by Joe Vitale
the Pain of September 11, 2001 and other Tragedies
by Joe Vitale
"Two years ago,
I heard about a therapist in Hawaii who cured a
complete ward of criminally insane patients--without ever
of them. The psychologist would study an inmate's chart
and then look
within himself to see how he created that person's illness.
improved himself, the patient improved.
"When I first
heard this story, I thought it was an urban legend. How
could anyone heal anyone else by healing himself? How could
best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane?
make any sense. It wasn't logical, so I dismissed the story.
heard it again a year later. I heard that the therapist
had used a Hawaiian healing process called ho 'oponopono.
I had never
heard of it, yet I couldn't let it leave my mind. If the
story was at
all true, I had to know more. I had always understood "total
responsibility" to mean that I am responsible for
what I think and do.
Beyond that, it's out of my hands. I think that most people
think of total
responsibility that way. We're responsible for what we
do, not what
anyone else does--but that's wrong.
therapist who healed those mentally ill people would
teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility.
name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour
our first phone call. I asked him to tell me the complete
story of his
work as a therapist.
He explained that
he worked at Hawaii State Hospital for four years.
That ward where they
kept the criminally insane was dangerous.
on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot
or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with
against the wall, afraid of being attacked by patients.
It was not a
pleasant place to live, work, or visit.
"Dr. Len told
me that he never saw patients. He agreed to have an
office and to review their files. While he looked at those
would work on himself. As he worked on himself, patients
began to heal.
"'After a few
months, patients that had to be shackled were being
allowed to walk freely,' he told me. 'Others who had to
medicated were getting off their medications. And those
who had no
chance of ever being released were being freed.' I was
only that,' he went on, 'but the staff began to enjoy coming
Absenteeism and turnover
disappeared. We ended up with more staff than
we needed because patients were being released, and all
the staff was
showing up to work. Today, that ward is closed.'
"This is where
I had to ask the million dollar question: 'What were
you doing within yourself that caused those people to change?'
"'I was simply
healing the part of me that created them,' he said. I
didn't understand. Dr. Len explained that total responsibility
your life means that everything in your life- simply because
it is in
your life--is your responsibility. In a literal sense the
is your creation.
is tough to swallow. Being responsible for what I say or
do is one thing. Being responsible for what everyone in
my life says
or does is quite another. Yet, the truth is this: if you
responsibility for your life, then everything you see,
touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility
because it is
in your life. This means that terrorist activity, the president,
economy or anything you experience and don't like--is up
for you to
heal. They don't exist, in a manner of speaking, except
from inside you. The problem isn't with them, it's with
you, and to
change them, you have to change you.
"I know this
is tough to grasp, let alone accept or actually live.
Blame is far easier than total responsibility, but as I
spoke with Dr.
Len, I began to realize that healing for him and in ho
means loving yourself.
"If you want
to improve your life, you have to heal your life. If you
want to cure anyone, even a mentally ill criminal you do
it by healing
"I asked Dr.
Len how he went about healing himself. What was he doing,
exactly, when he looked at those patients' files?
"'I just kept
saying, 'I'm sorry' and 'I love you' over and over again,'
"Turns out that
loving yourself is the greatest way to improve
yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your
"Let me give
you a quick example of how this works: one day, someone
sent me an email that upset me. In the past I would have
handled it by
working on my emotional hot buttons or by trying to reason
person who sent the nasty message.
I decided to try Dr. Len's method. I kept silently saying,
'I'm sorry' and 'I love you,' I didn't say it to anyone
I was simply evoking the spirit of love to heal within
me what was
creating the outer circumstance.
"Within an hour
I got an e-mail from the same person. He apologized
for his previous message. Keep in mind that I didn't take
action to get that apology. I didn't even write him back.
saying 'I love you,' I somehow healed within me what was
"I later attended
a ho 'oponopono workshop run by Dr. Len. He's now 70
years old, considered a grandfatherly shaman, and is somewhat
He praised my book,
The Attractor Factor. He told me that as I improve
myself, my book's vibration will raise, and everyone will
feel it when
they read it. In short, as I improve, my readers will improve.
the books that are already sold and out there?' I asked.
out there,' he explained, once again blowing my mind
with his mystic wisdom. 'They are still in you.' In short,
there is no
out there. It would take a whole book to explain this advanced
technique with the depth it deserves.
to say that whenever you want to improve anything in your
life, there's only one place to look: inside you. When
you look, do it
Healing the Pain of September
11, 2001 and other Tragedies
If Dr. Len can heal the criminally
insane by bringing forgiveness and peace to his own consciousness,
can we not also heal the conditions that give rise to terrorism
by healing the distress within our own consciousness?
