Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ho'oponopono: Place of Refuge, Way of Forgiveness, and Process for Peace

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau: Place of Refuge

I've just returned from the Big Island of Hawaii, where I had the good fortune to attend IZI LLC's Self-Identity through Ho'oponopono Basic II seminar.  It felt very important to me to be there, since they have not offered this class in many years.

I always learn deeply from Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, both through his words and example.   He shared many aspects that were new to me, such as soul restoration and additional ways to clean.  And yet, the primary reason to be there did not seem to be gaining "information."  Instead, it seemed to be the process of cleaning itself, especially for the land we were on.   


Over the 2 days, he asked multiple people to speak.  When he came to me, I had no words . . . just a feeling of absolute stillness and peace.  Having come through a challenging last few months, this was a great relief for me!  I tried my best to express it, and hope it came through.  

What was happening for me most of all was the feeling of communion with the wind, water, birds, plants, flowers, and earth.  I found myself wandering out to the grass, walking on it gently in bare feet and saying "thank you."   I know this sounds strange.  Fly all that way to go talk with the land?  It happened.

There were whales, too.  Spouting, spy-hopping, flipper-flapping humpback whales, doing what they've done for eons.  It filled me with such love I cannot describe.  On top of it, a full moon by the gently lapping sea.  I still feel the breeze, and hear the waves.

What I want to say about Ho'oponopono for me, is that it is not about getting more wealth, happiness, relationships, jobs, or business.  It may well pave the way for these things, and many people focus on them in speaking about Ho'oponopono.  Yet these attributes are not its main purpose.

For me, Ho'oponopono is a process between my triune self and my Creator.  It's about communion, being who I truly am, and letting go of all the stuff I've accumulated that is not really me.  It's about humility and gratitude for being alive in this time, able to make amends for all my impatience, errors, judgments, and opinions about the way I think things "should" be. 

I don't mean becoming passive or hopeless.  I mean embracing the full catastrophe of life, as Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD has written.  It means responding as best I can in each moment -- in my Ho'oponopono cleaning and in peace, allowing Divine Inspiration to come through.  There are many ways to live in peace; Ho'oponopono is this for me.  It is a guide for living life.  Somehow, joy seems to be coming naturally all on its own as I practice.


Perhaps we humans need to be enticed into such a practice at first, with hopes of what it can bring us.  Some books, products, and seminars about Ho'oponopono are advertised this way.  One example is Joe Vitale, who has helped publicize Ho'oponopono widely.  I met many people at the seminar who live in the Islands, yet had not even heard of Ho'oponopono until reading Vitale's (and Dr. Hew Len's) book, "Zero Limits."  

I am grateful, even though my first learning about Ho'oponopono came through Victoria Shook's book using it for conflict resolution in groups.  So even I had needed a "why". 

While on the Big Island, I wanted to visit a place that's special to me: Pu'uhonua O Honaunau, the Place of Refuge.  In ancient times, Hawaiians who broke kapu laws were punished by death.   But if one could could escape his or her pursuers and reach the nearest Pu'uhonua, s/he could be saved.  A large wall divides the Place of Refuge from the Royal Grounds; the bones of chiefs buried there give it mana, or power.  It is a very peaceful place to me, even though there was certainly conflict and pain on the land at one time.

I asked a woman concierge at the hotel how long it might take us to drive to Honaunau?  She immediately asked, "Why would you want to go there?"  I smiled and said, "For me it is a place of forgiveness and peace."  She calmed and answered, "50 minutes."  Her question surprised me, but maybe I surprised her by not being more interested in the shops at Waikoloa.  :-)


If only it took 50 minutes for any of us these days to reach a place of refuge and peace, would the trip not be worth it?  Perhaps this also is what Ho'oponopono is to me.  Thank you Dr. Hew Len, Joe Vitale, Mabel Katz, and all who are cleaning in this way.  Thank you especially to Morrnah Simeona, the kahuna who simplified these processes so that many more of us can use them.

Peace begins with me,
Pam