A Ho’ponopono Forgiveness Exercise from Ihalekala Hew Len

By Adam J. Pearson

Photo: Overlooking Kalalau Valley from Koke’e State Park, where Nana Veary held retreats to teach hoʻoponopono.

Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. “Hoʻoponopono” is defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary as “mental cleansing: family conferences in which relationships were set right through prayer, discussion, confession, repentance, and mutual restitution and forgiveness.” Ponopono is defined as “to put to rights; to put in order or shape, correct, revise, adjust, amend, regulate, arrange, rectify, tidy up, make orderly or neat.”

Ihalekala Hew Len was a student of Mornah Simeona, who was “regarded as a healing priest or  kahuna lapaʻau” andadapted the traditional hoʻoponopono of family mutual forgiveness to the social realities of the modern day.”

Len suggested a simple exercise to his students:

Ho’oponopono Forgiveness Exercise

1. Either looking into your own eyes in the mirror or into the eyes of a friend, family member, or significant other slowly say:

I’m sorry. (pause)
Please forgive me. (pause)
Thank you. (pause)
I love you. (pause)

2. Repeat several times. If you are working with a partner, have them repeat the process after you.
3. Observe what you feel as a result.


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