For a long time I have respected the work of Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, a psychologist Joe Vitale applauds in his book, Zero Limits. Dr. Hew Len was assigned to duty in a ward for the criminally insane. The ward, Dr. Hew Len reports, was a highly undesirable place to work or visit because the patients were often violent. The staff had high absenteeism and turnover.
Dr. Hew Len, however, had been trained in a Hawaiian healing method called ho’oponopo, which translates as “healing by restoring balance.” Ho’oponopo teaches that the world we see is a projection of our own consciousness, and if we intend to make changes in the outer world, we must first restore balance and clarity in our own mind and heart. So Dr. Hew Len regularly took each patient in mind, and spoke to their spirit: “I’m sorry for creating you by seeing you as ill. I love you.”
The results were amazing! After a few months, shackled patients were being freed, medications were lightened significantly, and patients who had been afforded no hope of being released, were going home. Eventually the ward was closed due to attrition!
The message of this experience runs deep and has life-changing potential for all of us: We can heal the world by changing our mind about the world.
Since I became aware of Dr. Hew Len’s work, I wanted to learn more about it and possibly meet him. Yet, he was living in California and I was in Hawaii, and both of us were busy with travels, so I did not have the opportunity.
Recently when I was in Japan presenting some seminars, my sponsor told me, “There is going to be a lecture in your hotel ballroom this evening. Would you like to attend?” When I asked her who was presenting the lecture, she told me, “Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len.” I was amazed! Here was a man I wanted to meet showing up in the hotel I was staying at in Tokyo on the one night I had free in my schedule! All I had to do to see him was ride down an elevator!
I attended the lecture, enjoyed it very much, learned from it, and had the pleasure to meet. Dr. Hew Len. As I walked out of the meeting room I commented to my sponsor, “How easy can it get?”
As we move more deeply into a season when new school and work ventures begin, we might do well to remember Dr. Hew Len’s healing experience. If you face a difficult situation or a challenging person, your first impulse might be to try to manipulate that person to change their behavior to accede to your hopes and desires. Or get them to try to go away. Or you might be tempted to just leave. Such a moment, however, would be an excellent opportunity to heal the situation by changing your mind about it.
The Ho’oponopo method is quite simple, and you can gain its benefits from even a simple understanding of it: The world you see is nothing more or less than the projection of your thoughts about it. No one outside you is doing anything to you, for you, or against you other than what you are doing to yourself. Shift your vision of that person or situation, and the person or situation will shift in accordance with your vision of them or it. Take the person or situation into mind and heart, and say, for example: “I accept responsibility for creating my experience of you by way of how I have thought about you. I now wish to change my experience by changing the version of you I am holding in my mind. I now choose to see you as loving, wise, healthy and kind. I recognize your higher, better and whole self. I see this situation as working out to everyone’s well-being and benefit.”
The words you use are less important than the intention you hold. When you accept one hundred percent responsibility for setting the situation up as it has been, you gain one hundred percent of the power to create an outcome that works for you and everyone involved. It’s as simple as that. As Dr. Hew Len said in his lecture, “I wish I could make it more complicated. But that’s just how simple it is.”
A Course in Miracles teaches the same principle in this way: I am responsible for what I see. I choose the feelings I experience, and I decide upon the goal I would achieve. And everything that seems to happen to me I ask for, and receive as I have asked. Now, that’s quite a premise to accept. But that’s the level of responsibility you and I must accept if we wish to attain mastery in our life and make the world a better place.
It’s time for all of us to question our assumptions about how hard it is supposed to be. We have been taught that the way to success is through struggle and sacrifice. But that just reinforces the belief that we win by moving external pieces about with toil and difficulty. How much simpler would it be to change your mind? When you do, the person you most want to meet might be as close as an elevator ride away.