Saturday, June 28, 2014

Growing Ho'oponopono in My Life: With Love for the Gardener

This beautiful double hibiscus graces my patio -- cared for lovingly, moment by moment.
Last weekend I enjoyed a Self-Identity through Ho'oponopono seminar in Woodland Hills, CA -- led by the lovely Momilani Ramstrum and Christine Leimakamae Chu.  No matter how many of these trainings I attend, something more always shows up.

There's an outline of essential information, yet each instructor has his or her own way of conveying it.  Momilani mentioned that she responds to inspiration in each class as much as possible, since groups differ in personalities, focus, and patience. I appreciate the individualization.

"I want you to experience the Divine for yourself," Momilani said. "I'm not really teaching you anything. I'm doing the cleaning. Most of all I don't want to say anything that gets in your way."

This attitude differs from what some might expect in a teacher. How can a teacher "get in the way"?  There are thousands of possibilities -- including insisting that students revere the teacher's interpretations, rather than encouraging them to find their own way through personal practice. This is such a challenging tightrope to walk: one must provide necessary starting points, while also encouraging people to work with the process individually. Only in that way can the student truly own a new life practice.

Facilitating Self-Identity Through Ho'oponopono is especially tender -- and in this I felt both Momilani and Christine were caring for all of us.  I've often heard Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len say that people need connection with Divinity, rather than any human's ministrations.  Some might be offended by this, yet it makes complete sense to me. We humans can so easily project and misinterpret; unless we know when to shut up, we can inadvertently make more messes.

Through these classes, we can start knowing and appreciating all parts of ourselves, as well as the relationships between these and others too. When attended to gently, we can begin a lifelong practice of "making things right" -- releasing memories showing up as problems, in a moment-to-moment way.

In some books and web sites, Ho'oponopono is described as a "clearing technique" through which a person can manifest desired outcomes in the world. This is one point of view -- possibly a very limiting one.  Divinity has much larger ideas than we humans can ever dream of.  Vision boards may have their place, but Divinity's viewpoint far surpasses any collage I might create!  

So the attitude we hold in practicing Ho'oponopono is very important too, since trying to "manifest" is very different from practicing simple purity of heart.  The latter feels peaceful, warm, and gentle. I am open to inspiration. The former feels more forced, as if trying to make Divinity into my genie.

Another example: nurturing a garden. Can you force a garden to grow?  No. One must partner with the soil, environment, and plants.  One must observe what's needed, and plant in correct light and surroundings.  Watering, weeding, pruning, feeding, and other sustaining care must be provided too. Only then will double hibiscuses bloom fully, and will grapefruit trees grow delicious fruits.  Gardening is an excellent teacher for life, I think.  Would you ever say, "I already watered that plant once -- why aren't there tomatoes yet?"  Yet I've often heard people say, "I cleaned with that problem -- why isn't it gone?!" We humans are real pieces of work, sometimes. :-)  

This time, I came away with even more love for the relatedness between myself, other people, material objects, and the natural world.  I always had this as a little girl, and used to talk to the flowers. I silenced it when adults and other kids thought it was stupid, though.  Yet with Ho'oponopono, I can say "ice blue" to the plants -- talking with them again. It's very nice to be home within myself, these days.

Thank you Divinity, Momilani, Christine, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, and Morrnah for lovingly sharing Ho'oponopono with the world -- and with me. You are good gardeners, and I am grateful.

Peace begins with me,

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ho'oponopono: What Are We Cleaning? Lessons from Morrnah and the River Iao

The Iao River on Maui, whose Iao Valley was the scene of the battle of Kepaniwai ("damming of the waters") in 1790. So many warriors died that the river was jammed with their bodies.  Today the river runs clean and free -- and is still a very sacred place.

Someone asked me the other day what Ho'oponopono is about, and what we are "cleaning" when practicing this process. 

Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, the Kahuna Lapa'au who was inspired in meditation to simplify Ho'oponopono for modern times, provided one of the best answers to this I've ever read.  Ho'oponopono literally means "to correct an error," or "to make right."  But what kind of errors are we talking about, and what is there to make right?

Morrnah explained:

"We are the sum total of our experiences, which is to say that we are burdened by our pasts. When we experience stress or fear in our lives, if we would look carefully, we would find that the cause is actually a memory. It is the emotions which are tied to these memories which affect us now. The subconscious associates an action or person in the present with something that happened in the past. When this occurs, emotions are activated and stress is produced.

