A Q&A With Dr. Joe Vitale on His Book “At Zero: The Quest for Miracles through Ho’oponopono”
1. Ho’oponopono has been around for centuries. Why do you suppose it’s taken this long for the world to hear about it?
Until fairly recently, ho’oponopono was a cultural secret and localized to Hawaii. The world would still not know about it had I not written my books revealing it. As with many if not all traditions, the culture itself wanted to keep the secrets within its group, only passed down to others in the family, in a tribal ritual sort of way. As I write about in the book, when Morrnah, a female Kahuna, came along, she began to break with that tradition and reveal what had previously been kept secret. Not only that, while she was skilled in traditional ho’oponopono, she was also the one responsible for a new way of using and experiencing ho’oponopono.
There are two kinds of ho’oponopono. Most people only know of the modern approach that I reveal in my books. The earlier version was really a group healing method often used in families. As such, it required a leader and more people involved. Morrnah’s approach was more internal and didn’t require other people.
So even if the word got out about this method, it would have probably been about the older version because the new version of ho’oponopono wasn’t fully disclosed until my books came out.
2. Given the flack you got, as well as the ultimate success, of your first book, Zero Limits, what compelled you to write the sequel, At Zero, and what is different about it?
It’s been seven years since the first book. The simple answer is I’ve grown more, learned more, and have more to share. This is part of the beauty of the modern version of ho’oponopono – because it is an internal awareness and approach, it allows for continuous, dynamic change in the individual. It’s not something you do to resolve a problem “out there,” it’s something you take with you along your entire journey of life.
Like any good story, this new book picks up where the first one left off. A lot happened when that first book was published and that was part of the journey, too. I reveal all that in this new book as well as my own “dark night of the soul” as a result of releasing that first book, and how I overcame those challenges.
I believe the new book is more complete for a number of reasons. Besides revealing the story of Morrnah, who invented modern ho’oponopono, it shares deeper aspects of the method. For example, in the first book I discussed three stages of awakening; this new one reveals the fourth.
Also, over the years, people have written to me or attended my seminars and shared with me their own experiences as a result of reading the first book. Sometimes they had questions about the method. So in the new book, I was able to synthesize all this material and answer these questions for everyone.
3. The story of Dr. Hew Len healing an entire ward of criminally insane people still seems a bit far-fetched. Are these the kind of results the average person can expect if they use Ho’oponopono themselves?
They can expect miracles. Both books share true stories of people handling what others thought was impossible or incurable. Miracles are possible. People have used the method on everything you can name: relationships, finances, health, animals, business – you name it. The method takes care of the perceptions people have that are limiting their wellbeing, so it can be applied to any area. Dr. Hew Len and the mental hospital miracle is a dramatic story, and sets the tone for the idea that anything is possible. The only limits are mental. That’s what’s so amazing about this method. You can use it to break free.
Healing one’s life or one’s self is not a new idea. Many spiritual teachers, including Jesus, talk about our ability to be free and to live a greater life. In my work, what I see is missing for most people is the awareness of their innate ability to live in a miracle state moment by moment. My guess is that they don’t believe it’s possible, but that doesn’t make it untrue. If anything, there’s more and more evidence mounting in the neurosciences to suggest it, if not prove it, and that’s one of the things I talk about in this new book.
While ho’oponopono isn’t the only method you can use, it is a profound one and very, very easy.
4. You mention total responsibility. How does authentic Ho’oponopono help someone who’s had bad things happen, or has bad things happening today, in their life?
They can learn to accept what happened, without blame or guilt, reclaim their power, and move on to create a happier life. We have to grasp the big idea that everything that happens is due to our unconscious programs. In ho’oponopono, you don’t have to know the belief or unconscious programming in order to delete it. In some cases where it’s rooted in the culture or ancestry, you may never know it. So this isn’t about blame or guilt. It’s about awakening.
When a person can look at what happened and realize a belief system caused it, and that belief system can be changed, then they have freedom and the power to forgive and heal. As long as people hold on to grudges, they will remain unhappy and unhealthy. The hardest thing for people to accept is total responsibility, yet the door to freedom is opened when you accept it all as your responsibility. Again, it’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility.
