Ho'oponopono & Process Coaching
The ancient healing practice of Ho’oponopono can be used very well with the tools and perspectives of Process Coaching. Both modalities offer quick and easy ways to empower yourself in difficult situations with the unusually radical approach of taking 100% responsibility for everything that happens in your life.
Ho’oponopono has been used for centuries by the indigenous people of Hawaii and other Polynesian islands to heal illnesses in individuals and even wounds within the family and the tribe. A kahuna lapa’au (shaman) was involved in the traditional practice with individuals and their family members, however modern versions of the practice are now being used by anyone wishing to heal a relationship or to simply find forgiveness and a more loving connection with another.
Ho’oponopono became better known in 2007 after the publication of the book, Zero Limits by Joe Vitale with Dr. Hew Len, a prominent practitioner and advocate of Ho’oponopono. According to Dr. Len, total responsibility means that everything outside of us exists as a projection from inside the human being.
This understanding is identical to the Process Coaching principle, I Am Responsible for My Experience. This kind of radical responsibility is of course much easier to achieve when there are no judgments against self for what has happened. The Judgment Release practice can be very helpful here.
Modern writers and healers have been exploring and developing new versions of the practice. The basic Ho’oponopono framework that seems universal for modern practitioners begins with first visualizing the person you want to forgive (or just connect with in a more positive way). You then say four statements to them in your mind’s voice, “I am sorry.” “Please forgive me.” “Thank you.” And, “I love you.”
Ho’oponopono is a very powerful healing and forgiveness practice because of the fundamental premise that the practitioner takes 100% responsibility for the situation or illness. For the first statement, "I am sorry," to be effective it is assumed that you are the one who is responsible for whatever happened. As in, “I am sorry that I have had you playing this role in my movie.” This works perfectly when we are fully congruent about whatever has happened being our responsibility.
However as with any forgiveness practice, a healing of what has been hurt in me is necessary before I can truly and congruently forgive the perpetrator. Otherwise the hurt part can easily be overlooked and remain unconsciously hurting, making my ‘forgiveness’ incongruent, and therefore ineffective. Once I have healed what was hurt in me (the second movement in The Three Movements of Healing), Ho’oponopono can make the rest quite easy.
Taking full responsibility for whatever I perceive as a ‘problem’ makes it possible for me to resolve it. It’s much easier to make changes inside of myself than try to change another. If it’s someone else’s responsibility, then I have to wait for them to change their ways or do something to somehow deal with it. I could be waiting a long time! ‘The Movies' Metaphor helps me understand how I am responsible for all that I experience, and that I’ve ‘hired’ this person to play their part the way they have. And as the writer, director and producer of my ‘movie,’ I am able to do something about it.
Here again are the four statements of Ho’oponopono:
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
Some modern versions of the practice say to repeat these as a general mantra, especially in difficult situations. If you’ve had experience with the longer form of Ho'oponopono, the mantra-like use of the four statements can work very well as an alternative to the ‘Ultra Short Form’ practice in the Practitioner Manual. Instead of repeating “I love you, I love you, I love you,” etc. you can address the Ho’oponopono statements to the place in Body where you feel the energy of the hurt, angry or scared part of self. After a short time of doing this, you will find the energy easier to feel as it receives the healing medicine of your unconditional loving acceptance.
Ho’oponopono in its longer form can also be helpful and effective in working with parts of self. First anchor the part visually by asking yourself, “What would this part of me look like if it had it’s own body?” Then become present with the part and say, “Hello.” And notice the response to your greeting. You can now begin the Ho’oponopono practice by remaining present with the newly discovered part of you and saying some or all (as appropriate) of the following:
1. “I am sorry. I have been avoiding you and denying you. I didn’t want you in me; I believed that I was better off without you. But I know better now.” (Pause and take time to feel the part’s response, as in a dialogue.)
2. “Please forgive me. I was unconscious. I blamed you and judged you. I didn’t realize how good you are, and how important and valuable you are to me.” (Pause.)
3. “Thank you. Thank you for being a part of me. Thank you for being here and communicating with me. I am very grateful that you are willing to be here with me.” (Pause.)
4. “I love you.” (Open yourself to the part and allow it to feel your unconditional loving acceptance.)
You can now use Observer Position to see both the part of you and you yourself, the loving, parental Healer. From Observer move into Second Position with the Part, and as the part feel what it’s like to be fully loved for who you are, just the way you are. Then return through Observer to yourself as the Healer, and looking at the part, see its goodness and greatness. Give it a hug and hold it close, so close you absorb it into yourself, one whole Being.