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There’s a great story I always come back to about a doctor in Hawaii who ended up “cleaning” a criminal psych ward just with the power of his thoughts.

Dr. Hew Len was hired to work at a ward for the criminally insane nearly 30 years ago at the Hawaii State Hospital. This particular ward had a high turnover rate of staff and many who endured their time at the ward rolled their eyes as they saw the calm and composed Dr. Len walk onto the job.

It didn’t happen all of a sudden, but over the first few months of Dr. Len working at the clinic, things started to change. The environment started to feel brighter. Patients who had been violent became calmer, even with a decrease in their prescribed pharmacological drugs. Others who were under restraint were offered free time on the hospital grounds. Staff members who used to deal with chronic flu symptoms started to miss fewer days of work.

But Dr. Len was not exercising anything obviously radical. He was noted to be relaxed while at work and rarely even sat one-to-one with patients. The staff noticed that he would only occasionally ask for a patient’s file and would sit with it in his office alone.

What was going on here??

What Dr. Len was practicing was a Hawaiian cleaning meditation called Ho’oponopono. This technique is simple and was shown to be extremely effective. Would you believe that after 4 years of Dr. Len working at the clinic, nearly all the patients were released because they were no longer diagnosed as mentally disabled?

The Ho’oponopono technique is based on the idea that anything that happens to you, anything that you view in your personal consciousness is totally your responsibility. So when Dr. Len would see his patients, rather than seeing them as something external that he needed to fix, he would see them as a part of himself that he needed to heal.

It can be a difficult thing to get your mind around. The idea that everything in your experience is your manifestation. But it’s more in how a circumstance is interpreted that makes it more or less real to every individual.

If you think about it this way–how could the patients at this psych ward ever heal if the doctors always interpreted them as people who need to heal? They patients would exist in a loop of always needing to be healed.

So this is what Dr. Len did. He decided to see himself as the other side of the coin and clean his own vibration towards the patients. Every day, when he would enter the ward, every time he sat with a patient’s file, he would say over and over in his head:

I love you.

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

He said “I love you” to bring love between them. He said “I’m sorry” for whatever judgement he imposed upon the patients that labelled them as insane or criminal. He said “Please forgive me” for the unconscious way he may treat those who he doesn’t understand. And “Thank you” for the opportunity to learn and grow and love.

It may seem like a counter intuitive notion. But it works. Many things that happen in the external world seem like they need to be fixed. But true collective love happens when you see your part in the story and decide to love regardless.

So, give it a try. When a situation comes up or a person presses your buttons, take responsibility for interpreting a situation in an unloving way.

Say, “I love you. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.” Do it over and over again, like a mantra. And see what happens.


Author Matt

I started YogaHub out of a room at the back of someone else's house back in 2012 with nothing more than an idea. I'd been teaching Yoga since 2008 and had no intention of opening a Yoga Studio. I think, like everything I've done, I just decided one day I was going to give it a try. And try I did and if you're reading this I guess I'm still trying.

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