ACCORDING TO ANCIENT Hawaiian tradition, wisdom first came to Earth on a great continent in the middle of the Pacific ocean (of which Kauai and part of Oahu are remnants), and it spread from there to India, Egypt, the Maya, and other ancient cultures. Whether or not this account is factually accurate, it suggests taking a look at what help this wisdom tradition may have to offer us as we face what appear to be escalating difficulties in our current world.
In Hawaii, “Aloha” means much more than just “hello,” “goodbye,” and “love.” In the Hawaiian language, it means “the joyful sharing of life energy in the present.” Its deeper implication is to live in harmony with everyone and everything. (The seven realms in this understanding of the world are Stone, Wind, Fire, Water, Plants, Animals, and People.) Huna, which is what that ancient Hawaiian wisdom tradition is called, offers a time-tested healing and living approach for individuals, families, communities, and the planet. As author and Huna teacher Serge Kahili King says, the Aloha Spirit refers to the Hawaiian attitude of friendly acceptance, and also to “a powerful way to resolve any problem, accomplish any goal, and also to achieve any state of mind or body that you desire.” The Aloha-based Hawaiian family and community harmonizing technique of ho’oponopono is well known among modern professional peacemakers.
Huna offers a simple (but not easy) set of seven principles for living. Let’s see how they might apply to the way we live and seek harmony in today’s complex and challenging world.
Ike (Ee-Kay): The world is what you think it is; that is, our own beliefs and attitudes shape our experience of the world, and they also have a powerful effect on shaping the world itself. If, for example, we believe the world is going to hell in a handbasket, and we don’t believe anything we do will make any difference, we’re not likely to be very effective at changing things for the better. A Huna slogan is “Expect the best!”—and work for it.
Kala (Kah-lah): There are no limits; the possibilities are infinite. All structures, including thought structures, are created, and can be changed. So the possibilities in a given situation are always much greater than we can imagine.
Makia (Mah-kee-ah): Energy flows where attention goes, so put your attention where you want your energy to flow. This means it is very important to focus on what we want, rather than on what we don’t want! Simple, but not easy--because this means focusing on creating harmony, not on condemning disharmony. We may believe, for example, that a direction our political leadership is taking is unwise, and we may work to change that direction, but if we really want to create harmony, we need to find creative ways of working that are not themselves strife-producing. Also, this principle suggests focusing on the effect you want, rather than on your own fears of, say, public speaking.
Manawa (Man-ah-wa): Now is the moment of power. We can’t change the past, and our influence on the future comes from what we do in the present, in the now moment.. So, as Ram Dass says, “Be here now!” The more present we are, the more powerful we are, and the more we enjoy life! (Huna is an adventurer path, rather than a warrior path.)
Aloha (Ah-loe-hah): As one of the Huna wisdom principles, Aloha means “to love is to be happy with.” The Aloha secret to creating what you want is: Bless everyone and everything that represents what you want. To build healthy relationships, decide to be happy with your partner and act accordingly. Find ways to be happy through changing your own attitude and behavior and finding ways to help your partner to be happy—or change your circumstances or relationship in such a way that you can be happy (and they can too, if possible). In more difficult situations, for example, this means removing oneself from an abusive relationship and establishing healthy boundaries, and perhaps having the person restrained by the law—but not exacting revenge. This approach is equally applicable to relationships between groups and nations. As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Mana (Mah-nah): All power comes from within. Ultimately, no one has power over you unless you give it to them. (It is possible—though certainly not easy—to remain spiritually free even in a concentration camp.) And as we build our own inner power, we become more and more effective, in our own lives and in our interactions with others. Aloha and Mana feed and build on each other: Loving power and powerful love.
Pono (Poe-noe): Effectiveness is the measure of truth. Assuming your actions are grounded in the other principles, use whatever techniques are likely to be most effective to create healing and harmony. For example, it’s good to “give peace a chance,” but giving it a chance probably requires using a lot of intelligence and creativity (as well as Mana and Aloha) to find the ways that are likely to be most effective.
Because there seems to be a bias for love and healing in the Universe, every positive thought and action helps at some level—so let’s all keep creating more and more healing and harmony in our lives and our world.
Remember: The world is what you think it is. There are no limits. Energy flows where attention goes. Now is the moment of power. To love is to be happy with. All power comes from within. And effectiveness is the measure of truth.
Judy Steele is a life and work coach, teacher, counselor, and healer. Among the healing techniques she uses most frequently are TAT (Tapas Acupressure Technique), Dynamind (a Huna technique for de-stressing and for manifesting), and flower essences. She has a Master’s in Transpersonal Psychology, she is an ordained Huna Alakai (leader), and she also has a background in corporate training and leadership development. 612-590-3193, email@example.com www.schoolforliving.org.
[This article was published with the title “Peace and Spirituality” in the November 2002 issue of Twin Cities Wellness (www.tcwellness.com)].