The main purpose of this process is to discover the Divinity within oneself. The Ho'oponopono is a profound gift which allows one to develop a working relationship with the Divinity within and learn to ask that in each moment, our errors in thought, word, deed or action be cleansed. The process is essentially about freedom, complete freedom from the past." 

She also stated:

"We can appeal to Divinity who knows our personal blueprint, for healing of all thoughts and memories that are holding us back at this time.  It is a matter of going beyond traditional means of accessing knowledge about ourselves."

The more times I re-read this, the more it intrigues me.  Ancient Hawaiians certainly pre-dated Freud, and understood that unconscious/subconscious memories influence current behavior.  These memories have nothing to do with people in our present, so they're misplaced -- and are "errors."  They lead to further errors downstream in thought, word, and deed.

Modern psychotherapeutic treatments analyze these memories, hoping that this will loosen their grip on the person's present moments.  Sometimes this is helpful in changing behavior; sometimes not.  The person still has to apply the insights and practice doing things differently.

Ho'oponopono deals with memories too -- but does not try to analyze,  interpret, manage, or cope with them.  And the memories concerned apply to the person's soul throughout time, not in the current lifetime alone. 

Rather than analyzing, Ho'oponopono provides a process that connects us with Divinity within, moment to moment.  We can ask Divinity -- the only One who can cleanse or erase memories or thought forms -- to address whatever is arising in our experiences: anxiety, sadness, anger, mistakes, delays -- anything.  Fortunately, Divinity also knows our individual blueprints, and can transmute whatever memories are "up" for release at the time . . . without our ever knowing what is going on.  

Simple. Direct.  Elegant.  

Morrnah believed that we are laden with memories -- dating from all the way back to when we were "seaweed."  It's just a part of being on the earth plane. These memories are held within the Inner Child (or Unihipili) part of us, and  can manifest in anything from depression, addiction, and heart disease to events beyond our bodies like car accidents and natural disasters. The land and everything on it can contain memories too. 

Morrnah also believed that the Ho'oponopono process allows each of us to individually petition Divinity for help letting go of these memories or errors -- allowing things to be made right, or "pono."  As these memories are released, so is our stress and other problems.  An added bonus: the memories come off of not only us, but everyone and everything connected to them also. 

She recommended that health care practitioners be especially mindful to do Ho'oponopono before treating each client or patient.  Otherwise, we can be like ground zero for all manner of pain and suffering.  

"It is important to clear Karmic patterns with your clients before you start working with them, so that you don't activate old stuff between you. Perhaps you shouldn't be working with that person at all. Only the Divinity knows. If you work with a person and it isn't your business, you can take on the person's entire problem and everything associated with it. This can cause burnout. The Ho'oponopono gives the tools to prevent that from happening."

I've broached this with some of my colleagues, and some are curious about this interesting way to address physician burnout.  Others simply give me the fish eye. :-)  Of course, none of this is evidence-based in terms of modern science, so how can we know it has any effect?  We really can't; we have to personally choose what we'll do.  

Some long-time practitioners like Dr. Hew Len and Kamaile Rafaelovich are able to see the process occurring.  Yet even they don't claim to know what all of it means; only Divinity sees the whole picture. Dr. Hew Len often says, "my only job is to clean." 

While walking in Maui's Iao Valley recently, I thought about this cleaning.  Despite the bloody battle in 1790, the Iao River runs fresh and invigorating today.  The air around it is energizing; the land exudes sacredness.  I felt Divinity cleansing me like this river, washing through every part of my being.

There's no way to know all the experiences my soul has collected over time, or how they may impact people with whom I interact. I'm so grateful to Morrnah for her wisdom, and for the Ho'oponopono cleansing process that allows me a way to work with all this -- even though I don't know what's what.  While on the island, I met a kahuna who told me she saw "Auntie Morrnah" standing behind me.  Tears sprang into my eyes when she shared this. How could she know that I feel this woman I have never met, around me all the time?  Much occurs in this world, that I do not understand.

Thank you dear Morrnah, and for your students Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len and Kamaile Rafaelovich who have become my teachers in the flesh. They have a lovely book called "Blue Ice: The Relationship with the Self," that you can read if inspired. I love it; it's brief, to the point, and provides ever more beauty and grace with each reading. 

Peace begins with me,

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ho'oponopono Cleaning: When is a Blueberry More Than a Blueberry?

One question people often ask about Ho'oponopono, is "What is a Ho'oponopono cleaning tool?  What does this mean, and are there more than one?"

