Joe Vitale the quest for miracles through ho'oponopono Lessons from a zen garden paradise in plain sight
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Coming into Ho’oponopono Clarity

An Interview with Joe Vitale

By Donna Strong


Known as Mr. Fire, this nickname for Dr. Joe Vitale is quite fitting, since he is a man on fire with passion and purpose and, yes, prosperity mojo. He is a master at sharing information in the right way, having built an Internet empire that markets products based on the law of attraction, right action and the Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono.

Having practiced a modern version of Ho’oponopono for nearly ten years now, he has recently launched his newest book about its secrets, At Zero. This is the sequel to his book Zero Limits that brought the Ho’oponopono to wide recognition among his base of fans.

The author of more than fifty books, he has recently entered a new arena, becoming an accomplished musician. He received a very big nod with the nomination of songs from six of his healing music CD’s for a Posi Award, regarded as the Grammys of positive music. In only three years he has gone from a dream on his bucket list to real recognition in the music world.

Joe is a modern-day torchbearer, revealing closely-held esoteric secrets from the past to empower people in the present. Productive and prolific, Joe is doing a stellar job of setting the world on fire with his passion. We were fortunate to catch this man on the move for a chat.

Awareness: Would you tell us about how Ho’oponopono practice has come into the world so prominently?

Joe Vitale: Well, it’s come into the world largely because of my first book on the subject, Zero Limits, that came out about eight years ago. There wasn’t anything in the mainstream available on the subject until then.

This book was written because I had heard the story of a therapist who helped to heal an entire ward of mentally-ill criminals using an esoteric Hawaiian healing technique, and I needed to know if it was true. I found Dr. Hew Len, learned the technique and undertook personal training with him. Later, we did seminars and wrote the first book together.

Awareness: So tell us about the traditional Hawaiian method and how it has evolved.

Joe: Well, the method is a way to achieve inner peace and tranquility. The old-school version was a group problem-solving techniques where a group of people, usually a family, would get together and air their grievances with an elder or priest. It could take days to weeks to get to a place where everybody felt heard and peace was restored.

Morrnah Simeona gave us the modern version of Ho’oponopono. She was the first one who said we can handle all that may be bothering us by using this within ourselves.

Awareness: Would you describe how to do Ho’oponopono using a fear about money as an example?

Joe: The rule of thumb is, if you can feel it you can heal it. So when someone has an issue around money — they’re already in fear or worry about how to pay the bills — so that is what they work with -— what they’re actually feeling, whatever’s there.

With that feeling in your body, you go ahead and say the four phrases “I love you,” “I’m sorry,” “please forgive me,” and “thank you” within yourself. So in other words, you are feeling the problem — whether that’s a health or relationship or money issue, or anything else — and as you’re feeling it you are in a way petitioning your version of the Creator, saying, please release this and heal me.

These four key phrases are what you are saying as a kind of combination-code to unlock inner freedom by releasing whatever the beliefs are that are creating the upset, the current feelings that you have. So you don’t have to reach for more, just say the four statements around it to your Creator, and allow that to unfold and clear you.

Awareness: I love one of the things you say about how it helps to go from reacting to stimuli in life to realizing more freedom.

Joe: Ninety-nine percent of the time we are reacting to life. In Ho’oponopono they say in every moment you either come from inspiration or you come from memory. Most of us are coming from memory, which means it’s past beliefs that are still operating in our minds; the past that we just keep reliving.

What Ho’oponopono does is erase all of the limiting beliefs so that you can listen to the divine whisper inspiration into your ear.

Awareness: That’s wonderful. Could you help clarify one of the hardest things to understand about Ho’oponopono — that we are responsible but not to blame for everything that happens in our lives?

Joe: That’s the truth! Many years ago I watched a therapist on television in Houston. He said, “Your problem is not your fault, but it is your responsibility.” I never forgot that. In a way, that is the essence of personal responsibility that Ho’oponopono teaches.

It’s not about guilt; it’s not about blame; it’s not about beating yourself up. It is about owning what you have in your life experience. When somebody is really feeling unhealthy or has an addiction or is lonely and wants a relationship, they own it. They don’t blame themselves for the situation they have to deal with at all. They simply say, well, here I am; let’s do something about it. There’s a neutrality to it.

An example that I sometimes give; if I’m walking through a store and I get distracted and I bump into somebody, I turn to them and say, I’m sorry, I didn’t meant to bump into you. That ‘s what personal responsibility is. It’s neutral ownership of what is going on in your reality with the understanding that you are awake now and you’re going to do something more responsible next. That’s it.

