I'm an alakai of Aloha International. That means that I made a decision to become a healer, and a teacher of Huna, and support the mission of Aloha International, which is to teach and practice the Seven Spiritual Principles of Huna, and to create peace and harmony through the Spirit of Aloha. "Healing the world with Aloha." It's more than just a slogan. It's a joyous work and a daily practice.
One thing I've noticed about being an alakai is that people expect more of me; expect me to be calmer, more enlightened, more successful, more skillful. More of a lot of nonspecific things, but somehow more of everything than the average bear. I've also heard this judgment applied to a couple of other local alakai, and I suspect it reflects a judgment I make of myself.
I was recently asked this question: "If the philosophy and techniques work, why are the alakai - who could be presumed to be the best-trained and most skillful practitioners - having problems? Why aren't their lives perfect?" Good question.
I came up with a good answer, too, and pretty quickly. The quality of the tool is not reflected in the skill of the user. You can buy a perfectly good hoe and still chop off a potato plant when you're weeding a row. Or the dog could suddenly run up behind you and playfully slam you behind the knees and suddenly the furrow is deeper than you intended. Neither of these events says anything about the quality of the hoe. Stuff happens, and our skills improve as a result, especially when we've got a good tool to begin with.
Second, we never have total awareness of the whole picture of anyone's life from the outside. An alakai, or anyone else, has a good many things going on at one time - personal issues, family, work, creativity, play, automobiles. We can't know if their situations might have been much worse than they are if they hadn't been using Huna.
The last thing I said is that we don't have room as human beings to judge each other or ourselves. It's simply counter-productive. That's where the aloha comes in.
I ran into a street sign on my way in to work this morning and smashed the side of my sweet car Louisa. I am not hurt, no one else was hurt, but Louisa is abraded and dented and will require body work. On the positive side, she's still running and I drove her to work. On the way in, I kept trying to figure out a way to tell the insurance people that someone had hit me. I wasn't rational. I don't believe lying is right, and the stress of having to keep it up far outweighs the perceived initial benefit.
An hour later, my sister phoned me from the mainland to tell me that my dad got the results of his latest MRI and his cancer has recurred and is spreading into his brain. Suddenly all my car troubles were seen in a new perspective as no more than an inconvenience. My car will be fixed and look prettier than ever.
Yikes! What a morning. I alternated between business-like, confused, and tearful. I took care of the most important business in the office. I knew that there was nothing I could instantly do to help my father. Both my sister and brother were on the spot. I sent out a Healing Circle request to the 43 alakai around the world and asked them to send me and my family energy. I called my insurance agent and told him what happened, that I'd misjudged the distance and hit a pole. He suggested that I go home and rest for a while and call him again when I felt a little calmer.
Another alakai and friend chose that moment to come by the office. Her presence was calming and reassuring as we talked about different treatment options and ways to deal with family stress. Her recent experience with her father's death from cancer gave her a lot of insight into what I was feeling. Her skills came to my aid.
When I got home, I fell apart. Shock and grief overwhelmed me and I sat on the couch and sobbed for a few minutes. It came in waves, ebbing and flowing as I touched back in to the present moment and blessed it. I am safe. I have no physical injuries. My father is actually no worse off than he has been for the last month. Then my focus would shift into fear and stress - I'd hear the bang as my car hit the pole, and see my father in distress. Again, I'd bless the present moment, and calm myself.
Finally I said to myself, "Self, you're an alakai and people come to you for counsel and guidance. Why don't you counsel yourself like you would someone else, using the seven principles of Huna?" Hey, what a great idea! I immediately set about it. One of the first things we do is reduce tension, so that healing can begin and harmony return. I massaged my head and face, using some new strokes I learned in a lomi class I took 2 weeks ago. I breathed and calmed my body and smiled.
I then started with IKE - the world is what you think it is. Awareness. I tuned in to exactly how my body and emotions felt, and what my thought patterns were. I saw the connection immediately. When I think scary thoughts, I feel very stressed, my jaws tighten, and I start crying. When I bless anything and everything good in my life and immediate surroundings, my body relaxes. When I smile, my body relaxes. When I breathe deeply and shift my focus, my body relaxes and my mind clears. Nothing about the exterior situation immediately changes, but the interior situation does change.