Ho'oponopono is a spiritual practice and way of life.  It incorporates an attitude of 100% responsibility, humility, and gratitude in every moment.  It's a process of making things right, or "pono."  

The idea is that Divinity created us in perfect alignment and rhythm with Itself, and our true nature is this state of "zero."  At zero we can feel peace and receive divine inspiration, which guides us.  When we then take inspired action, what's right and perfect for us comes into our lives. 

Unfortunately we also hold unconscious memories (or data) inside us -- blocking our awareness of our true selves. These memories can also show up in our lives as problems, discord, fear, illness, war, and other unpleasant experiences.

Ho'oponopono is a method of solving these problems by recognizing what they are: manifestations of memories ready for release.  This involves "cleaning" these memories from ourselves -- and as we do this, they're removed from everyone else too.  It's important to realize that in doing this cleaning though, we're working with what's inside US -- not "on" anyone else.

Although all this may sound overwhelming, it really doesn't have to be!

According to Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, "Problems can be solved without knowing what the heck is going on! Realizing and appreciating this is sheer relief and joy for me." 

This Ho'oponopono problem-solving process utilizes "cleaning tools."

Many people are familiar with the phrases: "I'm sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you, and I love you." These are certainly cleaning tools, and using them initiates the process of letting go so that Divinity can transmute problematic memories without our having to analyze them.  All we need to do is recognize the fact that we have them, and that they're reminders to remain humble and work with Divinity for their release.  

Cleaning tools aren't limited to words, though -- and this is wonderful for bypassing the intellect!  Otherwise, our Inner Child (an innate part of us, and essential in the cleaning process) might be confused. In the photo I've shown blueberries, one example of these tools.  Blueberries can be eaten physically, or in the imagination.  They're said to be aligned with angelic kingdoms.

Other cleaning tools include hot chocolate, blue solar water, candy canes, light switch -- and many, many more. These tools are unique, and may appeal to different people in different situations.  But they all accomplish the same overall result: initiating the cleaning process rather than getting embroiled in the seeming "problem."  Our choosing to use them in the first place is a life-affirming choice -- as I shared on this blog last week.

I used to think we had to memorize the various cleaning tools in order to know "how" to use them correctly . . . as if the cleaning depended on intellectually getting it "right."  Thank heavens it does not, or we'd all be even more burdened than we are already!  

The delightful thing about blueberries (besides the delicious way they taste) is that simply choosing to use them signals Divinity that we're willing to let go.  From here, Divinity transmutes as S/He sees fit -- and we can get back to Zero, our essential self.  Drinking a cup of hot chocolate or blue solar water will do that too, just a little differently.  

Kids love games, and these seemingly nonsensical "tools" are fun for our Inner Child.  Through offering and using these visual tools, we can engage and teach our Inner Child to do the Ho'oponopono process, just as we grownups are learning to do.  As the adult (or mothering one), we can play with our Inner Child in a loving way, while also modeling skillful ways of living.

When confronted with a problem, it's also possible to ask Divinity: "How do I clean with this?"  An inner answer may come, perhaps in the form of an image (a cleaning tool).  This may seem goofy to those of us who think of ourselves as scientific.  But according to Dr. Hew Len, "the goofier it is, the more likely it is to be from Divinity.  Divinity has a great sense of humor."  

This is absolutely perfect for me -- it lets me bypass all the mental junk I can get so stuck in otherwise!  Worrying, judging, and generally obsessing are only making things worse.  Give me a nice handful of blueberries any day! 

Even the poet Wendell Berry said,

“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”

In case you're wondering, strawberries (red berries) happen to also be Ho'oponopono cleaning tools.

You can learn much more about Ho'oponopono and all kinds of cleaning tools by attending a training seminar -- experienced teachers offer these all over the world.  I'm looking forward to the upcoming one in Woodland Hills, CA in June!  I've lost count of how many I've attended, but it always leads to more revelations.  Hopefully I come home a little lighter in spirit too.  :-)

Peace begins with me,

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Taking 100% responsibility in Ho'oponopono: the very best way to get help

One of the main tenets in Ho'oponopono is taking 100% responsibility for everything that shows up in our lives. Yes, everything.

By nature, we balk at this -- it sounds so overwhelming!

After all, how can we be personally responsible for earthquakes, tsunamis, atrocities of war, or for other countries' starving children?  What about African elephants being killed, just for their ivory?  What about people who lie and steal from us -- and lovers who abuse, have affairs, or leave us?

