Friday, August 21, 2009


In the Tarot deck, the Fool card is key zero in the Major Arcana, and he perfectly exemplifies what it means to live from zero point. He is utterly trusting and fearless, his eyes turned to the sky (inspiration, higher guidance) as he is seemingly about to step off a cliff. If he ever had any worries or was run by any tapes or programs arising from memories replaying, he has let go of them, and is living as a
truly free spirit, going his own way, following the call of his heart and soul rather than the dictates of society or cultural conditioning.

I recently cleaned my son's place while he was away for a week. It got me thinking about how much time I spend cleaning house, and of how it reflects inner cleaning or letting go, as in the  practice of Ho'oponopono,  which has its ancient roots in Hawaii, and has been updated for modern use by the Kahuna and healer, Morrnah Simeona,

I was dealing with the dirt and disorder that had accumulated over about nine months, and felt a little sad to be there amid all the chaos, without Ben around to talk and joke with.  The sides of the aquarium were covered with green/brown algae, obscuring his lovely fish pets, all of whom nevertheless seemed fine, and happy about being fed.  His studio apartment is really very nice, recently remodeled, and I was inspired by the vision of restoring it to its pristine, gleaming state.

And that's how the Ho'oponopono practice works, too--it clears the clutter and cleans the grime within, that prevents us from manifesting our true perfection. All of our "problems" are simply opportunities to rid ourselves of old tapes and programs that are running our consciousness and keeping us from being our true natural selves.

In hypnosis, the hypnotist inserts a program, which is then acted out by the person. Ho'oponopono is about cleaning and erasing our programs, which are memories replaying, so we can instead act from inspiration. Memories never stop their incessant replaying, thus most of us are run by our programs, but we have the choice and the capacity to eliminate them.

A friend shared with me her favorite story about hypnosis, from Michael Talbot's The Holographic Universe: a man was told by a hypnotist that his daughter had left the room, though she was standing in between them.  The hypnotist took off his wristwatch, pressed it into the small of the girl's back, and asked the subject if he could read the inscription on the watch. The man filtered out the hologram of his daughter, and he read the tiny engraving on the watch right through her body, because he believed she was not there.

Thorwald Dethlefsen, in his book The Challenge of Fate, calls hypnosis a "caricature of reality" because as he said, it is merely an exaggeration of our "normal" state. He uses the analogy of Plato's cave, which illustrates the illusory nature of our perceptions.

Dethlefsen, a skilled hypnotist, gives some pretty out-there examples, including a

post-hypnotic suggestion that Santa Claus and an angel would knock on the subject's door, converse with him, and give him a present--predicting that this would happen as scripted.

Our areas of repeated difficulty simply reflect the repeated playing of these programs. An example is the woman with an alcoholic dad, who finds herself involved with one alcoholic man after another. Until she can "clean" that program and let go of the emotional "charge" around it, the tape will continue playing and she will continue acting it out in one form or another.

In short, we are effectively hypnotized in our day-to-day reality, while believing we

are acting of our own volition. As Dethlefsen says:
"Not only is man a product of programs, but there is also a special program which ensures that he says of all the workings of the program: 'I am doing that only because I want to'...The only reason we are particularly struck by the programming of hypnotized people is because they are unusual...Hypnotized man is a slave, a puppet dangling from invisible threads; he shows us the poverty of our own reality; he is a mirror-image of the as yet unconscious man. In this mirror function lies the only true significance of hypnosis."
He concludes that the answer is to "wake up and learn to see, for reality is everywhere."  In his view, the path of esotericism, or metaphysical insight, is the key to this awakening. It's all about evolving to the next stage of consciousness, wherein we transcend our limitations and experience greater fulfillment on all levels, including greater union with the Divine, however we understand that term.

Ho'oponopono is the simplest and most effective practice I've found, for attaining this state--but it takes persistence and the awareness that we are not separate from any of our creations.
  "As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.” – Hermes Trismegistus
It is important to understand that many of our tapes/programs are not just ours, but shared with the collective. There is a mass "tape" of scarcity, for example--or as Swami Beyondanada dubbed it, "scare city." Scare City: "What's going to happen to us? What are we going to do?" And usually when we are "catastrophizing" like that, everything is fine, here and now.

Ho'oponopono (such a fun word to say!) is about taking total responsibility for whatever shows up in our lives. We may still indulge in the blame game at times, of course, including blaming ourselves.  But since divinity is our essential nature, we can choose to align with that nature and thus transmute, transform and transcend whatever it is that we are experiencing as a problem.

With "I'm sorry, please forgive me," we are taking ownership of the difficulty, acknowledging that it is reflecting something within us. Then, we express love and gratitude: "Thank you, I love you." The cool thing is that we don't have to be feeling the words as we say them--for example, if we are angry with someone and don't at all feel like expressing gratitude or love, the silent repetition still does the trick. Mabel Katz, a well-known teacher and writer on Ho'oponopono, calls the words of the petition "pass codes." They clear away blockages to our Divine aspect, which is us, but more than us. I believe this is what Jesus meant when he said, "I and my Father are one but my Father is greater than I." In Ho'oponopono, this aspect is referred to as the superconscious, or our Divinity.

We only need to open ourselves to the infinite capacity of our superconscious/Father, by expressing responsibility and the desire to be 'forgiven' (freed). In doing so, we are returned to "zero point" where we can receive inspiration and act as our true selves, rather than as hypnotized robots. Dr. Hew Len, the great teacher and practitioner of Ho'oponopono, once used the terminology of tennis to illustrate this in his article, A House Divided:

"In the game of tennis, the scoring system is Love, 15, 30, 40, game. The game begins with Love. In the etymology of the word, Love is no score, no stakes, nothing, to take the individual back to Love, to nothing, to wholeness."

