On the islands of the South Pacific, influenced by a world of sea and sand, volcanoes and palm trees, hurricanes and gentle breezes, there exists a unique path of living that is sometimes called “The Way of the Adventurer.” It is an ancient path that is so powerful and so practical that it works as well in modern times as it did in the misty past. This way is based on a Polynesian philosophy called Ka Huna, which means “The Secret.”
Before describing it in detail, however, it would be best to “talk story,” as the Hawaiians say, in order to introduce the ideas that form the basis of Huna.
It is 207 AD, and a middle-aged man, wearing a pure white robe made from the bark of a tree, squats down on an outcropping of lava rock facing the ocean. From out of a woven raffia pouch he takes a worn stone carved to resemble a fish and sets it down on the black lava. In a trilling, chanting voice, he speaks to the stone, moving it in various directions in response to some internal impulse that only he is aware of. Finally, he stops chanting, relaxes, and smiles down at the piece of stone that now points toward the mountains behind him. Then he stands up and shouts to the fishermen who have been waiting, “Get the nets ready! The fish will be here in abundance when the sun reaches kahiki-ku, the sky overhead, in the late afternoon.”
It is 2007, and a young woman in a well-tailored business suit is on her way to an important meeting. Strapped comfortably in the window seat of the 777 jet, she leafs through the airline magazine to pass the time. Suddenly she puts the magazine down, aware of an event forming in her environment. Moments later the plane shakes as it enters rough air, the warning lights for seat belts go on, and the captain’s voice announces that everyone should stay seated because there will be considerable turbulence ahead. The woman calmly takes a deep breath and extends her spirit beyond the confines of the airplane. There she blends her energies with those of the wind, talks to it soothingly, and smoothes it out with her mind. Less than two minutes later all the turbulence is gone, so she lets go of the wind and returns to her magazine.
These two people, separated in time by almost two thousand years and living in radically different cultures, have something important in common: Both of them are practitioners of Huna, and they have learned how to integrate its seven basic principles into their daily lives.
To begin with, the man and woman in the example above have learned that the world quite naturally responds to their thoughts. Their personal experience is, in effect, an exact reflection of how they think it is—no more and no less than a dream. As Huna practitioners, they know that this dream we call physical reality is generated from beliefs, expectations, intentions, fears, emotions, and desires. In order to change the dream, they use Huna’s first principle to shift “mindsets” at will in order to produce specific effects under various conditions.
This Huna principle states simply that there really are no limits, no actual separations between beings. The ancient man was able to communicate with the stone, and through the stone with the fish out in the ocean. And the modern woman could leave her body in the seat to become one with the wind, and then go back again without the slightest difficulty. Believing that there are no limits is a way of granting oneself tremendous freedom, but its corollary is total responsibility for one’s actions and reactions.
In the third principle, energy flows where attention goes, a poetic way of saying that the concentration of attention on anything produces a concentration of energy connected with the object of focus, whether physical or not. And the energy thus concentrated will have a creative effect according to the nature of the thoughts that accompany the attention. The man on the lava rock face focused on the fish with the intent to influence their direction for the good of the community, and the woman on the plane focused on the wind with the intent to eliminate the turbulence for her comfort and that of her fellow passengers.
Both the man and the woman in the example operated with Huna’s fourth principle, knowing that power exists only in the present moment. However, they also knew that this present moment is as large as their present focus of awareness. Sense of time, then, is quite different from that of the typical modern person. Because one cannot act in the past or the future, one should not waste time on past regrets or future worries. At the same time, one can change both past and future in the present moment.
One of the most far-reaching and profound discoveries of those ancients who produced the Huna philosophy is that love is the greatest tool for effective action. The Hawaiian word for love is aloha, and the inner meaning is “to be happy with someone or something and to share this happiness.” In this respect, love is both an attitude and an action. Love, then, is not only a feeling or a behavior but a means for change. For the Huna practitioner, love is a spiritual power that increases as judgment and criticism decrease. A truly loving intent is the most powerful spiritual force the world can know. The Huna practitioner expresses love as blessing, praise, appreciation, and gratitude. Separation diminishes power and love diminishes separation, thereby increasing power. The ancient man connected with the fish through love, just as the modern woman connected with the wind.
The sixth principle teaches that all power actually comes from within. Neither the man nor the woman in the example called upon any force outside themselves to help them in their endeavors. Their power didn’t come from their personality or from their individuality but from the common God-spark they know as the course of their own being. The power and energy of this source is infinite, already in touch with everything else, an integral part of Ultimate Source (or by whatever name one chooses to use for it). Since this source is within as much as without and there is never any separation from it, one has only to look inside for it.
Being eminently practical, Huna practitioners of old developed this eminently practical principle that effectiveness is the only valid measure of truth. Absolute truth carried to its logical extreme comes out translated as “everything is.” Since this is hardly helpful at the human level, the Huna practitioner measures truth by the question, “Does it work?” The practitioner therefore feels free to change mindsets, shift belief systems, and create or modify techniques in order to achieve the best effects in a given situation. Was it true that the ancient man really spoke with the stone and that it answered back? Yes, because the fish came. Was it true that the woman really blended with the wind and smoothed it out with her mind? Yes, because the turbulence stopped. Cause and effect are not the same for the Huna practitioner as they are for the ordinary person in modern society.
Huna is an ancient, pragmatic philosophy that grew out of an exceptionally keen observation of life by Polynesian kahunas of esoteric knowledge. In the Kahili family, this esoteric philosophy was passed down from earlier generations and codified into the seven fundamental ideas I have just shared. I first learned these ideas from my adoptive Hawaiian uncle in the form of specific Hawaiian words and associated proverbs. When it came time for me to share this wisdom with the modern world, I condensed the concepts into seven English phrases that, to me, represented the most practical aspects of each principle for modern students to begin their studies with. From the basis of these principles, the Huna practitioner learns quickly and effectively to view ordinary reality in extraordinary ways, to recognize extraordinary events in ordinary circumstances, and to create new circumstances at will. And life becomes an exciting adventure.
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