Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ho'oponopono: A Chance to Un-do Our Collective Karmic Stew

Timothy Freke's book, Shamanic Wisdomkeepers, contains a very valuable interview with Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. In it he discusses Hawaiian tradition and ways of understanding the world.

Ho'oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian process of repentance, forgiveness, and transmutation that allows us to relate directly with the Light, or Divinity, that created us. No clergy, gurus, or other intermediaries are required.

In one sense, this gives us great power to solve (or release) our own seeming problems, since it's all between us and Divinity anyway.

At the same time, all of us are interconnected -- and we share a collective stew of "stuff". So although we can take 100% responsibility for our perceptions and experiences and work with Divinity to clear our erroneous memories, we also profoundly affect each other.

What about these erroneous memories? How do they arise?

"For the Hawaiians it's very simple," explains Dr. Hew Len. "In the beginning you were created perfect. Do you know what it means to be perfect? Perfect means that the very thought of you by the Light was Light. Because you were a reflection of the Light you were perfect.

When you were this perfect being you were free. That's what love is. Love is to be free. You were born free and at that moment the Light said to you: 'I love you. And because I love you, you can stay with me or you can go.' Because that's what love is -- no attachment. You were able to choose to be this or be that. And you chose, like me, to be 'that.' That's how it all started. And so, for whatever reason, you and Haleakala decided to go and move out of the Light. This has happened over more lifetimes than all the stars in the heavens. This is why we're loaded. We're ill. We get confused. We're in chaos all the time."

He goes further.

"People ask: 'What is the basis of life? The scientists say it is DNA. For the Divinity the three aspects of your self is the essence of life. This 'Inner Family' is the key. Out of the Light comes the spiritual superconscious part of your being. It is always in connection with the Light. Why? Because it's perfect. At the next level is the mental part. The thinking part. What psychologists call 'conscious mind.' This is the part which manages. That can make choices. This is the important part because it can make the choice to be nurturing as opposed to being stuck in the intellect. And then there is the subsconscious or the child. In this child is all the thought forms and all the memories. So when someone gets sad or angry it's just a repeat of something that has happened before.

The only problem with human beings is that they are arrogant, because that's what thinking is. Thinking is in essence 'I know.' Wisdom is being in the void. To be thoughtless.

Only by being in the void can the Light come through. As long as I have something going on in my mind the Light can't come through. The light can only come in when the mind is cleared -- in a state of silence.

The intellect is always trying to take a position and say: 'Here's what I am.' It can't help it. But you really don't know. The intellect just talks a good story. But does it produce results? I'm results oriented. The intellect has a magical ability to dance you. You get impressed. But you have to ask a very fundamental question. 'Show me! Give me results!' You can choose to be 'right' or be peaceful. Being 'right' always leads to suffering."

Ho'oponopono is about rectifying these errors that have built up over eons, since we as arrogant humans decided to move away from the Light.

"The central point in Ho'oponopono," says Dr. Hew Len, "is that all of the problems, stresses, and diseases that one experiences begin as replays of old negative emotional memories. Being residents of the cosmos, we all share in a common pool of old negative memories. Using the cleansing process of Ho'oponopono, one is able to petition the Light within to transmute old woes and replace them with divine peace. The key to the beginning of the cleansing process is self introspection. The question to be asked is: 'What is going on inside of me that is manifesting the problems?'

If I'm angry that anger will manifest as cancer or something. If I want that cancer to go, all I have to do is shift my thought. And the way I do it is through a process of saying: 'I'm sorry. Forgive me for whatever is going on inside me that causes me to perceive that which is not working for anyone.' Once I say 'I'm sorry, please forgive me,' then the Light will actually shift that thought-form. Only the Light can do that. It will take anger and purify it and neutralize it. Then it will release it and there is nothing left there. The anger will disappear. And then it does something extra. Once there is release and an emptiness, the Light will then put in what is right for you.

Ho'oponopono is a path of repentance and forgiveness. Before I can be forgiven I have to be repentful. You don't find too many people around here being repentful, because the opposite of repentance is blame. The opposite of being repentful and forgiving is not being 100% responsible. And without that I cannot make this cancer disappear. This is a manifestation of my thought. But if I shift my thought and allow it to be transmuted into Light, this thing will go. And when this thing goes, some new creation will come in. Through just being responsible the Light immediately gives you what you need and you'll be inspired."

In Hawaiian and many other indigenous shamanic traditions, all of life is interconnected. Through Ho'oponopono we can heal ourselves -- but this activity also benefits others too.

