Brian Rose of London Real interviewed me while I was in London. The following is a excerpt where we discuss the Hawaiian healing practice called Ho’oponopono and how you can use it to produce clarity and spiritual healing in your life.
Brian: Tell me about this Hawaiian practice that you go through. It involves, I believe repeating a set of four mantras in your mind. Tell me a bit about it because it’s interesting.
Oh, it’s fascinating. We need a lot more time to talk about it. I wrote two books about it, Zero Limits, and 10 years later, I wrote At Zero. This book has changed millions of lives. It’s the true story of a therapist who helped field an entire ward of mentally ill criminals by using this Hawaiian process called Ho’oponopono. Now, you don’t need to remember Ho’oponopono, but I’ll tell you how simple it is.
There’s four statements, and what the therapist was doing, he was working at a hospital for the mentally insane. These people were shackled and sedated because they were so dangerous. They were murderers, they were rapists, they were violent. The hospital couldn’t keep staff, it couldn’t keep doctors. In a desperate attempt to get a doctor on call, they found this Hawaiian therapist who said, “Well, I’ll go and I’ll be there as your therapist, and you’ll satisfy your state requirements, but I’m not going to do traditional therapy. I’m going to do Ho’oponopono.”
So he started doing Ho’oponopono, these four phrases, and as he did it, those patients got better. They didn’t have to be shackled. They didn’t have to be sedated. In a few months, they started to be released, being pronounced as healed and whole. In four years, that ward was closed. I researched this, I interviewed him, I wrote Zero Limits, which is the story about this. I did seminars with the therapist. And the four phrases are so simple. He is saying these four phrases inside himself to his connection to the universe, to God, to the divine, to Gaia, whatever you want to call that higher power, we all have different words. I call it the great mystery or the great something. And he’s saying inside himself, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.” And, “Thank you.” I love you.
I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. That’s all.
So what’s happening? When he was looking at the charts of these criminals, he’s looking at their charts, he’s not looking at the criminals. He’s looking at their charts, he’s feeling emotion. He’s feeling embarrassed, rage, anger, guilt, any number of different things. He wants to clear those emotions. It’s not trying to heal the patient. The patient is triggering emotions in him. So whatever’s being triggered in him, he’s feeling it, and he’s kind of talking to the divine, the universe, the great something, the great mystery. “Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you. I’m sorry.” It’s a shorthand petition or a prayer where he’s saying, “Please forgive me. I don’t know what part of me or my ancestors helped create this person, this belief system in them, it must be in me if I’m noticing it in them. I’m sorry for any part of my role in this.” Even though he wasn’t physically involved with any of it, he’s taking responsibility. “I’m sorry for any part of that. Thank you for healing this, for erasing this, for removing this. I love you for this healing, for this clearing, for my life, for this rejuvenation.”
As a result of saying those four phrases over, and over, and over again, those feelings in him disappeared. So he’s removing his beliefs, he’s removing his emotion, and getting back to that little spiritual vibe that I said earlier was going through him. As a result of him getting to peace, the patients responded to it and got better. Now, let’s take this by extension. For everybody that’s watching this, for you and me, I have heard from tens of thousands of people who have used these four statements for money problems, relationship problems, health problems, animal problems, employer problems, business problems, world problems, everything. Everything.
And what’s happening is there’s a couple fundamental concepts. One is you have to accept total responsibility for whatever you’re noticing. So if you don’t like whoever is in the political party right now and you’re blaming them for everything, not in Ho’oponopono. In Ho’oponopono, you have to look within yourself and say, “Some part of me helped create this, and if I don’t like it, I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you. Please heal it, please clear it, please remove it.”
You do this for whatever is surfacing in your life. You’ve got a relationship problem, somebody at work, an employer or employee, health problem, anything like that, you notice that you’re noticing it. The therapist used to say, “Have you ever noticed that when there’s a problem, you are there?” Meaning, you’re the common denominator. You are participating in this problem unknowingly. So you take responsibility for it even not knowing how you are responsible in whatever crazy way.
So you take responsibility like, “Okay, I see that I’m not getting along with my sister, but it’s not my sister, it’s my perception of my sister. The problem is over here.” The sister is a trigger. The trigger is here in me. It all goes back to everything we’ve been talking about, it’s all inside, and it’s coming from a belief. One way to change that belief, that perception is with Ho’oponopono. I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. Saying it to the divine, the great something, the great mystery until that dissolves.
Brian: Okay, so say I see President Trump acting out in a way that bothers me, right?
I’m sure this happens to a lot of people, right?
Brian: Right. Yeah.