You get the picture.  Think of the most recent outrage in your life, and just fill in the blank.

One reason the idea of 100% responsibility seems overwhelming is a follow up question: If I'm responsible for everything, does that mean I have to fix everything?  All by myself?

No, it doesn't . . . . but as Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len often asks, "Have you noticed that whenever there's a problem, you are always there?"  :-)

He's not really saying that we directly did anything to harm anyone.  But it's always US perceiving things as "problems," with our mental filters, opinions, and judgments.  We look at other people and think THEY ought to change, when WE'RE the constant factor in our [mis]perceptions.  We can't help but bring our own views and patterns into every relationship and circumstance, yet we don't even know we're doing it.

It's easy to get stuck here, and feel badly for all the "gunk" we're bringing in.

But in Ho'oponopono, being 100% responsible does not mean being 100% at fault or bad.  Instead, it means that we simply have the ability to respond in every situation.  And we can choose our response.

One path leads to overwhelm: trying to fix everything on our own.

Another path is to allow Divinity to help. In Ho'oponopono, this path is called "cleaning."  By using Ho'oponopono cleaning tools, we acknowledge that erroneous data or memories are running us and showing up as problems in our lives.  We can say, "I'm sorry for being unconscious, dear Divinity -- please forgive me.  Thank you for the opportunity to let go of this [data] now.  I love you."

It seems insanely simple -- too simple to possibly have any effects in our outer world.  And yet when we give permission by using the above process, Divinity can work behind the scenes to transmute the faulty data to pure light.  We are restored to our natural perfection, or returning to the "zero" state from whence we came. Then mana (life energy) and Divine Inspiration can enter us -- showing us what we can do next.  We can follow that inner direction.

We can continue choosing in every moment to use these tools to clean up our lives -- or not.  In fact, making such choices in each moment is the biggest responsibility we have. 
We can struggle and stew, or we can recognize the "problem" for what it is: an opportunity to let go.

Some problems, like the long-term one I wrote about last week, simply dissolve through using this process.  Others might not seem outwardly to respond for a long time, but we never know what's happening at levels we can't see.  Only Divinity knows that.

So very counterintuitively, taking 100% responsibility is the very best way to get reliable assistance with any problems we have.  Would you rather tangle with things all on your own, or allow Divinity to help?  What if the "problem" is not what we think it is at all?

I know which of these choices I'm picking -- at least when I'm grounded and calm.  Please, somebody remind me the next time I get off kilter and forget.  We humans can be pieces of work!

Peace begins with me,

Saturday, April 19, 2014

From human suffering to divine peace, through Ho'oponopono

Many have written me asking for proof that Ho'oponopono "works."  Maybe they're looking for controlled, double-blind studies that do not exist; maybe they're just seeking hope that something they choose to do can truly improve their lives.

I've been practicing Ho'oponopono now for almost 10 years, and have experienced both times of peace and inner turmoil with it. Fortunately my teacher Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len has always been a timely example and guide. He has laughed, cajoled, goaded, offered useful metaphors, and held compassion during my journey.  

This past week something happened that I can only attribute to Ho'oponopono -- being willing to clean even though seeing no outward "results."  I want to share about this here, because it's extremely meaningful to me.  It may also provide some hope for you, if wondering about outward effects of this practice. Yet I also want to protect the other person's privacy. 

I lost a profoundly important relationship many years ago -- through hurt, self-righteousness, and not knowing what else to do.  What began as a loving partnership lasting some 15 years, had devolved into a pattern of disengagement and painful silence.  We had weathered extreme changes in our personal lives and careers, yet had forgotten how to laugh together, support each other, and share simple human affection.  Love got buried under piles of resentment.  

He moved on, but I continued a close relationship with his parents.  In terms of personal support and authentic sharing of life, they were more my parents than those to whom I was born. The time spent with them was sheer grace in my life.  How I even came to live so close to them was a miracle in itself.  (A story for another time, maybe).

For many years I remained embroiled in my anger and hurt though, focusing on how I was "right" to feel the way I did. Despite this, I missed his presence deeply.  From time to time I wrote to him, seeking some explanation for what had happened.  There was never a reply. I worked on myself, eventually owning where I felt I had hurt him.  Still no response.  Over 10 years elapsed.

When his parents both became ill with different cancers, I helped take care of them.  He lived across the country and didn't respond to my communications about their treatments or progress.  I felt devastated to be losing them, and knew he must be feeling something similar.  Yet there was still no communication back from him towards me. 