What you’ll find when you accept 100% responsibility is not only the opportunity to create a more conscious-centered life for yourself, but a sense of peace to go with it. Peace is really all that matters.
5. You say that the four phrases, “I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you,” delete programs and beliefs at an unconscious level. How does this work and what kinds of changes can this make in someone’s life?
I wrote the new book to explain how it works. Basically, you are using a psychological technique to achieve a spiritual freedom. The four phrases are a sort of prayer, or petition. You say them inside yourself as a request to God or Divinity to remove the beliefs. Each phrase has deeper meaning, of course. “Thank you” ignites the power of gratitude. “I love you” merges us with unconditional love. “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me” reveal that we were unconscious to our beliefs and didn’t realize we had them, so we apologize to let the Divine/God know we are ready to release them all. These statements alone can transform a person’s life as they lead to greater personal, emotional freedom.
Our limiting patterns, beliefs, or programs – whatever you call them – are like commands we give to our subconscious in the form of negative statements, or negative affirmations, if you will. These act like blocks and hold us back from experiencing the Divine within us. Instead of having to go in and delete them line by line, repeating those four phrases all the time clears out all the negative affirmations that are there. When you clear out that programming, what’s left is a natural state of love, appreciation, abundance, and gratitude.
6. You make correlations to current studies with the brain and the neurosciences. Can you talk about Ho’oponopono in this regard?
Neuroscience reveals that you are not your brain, which means you can tinker with your own machinery. My new book reveals how to do that. For example, I point out that you have thoughts, but you are not your thoughts. You are separate from them. You can observe them. If you are not your thoughts, then you have power to change your thoughts.
One of the people I’ve had the privilege of interviewing and write about in the new book is Dr. Schwartz, author of You are Not Your Brain. He’s a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and researcher in the field of neuroplasticity, who offers proof that you can break free of any self-sabotage or other poor habits. Basically, neuroplasticity states that your brain can be molded like plastic – and reshaped and rewired by you. No matter what the struggle, you can change it. However, until you understand that you are separate from your thoughts, they will feel like you.
The interesting thing is that modern brain science is simply proving what ho’oponopono already revealed: you can change your brain because you are not your brain. You are the operater of it. Most of us just never saw the operating manual.
7. In the book, you mention that Dr. Hew Len said, “A cancer cell is a cell that’s lost its identity,” and that people are like that, too, because of their memories. Can you explain what you mean?
We have allowed our egos to separate ourselves from our Divinity. Our true identity is Spirit, but we have identified instead with personality. It’s similar to an ocean and a wave. A wave is not separate from the ocean; it is an intrinsic part. The ocean guides the wave; it doesn’t have a mind of its own and operates according to this greater body of water. This is just as true of us. Once we get in touch with our Divinity, with that greater whole, our lives reflect it and tend to go much smoother. We’re flowing with the currents of the ocean, so to speak.
In every moment, you have a choice: you can come from inspiration or you can come from memory. Inspiration is the Divine whispering an idea to you; Memory is a past belief, or program, still operating that will urge you to do whatever is within its limitation. Even wanting something right now is memory playing out, urging us to get instant gratification. The Divine has no time and no urgency. The more we clean Memory with ho’oponopono, the more we can be “at zero” and hear inspiration, and the more lighter, happier, and healthier you feel.
8. Can you talk about the programs we are born with and how this affects children?
No one comes in as a clean slate. Look at a litter of kittens and you soon see each has somehow arrived with a personality trait. People are the same. We have programs.
A child may be born with a health challenge, but that doesn’t mean it’s the child’s fault; they were born with what we call a program. To be clear, it’s not anyone’s fault. It’s simply the nature of evolution – knowledge that gets passed down from generation to generation coded into the body, into our unconscious. In fact, the Bible talks about “the sins of the father being visited upon the children” – so this isn’t a revolutionary idea. It’s a fallacy to think we are born without some sort of challenge. Children have this because they are a part of the evolutionary process. It’s simply different for each person.
