Ho’oponopono Meditation: 4 Steps of Self-Healing

Nov 19, 2019

We discussed Ho’oponopono technique once before in these pages. We will do that again, deeper this time, because there has been great interest in this beautiful process of self-discovery and healing.

Ho‘oponopono means ‘to make it right’. Ho in Hawaiian is ‘to make’ and pono is ‘right’. You make it right, right!

Ho’oponopono is not a self-serving process. It is a process that serves others. It also heals oneself. It is about forgiving oneself for one’s trespasses, in which process others may also be forgiven. It is an integrated process of the concepts of Buddhist compassion, Hindu self-awareness, Christian ‘seeking forgiveness’ and the Islamic connectedness. It frees the energy of the afflictions of our mind and body expanding us into a space that relieves and allows us to relive.

Ho’oponopono meditation essentially has four steps, each a process by itself. These are:

  • Taking responsibility
  • Forgiving Self & Others and seeking forgiveness
  • Gratitude
  • Love

1. Taking Responsibility

I often hear people talk about repentance as the first step in Ho’oponopono meditation. Repentance is not a positive step. Religious confessions are about repentance, people sinning, seeking redemption through repentance, and then sinning again. Repentance doesn’t reform. It only leads to guilt.

On the other hand, self-awareness is about realizing what one did wrongly, reflecting upon it, taking responsibility for it irrespective of whether one considers it one’s fault or not, and acting upon that reflection, at least not to repeat that again, and where possible, set it right.

In this process, as Dr. Hew Len did with his patients, one can take responsibility for situations one had nothing to do with. It is about being a part of the universe and its collective consciousness, saying I, as part of the whole am responsible for all that happens.

In my own experience, when I started taking responsibility to help others with negative experiences some others were experiencing, awareness of many grudges I was holding came up. I became conscious of deeply hidden traumas of the past whose memories I was still holding with feelings of guilt, anger, frustration, revenge, envy, and multiple other negative energies.

I allowed sensations of these memories to come up within me. I looked at each carefully. I labeled them. With the help of the meditation I describe below, I let them go. I repeated the process until the memories were really gone. I then moved to the other three processes of Ho’oponopono. Wonderfully, magically, I felt better and so did the people for whom I underwent this process.

Isa Vasya Upanishad, perhaps the oldest scripture alive, says: One who sees himself in others and sees others in Self is in ultimate consciousness of universal energy.

Follow the meditation below and expand into the universe, beyond mind and body. Rest in your third eye energy center and assume responsibility for whatever may be happening, good, and bad.

Meditation

In this Mindless Meditation, we combine the Buddhist practice of Vipassana with the Hindu practice of Yoga Nidra as a simple and effective pathway to mindless awareness. First, breathe and then the body becomes an anchor in becoming mindless though these steps.

Breath Awareness

  • Do light stretching to prepare the body. If you are familiar with Surya Namaskar it is the best. If you don’t know how to, in a sequence raise your hands to the sky, bend to touch the floor, stretch forward almost lying on the floor supported by the palms of your hand and toes, and then raise yourself again. The idea is not to perform Olympic gymnastics, just to flex the body and relieve it of tightness.
  • Lie comfortably on a light mat on the floor (you can practice initially on a chair with spine straight) and eyes closed, palms facing up. Form a circle with the first three fingers in both hands, to serve as a kinesthetic anchor that allows you to quickly settle into this state in the future (once you are familiar with the process you may not need this).
  • Inhale deeply from below the navel. Visualize energy moving up from the earth through your feet to the crown of the head.
  • Hold inhaled breath and feel the energy reaching out to every part of the body.
  • Exhale completely. Feel yourself expanding into the Universe.
  • Hold the exhaled breath. Allow yourself to merge completely into the Universe.
  • Repeat this cycle slowly twelve times. Establish your own comfortable rhythm. Staying comfortable and feeling the visualization matters more than how long one holds the breath.
  • Do not consciously control the breath anymore. Continue inhaling, holding, exhaling, holding sequence without conscious effort and attention.
  • Watch the breath fall on the space between nostrils and upper lip. Watch where the breath comes from, and where it goes in. Watch where it falls on your upper lip and how it falls. Observe its intensity, temperature, texture, etc.
  • When you realize that you are no longer focused on your breath but thinking of something else, bring your attention back to the breath. Watch your breath for at least twelve minutes.