Says Dr. Hew Len,

"We all have to move together. If you don't move, I can't move. If you don't go home, I can't go home. If you're not in the Light, I can't be in the Light. It's all for one and one for all. I can either go home with all of you, or I can't go home at all. It can't be done individually. But individual responsibility is important because it begins the process.

You are in me and I am within you. You and I share all the common memories since the beginning of creation. Why is that so? Because we are like everything in a pot of stew. We can't escape each other. If someone calls me with a hip problem, I know it's caused by a memory. Because I share a common memory with that person, when I do this process called Ho'oponopono the memory will be transmuted."

You never know what the Light will give you to do. The Light may say: 'OK the game's over.' I'm not here for the next lifetime. I'm here to get it over with. I see life as a process of being responsible and constantly cleaning away 'errors.' And then man is able to evolve along with Mother Earth, the planets, a speck of dust, your shoes, this jacket -- everything moves. I don't see myself as a kahuna. I see myself as a garbage collector. I'm only here to be responsible and it's often very hard to do that."

The chapter includes a Ho'oponopono cleaning tool that I have found extremely helpful: Mahiki -- the Indigo Bowl. It and many other tools are shared at Ho'oponopono training seminars, scheduled on the Foundation of I website.


The method called the "Indigo Bowl" can help solve problems of any kind. It is best performed twice a week before retiring at night. Imagine placing all of your problems -- to do with your self, your family, friends, ancestors, cars, pets, animate or inanimate things -- into an indigo bowl, which is suspended over the center of the crater of the Haleakala volcano in Hawaii. Allow whatever you have placed in the bowl to turn from indigo to ice blue, and finally to white. Then the Divinity will finish the treatment and the situation will change.

Thank you, Timothy Freke for your wonderful interview -- of which this is only a part. And thank you again, Dr. Hew Len, for sharing your wisdom with us. To me, you're a gem among "garbage collectors". :-)

Peace Begins with Me,

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When Helping Hurts, and Ho'oponopono Sets Me Straight

An Ancient Chinese Fable
"A monkey and a fish were caught in a terrible flood and were being swept downsteam amidst torrents of water and debris. The monkey spied a branch from an overhanging tree, and pulled himself to safety from the swirling water.

Then, wanting to help his friend the fish, he reached into the water and pulled the fish from the water onto the branch.

The moral of the story is clear: Good intentions are not enough. If you want to help the fish, you must understand its nature."
Many of us struggle with urges to "help" our family, friends, and others. If we work in healthcare, this is part of our everyday life. We think we're doing what's best for others.

It's not that altruism is inherently wrong, but it can be confused with so many other things.

Also, like the Chinese fable above, our conscious minds are clueless about the others' true natures. We interpret these according to our own skewed perceptions, rather than as they are.

People are driven into healing professions by all kinds of things, any of which may conflict with the needs of the person seeking "help". If this is so, we're at risk of yanking perfectly good fish out of the water that gives them life. We mistakenly think we're rescuing them.

Heroics are needed at times (massive trauma, strokes, heart attacks, etc), but most of the time they're not. Most situations call for allowing the person's own healing resources to materialize and consolidate. They usually have more than we realize. We're more likely to be in such a place with others when we're listening and cleaning, than when we're rushing around trying to decide what they need.

Doctors can help support whatever in the patient temporarily seems to need this. But healing itself is God's work. Dr. Hew Len has told me that there are really no illnesses, only memories showing up for release. Patients bring endless opportunities to clean, that's all.

This could certainly be so, yet I'm unevolved enough that seemingly ill people show up around me. So, I have cleaning to do as I work with whatever in me attracts them. Hopefully I can be calm enough to clean as they share their suffering, rather than get swept up or lost in drama. Hopefully in this peaceful space, Inspiration can come.

"People aren't there because they need you," says Dr. Hew Len. "What they need is God. Are you going to stand in the way?"

For me, that puts it in a nutshell -- just like the Chinese fable above. To recognize I am clueless, yet to also be unafraid to act when it seems through cleaning to be correct, is hard for me. I do the best I can, and take another step along the path.

Peace Begins with Me,

Friday, March 20, 2009

Making Friends with My Inner "Pigpen"

Do you remember Pigpen, from the comic strip Peanuts?

He was the kid who always had dirty stuff flying around him, like a constant dusty haze. Although he never seemed bothered by it, the other kids (and even Snoopy!) were clean and shiny by comparison.

This comes to mind when I consider what my own aura must look like to those who can see. Lots to clean there, after all. :-)

Today I found an old saying that brought me back to grade school: "I'm rubber, you're glue; everything bounces off me and sticks to you." There were kids in my class who would say this often, even when the "problem" was clearly with them! (at least as I saw it.)

