What Is Ho’oponopono Prayer and Meditation?

If you’re looking for new ways to find forgiveness and gratitude through prayer and meditation, I’d like to bring ho’oponopono to your attention.

Many have heard of ho’oponopono – after all, it’s hard to forget such a word – but few know much about this traditional Hawaiian practice.

In this article, I’m going to explain what ho’oponopono prayer and meditation is, and how you can use this ancient technique to find a deeper sense of forgiveness and gratitude.

What Is Ho’oponopono?

Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian forgiveness process practiced by indigenous people who inhabited Hawaii long before Westerners landed there.

Sometimes I see it referred to as a prayer, sometimes I see it referred to and practiced as a meditation.

Either way, there is a 4-step framework or process behind ho’oponopono that anyone can practice – and I certainly recommend you give it a try.

The four steps are:

  • Step 1 – Say “I’m sorry”
  • Step 2 – Ask for forgiveness
  • Step 3 – Show gratitude
  • Step 4 – Say “I love you”

You can either practice ho’oponopono alone, or with someone else. There is evidence that islanders did both, and it’ll come down to personal preference.

Related – More on Ho’oponopono Affirmations.

What Does Ho’oponopono Mean?

For non-Hawaiians, there is no avoiding the obvious, the word ho’oponopono is usual. That is, until you know what it means.

The Hawaiian word ho‘oponopono is built by combining ho‘o (“to make”) and pono (“right”).

This means the word “ho‘oponopono” literally translates into “to make right”. Some interpret it as “correcting a mistake”, or “receiving true forgiveness”.

It refers to the four steps this form of meditation goes through to help you heal your spirit, your mental and emotional, and your physical presence through forgiveness.

Ho’oponopono Technique Explained

Ho’oponopono reminds us that the mind, body, and spirit are connected – and this practice helps us cross these boundaries and find true forgiveness.

The ho’oponopono technique is simple, yet incredibly powerful. You have to repeat the four mantras or affirmations over and over, and can personalize them to suit your situation.

The four ho’oponopono affirmations are:

  • I am sorry
  • Forgive me
  • Thank you
  • I love you

When these affirmations are repeated and attached to emotions, you can heal yourself, others, and your relationship with others.

As you say each of these affirmations, you need to go on an emotional and spiritual journey addressing each point.

For most people, this means:

Remorse – Being able to say you’re sorry for something you’ve done can be incredibly painful, and liberating. Understanding and recognizing that you’ve hurt people – or the earth – is the first step towards forgiveness.

Forgiveness – Asking for forgiveness is always difficult. You have to be sincere, and ready to ask and receive it. Whether it’s asking for forgiveness from someone or something specific, or from the universe, by doing so, you can move on in life.

Gratitude – By saying “thank you” you’re able to send gratitude into the universe and start your healing process.

Love – Love is one of the most powerful emotions we can express. However you’re able to express love, you should do so as the final step of your ho’oponopono meditation.

Practicing ho’oponopono should help you think about your life, your situation, and how you manage your relationships with others.

On a higher level, by repeating your mantras on a regular basis you can elevate your spirit and start to appreciate the miracles that are always happening around you.

Ho’oponopono Mantra

The mantra for ho’oponopono is simply chanting the four affirmations. These can vary slightly to suit how you best want to say them but are commonly:

  • I’m Sorry
  • Please Forgive Me
  • Thank You
  • I Love You

Or

  • I am Sorry
  • I want forgiveness
  • I am thankful
  • I have love

Related I’ve written up a couple of ho’oponopono meditation scripts here.

Ho’oponopono Benefits

There are numerous benefits from practicing ho’oponopono, and each person will have their own experiences.

Some of the benefits Rosemary K.M. Sword and Philip Zimbardo highlight from their research are:

  • You will become more aware of how your actions affect others
  • You can let go of negative feelings and bad experiences
  • You will have greater empathy and compassion for others
  • You will be able to find a deep, true peace of mind
  • You will experience being thankful for all you have
  • You will find forgiveness in whatever situation you’re asking for
  • You will feel a deep sense of love for yourself, others, and the universe

For me, learning about and practicing ho’oponopono has been incredibly enlightening.

I started feeling some of the most profound feelings I’ve had with a deep meditation after the first few sessions. 

I’ve used ho’oponopono to help me better appreciate everything I have around me. It’s helped improve my relationships, and I feel more connected to myself and the universe spiritually.

I can’t recommend ho’oponopono highly enough. Whether you’re new to meditating or experienced, it only takes a few minutes to incorporate this ancient Hawaiian technique into your day.


Image credits – Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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