Zero Point has also been described as a state of awareness wherein we are in the stillness and silence at the center of consciousness, and yet are still alert to other levels of the mind.

A Zero Point was predicted for the year 2012. Terence McKenna's Timewave Zero theory was based on his work with the I Ching; he discovered that far from being simply a fortune-telling tool, it was a 384-day, thirteen lunar cycle calendar that could be used both for prediction and retrodiction. With this he worked out a formal mathematical theory that portrayed a time wave showing the ebb and flow of habit and novelty throughout history--times of relative stasis and times of decisive change. Using this method, which he incorporated into computer programs, he

found that there was a point at which the level of habit, or stasis, dropped to zero, and the level of novelty reached its zenith: December 21, 2012.

Speaking on Timewave Zero at a multimedia event called Alien Dreamtime in February 1993, McKenna referred to this as "the denouement of human history", wherein "the universal process of compressing and expressing novelty is now going to become so intensified that it is going to flow over into another dimension." Interviewed by OMNI magazine in May 1993, he said:

"All evolution has pushed for this moment, and there is no going back. What lies ahead is a dimension of such freedom and transcendence, that once in place, the idea of returning to the womb will be preposterous. We will live in the imagination. We will quickly become unrecognizable to our former selves because we're now defined by our limitations: the laws of gravity; the need to eat, excrete, and make money. We have the will to expand infinitely into pleasure, caring, attention, and connectedness. If nothing more -- and it's a lot more -- it's permission to hope."
I propose that we can choose decisive change, activate our own personal denouement and access a new dimension of being at any time. We can cleanse ourselves of the repeating loop of memories that play out as the same old problems coming up again and again, and open ourselves to the unlimited potential that is just waiting to be lived by us.

In the Tarot deck, the Fool card is key zero in the Major Arcana, and he perfectly exemplifies what it means to live from zero point. He is utterly trusting and fearless, his eyes turned to the sky (inspiration, higher guidance) as he is seemingly about to step off a cliff. If he ever had any worries or was run by any tapes or programs arising from memories replaying, he has let go of them, and is living as a truly free spirit, going his own way, following the call of his heart and soul rather than the dictates of society or cultural conditioning.

So does the Fool recite the Ho'oponopono mantra: "I'm sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you"? Saying "I'm sorry, please forgive me" rubs many the wrong way . I know I objected to that part of it in the beginning. I now understand it's not about beating oneself up, not about seeing the self as wrong or bad, but simply acknowledging that we've been asleep or unconscious, and that like everyone else, we've been hypnotically acting out the tapes and programs of our repeating memories. But in recent years, Dr. Hew Len has clarified that just saying "I love you" covers all the bases. The Fool travels light, both materially and emotionally, and I suspect that his mantra (if he ever uses one) would consist of one word: LOVE. In looking up to the sky, he is looking up to Love, trusting that Divine essence to guide and protect him as he steps boldly into the unknown. Perhaps, like a cartoon character, he'll literally find himself walking on air, as long as he doesn't look down and freak out! Which brings us to a very important point: the present moment, the point of power. We lose our balance and "fall down" when we take ourselves out of the present moment by dwelling on the past or trying to second-guess the future. Cleaning with whatever word or phrase that "does it" for us is one way of staying mindful and centered at zero point, the point of power.

I live the life that I allow
and in each choice there is a voice
that speaks to me, that tells me how
to be, to be, to be, to be
in the point of power, here and now,
my spirit flying free.

Eventually, we will even transcend the need for mantras or other re-minders. As we live from zero point, we won't need to make lists, for example, of where to go, what to do. We will simply listen and follow the guidance we receive from within. We will become wise Fools.

If there is a Biblical quote that most closely matches the meaning and intent of Ho'oponopono, I think it is, "Not my will, but Thine be done." In other words, "I'm clueless, you know better. You handle it." The realization of our cluelessness (on the level of the ego, the conscious thinking mind) and the letting-go to our Divinity, our greater selves, is the essence of Ho'oponopono. Then we can hear the "still, small voice" of inspiration that will transform our lives, our relationships, and our experience.

It may seem like a stretch to connect all of this with cleaning my son's apartment. Yet by putting his place in order, scrubbing away the grime, de-clogging the sink in the bathroom with several infusions of our old friend Drano, adding a couple of waste receptacles where they were clearly needed, and, close to the end of the job, fishing out a food-encrusted fork from under his futon/bed, I was also putting my own "house" in order. It was far more than just a chore, for me. Any kind of problem, whether it be a cluttered room or a messy personal relationship, is an opportunity to clean and let go.

When my son came back from his trip, he was struck by the transformation, and expressed his appreciation. At the same time, he was clear that he didn't want or expect this to be a regular service. Which was fine with me, although I did advise him that it wasn't a good idea to let nine months go by without a thorough cleaning.

The first few times I visited him after that, he alluded, a bit nervously, to the disorder that had naturally, organically returned to his surroundings. I assured him it didn't matter--and it didn't. In fact, I think it would make me a bit nervous if he became a neat freak. His world has its own unique kind of order, and as with the Fool stepping blithely off the cliff, there is method in his madness (or messiness).

He helps me clean, too, in his own way. Thank you, Ben, I love you!