Awareness: That’s so clear. It is such a balm for us all to be able to hear something like that, don’t you think?

Joe: Absolutely. That’s where it becomes freeing and empowering.

I really believe life is a process of awakening. Instead of treating ourselves like we are powerless or that we need to be punished, we need to look at ourselves as awakening angels. We are spiritual beings in this physical body and we are not totally aware or conscious of everything yet, but we are participating in everything around us. With Ho’oponopono, we can begin to awaken to our own God-given power and co-create our lives in a very majestic, and even miraculous way.

Awareness: Wonderfully said! This issue of Awareness is about relationship, so what would you offer about the ability of Ho’oponopono to foster a much more conscious relationship within ourselves.

Joe: That’s a beautiful question. Dr. Hew Len, the therapist who co-authored Zero Limits with me and taught me Ho’oponopono, repeatedly said that the only really important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Everything that you perceive to be on the outside is really a reflection of the relationship you have with yourself.

Whenever we begin to complain about what we perceive to be somebody on the outside doing something to offend us, in Ho’oponopono we’re supposed to take a deep breath and pretend we’re looking at a mirror and it is reflecting what’s in us.

This brings it all back to the chief relationship, the one we have with ourselves. When we take care of our relationship with ourselves, the ones we see on the outside — which are really just projections — improve. Our relationships become much more loving and enduring and happy and healthy. Ho’oponopono is all about taking care of your primary relationship, the one with yourself.

Awareness: We could say that this one could really use a lot more attention for the best reasons.

Joe: Yes. I believe the perceived chaos that we see in the world is actually our wake-up call, shaking us up with a proverbial “kick in the butt” to look within at our own relationships. It’s not about other people; it’s not about other countries or political parties. It’s about our own relationship with ourselves. The turmoil we perceive out there is really a mirror of what’s in us. So it behooves us to look within.

That’s what the universe, divinity; the planet — whatever you want to call it — is actually pointing us to. It wants us to awaken to our inner divinity.

Awareness: We all know the old adage, “as within, so without.” Would you tell us a story about the inside change reflecting on the outside?

Joe: The most ready example is from my own personal life. Three years ago I decided to be a musician. It was on my bucket list and I decided that it’s now or never. Even though I was in The Secret and I have all these credentials, it didn’t stop all the self-doubts from surfacing.

Right on the heels of my intention to be a musician came all the devils of my mind — all he self-criticism and self-doubt surfaced with questions like, “Who are you to sing? Who are you to play guitar with your no-talent, no-skill, no-background, no-experience, no-nothing?”

So I was feeling my insecurities in a really dramatic and almost traumatizing way because I didn’t see it coming.

Again, I had to do what I’d taught other people to do, to use Ho’oponopono. So I was saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t know where these beliefs have come from; please forgive me for having this programming in my mind; thank you for taking care of it and erasing it and deleting it; I love you for giving me life, giving me the ability to change, transform, and clear myself.”

As a result of doing that, not only did I remove the barriers, but also I accelerated my skill level. I came out with my first album three months later and another album a few months after that. At this point in time, a little over three years later, my seventh album is in production and I have begun my eighth album. As of now I’ve been written about in Rolling Stone, and my music has been nominated for the Posi Award, which gives recognition for positive music.

This first-person story is all about the power of Ho’oponopono, because by using the process I deleted the interference I had to what I wanted to attract. Once I took care of the inner relationship with myself and was able to be clear enough, I was actually able to attract and achieve my dream.

Awareness: That’s fabulous!

Joe: Well, I like to tell my story because people don’t imagine that I could relate to their own insecurities. I am over sixty now, but when I was fifty-seven and wanting to be a musician, all of this stuff surfaced.

I think whenever we reach for something that’s new and big, there’s going to be a shakeup within us because we are extending our comfort zone. We are reaching out of the known into the unknown, so it’s somewhat natural to have insecurities; beliefs, negativity and limitations show up.

Awareness: I have a feeling that the method you’re sharing can help free big waves of creativity in people that would otherwise not be expressed.

Joe: That is wonderful because I think divinity is whispering ideas to all of us that it wants to see created. Most of us say, “not me, not now,” and we have all kinds of objections; “I don’t have enough money, experience, connections or education.” These are all beliefs about limitation. We all want to receive ideas and inspiration and create with them, so if there is a wave that happens because of my books or Ho’oponopono, well, God bless us all. I think that is a wonderful thing.

I think the good news is that Ho’oponopono teaches you to get out of the way using these four phrases so you can create heaven on Earth, allowing divinity to inspire you to create what you what.

