My presentation a few years ago on ho’oponopono is still the second most popular video I’ve ever posted. It was after my book, Zero Limits, and before the sequel, AT Zero. If you missed it, here it is again:
I received my private pilot’s license back in 1972.
It was an intense ten week program at Kent State University. I’d call it a “crash course” but that seems counter useful for a program on flying planes.
I was 18 years old, fresh out of high school, and in love with flying. I found the course to be the hardest thing I had ever done in my life till then, and for decades after.
I also had some scary moments, like the time I got lost.
I wasn’t yet a licensed pilot, but I was skilled enough to fly solo.
One day I mapped out a cross country solo flight. I got out my compass, maps, highlighter, checked the weather, and did all the manual things you had to do back in the days before instruments and apps.
I took off.
I remember it being a cool, clear day in Ohio.
I always found it meditative to be solo in a plane, high in the sky.
I enjoyed the peace and scenery.
I looked out the window, searching for a check point to confirm I was on my path. I looked around but couldn’t find it.
I don’t recall if it was a water tower or some other landmark. But not seeing my checkpoint made me wonder if I was on course.
I kept flying, looking for my second checkpoint.
I couldn’t find it, either.
Now I was getting concerned.
I looked at my folded map, verifying my route and the checkpoints. They were clearly on the map, but not anywhere in view from the cockpit.
So I decided to start looking for the signs.
I flew to the left, then to the right, then randomly in any direction that seemed promising.
Before long, I knew I was lost.
I’m a solo pilot, on an alone cross country flight, and I have no idea where I am.
I assume I was still in Ohio.
But Ohio isn’t as big as Texas. I may have flown into another state.
Part of our pilot training is to identify runways on the ground, even small ones that a farmer might have, or an abandoned road.
So I started looking for a place to land.
As my flying adventure continued, and my heart raced, I spotted a small runway and a small hanger.
I aimed toward it, got into the landing pattern, and landed.
I got out of the plane and walked to the hanger.
There was a small coffee shop inside. I still wasn’t drinking coffee back then, but I ordered a cup.
I acted like all was right with the world.
Then I decidedly to ask the person making my coffee an important question.
“Excuse me, but could you tell me where I am?”
I got her attention.
It was clear I was lost.
She helped me look at my map, explained I wasn’t too far from Kent State, and helped me reroute my way home.
I got back in the plane, took off, and headed back to my destination.
As soon as I landed, my flight instructor asked what happened.
I told him I had been lost.
He immediately ordered me back into the plane.
He wanted to retrace my steps and see what I did wrong.
Back in the air, I followed my original map.
I again looked at the window for my checkpoint.
But again I couldn’t find it.
My instructor took the wheel, titled the plane, and pointed out the window.
“You were right over the checkpoint!”
I was never lost at all.
I was right on my path, until I began to doubt and question myself.
My instructor explained that checkpoints have to be seen out the left or right side of the plane. You can’t see them if you are right on top of them.
I also learned that throughout my life, whenever I thought I was lost, I reminded myself that I was probably right on my path, only thinking I was lost.
Is there such a thing?
I went to a sleep study center recently. I needed to find out if I have sleep apnea. I don’t know the results yet, but I want to share this story of what happened while I was there.
It’s another miracle.
Tell me what you think…
The woman hooking me up with wires and sensors had an hour to kill, as she had that much set up to do, so she asked me what I did for a living.
“Lots of things,” I said. “I’m primarily an author.”
“What have you written?”
“I’ve written over 76 books,” I said.
“Good God! Tell me about one of them.”
I told her about Zero Limits.
I explained the story of Dr. Hew Len and how he helped heal an entire ward of mentally ill criminals with a Hawaiian healing method called ho’oponopono.
“What’s that?” she asked.
I explained it was a way to change outer reality by changing your inner perceptions of it.
“Are you saying that the therapist changed his perceptions and the inmates got better?”
“Bogus!” she blurted.
I was slightly surprised.
I’m not used to meeting people so instantly close minded.
“I’m a psychologist,” she said. “I only look at the brain and empirical evidence for what works.”
“Then you’ll love my book,” I said. “I coauthored it with the therapist, and I interviewed the staff that worked at the hospital with him.”
