant and send it to the compost.  I, instead, considered the option of non-action.  This specimen had very large leaves which could serve additional purposes.  In the ground, still living, those leaves served as “shade” for the young alder tree sapling that was next to it.  In addition, the leaves were a future source of food for the pet rabbits I live with.  It wasn’t until later that I realized the large leaves also served as a bird bath.  They accumulated water from the sprinklers and held it within the shallow bowl the leaves formed naturally.Cauliflower Bird Bath

The “why” for pulling the plant could be mindlessness or it reflect a value for esthetics.  I also want things to look ordered and nice, but I am conscious of my objective to make the garden at TESLI be in harmony with the land around.  I find that many of the “weeds” I leave unpulled look somewhat unsightly, but the birds love the seeds and I am finding that I am becoming quite popular with my flying friends.  In a “complex” living style, one might put up bird feeders and drive to the store to replenish the seeds.  In a simple living style, one only has to leave weeds around and sit back and enjoy finches, sparrows and even love birds feast.

When I garden, I reflect on what is right action – sometimes I feel the drive to know what is the “best” way to act.  This idea is addressed in a book I just finished reading.  In A New Earth Eckhart Tolle writes on page 194:

“When we go into a forest that has not been interfered with by man, our thinking mind will see only disorder and chaos all around us.  It won’t even be able to differentiate between life (good) and death (bad) anymore since everywhere new life grows out of rotting and decaying matter.  Only if we are still enough inside and the noise of thinking subsides can we become aware that there is a hidden harmony here… The mind is more comfortable in a landscaped park because it has been planned through thought; it has not grown organically.”

I was intrigued by his statement.  Many people are actually refreshed by the walk through a forest, despite all its disorder.  Yet, those same people would not tolerate allowing plant debris to naturally decay around their houses.  I wonder, who is making those decisions?

Reflection:  Am I choosing to do things that are in alignment with my values?  Am I thoughtful about the full ramifications of my actions?