Mindfulness Methods: Ho’oponopono

This post is part of our Mindfulness Methods series, a collection of blogs dedicated to exploring different techniques we use to enhance our float experiences. Let me emphasize that there’s no wrong way to float, but sometimes we need a little help to get the most out of our time in the tank.

“Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love.”

—Juan de la Cruz

Ho'oponopono: The Why

While there is no incorrect way to float, I would argue that some approaches lead to more meaningful experiences than others. My favorite approach is to relax and meditate to a point of surrender. I have personally found the deepest recovery and most profound insights in that state. It’s not always easy to get there, though. Even after years of floating, I still spend a lot of time in the pod struggling to relax and judging myself for it. When I’m unable to find that space of emptiness, I have found other practices that redirect me to positivity and healing. One of my favorites, and the topic of today’s post, is the Hawaiian practice of reconciliation known as Ho’oponopono.

Traditionally, Ho’oponopono was used inter-personally, with the senior member of the tribe or family conducting it. It has even been used in the Hawaiian court system as a means of restitution. More recently, though, Ho’oponopono is probably best known in other parts of the world as a practice done within oneself. Since we ask that you go into our float pods alone (The answer is still no! You know who you are!), it makes the most sense to focus on that approach.

“Life is not about controlling the outside world. It’s about mastering perceptions from the inside.”

—Guru Singh

Ho'oponopono: The What

Ho’oponopono with oneself consists of four phrases repeated thoughtfully towards any person or thing in your life. It can be a friend, a spouse, yourself, or even a part of yourself (I've used it on my injured hamstring, for example). It can be a specific situation or obligation. Anything that’s struggling or that you’re struggling with. The four phrases are as follows:

I love you

I’m sorry

Please forgive me

Thank you

Ho'oponopono: The How

Words are powerful. These words in particular, when used intentionally, can help you adjust how you see and feel about people and things. I was practicing Ho’oponopono a few weeks ago towards a person for whom I had feelings of bitterness. As soon as I started to think about that person, I instantly felt my chest tighten. They had treated me unkindly and I was clearly harboring anger. I began to repeat the words in my head, stopping at each phrase to add details about why I love them, why I’m sorry, and why I’m thankful for them. My chest got even tighter, and I knew I didn’t believe the words I was saying. I began to be a little more thoughtful with my details. Why was that person worthy of my love? Even just a little bit? How could I flip the situation to see how the way they treated me actually strengthened me or taught me something?

I continued repeating the phrases and checking in with my tightness. Over time, my chest slowly let go of the tension as my anger toward that person subsided. For some slights, it might take more than one float, but I’m often amazed at how much I can get done emotionally in a float when I allow for the possibility of forgiveness, focus my intention, and check in with myself.

Ho’oponopono doesn’t change the person or the situation that’s causing you so much frustration and pain - all it changes is how you view it - but that can make a world of difference. Give it a try next time you float and see for yourself.


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