The Hawaii State Hospital once had a special department for the criminally insane – “a prison within the hospital.” This ward, occupied by severely mentally ill patients, murderers, and rapists, had a disastrous reputation for many years. Although many patients were handcuffed, violent assaults still occurred on almost a daily basis. Because of the extremely stressful and unpleasant conditions, many doctors and nurses did not report for work or simply quit their job, causing severe staff shortages.
In 1983, Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, a student of Morrnah Simeona, accepted the position of psychologist in this hospital. Soon after, the staff became curious about this odd psychologist who kept reading the patients’ files without ever talking to the patients. Dr. Hew Len explained that he was treating the patients by treating himself with the incessant practice of Ho’oponopono. He believed that everything that was wrong in the outside world – including the ward’s patients – only proved that there was something wrong within himself. So he repeatedly used the four key sentences (I am sorry; please forgive me; thank you; I love you) to remedy what appeared to be wrong within himself. The staff, of course, was skeptical, but three years later, all of the ward’s patients who were still present had been cured. This borders on the miraculous! From an allopathic point of view, most of these patients were afflicted with virtually incurable mental diseases.
Overcoming the Obstacles
To practice this kind of love is a challenge; our rational minds tell us that such customs are esoteric, nonscientific, and therefore useless. We are vulnerable to doubt. Indeed, in my general practice, I often encounter the widespread human problem of the “weaker self.” The weaker self usually manifests in the guise of excuses and dogmas:
- I don’t believe in (any) method
- I’ve tried everything, and nothing seems to work
- I’m too lazy
- I’m too tired
- Life is already complicated enough
- It is my fate to suffer
- Somebody’s got to heal me