Our atonement thus becomes not only a personal
process, but a collective one. And what you and I do therefore
becomes of critical importance. We are not powerless in this
world but, as Jesus told us "powerful beyond measure."
Today is the five year anniversary of the
terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC.
Today, we are told that we are as vulnerable to terrorist attack
as we were five years ago. Today, our news media and government
officials warn us that Bin Laden and other Al Queda extremists
are planning future attacks on us far worse than those that took
place on September 11, 2001.
It is easy to go into fear. It is easy to
create in fear. Our anxiety can motivate us to develop
better defenses, better security measures. It can help us justify
invasions of other countries, or military retaliation to send
a message to the terrorists. It can even prompt us to "bite
the bait" that has been dangled before us and proclaim our
own holy war against the Muslim extremists.
Unfortunately focus on terrorism just increases
it. Remember, one of the primary principles of manifestation
is "don't focus on what you don't want. Focus on what
you do want."
Imagine if we tried the Ho'oponopono approach
to Bin Laden. Instead of sending him thoughts of hatred and vengeance,
we could tell him that we love him and that we are sorry.
We could do the same thing to all of the
victims of 9/11 and their families. We could say the same
thing to ourselves, because we too are wounded and angry.
One of my friends recently wrote to me about
an experience he had while practicing awareness of this principle
during the bombings in Israel and Lebanon:
"When I was trying to go to sleep, I was thinking about
the pictures I saw in the newspaper of the bombings and suddenly
the scene felt almost real as I was there in the wreckage carrying
a baby, worrying about when the next one would fall. At first
I was in Israel, then I was in Lebanon, then back in Israel,
then in both places and everywhere. I got up to write down what
was happening for me I started with the anger, but then
the whole thing shifted when I started asking myself "What
do I want?"
When we ask this question it reminds us
that we have a simple choice: we can amplify the fear in our
own consciousness, or we can bring love. That choice will
determine whether or not healing happens for us.
Even if the outcome of this decision only
created peace for us and not for others, it would be a worthwhile
practice. But as Dr. Len and others know, the healing extends
to all who are willing to receive it.
One of the most remarkable healers of the
twentieth century, Joel Goldsmith used a similar practice in
his spiritual healing. When someone came to him presenting a
particular problem, he would bring the problem into his mind
and surround it with the love of God. He did this by establishing
the awareness of the infinite divine love within his own field
of consciousness and allowing it to permeate the problem until
it eventually dissolved and all that remained was the pure vibration
Many people think that the way we are going
to stop terrorism is to hunt down Ben Laden and kill him.
Others know better. The death of Ben Laden will simply fuel the
rise of extremism. It will not make us safer.
What do you suppose Jesus would say to us
about Ben Laden? Be honest now. Do you think Jesus
would ask us to love Ben Laden or to hate him? Would he ask us
to forgive Ben Laden or condemn him?
Jesus, I would submit, knew at least as much
as Dr. Len did about healing and transformation. And just like
Dr. Len, he wouldn't need more than a desk and access to Bin
Laden's file. Indeed, that's all any of us need. We can even
skip the desk.
Every night on the news we are given access
to the Bin Laden file, along with the Iraq War file, the Israel/Lebanon
file, you name it. We are being informed of all of the
suffering in our world. What do we do with this information?
Do we allow it to depress us and to make
us feel powerless? Do we feel angry and hopeless and leave it
at that? Or do we understand it as an invitation to heal
our own consciousness, to forgive ourselves, to express our love.
Most Americans are angry at Bin Laden.
Many are also angry at President Bush. But this anger does not
serve anyone. Anger at Bush does not make him a better leader
and it doesn't uplift our own consciousness.
So now ask yourself a question that could
transform your consciousness and the world you live in: Can you
ask forgiveness from Bush and Bin Laden? Can you tell them that
you love them?
Can you transform the enemy within into a
friend and find peace in your heart?
Remember: healing the world and healing your
heart are the same task.
The world has many problems, but none of
them can be solved by a vengeful mind or a bitter heart.
If you are looking for a powerful spiritual
discipline, practice love and forgiveness for fifteen or twenty
minutes after you listen to the news or read the newspaper. Do
the same thing whenever you are presented with any other tragic
or stressful conditions. Take them into your consciousness and
transmute them to acceptance and love.
That is how the world is redeemed: in and
through your consciousness and mine. Paul Ferrini