And maybe in some ways that they like as well, but again, people always say, when you see something in someone else, it’s a reflection of that thing inside of you that you don’t like. Nobody wants to hear that, Joe.
Okay. So say in this case, I see him, I don’t know, whatever, separating migrant families. So first of all, those four mantras, one of them shows me that maybe I am somehow part of this whole occurrence. Somehow there’s something in me that might have contributed to this behavior, or the lack of action in me, or whatever it is, so I have to take ownership of that. And is that through one of those phrases?
Through all four of those phrases.
Through all four of those phrases. So when I’m saying-
I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
I love you, I’m saying I love you to the world, to Trump, to the situation?
I say it to the great something. In other words, I’m saying thank you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, and I love you to the great something. I am not speaking to another person, and I never say them out loud. I would never say them to you. If I had a problem with you, I wouldn’t be saying it directly to you. I wouldn’t walk up to you and say, “Hey, I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you.” You would have no clue what I was doing. It would be internal because I would go, “Oh, if I have a problem with him,” which could be Trump, it could be anybody. “If I have a problem with anybody out there, the problem is in me.” It’s my perception that is causing me pain. I clean my perception and the outer will get better.
Brian Rose of London Real interviewed me while I was in London. The following is a excerpt where we discuss the Law of Attraction and I talk about three action steps you can take to create change in your life.
Brian: What can people know, right now, or learn from you, right now, about this concept of this Law of Attraction, as far as what you think about and what you really concentrate ends up what you bring into your life? I mean, what are some basic elements of that? I’ve heard you talk about this in detail, but I still think most people don’t know how to actually practice it.
Yeah. The very first the step is you have to become aware of your current thinking. Most people don’t realize that their thoughts are in the toilet, that their listening to themselves say negative things about 70,000 times a day.
70,000. There are some research studies that are showing its higher than that.
The other thing that’s more startling is that they’re mostly repetition. They’re the same thoughts. They are things like, “I’m not good enough. It’s not gonna work out. This stuff works for other people. Works for Joe Vitale, but it doesn’t work for me. Works for people in The Secret, but it doesn’t work for me.” They wanna do things, but they think, “The economy’s wrong. The President’s wrong. The timing is wrong. I don’t have enough education. I don’t have enough experience.” All of these kinds of negative thoughts keep people shut down. They don’t go for their dreams, they react to life, they kinda crawl through life with no enthusiasm, no sort of energy and no belief in themselves or the possibilities of something better.
What the Law of Attraction is teaching people is that you have a choice. You can change your thinking. One way to look at this is that the thoughts you’re having right now are primarily negative, so that’s the first thing to notice, your thought are primarily negative.
The second one is you’re not your thoughts, you’re separate from your thoughts. This is massive Earth-shaking news, if somebody’s hearing it for the very first time. There’ve been books that are called You Are Not Your Mind, You Are Not Your Brain. What they’re saying is these thoughts that we’re having, we’re having them. We’re not them. If we can detach enough to go, “Oh, here comes that ‘I’m not good enough,’ thought, again,” and let it go by; we’re one step removed from it. Now, we’ve clipped off that energy that was causing us to feel bad because of that thought. That’s the second step is to become aware that I’m not my thoughts.
Third step is to start to generate what you do want to think. This is where things like affirmations, positive thinking, positive statements. Instead of saying I’m not good enough, begin to say I am good enough. Begin to say this can work out for me. If this material has worked for other people, why can’t it work for me, too? I’m human. They’re human. You can start to rebuild your software of the mind, if you want, if you will. These are all elements.
Then, we can get into details, like what you’re going to tend to bring into your life are things that you think about a lot. Most people think about the things they’re afraid of, the things that they’re worried about. I tell people, “Why don’t you start thinking about the things you love, the things you’re passionate about? You’re gonna go in a new direction. You’ll be happier, you’ll be healthier, you’re gonna have better momentum, better enthusiasms, so the repetition of that is gonna be a big thing.
Emotion, going with those feelings of passion, is going to fuel you to go into a direction that you prefer. Actually having an image, and the image could be a graphical representation of what you want. It could be a house, it could be a car, it could be a job, it could be a pile of money, it could be spiritual awakening, whatever you can do because the brain, the reticular activating system in the brain, responds to repetition, imagery and emotion.
All of this is in the direction of … it’s like a condensed course in how to redirect your life by becoming aware that you’re not your thoughts. Those negative thoughts you can let them go, you can start to create new thoughts, you can actually aim where you wanna go by choosing what you want, getting an image of what you want, fueling it with passion and love. Then, you can start to create it, almost organically and automatically.
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…