Ho oponopono - Hawaiian Shamanism

This article discusses Ho oponopono - Hawaiian Shamanism in the form of a book summary of Zero Limits by Joe Vitale.

Although this book is a good read with an interesting message, the author, Joe Vitale, has an extremely commercial approach. To understand what I mean, see some of his websites linked to below and explore his products. For this reason 'Zero Limits' could be judged as superficial. However, I do feel there may be gems hidden inside the marketing hype.

Joe Vitale befriended a Hawaiian healer, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, who performs a modern version of Ancient Hawaiian, 'kahuna' healing tradition, called ho'oponopono.

The healing system is based on Hawaiian shamanistic traditions. Vitale got interested in the method when he heard a story of a spiritual healer who cured a whole jail full of violent, 'criminally insane' people without any therapy sessions.

The method Ihaleakala Hew Len used was to look at the records of the prisoners and to work on the feelings which arose in himself, by repeating thoughts, such as 'forgive me' and 'I love you' in his mind. The idea behind this method is that each of us is not separate in the universe but, on the contrary, we are all connected more than we think. Because of this connection, all hurt which manifests or appears in one person's experience, becomes his responsibility, and is, in a way, shared by everyone who becomes affected or aware of the hurt and pain. The way I understand it is as follows: If I read a story about someone suffering, and feel bad about it, it means that I have just connected to the energy of the suffering. And, consequently, since I am connected to it, I can now heal it, just by focusing on the feeling inside. Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, thus, was able to heal the prisoners just by working on his own feelings (which were connected to the experiences of the prisoners).

To understand the above, it may help to read 'Ask and It Is Given' by Esther and Jeremy Hicks. In the book they explain that our emotions are similar to sensory perception and are able to perceive ('read') energies. So in the same way as when we see blue, our eyes have picked up a blue light wavelength, e.g. light reflecting from the sea... similarly, if we feel bad, angry, fearful, depressed, tired, etc., we have come in contact with negative (low vibrating) energies. Furthermore, our bodies can vibrate either on low or high levels and - according to the law of attraction - attract similar vibrations (energies) towards them.

Psychologically, the key message in the book seems to be: 'don't live in the past'. Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len and Joe Vitale maintain that all hurt and pain today is a result of memories. The key is to clear the memories and the hurt they cause and to achieve a zero state, where there is room for the divine inspiration to manifest in our thoughts. Thus all negative thoughts and pain are seen as rising from memories from the past - as well as from past lives - and all true intuition and inspiration is seen to come from a divine source. Inspiration from ego is not thought, by Hew Len and Vitale, to be true inspiration but something based on weaknesses. Nevertheless, it is ok, according to Joe Vitale and Dr. Hew Len, to like fancy cars, cigars and hamburgers, as long as your thoughts towards them are pure and you love these objects! According to Ihaleakala Hew Len your loving thoughts of a hamburger turn it healthy. The key of the 'I love you' and 'Forgive me' thoughts (which you might also call mantras) are to purify the subconscious feelings you have about things, which are often not consciously understood but affect your manifestations and experiences in life.

Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len was trained by Morrnah Simeona, a healing priest or 'kahuna lapa'au', a traditional mental cleanser (and spiritual cleanser). Dr. Hew Len modernised the practice and changed it from being a group occurrence, overseen by the priest, into a personal practice. The longer tradition underlying both methods of healing is the Hawaiian 'huna'.

From trying these methods only a few times, I can say that they seem to work to improve inner feelings of hurt, pain and anxiety. Whether they can change external realities as the authors claim is anyone's guess. Maybe they can. The book itself is quite short and repeats similar things over and over again. Perhaps it tries to talk to the subconscious mind. But for the more open minded and for those already familiar with some concepts of the subconscious mind, the power of thought and energy vibrations, I would recommend this book. I found it an inspiring read.

The book does stretch the limits of imagination, however. For example, at some point Dr. Hew Len talks to a room, asking if he is welcome to enter, and if the room is feeling fine. If the chairs in the room are tired, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len 'purifies' by telling them he loves them.

The goal of life - and the key to success, happiness and miracles in life - according to 'Zero Limits' is to purify, purify, purify and to return to the zero state.

To free ourselves from hurtful energies and memories, and to quiet the mind to be able to open up to intuition, the divine inspiration from the universe. (Others talk of opening the third eye.) From there, divine inspiration will guide the way. This brings up the question of 'free will', which Joe Vitale and Dr. Hew Len offer some thoughts on as well.