They passed away in 2004, not long before Ho'oponopono came into my life.  My working with this ancient Hawaiian practice was slow at first, since I knew only bits and pieces of it.  Meeting Dr. Hew Len opened a huge gateway of growth for me -- along with accepting 100% responsibility for my own behavior and "stuff."  With this, my life began to utterly change.

Whenever I would think of this man I had lost [which was often], I would say within: "I love you. Thank you for being in my life. I'm sorry. Please forgive me."  I wasn't really speaking to HIM with those words, but was speaking to the part of me which saw him as anything other than perfect.  This view was a very  heavy and painful burden on me.

According to Morrnah Simeona (who updated Ho'oponopono for modern times), we are all perfect. Only accumulated [unconscious] data obscures our views of ourselves and others.  Using Ho'oponopono cleaning tools and phrases allows our inner child to let go of the data or memories which lead to our painful experiences.  Divinity can then transmute whatever of these are ready to "go" -- allowing divine inspiration to fill the space now "cleaned."  I'm sure layers and layers of "ick" were coming off of me (and perhaps him too?) over those years.  My hurt and feelings of deep unworthiness were lifting also.  Still through most of it, there was no outward sign that much was shifting.

Except that over the past year, I've lost about 45 pounds. More to come, with that.  :-)

Last month sometime, I saw a video which for me encapsulated the profound connections between people -- even after you no longer see them in person.  It moved me, and Inspiration urged me to send it to him.  It reminded me of him, his parents, his sister, and all the times we had previously shared. So I wrote him briefly about this, with no expectations.  The silence on his end continued, and I continued to clean.  Weeks passed. 

And then just last week, he gave a presentation in my town.  I didn't know he was coming.  But he emailed me, and invited me to dinner.

Reading this message from him, time stood still for me.  I wept at my computer keyboard, between patients!  Recovering a bit, I wrote back to accept . . . still in wonder that he would reach out to me at all -- after some 25 years.

When I saw him again, all I felt was love, with none of the previous hurt.  We shared an evening where he talked, and I listened (and cleaned).  I spoke some, but without the need to justify myself. Instead, I could be myself just as I was.  We apologized to each other, face to face.  We enjoyed a nice meal together.  We laughed.  Since then, we've messaged each other several times, and I can be a support to him in what he's going through.  I see all this as the most profound personal "proof" I know that Ho'oponopono brings peace, reconciliation, and ability to be what we truly are.  The previous painful history mentioned above no longer "hooks" my life, and I am free.

Thank you to Dr. Hew Len, Morrnah Simeona, Ho'oponopono and dear Divinity for my new life.  Also, thank you to Fred and Sweet Lorraine (below). I love you.

Peace begins with me,

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thank You to Inner Children, All Over the World

6 months old, and being cared for  :-)
The practice of Ho'oponopono is a deep one -- and if done consistently, it changes us. It brings us to a place beyond words, where infinite peace and forgiveness dwell.  That, and laughter too.  :-)

One of the most rewarding ways to practice Ho'oponopono is through caring for our own Inner Child -- our subconscious, or Unihipili.  Dr. Ihealakala Hew Len teaches that our relationship with our Inner Child is the most important relationship in all creation.  After all, our Inner Child not only runs our body, but also stores all memories that have accumulated in us through time (including unconscious ones).  When cared for, this Inner Child is a source of creativity and delight; when ignored, its pain shows up in myriad ways.

Many of us forget that such a part even lives inside us.  We're adults who drive ourselves mercilessly with work, responsibilities, and schedules; when mistakes happen, we lacerate ourselves with self-criticism.  We rarely celebrate our accomplishments, instead racing to the next thing on our "to do" list.

No wonder we end up with insomnia, backaches, muscle pain, indigestion, irritability, depression, anxiety, and fatigue!  No wonder so many of us have resentment just beneath the surface of our smiles.  Our Inner Child registers all this mistreatment and neglect, expressing its suffering in symptoms.

What would happen if, instead, we took the time to gently get to know this child?  What if we looked after it, making sure it's regularly loved and nourished?

What if we explained to it the plans for each day, making sure our Inner Child is willing to come along?  Sometimes our Inner Child can warns us when plans need to change.  Also, what if we prepared a little bag each day with things it might need -- healthy snacks, or other comforts?

We as adults, or Mothers (Conscious Mind, or Uhane) can do these things -- and can lovingly show the Child how to release or let go of painful memories.     

