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Hoponopono (Ho'oponopono): healing through forgiveness

Hoponopono (Ho'oponopono): healing through forgiveness

June 23, 2022

The Hoponopono (also known with writing Ho'oponopono ) is a philosophy of conflict resolution and spiritual healing based on forgiveness, reconciliation and love.

Hoponopono (Ho'oponopono): forgiving oneself

Its origins go back to the first inhabitants of the Polynesian island of Hawaii, who used to practice healing rituals based on the Hoponopono philosophy. In the 20th century, Nalamaku Simeona He adapted the ancestral teachings and techniques to modern times and popularized what we currently understand as Hoponopono.

Although in the ancient versions of this healing art the figure of the healer was instructed by priests, in the current version the action falls on the individual who wishes to be healed, so we can understand this spiritual art as a method of self-help .


Polynesian beliefs

In the popular cultures of the Polynesian islands, it was believed that the errors committed by people were the cause of diseases, since they enervated the spirits of the gods. Moved by this dogma, they thought that to debug the mistakes the individual had to confess . If the confession was not granted, the person could become ill and die. Keeping the error secret is what stimulated the disease to continue to develop.

In the paradigm of psychoanalysis, we could translate the Polynesian beliefs by the concept of repression. When not having the conscience of those negative elements for the health, the tensions that provoke are anchored in the psyche, and more tardy they are somatized. When the error is confessed, the detrimental effect for the person is nullified, neutralized.


Ancestral practice of the Hoponopono

"Ho'oponopono" means, in Hawaiian, something like mental hygiene: family assemblies where relationships are channeled and balanced through words, discussion, confession, compensation, repentance, sincere understanding towards others, forgiveness and, ultimately, love.

While the particle "ho'o" is a prefix that converts a noun into a verb, the noun "pono" can be defined as "goodness, morality, correctness, virtue, fairness, ethics ..."

In this way, "ponopono" means "redirect , correct, reorder ... ".

One of the most outstanding researchers on Hawaiian tradition, Mary Pukui , described the first steps of the Hoponopono in the Polynesian culture as "a family tradition consisting in the family members meeting with other distant members of the same family and redirecting the entrenched problems between them, managing to forgive and understand the other".


The Hoponopono was conceived as a spiritual method to restore the bad interpersonal relationships that led to pathologies and diseases of the individual, and therefore of the group. It was possible to get to the origin of the problems, and it was believed that this also improved individual and family relationships with the gods, who provided certain essential elements for spiritual peace.

Hoponopono today

Of course, the Hoponopono concept is not due to experimental psychology and the psychological intervention practices that contain it do not have the endorsement of science. Despite this, it has been used in several contexts during the last decades.

Traditional application with criminals

During the second half of the 19th century, a prison program was implemented in Hawaii where offenders had to work with an elder who led Hoponopono meetings with their families, as an alternative method to purge inter and intrapersonal conflicts.

Karma catharsis

In the 70s of the last century, the traditional Hoponopono was adapted to the needs of industrial society. The philosophy of forgiveness and conflict resolution was extended to problems of a social nature, and it also acquired, on the other hand, a psychospiritual character of purification of emotional ballast of each individual.

This adaptation placed a lot of emphasis on the effects of negative Karma. Being aware and experiencing for yourself the pain you have caused to others is one of its foundations. The Hoponopono philosophy has elements of solipsism, reaching to affirm that "each one is creator of his own life and of his circumstances. All immoral action leaves its mark on the psyche itself and is reflected in every object or living being that witnessed that moment. "

The cleaning or purification of karma becomes an indispensable requirement for the expansion of consciousness .

Hoponopono: without limits

The 21st century versions of Hoponopono underscore the importance of achieving "the state of zero, where there are no limits or ties, no memory, no identity." To get to such a state, called "Self-I-Dentity" (self-I-identity), one must recurrently repeat the following mantra:

Please forgive me. So sorry. I love you.

The philosophy underlying today's Hoponopono advocates the assumption of full responsibility for our actions and that of others . Conflicts, then, arise from oneself and never by the force of an external reality. If you want to change personal reality, you have to change yourself. Although this postulate resembles solipsism, the truth is that Hoponopono does not deny the reality of the conscience of other people.

Instead, Hoponopono conceive the computation of the consciences that inhabit the world as intertwined pieces . If one cleanses one's own awareness of the mistakes made, it will be clearing everyone's conscience. Undoubtedly, a philosophy that can help us to understand ourselves better and to be more connected with the people around us.

Introductory book

Do you dare to try this philosophy? I invite you to get the book of the Dr. Mª Carmen Martínez entering this link.

Bibliographic references:

  • Pukui, Mary Kawena and Elbert, Samuel H., University of Hawaii (1986) ISBN 978-0-8248-0703-0
  • Simeona, Morrnah, Self-Identity through Ho'oponopono, Basic 1, Pacifica Seminars (1990)

Before Sleep Ho'oponopono Affirmation Meditation for forgiveness, reconciliation transformation (June 2022).


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