She shook her head.
“Do you believe the stuff you write?” she asked.
That was a stunner.
“Yes, of course! It would be the greatest crime in my life to write what I didn’t believe.”
“Well, it sounds bogus to me.”
I let it go.
I was there to have my sleep diagnosed, not get in an argument.
But then something miraculous happened.
Around 5 in the morning, I announced I couldn’t sleep anymore and she might as well return and unhook me from the test equipment.
She came out, moving slow, and I noticed she was red faced and struggling to breathe.
I asked if she were okay.
“I think I’m having a heart attack.”
I instantly perked up and sat up.
I still had wires all over me and electrodes on my head and face. But I was alert.
“I’ll call 911 right now,” I offered. “My phone is right here.”
“No, the hospital is right behind us.”
“Then I’ll walk you to the hospital. Just get this stuff off of me and we’ll go.”
“I still have two other patients to unhook,” she explained. “Then I can go.”
“Sit down here,” I said, patting the bed.
“Take your time. There’s no hurry.”
As she sat beside me, I began to practice the four phrases of basic ho’oponopono.
I repeated, I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me and thank you.
I didn’t say it out loud.
I just repeated it silently, as a mantra.
I noticed she seemed to relax.
Her breathing slowed.
She was still red faced and still anxious, but clearly more relaxed.
She started to remove the wires from my body.
As she did, I just kept practicing ho’oponopono.
When she was done, I told her I’d wait for her to finish the other two patients.
She left the room and I got dressed.
But even as I dressed, I continued saying the four phrases.
The other patients left.
I went out to the main area and saw her sitting at her desk, her head laying down like a student at school having recess.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” she said.
She was still struggling to breathe.
“I’m a cigarette smoker and haven’t had one in a while,” she confessed.
I waited and talked to her a bit.
Once I was confident she was truly stable, and that her supervisor would be coming in shortly, I left.
So, did ho’oponopono help her?
It helped me.
That’s the point.
Whenever you have something going on, do ho’oponopono on yourself.
As you relax into the miracle of now, you will feel better.
As you do, the outer may shift too.
But do it for you.
PS – I called a few days later to check on the nurse. She went on vacation. Maybe now she will truly relax. Maybe she’ll even read my books on ho’oponopono, Zero Limits and AT Zero. 🙂
My 93-year-old father was moving some old furniture around when he discovered a few long lost black and white photographs.
One of them was of me.
At the age of ten months.
I had never seen the photo before.
But as I stared at myself of almost 65 years ago, I saw a happy child.
My father told me, “Joe, you were one happy baby!”
Maybe I was.
But I certainly wasn’t happy shortly after growing up.
And I went through long periods of unhappiness as an adult, and as a struggling writer wanting to be a success.
What happened to that happy child?
What happened to that uninhibited smile?
Oh, it’s still here.
People can see the baby smile in my adult face today.
But where’d it go for so long?
My guess is, it never left.
And I’m guessing your original innocent smile is still in you someplace, too.
Lately I’ve been encouraging people to look for their very early baby pictures.
Not the ones where you are still in diapers, and not the ones where you are going off to school.
I want you to find the baby pictures where you are showing signs of awareness and your “original smile” is still on your face.
Get that photo and use it as a meditation.
Stare into the smile.
Let it expand from within yourself.
Feel the original innocence of bliss today.
Because it’s still there.
And if for some reason you can’t easily or quickly find an early photo of yourself smiling, then consider looking at my photo. Or someone else that makes you grin or giggle. Or draw or paint one.
The point is, that original smile is not lost.
It’s in you.
I used to teach a form of meditation where you imagined an inner smile within yourself. As you visualized it, it grew. Before long, you had an outer smile.
Your inner child is still within you.
And it is still smiling.
It’s time to find it again.
PS – I also believe there is something like an “original laugh,” too. That’s where you laugh without control or inhibition. Recently author-singer-TV celebrity Lisa Winston and I held a Facebook Live to discuss our forthcoming event, “Own the Stage.” We were so open and playful with each other that by the end of the broadcast, we were laughing so hard we were crying. Where is your original laugh? Where is your original smile? I urge you to look within and see…