Ho’oponopono a Beautiful Process for Becoming Heart Centred

Adapted with permission from Energetic Protection by David Corby

Ho’oponopono is a Hawaiian term meaning mental cleansing. This is one of my favourite exercises that I do during most sessions. It is simple but profound. The process is adapted from one that was developed by Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, a Hawaiian Kahuna Lapa’au. One of the great things about this exercise is that it helps us learn from the people we come in contact with and act from love.

The concept was initially developed to help people resolve conflicts by transforming them into love. This is done by one of the people owning their part of the conflict, recognising what issues they bring to the argument, and then resolving the issues by forgiving themselves and sending love.

When people come together socially or professionally the result reflects both people – their energy, personality and unresolved issues. When one person makes a change it affects the other person.

In some approaches to healing, all that is required to facilitate healing is for the practitioner to get into a good healing space. In these types of modalities it is recognised that the practitioner and client’s energy is connected and that when the practitioner acts from an authentic, centred, empty space the healing is much more effective.

I think this is true. I often feel that during a session an energy is created that builds through the session until it is released with the treatment. When I am really centred I can feel the release begin – the healing begin – before I have even begun the treatment. For example, the client may already look like they are falling asleep as they hop onto the massage table, before I have even touched their body. It seems to me that it is the creation of this energy and the holding of it that symbolises the facilitation process. It is like the practitioner creates an energetic space on which practitioner and client meet, connect and heal.

The same is true at home or in social situations. The Ho’oponopono process can be used where we are at conflict with another person, reminding us that it is ourselves as well as the person that has something to learn from the experience, and that by one healing, the other is also helped to heal.

There are four steps to the process that I use. They involve taking responsibility for issues that I share with the person I am focussing on or my client, asking forgiveness, clearing these issues with love, and being thankful.

I generally do not get overly enthusiastic about self help processes. This is one though that I have found works very well and clients have also reported works well for them. I think it works well because it creates the right frame of mind – you start with self-responsibility and then replace stress with love. Any process that makes us more heart centred will ultimately be to our benefit.

The Ho’oponopono Process

There are four steps to the process. These steps are done within your own mind and does not require interaction with the other person.

Step1 – take responsibility

The first step is to recognise that the people we come across and the situations that we confront provide opportunities for understanding ourself better. It seems that people with certain issues seem to attract situations or other people that have something in common with that. For example, I used to feel numb to my emotions. After having kinesiology sessions on this issue I feel much more connected to my heart. Having had that experience I seem to attract a lot of clients with similar issues. So the first question to ask is:

‘What issue do I have that would make me feel/ act that way (the way the other person is)?’

I recognise that all humans share common issues. I work from the premise that the other person only enters my life if I share something with them. I ask myself what issues do I have that would make me feel like they do? I am not trying to work out from their perspective why they feel the way they do. This is my own internal process where I think about what issues that I have that would make me feel like they do.

For example, if someone comes into my clinic that has suffered a trauma and is feeling anxious and victimised, I ask myself what is it about me that would make me feel anxious and victimised. It may be for example that I feel unable to trust my instincts and thus am anxious about the future. I may not actually ever feel anxious like the client does, but I can see that my inability to trust my instincts is something that could me feel like the client does.

Taking responsibility is one of the most important steps for a person to take to engender ‘self empowerment’. Instead of blaming others or external circumstances a person needs to find what it is about themselves that has contributed to their condition and by doing so take control of their condition. Step 1 turns that notion on its head and has you apply the same approach to yourself. Instead of seeing the other person as unrelated to yourself you instead look inward to see what unresolved issues you hold in common with the other person.

You may feel that with some people there is nothing that you share in common and you would not feel the way they do. I have found that when I remain open and honest with myself that I can find something from any person that reminds me of an unresolved issue for me.

The reason why we take this step is that, by recognising and then processing unresolved issues that we share with a client, we put ourselves in the best possible space to help the client. The theory is that also by clearing our stress we help the client clear their own.

Step 2 – ask forgiveness

I say: ‘Please forgive me’.

In this step I ask forgiveness of God or of spirit, not because I need to be forgiven, but because I need to forgive myself. God or spirit here represents my innate essence or deepest self. Asking forgiveness is a way of opening up to forgiving myself.

For a long time I did not understand the connection between God/spirit and myself. I was upset with God when someone I was close to died. I asked, as many people have done, why did God not look after those I loved. What I did not understand at the time was that by being upset with God I also disconnected from my own essence. In our heart or essence, when we are in the Gestalt brain, we only understand connection. That is connection to all things, the world, the universe, spirit or God. When we are upset with spirit we create an internal disharmony as well. For many years I did not understand this. It was only when I began forgiving God/spirit that I began to forgive myself and connect better inside.

So this step is about remaining whole, connected, at one with ourself. We do that by asking forgiveness of God or spirit. If you believe in neither, perhaps ask forgiveness of your inner self.

Step 3 – send love

I now visualise sending love to God/ spirit, to myself and to my client. It is amazing when you do this often, how it changes the way you feel. Even just visualising sending love changes your state of mind. It is a wonderful feeling to send love; it is grounding and it clears the mind. It also changes the energy between me and the other person.

Step 4 – thank you

This step is a simple thank you to God/spirit and the other person for helping me with this issue.

Ho’oponono Uses

There are many ways that this four step process can be used. Sometimes I teach it to clients to use at home to help them feel better about themselves, another person or a particular situation.

Where they want to feel better about another person, perhaps someone they are in conflict with, they apply the process as outlined above, thinking of what would make them behave as the other person does. Or alternatively they can think of why the other person affects how they feel. This will give them an insight into what it is that they require from the other person. For example, if the other person makes them feel unloved then they would recognise that this means that they do not love themself, and that is why they require love from others. They would then ask for forgiveness for not loving themselves. They then send love to God/spirit, to themselves and to the other person.

Where they want to feel better about a situation, for example a lack of money, they apply this process as above. In Step 1 they would consider what issues money brings up in themself. Maybe it is their need to be in control that is triggered by their lack of money. They then ask for forgiveness and in Step 3 they send love to God, themself and money.

The Ho’oponopono process can also be applied to a room or space to clear the energy of the space. I sometimes do this when I am teaching or in clinic to clear the energy of the space and replace it with love. When doing this I imagine how the room or space feels, imagine what would make me feel that way and then apply the process. For example, I may think to myself that the room feels neglected because it is never appreciated by those working in it. I then need to recognise what issues I have that would lead me to feeling neglected, ask forgiveness and then send love. It is amazing how different the space feels after doing this.


David Corby is CEO of the College of Complementary Medicine, teacher of holistic kinesiology and mind body medicine and published author of ‘Finding Joy Within’, ‘Energetic Protection’, ‘Neuropressure’ and numerous accredited courses. David is a registered Acupuncturist, a mind body practitioner and holistic kinesiologist. A world renowned lecturer who teaches in Australia and overseas.