Mindfulness or Vipassana meditation has a body scan, focusing on each part.  We breathe into any part that feels discomfort. Ho'oponopono has similar in caring for the Child -- and when we notice a pain, we can realize that this is a memory being held.  We can ask our Inner Child to please let go.  In this way the Child learns to clean moment-by-moment, as problems arise.  With love and care, it can become a willing companion in clearing out these old memories.  And it's needed, because it's only through our Inner Child that we connect with Divinity -- the ultimate source of transmutation.    

I found a little photo (above) from long ago, which shows how the Child responds to gentle care and concern.  In it I'm only 6 months old, and my mother is bathing me in my grandmother's kitchen sink.  I've washed many dishes in that sink -- yet totally forgot that at one time, I fit in there too.  How wonderful to remember, to let go, and to forgive.

There's a loving child inside all of us.  Care for it, and connect with peace.  Try this, next time you have a talk to give, or a deadline to meet.  Take a moment to breathe with your Inner Child, and see what it needs.  S/he just might surprise you with a smile.  :-)

Peace begins with me,

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Ho'oponopono Peace in Every Step

I've recently returned from a week-long, silent Vipassana (Insight Meditation) retreat.

Called "Convergence" and run by teachers and staff from Spirit Rock Meditation Center, it was held at the Angela Center near Santa Rosa, CA.  The "convergence" they spoke of was bringing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) together with the Buddha's teachings in vipassana tradition.  This usually doesn't happen so openly in MBSR courses, even though many teachers have personal experience with Buddhist practice.

My own private "convergence" included Ho'oponopono as well.  :-)

At its heart, Insight Meditation is the practice of mindful awareness in any moment. You can use anything -- breath, body sensations, emotions, sounds, etc. -- as foci of attention.  This tradition recognizes that the mind's productions are often comical and obsessive -- even sometimes tragic because they distract us from current experience.  It encourages us to notice these thoughts and reactions, but not grab onto any of them.  After all, they are not reality.  When our present-moment awareness lapses, we can always come back to the breath -- hundreds of times in a single 45-minute "sit," for some of us!

Ho'oponopono sees our thoughts as simply "data" or "memories," which are laden on top of what we truly are.  They are internal programs which run on their own.  We can't help having them, yet we are responsible for them.  They can also absorb our attention and run us, if we let them.  We can choose instead to "clean" with these memories -- letting them go, and asking Divinity to transmute them into pure light.

There's a simple process for doing this, which we can use in every moment.  It's what Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len and many other wonderful Ho'oponopono teachers with IZI, LLC teach at Ho'oponopono seminars.

During the "Noble Silence" held at the retreat, I was able to clean with Ho'oponopono as much as humanly possible for me.  Normal conversation, after all, was eliminated.  Of course, there was plenty of inner conversation needing to be released!  I'm not running out of memories to clean anytime soon -- yet I did experience some times of exquisite inner quietness and peace.

Ho'oponopono and mindfulness tradition share certain qualities, including the gentle compassion held towards the body.   Ho'oponopono tradition holds that our bodies are like our inner child, and need care and concern.  They hold eons of memories and data, which may show up as physical pains, illness, and overall suffering.  In mindfulness meditation there are "body scans," where you gently and without judgment review whatever experiences are present in your body.  It's like asking your Unihipili (Hawaiian Inner Child part) to tell you what it's feeling -- resulting in a more tender connection as you listen and observe.  Since our relationship with our Inner Child is the most important relationship we can ever have, nurturing this through a body scan or mindful yoga feels just right to me.

I love both traditions for their humility, and their care for all living things.  The Lovingkindness meditations found in vipassana are somewhat similar in feeling to the generosity and lovingness of "aloha spirit."   Dr. Hew Len once told me that Aloha means "in the presence and breath of God."  Greeting each other this way is acknowledging the Divinity in both of us.

In endowing all things with a 3-part identity, Ho'oponopono shows reverence for the entire planet -- down to the tiniest being.  As I moved about the Angela Center's grounds on my walking meditations, there were roses, honeysuckle, redwoods, kitties, lotuses, irises, rhododendrons, and lovely grass to enjoy.  In the buildings I could clean with walls, chairs, water, doors, and beds.  The practices of vipassana and Ho'oponopono are universal, and join people together in love for all things.

With love and gratitude to Morrnah Simeona, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len,
Kamailelauli’I Rafaelovich, and all who have shown me the ways of Ho'oponopono. I carry these traditions wherever I go.  They have become my way of life.

Peace begins with me,