Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings San Diego

Ho’oponopono Your Path to True Forgiveness

Jun 27, 2019 04:14PM ● By with Matt James, PhD

Dr. Matt James, known to most as Dr. Matt, Master Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and President of The Empowerment Partnership, an international firm dedicated to personal transformation, credits his upbringing for his life’s work. Raised in Hawai’i, Dr. Matt’s parents instilled in him a belief in energy and consciousness. When he was growing up, energy work was a common discussion in his home says this longtime student of the healing arts, who first began meditating at the age of 5. “I saw my dad meditating and I wanted to emulate him. And the practice stayed with me,” says Dr. Matt.

         Throughout his childhood, Dr. Matt studied with many spiritual teachers. Not only was he entrusted with teaching Huna through the lineage of the Bray family, Dr. Matt was a longtime student of Uncle George Na’ope, Master Kumu in Hula who was honored as one of Hawai’i’s Golden Living Treasures. Around age 12, Dr. Matt attended his first fire walk with Tony Robbins, and by age 13 he was a certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) by Richard Bandler.

         In addition to practicing NLP, Huna and other healing modalities, Dr. Matt, along with his father, developed the Mental and Emotional Release (MER) process, a clinically researched collection of techniques that help people release stress, anxiety, fear and other negative emotions.

         Dr. Matt shares the wisdom he has gleaned over the years in multiple books, including one of his latest Ho’oponopono: Your Path to True Forgiveness. “I wrote this book in honor of my daughter Skylar, who lost her best friend in kindergarten. I truly believe that Ho’oponopono saved my daughter’s life,” he says, referring to the release techniques he shares in the book.

         Ho’oponopono, which means “to make right,” is a forgiveness technique practiced by ancient Hawaiians. Dr. Matt, however, says it’s more than that. “Ho’oponopono is about release. It’s releasing pain from your past that is currently enslaving you. It’s about releasing old perceptions of those that you are in relationship with.” Practitioners of this technique can even release emotional baggage tied to someone who has died which can help shift grief and any ill feelings toward that person into a new appreciation.

         According to Dr. Matt, most of us are carrying around emotional baggage, and it’s negatively impacting the quality of our lives. “Holding grudges isn’t healthy. It sabotages our happiness and affects us emotionally. Plus, it’s physically toxic. Anger hurts the heart. Depression wrecks the immune system. A lot of people mistakenly think that by holding onto feelings like anger, we’re going to make the other person suffer. There is no Universe where that works. When we hold onto it, we are the ones who suffer.”

         The ancient Hawai’ians knew this, explains Dr. Matt. “They were almost completely devoid of mental and emotional diseases because they put such a high priority on releasing their baggage with techniques like Ho’oponopono.” And, he affirms, with consistent practice we can all release resentment and get to a similar place of love and joyful acceptance.

           Dr. Matt shares that everything begins with a belief in the power of our own minds. “The day that I realized it was ‘all in my head’ was a very liberating day. I remember a time when one of the attendees at one of our seminars came up to me and said, “That stuff that you teach, it’s all in your head!” And I told him, “That is so good that you recognize that!” He was a little confused. But it is all in our heads. “And the more tools we have in our toolbox to help us clear that baggage from our minds, the better,” says this daily practitioner of release work and meditation.

         There is one caveat, advises Dr. Matt. “You have to be ready to let it go. The biggest misconception is that if I let something go, then I’m condoning what happened to me. You must be able to reframe forgiveness. You’re not saying that you approve of the betrayal or misdeed nor do you need to maintain or re-establish a relationship with someone who harmed you. Forgiveness doesn’t erase what happened. It erases the negative hold that it has on you, so you are no longer a prisoner to that pain. And it’s easier to let go of that emotional baggage than most people think. The difficult part is taking action.”

         Dr. Matt asserts that once a person becomes comfortable with the process of Ho’oponopono, it becomes 100 percent effective. “It’s such a beautiful, effective process of releasing what doesn’t serve you. The lesson serves you and it’s hard to get the lesson when emotional baggage is weighing you down. It’s time to bring that baggage into the light where it can be healed. You really can transform your life with this simple healing modality. I’ve seen it happen thousands of times. You too, can empower your life and become the person you were always meant to be.”


To purchase Ho’oponopono: Your Path to True Forgiveness, visit For more information on Dr. Matt’s work, visit, and