Readers’ Note:

This is not a regular pranayama or breath control process taught in primary Yoga classes. This process is part of Shiva’s teaching to Devi as outlined in Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, considered to be the source of Yoga techniques. 

The most important part of the breathing awareness process is holding the breath in between inhalation and exhalation, and exhalation and inhalation. Shiva tells Devi that it is in this holding space he can be found. This is the no-mind Forth State of Awareness space one needs to master. Mastery is not about not having thoughts, which is impossible as long as we breathe, but to disengage from thoughts merely witnessing them.

Body Mind Awareness

  1. Gently shift attention to the crown of the head. Focus on the subtle vibrations beneath the skull. Feel any tingling sensations that may arise. Experience the movement of the breath in the crown of the head. If you do not observe anything in the first few attempts, accept and move on.
  2. Spend several seconds experiencing and being aware of the crown of the head. Slowly, gently, shift your attention to the forehead, between eyebrows, and feel in that location the same energy vibrations related to your breath. Step by step, shift your attention to the rest of your body such as throat, shoulders, arms, fingers, chest, solar plexus, groin, thighs, knees and legs till you reach the heels and tips of your toes. Gradually, scan your body backwards from the toes to the crown of the head. In the classic process of Yoga Nidra, probably the most powerful meditation process for mindlessness, a traditional scan involves sixty-five parts in the body outlined in the body map below. Coacharya adds Chakras from the Tantra tradition to the Yoga Nidra body points of awareness. You may not experience any energy movements in the first few attempts, especially if you are trying too hard to manage your breathing as well as body awareness. The trick is to relax into a pure witnessing mode allowing the breathing to continue in the background. The experience will happen.
  3. This process leads to awareness of your unconscious mind, the deep sleep awareness of prajna, referred to earlier. After completing the body awareness scan from head to toe and back, gently shift your attention from the crown of the head to the middle point between the eyebrows, then the throat and finally the heart area. Stay relaxed in the heart space. Observe your thoughts as they arise, not getting carried away with them and letting them go. Be a witness, not a participating actor. Gradually, your thoughts will slow down and you will be able to observe them, accept them and let them go. You remain mindless and disengaged. Stay mindless in the heart space.
  4. Spend at least an hour on this mindlessness meditation the first time. Over time you can compress these 3 steps of deep breathing, watching your breath upon your upper lip, and the body-scan to about twenty minutes.
Body Mind Awareness

This is the breath and body-mind awareness process. You can practice this independently for several purposes.

Add this step below Specific to this process of Taking Responsibility

Eyes closed, in the same position as in body-mind awareness meditation, continue your breathing cycle in the background, gently shift your attention from the heart space to your third eye point, between the eyebrows. This is your energy center of will power and wisdom. Resting in this space, assume full responsibility for whatever has happened within you and outside.

Repeat: I am not an island. I am this universe. I am aware. I take responsibility.

Readers’ Note:

Do note down your experiences in each of your mindless journeys from the first one. You will find none of them is ever the same. Note down what problems you faced, what was most difficult for you, what you need to do better next time, and what you experienced; importantly how often you were interrupted by thoughts and what thoughts. These notes will help you on your journey.

2. Forgiving Self & Others and Seeking Forgiveness

As we reflect within and allow our negative, painful, traumatic and deeply unconscious memories to surface, we need to let them go. We need to forgive ourselves and forgive others for our imagined grievances and move on. We need to shed guilt.

Guilt is the most pernicious of all emotions. It is cancerous. Guilt occurs when we reflect on a past deed with the intelligence of the present, and judge it to be unworthy. Very often, I meet people who feel guilty about losing a loved one, feeling somehow responsible for the other’s death as if they caused it. When they realize that there was nothing they could have done about what had happened, they shed the guilt and start feeling free.

To be freed of guilt, we need to forgive ourselves, first accepting responsibility. Feel the loss, feel the guilt, feel the guilt in your body, experience it, label it and let it go.

Then we need to forgive others if there is any feeling of hurt, resentment or revenge. Identify the hurt, feel the hurt, feel the hurt in your body, experience it, label it and let it go.

Practice the breath and body awareness meditative process that you practiced earlier. Add the step below.

