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HO'OPONOPONO by Joe Vitale
Healing 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 seeing any
 of them. The psychologist would study an inmate's chart and then look
 within himself to see how he created that person's illness. As he
 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 even the
 best self-improvement master cure the criminally insane? It didn't
 make any sense. It wasn't logical, so I dismissed the story.

 "However, I 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.

 "The Hawaiian therapist who healed those mentally ill people would
 teach me an advanced new perspective about total responsibility. His
 name is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. We probably spent an hour talking on
 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.

 Psychologists quit on a monthly basis. The staff called in sick a lot
 or simply quit. People would walk through that ward with their backs
 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 files, he
 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 be heavily
 medicated were getting off their medications. And those who had no
 chance of ever being released were being freed.' I was in awe.'Not
 only that,' he went on, 'but the staff began to enjoy coming to work.

 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 for
 your life means that everything in your life- simply because it is in
 your life--is your responsibility. In a literal sense the entire world
 is your creation.

 "Whew. This 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 take complete
 responsibility for your life, then everything you see, hear, taste,
 touch, or in any way experience is your responsibility because it is
 in your life. This means that terrorist activity, the president, the
 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 as projections
 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 'oponopono
 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,'
 he explained.

 "That's it?

 "That's it.

 "Turns out that loving yourself is the greatest way to improve
 yourself, and as you improve yourself, you improve your world.

 "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 with the
 person who sent the nasty message.

 "This time, 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 in particular.
 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 any outward
 action to get that apology. I didn't even write him back. Yet, by
 saying 'I love you,' I somehow healed within me what was creating him.

 "I later attended a ho 'oponopono workshop run by Dr. Len. He's now 70
 years old, considered a grandfatherly shaman, and is somewhat reclusive.

 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.

 "'What about the books that are already sold and out there?' I asked.

 "'They aren't 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.

 "Suffice It 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
 with love."


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 of love.
     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



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