Principle number two is KALA - there are no limits. Freedom. We are all connected with each other and influence each other to some degree. I tuned in telepathically to my parents' home. I clearly saw my sister's car parked in the driveway, and my sister and parents sitting in the living room. I knew my brother was on his way there. No one was crying. My dad had just cracked a joke and they were all laughing. Because we are connected, I knew that I could send loving, healing energy to my dad, and I did. I saw a rainbow beam of light arc out from Kauai, and arch over to Washington, and beam in there.
The third principle is MAKIA - energy flows where attention goes. Focus. This one I'd already seen in action earlier in the office. I was upset, but when the phone would ring, I could switch over to "professional mode" and deal with business. So if I could choose to change my focus then, I could do it now. It proved out again later when my father told me that his head pain suddenly disappeared at the very time I was sending him energy. He was stressed and he suddenly relaxed.
MANAWA is the fourth principle - now is the moment of power. Presence. Not some moment in the past, not some picture of the future. I can only make an effective change in the present moment and in order to do that I need to be present, not thinking of what might happen in the future. I put my focus on the present, and on my senses. I looked around and saw the beauty which surrounds me on Kauai and blessed that beauty. I felt the gentle breeze blow in and inhaled the light plumeria scent that wafted in. My body relaxed further.
The fifth principle is the foundation of Huna for me. ALOHA - to love is to be happy with. Loving and blessing. What can I find to love and bless in my present moment? What can I bless about running my car into a pole? Well, I can certainly bless the fact that I wasn't injured. What am I criticizing? I had been judging and criticizing myself all morning because I ran my car into a pole. Did this say something about my character? I don't think so. It indicated something about my focus and awareness at that moment, but it didn't mean that I was a bad person or unlovable. I did one of the exercises in Urban Shaman. I acknowledged and blessed the good qualities and characteristics that I have, and then I blessed the beauty around me again. I was feeling better every minute.
The sixth principle is MANA - all power comes from within. Confidence. Again from Urban Shaman: Nothing ever happens to you without your participation. Not that no one else has anything to do with it. Everyone has the same power. A wise friend of mine once said "You may not be able to influence anything about the outcome except the way you react to it, but you can always do that." I was feeling overwhelmed and powerless to handle the stress of the day's events. Since that was a result of my thoughts, I changed my thoughts. I told myself I was confident that no matter what life had to bless me with, that I could handle it, that things would be OK. I reminded myself of the many times throughout my life when stressful events happened and I survived them and came out stronger and more skillful as a result.
PONO is the seventh principle - effectiveness is the measure of truth. Do what's right and what works. I started this essay with Pono. If stuff happens, is Huna effective? Is it true? It works for me! I find it highly effective. Instead of staying mired in fear and grief, I changed my outlook and my feelings in a very short time. I calmed myself and focused my energies on healing. I talked to the insurance adjustors and called a couple of body shops and started the process of getting my car fixed. I called my parents and was able to discuss whether or not they wanted me to fly home without getting emotional. They didn't think it was necessary at this point, and I agreed.
My father is 80 years old. He has never studied Huna, but his attitude toward life is pure Huna to me. He has never "dabbled" (as he puts it) in energy work or shamanism, other than doing a little dowsing from time to time. He told me that he was reading a book on Transcendental Meditation for the first time in his life, and we talked about the "Radiant Energy" that we can access for healing, energy boosts, and inspiration. He said that he was a little afraid of it. I told him that I was sending him radiant energy from Kauai and that he could tap into it any time he needed to, without being afraid. He said he would. He is open to increasing his awareness and letting go of limitations of thought. He chooses to focus on living and having fun right now, no matter what. He's got a schedule and he sees no reason to disrupt it! He spent 5 minutes telling me in great detail what a beautiful day it was, and how the dahlias had grown several inches and his gourd plants had sprouted, and how the rhododendrons were more beautiful than ever this year. He's not letting this shake his confidence. He has gardening, dancing and fishing to do, and he's not even planning on being back home until the day before his next doctor's appointment. He's living his philosophy and doing what works for him - hanging in there and having fun. He told my sister "We can't worry or be sad all the time, we need to have fun!"
So, stuff happens to all of us, even alakai. We're human beings, just like everyone else. We smash our cars, we experience stress, we have emotions, we may not be 100% effective and confident all the time. I chose to write this down and share it with others because I AM an alakai and part of my personal mission is to help others integrate Huna practice in their daily lives. Huna gives us a framework and techniques to work with. How we use them is up to us. How others use them is up to them. How you use them is up to you.
Bless the present. Trust yourself. Expect the best. It works for me.
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