inner life






Ho'opononpono: the Hawaiian Method of Problem Solving

A long, long time ago in Hawaii, I met a kahuna named Morrnah Simeona. She came to a lecture I once gave on astroendocrinology and presented me with a maile lei, a great gesture from someone so wise. As I lectured, I kept looking into her eyes, saying, "but you know this and can add to my material." She smiled gently and said, "Just go on." Morrnah became one of the most influential figures in my spiritual unfoldment, and I studied with her for several years.

Morrnah explained a ritual called ho'oponopono that has been used in Hawaii for countless years to clear the way to healing. The word ho'oponopono means problem solving. What Morrnah said is that before a patient can get well, he or she must remove the obstacles to cure. The obstacle may be a feeling that one does not deserve to be cured or some more objective physical issue. Morrnah said that guilt and the inability to forgive oneself were the most common causes of failure to heal.

Over the years, I have had occasion to hear many stories giving credence to this theory. The first one was from a man who had embezzled money from his company in order to provide better opportunities for his family. Then, I heard about extramarital affairs that had caused guilt for the one who had strayed and suffering for the partner. As can be imagined, once searching for the obstacle and the secret behind it, a simply enormous array of different causes for guilt became known to me.

In my own opinion, most guilt is greatly exaggerated. Parents blame themselves for not understanding better what their children were feeling or for being distracted by their own issues and interests when children wanted attention. Some are so hard on themselves that they expect to have superhuman foresight into all that might go wrong so that they can better protect those dear to them.

Others do not suffer from guilt but grief. Though the belief is not always conscious, some people imagine that life after some disappointing event or tragedy is not worth living. The types of events that are associated with this feeling are often those involving loss or separation from family, especially deaths and divorce, but I have seen similarly exaggerated reactions to something as minor as a scar on the leg or the inescapable signs of aging, issues that should not be life-threatening but can become so if the interpretation placed on them is that life after the loss or degradation in appearance is worthless.

Some people do not feel worthy. They aren't special; they aren't creative; they aren't interesting; they aren't significant enough in God's eyes to be saved from a dreaded disease.

Addressing the Obstacles

Today, as I work with people, I look for the hidden obstacles so that we can find creative ways to atone or remove the obstacle. If a rich person donates money to charity, he might be able to have his cake and eat it too without embarrassing his family by revealing the things he did in the past. If people do not feel life after loss or injury is worth living, they may need to discover a lesson in their personal tragedies that puts a new spin on their beliefs. Finding the purpose of life and why one was born and what one might still do to fulfill destiny works for many people.

As noted, the obstacle can be psychological or physical or a mixture of both. One woman did not reveal to me that she was bulimic. For a long time, she concealed this fact so well that I had no knowledge of how dangerous her eating habits were to her. Many people live or work near environmental hazards that make health impossible. Regardless of the obstacle and its cause, it is important to identify the obstacle and then to remove or overcome it.

Where the issues are psychological, it may be necessary to revise subconscious scripts. Sometimes, circumstances need to shift. In nearly every instance, once the obstacle is addressed, healing proceeds swiftly, whereas, in my experience, failure to eliminate the obstacle diminishes the effectiveness of whatever treatment is used.

In Hawaii, there is a ritual for ho'oponopono that involves an elder, a priest or priestess or senior family member, and the entire family. Everyone is urged to speak, "spill their guts" as Morrnah used to say, until all the skeletons, resentments, and guilt come out. During the ritual, no one is permitted to leave the room. Eventually, a point of clearing and resolution occurs and the ritual is concluded. I urge everyone to reflect on the wisdom of this ancient practice.

Reminiscenses of Morrnah Simeona right

Ingrid Naiman
9 April 2006




left up right

Emotions: Table of Contents

The Inner Child || Four Elements and Personality
Venus and Mars: the Pacifist and the Warrior
Ho'oponopono: Removing the Obstacles to Cure
Disease as Sin Versus the Germ Theory



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