Mental Cleaning with Ho'oponopono

The process of mental cleaning with ho'oponopono is reasonably straight forward, although there is much more going on in the background than meets the eye.

While the repetition of the four short phrases associated with ho'oponopono can create the necessary environment for cleaning to occur, it's natural to want to know what is really going on behind the scenes.

It's not important to know, of course.

In many cases it can even be obstructive to allocate a part of the mental process to analysing what is happening.

mental cleaning with ho'oponoponoHowever, for some it is just not enough to know what to do without understanding the process more completely.

For this reason, I will explain in more depth the underlying mental cleansing process of ho'oponopono.

What is Mental Cleaning?

The cleaning that is occurring during the professional practice of ho'oponopono is the removal of unwanted past negative experiences that have accumulated in long-term memory.

It involves addressing each experience held in memory, identifying it, re-experiencing it and its associated emotions and finally releasing or letting those emotional attachments go.

The actual memory is not physically removed as this would not be possible, but it is not the memory that causes the mental and behavioural problems. It is the emotional attachments that were experienced at the time of the occurrence that become internalised and (often) buried that have the negative effect on the person who experienced it.

It is the negative emotional attachments that are released from their deeply rooted place in a person's psyche through ho'oponopono prayer and meditation. This catharsis is what brings the feeling of a weight being lifted from the sufferer and indeed, the weight or burden of the often guilty or shameful emotional attachment lifts and its power over the person dissipates.

This is not dissimilar to the cathartic conclusion that occurs after a successful program of psychoanalysis, particularly when undertaken under hypnosis.

Is Mental Cleaning Physical in Nature?

No, it is not a physical process, like deleting files on a computer chip would be, yet the analogy gives us something to visualize to help understand what is happening.

The human mental faculty of memory is a complex subject that is to this day not fully understood even by the most knowledgeable of experts in the field. However, some aspects of it can be explained using existing items and simpler descriptions, much the same way a complicated explanation can be made understandable to a child.

What is known about memory is that it is stored in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is located beneath each temporal lobe, along with learning, spacial perception and navigation. The "how" is still not fully understood, however.

So the best way to describe the process is to use the computer and its data storage and access element, the memory chip as an example.

Our brains contain billions of neurons, which are specialized cells responsible for communication throughout he brain's structure. Even though neurons are organic and not actual digital positions on a physical ceramic computer chip, the transfer of information happens electronically.

All cells in the body have an electrical as well as chemical basis via which they communicate with each other. Neurons are more specialized for electronic communication which our scientists do understand, yet how they store memories is not.

It is possible that the water content of these cells is in some way responsible for that memory storage, as it is known that water has a "memory," but this notion is still at the theoretical stage of our understanding. However our magnificent brains achieve it, what we do know is that we certainly can store memories from the very beginning of our lives all the way through to their end.

Memory and Emotional Attachment

Getting back to the topic at hand, it is understood that our memories are way more than mere pictures and sounds stored in our heads.

The emotional state that we experienced at the time each memory was committed to its storage location is also remembered. When that memory was a positive one, for example of a happy event in our past, when we dwell on the memory, we also experience that happy feeling that experienced at the time.

Similarly, when we remember an experience that involved anger, hatred or frustration, we similarly re-experience the same negative emotions as we did at the time.

The emotional charge associated with each memory can be so powerful that it triggers its equivalent emotional response in our physical body with the same strength as it did at the time it was initially experienced.

However, not all emotionally-charged memories are remembered by a person.

Repressed Memories

When a particularly unpleasant incident occurs in a person's life, often in their younger years of childhood and the intensity of the unpleasantness is so great, the memory can be repressed.

This effectively renders it hidden from the memory store as we mature into adults.

A great number of the problems we encounter as we become adults that we associate as having a mental basis, such as mental instability or behavioural problems that are not connected to any physical condition, can be traced back to repressed memories.

The memory of the event carried such a strong negative emotional payload that the subconscious mind deemed them an impairment to development and so buried them to "keep us safe." Buried is not the same as eliminated and so each repression has a way of expressing itself through behaviour without identifying itself as the culprit.

A common expression of a repressed memory can be a phobia (irrational fear of something) that is usually (apparently) unrelated to the originating event and its associated emotion.

As an example, a fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) may not necessarily be associated with being locked in a small, dark cupboard as a child. However, if the locking up was related another action that caused the child to feel extreme guilt or shame, the present phobia may be a way of telling us that something bad happened and it was associated with being locked up in a small space.

Destructive Emotions

Shame and guilt are two of the most destructive of negative emotions we can experience.

Either, experienced as a child, can lead to the repression of the memory of an event that caused one or other of them to be experienced. The repressed memory remains and continually seeks to be rectified by expressing itself in unwanted or inappropriate behaviour.

The practice of ho'oponopono can bring about that rectification.

Ho'oponopono Cleaning

mental baggageIt does so by making it possible in a very soft, almost gentle way, for the repression to become exposed, explored, come to terms with and then let go of by the person experiencing it.

This method can be far less traumatic than the often explosive catharsis experienced by psychoanalysis patients upon discovery and re-experience of their repressed event(s).

By letting go of the experience and its associated emotional baggage, a person can experience what amounts to a mental cleaning of that long-held burden. Hence the term used by ho'oponopono practitioners as "cleaning," as this closely resembles a cleaning out of the unwanted emotional blockages from the memory pathways.

With the blockages cleaned away, the person becomes enabled to move forward in their life with a free-flowing mental pathway that is conducive to the creation of positive ideas, plans and projects that can benefit them in any number of ways going forward.


Using the gentle, cumulative effects of ho'oponopono prayer to clean their minds of unwanted negative emotional baggage, a person can heal themselves of what was causing them problems.

The process is understood by practitioners at the spiritual level and even at the emotional level, but not the mechanical, physical level just yet. When our greatest minds manage to piece together the actual workings of our amazing brains and mental processes, we may finally understand all that is to be understood about remedying all mentally-related problems.

Until that day comes, if it ever does, we have the benefit of tools such as ho'oponopono to help us, through finding inner tranquillity to come to terms with mistakes, transgressions and awful events of the past that are holding us ransom in the present.

If you choose to use these tools, learn to use them correctly and use them wisely. For they are powerful and can bring about huge changes to circumstances in life that can be either positive or negative depending on how they are used.

Posted: February 11, 2024