Specific to this process of forgiving Self & Others and seeking forgiveness

Eyes closed, in the same position as in body-mind awareness meditation, continue your breathing cycle in the background, stay in your heart center. This is your energy center of love, compassion and relationship. Resting in this space, feel the compassion for yourself and others, and then let the negative emotions go. Say to yourself:

I am compassion. I forgive myself and shed guilt for all that I may have done to hurt others and myself. I forgive all others and shed hurt and resentment towards all others about whom I have felt negatively. I am at peace.

3. Expressing Gratitude

Gratitude is the noblest of emotions. In the Chakra principle, gratitude is the emotion of the sahasrara, crown center, where Shiva integrated with Devi. With gratitude we feel fulfilled, free of discontent and all negativity.  Once we express gratitude our closure is complete.

Practice the breath and body awareness meditative process that you practiced earlier. Add step below.

Specific to this process of Gratitude

Eyes closed, in the same position as in body-mind awareness meditation, continue your breathing cycle in the background, gently shift your awareness to the top of your skull, the crown energy center. Silently or aloud say to yourself:

I am grateful to my mother who bore me and brought me into this world. Whatever may be my relationship now with her now I express my deepest gratitude and love to her. I shall do whatever that is needed to act in alignment with this deep sense of gratitude and love to her.

I am grateful to my father who was responsible for my being in this world. Whatever may be my relationship now with him now I express my deepest gratitude and love to him. I shall do whatever that is needed to act in alignment with this deep sense of gratitude and love to him.

I am grateful to my children (mention by name) who have been the windows of my learning in this world. Whatever may be my relationship now with them now I express my deepest gratitude and love to them. I shall do whatever that is needed to act in alignment with this deep sense of gratitude and love to them.

I am grateful to my siblings and close relatives (mention by name) me into this world. Whatever may be my relationship now with them now I express my deepest gratitude and love to them. I shall do whatever that is needed to act in alignment with this deep sense of gratitude and love to them.

I am grateful to all my relatives and friends who helped me (mention by name). Whatever may be my relationship now with them now I express my deepest gratitude and love to them. I shall do whatever that is needed to act in alignment with this deep sense of gratitude and love to them.

I am grateful to my caregivers (mention the name of each teacher, mentor, coach guide) who shaped me to be who I am in this world. Whatever may be my relationship now with them now I express my deepest gratitude and love to them. I shall do whatever that is needed to act in alignment with this deep sense of gratitude and love to them.

I am grateful to all those whose paths have crossed mine in this world, and in one way or another supported my journey, even if I am not able to remember each one of them. Wherever they may be now I express my deepest gratitude and love to them. I shall do whatever that is needed to act in alignment with this deep sense of gratitude and love to all I meet in my life.

I am grateful to this universe and its creator for all the gifts showered upon me. I am at peace and fulfilled. 

4. Expressing Love

Love does conquer all. Love heals. Love connects. Love fulfills.

The final step of Ho’oponopono meditation is reaching the mindless state of awareness where you expand in love and practice this step.

Specific to this process of Love

For those who would like to experience the state of near Fourth State awareness of out on body-mind experience the extended process may help. You may prefer to lie down and practice yoga nidra in shavasana, corpse pose, for this process. 

Eyes closed and as an extension of the body-mind awareness meditation, continue your breathing cycle in the background, gently shift your awareness to your heart, the energy center of love. 

As you rest on your heart energy center, witnessing thoughts not being engaged with them, hands loosely spread out palms upwards, continue to breathe deeply, in the cycle of inhaling, holding, exhaling and holding. Allow yourself to expand beyond your mind-body boundary each time you exhale and hold and then gradually even as you inhale and hold. Visualize that you are moving out of mind-body, then the room you are in, the house you are in, the street and locality you are in, and slowly gently expanding beyond your city, region, country, continent and then the earth. You are now in space looking back at the earth. Allow yourself to expand beyond the solar system, the galaxy, this universe as we conceive it and then beyond into whatever may arise. Stay in expansion. 

Connect yourself with everything in this space that includes all there was, is, can ever be. You are now the Creation that is far ever in expansion and in infinite potentiality. Stay for as long as you wish. Return when you choose to.  

Say to yourself:

I am this universe. I am energy. I am love. I expand and express in love. I am connected by love with everything else in this universe.

Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC

Ram

Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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