In ho’oponopono, people have programs/beliefs/memories they inherited from their grandparents and great-grandparents. It could be cultural or something more specific to a family pattern. Regardless, it’s in their DNA. This doesn’t mean it can’t be changed, it just means everyone has a challenge and ho’oponopono can help with it. You don’t even have to consciously understand it or know what it is to eliminate it.
9. How is Ho’oponopono different than the Law of Attraction or the Law of Creation that you’ve written about before?
It is completely different. Ho’oponopono is a cleaning or clearing tool and the Law of Attraction is a principle. They work together beautifully.
If anything, you get double the power by cleaning along with doing Law of Attraction. When you use ho’oponopono to clean and clear your beliefs, programs, and limitations, you begin to feel a deep connection to the Divine, to that Divine love that is a part of who we are. And the more you can come from this space of love and gratitude when you want to create something new in your life, the faster it seems you attract things.
When someone is trying to attract something with the Law of Attraction and they feel a block, that block is a sign of an unconscious belief. That’s when ho’oponopono can help delete the belief behind the block. So, obviously, they work together.
It’s the same with the Law of Creation, which is all about taking action. Again, the more you are connected to the Divine, the more you’ll hear inspiration whispering to you. If you fail to take action on those inspirations and, instead, find yourself dilly dallying and stalling, undoubtedly it’s due to a belief. As you use ho’oponopono to clean and clear those limiting beliefs, your willingness to take action goes up.
10. You say that Ho’oponopono opens people to “Divine inspiration.” You seem to be a productive guy. How has this made a difference for you and how can it help others who might not be where you are?
My results are bigger and better and easier than ever before. I don’t have to try. I follow inspiration and allow. For example, at age 57 I received inspiration to become a musician. I had no education or experience or talent or training. I used ho’oponopono to delete all the limiting beliefs I had about becoming a musician, so I could follow Divine inspiration. I’m now 60 and my seventh album is in production. Seven albums in under three years is astonishing. This is a simple example of how inspiration can lead to greater things than the ego can foresee.
As you clean and clear your limiting beliefs, that suppressed energy is now available to you to use and floods into your being. Now you can be more prolific, productive, efficient, and effective. You can attract more. You can achieve more because you’ve got all of your energy working.
It’s a bit like waking up in the morning and, instead of having 100% fuel in your system, you only have 65% fuel, and you drag yourself through the day never realizing that the other remaining percentage was all wrapped up in your mind and body. Now you have 100% energy and when you wake up with that, you feel like a dynamo. You can accomplish virtually anything.
11. What does it really mean to live “at Zero?”
You are one with Source; one with all that is. You are no longer limited by your beliefs but unlimited by your connection to Divinity/God/Life. “Zero” is an open field of pure love and unlimited potential.
Most of the time we walk through life trying to get this or that, always wanting, wanting, wanting. We feel attached, addicted, or dependent on certain outcomes to happen. We want things now and feel unhappy when we don’t have them. We think we need them. We’re everywhere but in the moment.
This is the place where ho’oponopono can help you, by pulling you into the present moment, the only place of real power because it’s the only place the Divine can be experienced. The past is gone. The future isn’t here.
There is a great freedom living at Zero. It’s a place where intentions are not required to live a full and beautiful life because here you’re allowing the Divine to inspire and guide you. It’s like a combination that unlocks the path to awakening – you have desire but you also don’t. You have intention but you also don’t. You want something but you also don’t.
Since Zero is a place of no limits, describing it in any concrete terms would put limits on it. It’s the power source for all miracles. It’s home for unconditional love. It’s the grid of all possibilities.
Joe Vitale is the author of At Zero: The Quest for Miracles through Ho’oponopono and Zero Limits, The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More. He is a,globally respected bestselling author, speaker, musician, healer, and star of such blockbuster films as The Secret. Dr. Vitale is an authentic practitioner of modern Ho’oponopono, a certified Reiki healer, certified Chi Kung practitioner, certified clinical hypnotherapist, certified NLP practitioner, ordained minister, and holds a doctorate in metaphysical science. He has written more than 50 life-changing books, including The Attractor Factor and Life’s Missing Instruction Manual. For more on At Zero and Ho’oponopono, go to http://www.MrFire.com