Awareness: When I first came to L.A., I had a spiritual experience that led me to call myself somewhat amusedly “Our Lady of Perpetual Surrender.” Having read your book, it appears to me that Ho’oponopono is a very effective way to learn the value of surrender.

Joe: Well, I totally agree with that. In the new book, I talk about the four stages of awakening, and the third one is surrender. That’s where Ho’oponopono comes to the rescue because it helps us learn to surrender. Surrender does not mean giving up; it means we are joining forces with divinity and the flow of the universe, and the direction that it is already going.

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that if they surrender they are powerless, but it’s actually the opposite. What you are surrendering is the lack of ego control. You don’t run the planet and you can’t run everything here. You are not wise enough or smart enough; you can’t see everything that’s going on.

When you surrender . . . meaning you are joining forces with the power that is running the universe — not only is your life easier and more streamlined, it accelerates your contribution to the wellbeing of the universe as a whole.

So now I love to surrender, and I was the guy who was always trying to steer the ship. Now I am joining forces with divinity and surrendering to what some would call God’s will; I like to call it divine will, of creating heaven on Earth.

Awareness: Tell us more about how Ho’oponopono can open the door to magic and miracles.

Joe: The truth is, you discover that you already are living the miracle. I didn’t know this; most people don’t know this. We wish for moments in the past, and we’re all hurrying to get to the wished-for future, but that means that none of us are here in the moment. What I’ve learned from glimpses of awakening is that this moment is the miracle.

As long as we come from our ego, we want to change it, we don’t want to accept it, we want to complain and we are not at all grateful. When we move into the love and forgiveness processes of Ho’oponopono, we create this clear relationship with ourselves and have a relationship with the moment, which is really a relationship with the divine that I could only describe as one of awe. That’s what this is. Life is a miracle.

Awareness: We’re not given much encouragement or perspective in life that there’s an opening that can happen any second and I think it shows, doesn’t it?

Joe: It absolutely does, and that’s the point of practicing Ho’oponopono. It’s a way to bring you into the moment by clearing the layers of interference between you and the moment.

The filters are all kinds of bullies — everything from simply not being grateful for the moment because you’re thinking the grass is greener somewhere else than being in this moment. I don’t know how to express it any better than to say my personal experience is that the moment is divine and the moment is the miracle.

Awareness: You know, Joe, you’re an amazing conduit to things that have been esoteric and fairly closely held. You seem to have this role to bring secrets out so that many people can really benefit.

Joe: I accept that role. I felt decades ago that my mission on Earth is to inspire people to go for and achieve their dreams rather than just acting like birds looking at shiny objects. We are constantly flying off in all kinds of directions.

Awareness: I love that description. In modern-day life, we are spinning out in too many directions.

Joe: This is why we have to take moments to meditate, to pause, to breathe, to become present, to check on our relationship with ourselves and divinity.

For me, the four statements of Ho’oponopono are so simple and easy and memorable. It’s an incredibly powerful tool just to bring us back into the moment so that we don’t keep flying off in distraction. If we do, well, there are the phrases to guide in returning to the present moment. I’ve been doing Ho’oponopono for enough years that it’s now the audio loop in my brain. So I’m saying it to clear my next moment.

Awareness: Okay, to begin wrapping up, I wanted to ask what you would say about the Ho’opnopono effect on the relationships in your life, both human and divine?

Joe: I’ve been very lucky that my relationships are solid and loving and healthy, including my present long-term marriage. The same thing is true with the relationships I have in business. They’re not just business partners; they’re friends. We’re connected on the heart level.

My relationship with divinity is probably the most powerful, the most amazing, glorious, even miraculous of them all. Today, because of all the work I have done on my relationship with myself while using Ho’oponopono, I have a relationship with the divine that feels as real and concrete as my talking to you.

Divinity to me is a living, breathing entity that is animating my life and is available for me to communicate with. I didn’t always have that. I was skeptical, agnostic, and testing, but not totally convinced. Now, divinity is my lover, my best friend, my mirror, and my essence. It’s the most powerful relationship of all.

Awareness: What a gift to know this! Is there anything else you would like to share?

Joe: I always like to remind people to follow their passion because it is a clue from divinity for the path that we’re supposed to follow to have the best relationship of our lives with Creator.

When you follow your passion, the doors seem to open, the clouds seem to clear; the streets seem to be more lined with gold. Everything is easier. Passion seems to be a secret of having a wonderful relationship with yourself and with life.

For more about Joe’s newest book and events, visit: or

Donna Strong is a writer and a new Ho’oponopono convert. To find out more about her work please visit or www.