Perhaps many adults live by this too -- it's a slick way of deflecting the blame for anything that happens onto others, so that we don't look like "Pigpen". Instead we're more like Teflon that way.

Ho'oponopono is quite different from this, because the first step is to take 100% responsibility for whatever shows up in our lives -- no matter what it is. My friend Jimmy Piver says it succinctly: "If you see it, you've got it." (Thanks, Jimmy.)

So once we know we've "got it" (by virtue of having noticed it), then we can set about our cleaning. We can say "Wow, Divine Creator! I didn't know I had that! Thank you, I love you" even when life feels like it's slapping us upside the head.

My family has been dealing with an alcoholic member for years, and more intensely in the last several months. We're seeing how we're all a part of what goes on -- except, that is, for the person doing the overt drinking and raising other kinds of ruckus.

For me, this has been an amazing opportunity to walk the path of 100% responsibility, even when it "looks" like someone else has the disease, not me.

This is a little challenging, in that people with alcoholic families often have built-in trouble with our boundaries. We tend to take care of other people's business rather than our own. We can get so wound up about other people's seeming "problems", we forget to inhabit our own lives.

This is, of course, textbook co-dependency. And it can be mighty draining.

Now, if Ho'oponopono says "the problem" is all in us and our memory-skewed perceptions, how do we differentiate whose business is whose? How do we let go of "the alcoholic's" problem and tend to our own stuff? Do we tell the alcoholic s/he "should" go to AA, or "should" clean with Ho'oponopono?

Do we lecture, cajole, beg?

No. None of that. Moment by moment we clean with our own responses, whatever they are -- recognizing that "Pigpen" is in all of us, not only some of us. Telling others what they "should" do is the opposite of Ho'oponopono, which encourages us to sweep our own front porch rather than running over to someone else's.

I'm finding that my own messes keep me plenty busy, believe me. Lately there are some birds who like to perch above my entryway, leaving daily evidence of their presence. I've been sweeping, but couldn't figure out why all the bird poop was collecting at my place.

At the same time, I had been in a kind of verbal struggle with these family members, feeling frustrated and upset. After all, I wanted them to want to heal -- as if I can personally push the tide. Yeah, right.

One had sent what appeared to be a written "mea culpa" statement, but it was potentized with crazy-making meta-messages. In other words: "I'm rubber, you're glue -- everything bounces off me and sticks to you". With this, I was feeling pretty "bent".

But this was not to continue, thank heavens. In the wee hours this morning I "got" the message. Those birds are showing me my own personal "Pigpen" layer of stuff to clean, and where I need to direct my efforts. My very own front porch, not anyone else's. Perfect.

So I wrote back, saying I would be tending my own business from now on. It felt like a ton of bricks fell off my shoulders.

Wow, Divinity. I didn't realize I even had that. Thank you, thank you -- including for sending that bird poop.

Peace Begins with Me,

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Of Cuckoos and Ho'oponopono Cleaning

A roadrunner similar to the one above visits my backyard regularly. He's persistent and hilarious, knocking on my sliding glass door with his beak! Within days of my moving into this house, he was my first official greeter.

Strutting back and forth on the patio, he catches my eye and seems to be asking me to come outside. So I do, and then he leaps up to the fence between my yard and the desert. He perches there, fluffing up his chest feathers and making gutteral noises before fluttering on his way.

Roadrunners are in the "cuckoo" family, and their gait can be somewhat clown-like. My friend reminds me to laugh, and not take myself so seriously! Yet they're also so agile and quick that they can prey upon rattlesnakes. I've not seen him eating any in my yard, but maybe he has and I've missed it.

It's a wonder to have a being like this in my life; why should he be coming to me? I looked for possibilities in my animal totem books.

Several sources say that Roadrunner teaches the qualities of mental sharpness, quick thinking, and fast responses -- knowing when to strike efficiently with timing and precision. Those with this medicine are highly intelligent (!), thinking quickly on their feet. My little guy has the most expressive crest and tail, along with shiny dark eyes. I often wonder what's going through his bird-brain?

Now in Ho'oponopono, our "thinking" and intellectualism can get us in trouble -- and we're reminded to be careful of this. Our conscious mind, or intellect, is said to have 3 functions only:
  • caring for the inner child
  • initiating cleaning
  • letting go of whatever problems seem to be showing up
With this, one could get suspicious of one's ability to think at all . . . except when Love is in charge.

My agile-minded roadrunner friend reminds me not only to laugh, but also to value moving quickly with Inspiration. Modeling him, I can let Divinity direct me rather than obstipate endlessly over possible outcomes.

