Ho’oponopono: A Powerful Prayer of Forgiveness


Traditionally, Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian communication practice, whose aim was to solve and heal conflicts within the family but also within the Self and with others.

Ho’oponopono literally means ‘to set right’, ‘to make right’.

The idea was that everyone in the family needed to work together and to support the well-being of each other in order to maintain harmony. This was crucial in the survival of the tribe. Discordant family conflicts were resolved through discussion, confession, repentance, mutual restitution, forgiveness and release.

This need for harmony is still very relevant in our modern time, as we need each other to heal, resolve conflicts and maintain peace.


What does it mean for you?

Ho’oponopono is a prayer of forgiveness to make things right. It is uttered when one has harmed another person or themselves in thought, word or deed.

This peacemaking philosophy leads to renewed strength, energy and happiness, and gives you a sense of peace, via apologies and forgiveness. It restores harmony between individuals. Ho’oponopono can help clear our feelings of anger, frustration, resentment and dis-ease towards ourselves and others. We only need to take 100% responsibility for our actions towards ourselves and others, as well as for the actions of others towards us.

When there is an angry person or situation coming up, ask yourself “What is going on within me? What am I feeling? What do I need to let go? What is the lesson for me to learn from this experience coming up?”


The prayer

It has 4 elements:

  • I am sorry
  • Please forgive me
  • I love you
  • Thank you

Say these words to yourself, out loud or quietly, and slowly. Repeat each line several times for as long as it takes you to witness a change in your emotions. Reflect on the words and engage with them.

The practice is traditionally performed at sunset. I do it before going to bed, as it is very damaging for your well-being to go to sleep without having cleared an argument. Ho’oponopono is a fantastic way of giving you peace, finding forgiveness for oneself and others, and giving yourself some self-love.


What you are really saying

I am sorry: what you do when you say this is that you regret what you have consciously or unconsciously blocked within your life, the pain or suffering you have caused to others and to yourself.

Please forgive me: what you are really saying is ‘Let me forgive myself’ or ‘Allow me to forgive myself’.

I love you: what you are doing when saying that is that you are giving unconditional love to yourself, to your Higher Self and to the person who has caused you harm.

Thank you: what you are saying is that you are grateful that the solution is here and you are thanking yourself for giving you the permission to forgive yourself.


Going further

As Ho’oponopono is an attempt to clear the memories that keep being replayed in your life as problems, it is a continual daily practice that will encourage you to take a daily inventory of your own thoughts, by simply observing them. Are you familiar with the concept that lessons and challenges keep reappearing in our life until we solve them? Well, Ho’oponopono can definitely help you with learning the lesson and letting go of blocks.

However, if you have a learnt pattern of reacting to unwanted or unpleasant thoughts and circumstances by suppressing them, the cleansing process may be considerably slower. Do not give up! Practise it often and be patient. It is  important as you practice, to notice your feelings, thoughts, intentions and actions, without judging them.

Observations of ill will, anger, frustration, dis-ease will warn you when you are responding from memory, and you will be able to make a conscious positive change to the way you react. Inspired responses always make us feel good. Inspiration brings with it energy, focus and the ability to be in the present moment without effort.


Amazing fact

If you are interested in learning more about Ho’oponopono, you can listen to an interview with Dr Hew Len. This man healed a whole high security ward for the criminally insane from 1983 to 1987, without using therapy. He used instead the very simple and ancient Hawaiian method of Ho’oponopono. You can also read more about it here. If you are more interested in the traditional aspect, you can read a piece by Professor John Barkai from the University of Hawaii here.


It is truly fascinating to see what happens when we take responsibility for our actions and let go instead of blaming others. Then, what is right and perfect for us unfolds.

Have you tried Ho’oponopono before? I would love to hear about your experience with it and the results you felt. Let me know in the comments below.

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