The book does mention that attending courses the writers organise is necessary to properly understand this method. They also don't see anything wrong with loving expensive sports cars and junk food. But to many readers, these attitudes could ring warning bells. The book and the websites have a very commercial approach, and the writers could be judged as not being free of worldly addictions and the ego. On the other hand, why not enjoy worldly things as well, after working so hard to heal so much hurt in the world? After all, enjoyment brings good vibrations.

Who knows. But I definitely agree that working through all the bad feelings that arise in the body and mind open doors to completely new ways of being. And to counter those bad feelings with vibrations of love may be extremely effective. When deciding to read (or not to read) this book, keep in mind that the teachings of Joe Vitale and Ihaleakala Hew Len are based on ancient healing methods and are just one, modern version of it. So if you, like me, don't agree with living on hamburgers alone, you can make your own version of their teachings.

"Dear Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, the creator and first master teacher of Self-I-Dentity Ho'oponopono, had on her desk a placard that read 'Peace begins with me'.
"I witnessed this peace beyond all understanding as I worked and travelled with her from December 1982 to that fateful day [...] in February 1992.
"It is my great good fortune and honor to have received the training from Morrnah in November 1982 and to have been in her presence for a decade. I have been doing Self-I-Dentity Ho'oponopono ever since. I am pleased that, with the help of my friend Dr. Joe Vitale, this message can now reach the world. But the truth is it only has to reach you, through me, as we are all one and it all happens inside.
"Peace of I,
Ihaleakala Hew Len, PhD
Chairman Emeritus
The Foundation of I, Inc. Freedom of the Cosmos"

- from 'Zero Limits'

"Who looks outside, dreams, who looks inside, awakes."
- Carl Jung, as quoted in 'Zero Limits'

Another writer on ho'oponopono, Mabel Katz, writes on her website:

"Remember the story of creation Dr. Ihaleakala told me and that I shared with you in my first book The Easiest Way? He said:
'When God created the Earth and put Adam and Eve here, he told them that this was paradise and that they didn't have to worry about anything, that He would provide them with everything they needed. He also told them that He would give them a gift, the opportunity to choose, to make their own decisions, that He would give them the gift of free will. And so, He created the apple tree. He told them, "This is called "thinking." You do not need it. I can provide everything for you. You should not worry, but you can choose to stay with me or to take your own path.
'I would like to make it clear that the problem was not the eating of the apple. The problem was failing to take responsibility and saying, "I'm sorry." When God asked, Adam said "She made me do it." And so this is how Adam had to go in search of his first job. Just like Adam, we are always biting the apple. We always think that we know best. We do not realize that there is another way, that there is an easier way.' "Ho'oponopono is about choice. You cannot serve two Masters. You either let go (The easiest way) and allow inspiration (God/Universe) to guide you or you keep replaying old memories and do it on your own (the hardest way). There are only two possibilities; that is it. Either you come from inspiration or your old replayed memories.
"Ho'oponopono is about allowing God to guide you. As long as you are doing the cleaning (asking for help and giving permission) you don't need to worry about anything. You will be guided and protected and in the flow that will put you in the right place, at the right time, with the right people.
"Everything is in perfect order. Just let go of your old beliefs, opinions and judgments and allow the flow to take you. Become more humble and say, 'I don't know.' "These are very exciting and amazing times. They require us to go through the dark in order to see the light. It is up to us how easy or difficult we want the journey to be."

- Mabel Katz

"Clean, erase, erase and find your own Shangri-La. Where? Within yourself".
- Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona

'Zero Limits' by Joe Vitale:

Joe Vitale's blog: blog.mrfire.com


Wikipedia on Ho'oponopono

There are also interviews of Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, and other interesting information on ho'oponopono on You Tube. Use search words, e.g. Dr. Hew Len, Morrnah Simeona, ho'oponopono, Hawaiian huna, ancient huna, Hawaii shamanism, etc.

You have been reading a book summary of:

Joe Vitale and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len: Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace & More; Featuring the ancient Hawaiian teachings of Ho'oponopono (John Wiley & Sons 2007)

(Please note, I read this book in Finnish, published by Taivaankaari in 2011. Slight differences in terminology in this review may result. The translated publication is called: "Ei rajoja - takaisin nollatilaan".)

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