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Criminal defense as a healing art, and Ho’oponopono as a part of that healing

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As I blogged last week, one of my key teachers is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len. Dr. Hew Len follows and teaches Ho’oponopono, which is about taking personal responsibility for everything we are aware of (this helps me eliminate anger and tension, eliminate blaming others for problems, and be here now, and ultimately helps me be a better persuader), and getting to zero limits (which is also related to t’ai chi, being calm in the eye of the storm, non-duality/non-attachments, and, once again, being a better persuader).

Just as Dr. Hew Len came from a scientifically rationalist viewpoint as a psychologist initially skeptical (but later not) about some of the things his Ho’oponopono teacher Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona taught, he says numerous things that I myself wonder about from a rationalist viewpoint, including that earthquakes and tsunamis are man-made. Since Dr. Hew Len believes that all things and objects are affected by events, perhaps he thinks that when everyone reaches harmony, the resulting good vibrations and thoughts will reverse any bad vibrations that cause earthquakes and tsunamis, or perhaps he feels that bad vibrations cause the opposite. That is still difficult for me to wrap my rational mind around.

Nevertheless, by applying Dr. Hew Len’s approach of taking full and sole personal responsibility for what we experience — whether emanating from humans, animals, plants, inanimate objects, or severe weather and earthquakes — I find myself to be more calm, harmonious, grounded, feeling in positive control, and, ultimately, more persuasive. Following Ho’oponopono takes a leap of faith, but it seems to be a harmless leap of faith.

Here is more of what I have learned about Dr. Hew Len and Ho’oponopono:

– Dr. Hew Len’s teacher Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona spoke of the use of Ho’oponopono by those in the healing professions: “It is important to clear Karmic patterns with your clients before you start working with them, so that you don’t activate old stuff between you. Perhaps you shouldn’t be working with that person at all. Only the Divinity knows. If you work with a person and it isn’t your business, you can take on the person’s entire problem and everything associated with it. This can cause burnout. The Ho’oponopono gives the tools to prevent that from happening.”

Curiously, when I first met Dr. Hew Len over a year ago at the tail end of the seminar my wife attended with him, one of the first words out of his mouth was that I was a lawyer, which he had learned before meeting me. When I asked my first question at his recent seminar, he asked me to tell everyone my profession.

Certainly, my work includes my helping clients heal and harmonize from disharmonious situations and disharmonious feelings that make many of them feel in turmoil. Ho’oponopono helps me transcend getting irritated at seemingly toxic self-centered and uncaring behavior from clients and potential clients (including those who hassle my staff), and from judges, prosecutors, and opposing witnesses, by my continually focusing on getting to zero, which is a state that cannot suffer annoyance. Getting to and maintaining zero is also what my martial art of taijiquan teaches.

If I ask Dr. Hew Len if his mentioning my profession was indirectly suggesting that I apply Ho’oponopono to my law practice, his likely answer will be: (1) If I am asking a question, I am not at zero. By getting to zero, we will find the answers ourselves. (2) Our only purpose for being here is to make amends for past errors by ourselves and others. (3) Ho’oponopono should be practiced throughout every day.

Constantly applying Ho’oponopono is so important to Dr. Hew Len that when I said aloha to him during his last visit and told him that he means a lot to me, he said that he saw that there is another person (me) who will be doing cleaning (i.e., Ho’oponopono). Earlier in the day, when he kissed the top of my five-year-old son’s head, I said “What a blessing” that he had given my son. Dr. Hew Len replied that my son is indeed a blessing, and that I am, too, but that I do not yet realize that. I take that to mean that he views all of us as blessings with the divinity in each of us, and that by getting to zero we will realize that. (On another note, one of my most favorite and most humanly advanced participants at the 1995 Trial Lawyers College told me at the time that I have greatness in me that I have yet to tap by getting more confidence. The confidence increased substantial as I applied the lessons of the Trial Lawyers College and of t’ai chi ch’uan, and all the more after I became my own boss. Everyone, of course, will excel more when acknowledging the vast power they have within, developing and applying that power in positive ways, and not letting themselves be daunted by real and apparent external hurdles.)

– This is a great video from part of a presentation by Dr. Hew Len. He is very selective about permitting photography of him, which makes this video all the more remarkable for its availability. In this video, Dr. Hew Len addresses core teachings of his, including:

— Zero is where answers are. Buddha says come to zero. Dr. Hew Len also relates the concept of zero to Jesus and Shakespeare.

— With inspiration comes improvement in relationships and achievement with little effort.

— Each of us is perfect. The data/memories within us is what causes blocks. (In that regard, he said at the seminar I attended that no memory is a good memory. I asked if that even applies to the memory needed to learn a foreign language, and he said yes. I think he said to clean on the memory — I suppose all memory — being applied.)

— Your problems are the memories in you.

— When you return to zero, you get everything you need, and everyone else does, as well.

— By letting go, you will see the divine.

– Whether seen as heretical or not by practitioners of traditional Ho’oponopono, Dr. Hew Len applies an updated version of Ho’oponopono, learned from his teacher Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona, which is called Self I-Dentity through Ho’oponopono, where the “I” in I-Dentity apparently is not only the individual, but the divinity that is within each person.

– Traditional Ho’oponopono involves working with a group to reach harmonization. The Self I-Dentity through Ho’oponopono that Dr. Hew Len practices involves the individual’s taking full responsibility and cleaning action for all matters of which s/he is aware. Self I-Dentity through Ho’oponopono uses the symbol IZI, which I understand to mean I-state of zero-I.

– Traditional Ho’oponopono has deep and long roots in Hawaii, including as a method for mediation. One lawyer even writes about Ho’oponopono’s application to mediating criminal cases. Another lawyer says “Hooponopono has … been revived in recent years and been recognized as a form of conflict resolution. Act 162, Sessions Laws of Hawaii, Regular Session of 1998 (1998).”

Consequently, Ho’oponopono helps me further along the path of powerful persuasion, helping my clients and myself, harmony, Mu, non-duality, and taijiquan.


  1. Naoko IKARI on September 5, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    Hi. I somehow ended up here, searching for some lawyers practicing Ho’oponopono.
    I’m not a lawyer myself, however, my company gets involved in not yet trial, but
    sort-of on the way to it considering strategies, getting advice from lawyers.
    I’ve never experienced like this before, which made me very tired.
    I’m curious how lawyers practice Ho’oponopono, and that would
    effect in lawsuits itself, lawyers, plaintiff, defendant, all others involved.
    It’d be highly appreciated if you answer on this! Thanks.

    • Jon Katz on September 9, 2019 at 6:40 am

      Thanks for commenting. I have written about ho’oponopono several times on this blog, which you can find by typing in ho’oponopono in the search box of this website.