Cleaning is the key -- and is preparation for all activity. Thinking too much can make you trip over your own feet! Compared to those of humans, the roadrunner's feet are relatively big -- yet they work perfectly for him.

Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len wrote a poem called "Unfolding" in February 1999, that puts Thinking in its place:


Cleaning allows the situation to unfold naturally, without effort or suffering.
As the errors are moved to love through cleaning, the situation is allowed to unfold divinely, perfectly.
And this is so with any relationship or situation in our lives, no matter what it might be.

Handling the situation by thinking causes chaos and confusion.
First of all thinking deals only with effects, what is perceived, not causes as cleaning does.
Thinking comes from "I know" yet only love knows, really.
Thinking looks outside self.
Cleaning works inside self where the memories are that cause our problems, disease, death.

Thinking is about being right, about taking positions, about making your point.
Cleaning is about bringing peace into a situation, peace beyond all understanding, followed by perfect and right solutions.
Thinking is aggressive, telling the other person what is so.
Cleaning is about love, about allowing love to transmute memories to love.
And it does it lovingly.
Cleaning is about creating a peaceful and wonderful relationship wiht love and everyone and everything.

Thinking pits the individual against others.
Cleaning is about peace beyond all understanding.
Thinking is about trying to understand the nature of things, which is beyond the intellect's ability to do so.
Thinking leads to ever changing knowledge. Cleaning is the way to love, to salvation, and to freedom." ~IHHL

I love my feathered pal, and know he's part of this beautiful desert that's so much larger than me. He's part of the rhythm of life here, and helps me both appreciate and yet let go of my intellect. My mind works quickly, and sees apparent connections . . . yet its interpretations can be wrong. Just when my intellect is bemoaning this or that, my neighborly cuckoo-bird comes knocking on my door!

Is he making fun of me? Or is he simply reminding me to clean? Maybe both -- exactly when I need them. Through his chortling ministrations I can let go of my mental obstipation. Better to be a little "cuckoo" than "kukai pa'a" [mentally 'stuck'], after all!

Peace Begins with Me,

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ho'oponopono Cleaning: How Does Your Garden Grow?

"Flowers are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul."
~Luther Burbank, horticulturalist (1849 - 1926)

Although many places still have snow, it's spring here in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. Our currently blooming wildflowers -- such as penstemon, chuparosa, fairy duster, lupine, and creosote -- are delighting all the hummingbirds, insects, and humans who live here.

The double yellow hibiscus above is not a native Arizona wildflower, but happens to be a Ho'oponopono cleaning tool. Growing this plant, looking at its photo, or simply thinking of it invokes the Ho'oponopono cleaning process in a simple and lovely way. Seeing it makes me smile.

The double yellow hibiscus is said to represent God consciousness, and the spiritual essence of gold. What a perfect tool when people are fearful about their wealth, and ability to support themselves and their families!

As the plant blooms, its flowers are to be allowed to fall to the ground where they can sustain and enliven Mother Earth.

How many of us think that way, these days? Do we hoard what we have, or circulate it freely? Do we even think of nourishing the earth on which we all depend?

If you're a gardener, you might. Nature teaches many things through such partnerships.

Today I took lessons in my yard -- hoeing, weeding, and conversing with the hummingbirds who darted all around me. I was gently trimming the red pineapple sage they love so much; the birds seemed to approve. The trimming makes for more flowers, sweet and succulent for their enjoyment.

While working, I blessed the plants with "ice blue" (a good tool for soothing. It helps for humans too.) Then I worked in a combination of fresh soil and compost, all the better to grow with.

Also it was time to plant tomatoes, peppers, dill, and more lettuce. But first, surprises greeted me: new volunteers of basil and lemon balm peeped up from the soil! Nature has been busy; the spirit of Life springs forth when we're not even looking -- or trying to control things.

This is a timely lesson for me.

Perhaps the act of planting is truly an act of faith. Do we really trust that our tomatoes will know what to do when we put them in the ground? Or, do we need to keep pulling them up to see if they're growing roots yet?

Do we need to keep our gardens spotless, or can the compost of life really nourish more growth? Can we simply accept what is, and make use of it? Can we be grateful for what shows up, even if it seems in the "wrong" place?

So many possibilities, in a little planting bed . . . it's like Ho'oponopono in action for me. My hands love working the soil, and I love feeling and smelling the plants. My heart needs to feel God's presence; thank heavens this comes in so many ways.

Double Yellow Hibiscus seems the embodiment of trust and renewal to me. Early Girl tomatoes just might work too. :-)

Peace Begins with Me,