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Infusion Confusion
by Graeme Kapono Urlich

I run across many teachers these days that mix bits and pieces of various traditions together and present them as being one of the traditions that they have selected from. There is nothing wrong with that per se, but unless it is done with awareness it can cause serious confusion, in the teacher as well as the students, because different systems often have very contradictory views on the same topic.

I work primarily with the Huna Kupua tradition from Hawaii. Sometimes I pick up techniques and ideas from other systems but when I choose to use them in teaching Huna I try to make sure I present them in a way that is consistent with the philosophy in order to prevent misunderstanding or appearing to be contradicting myself. Until people understand that all systems are made up and they can easily switch between them and handle paradox well it simply works better that way, in my view.

Even when we look at some of the older systems of thought in the world we find infusions of different systems. I grew up in a Catholic family and Christianity was presented as the only true way of spiritual belief. Later on I found that many, if not all of the Catholic holy days happen to coincide with older pagan festivals.

Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox in March.The tradition of lighting Easter Candles may be directly linked to the pagan custom of lighting bonfires at that time of year to welcome the rebirth/resurrection of the sun God or the Goddess of Spring.

Even though Christianity is a composite system, it is largely coherent to a core theme and as such works for those who choose to follow it "religiously." I know people, and have heard of many more, who have adopted it and applied it to repair very damaged lives in some cases and have gone on to be happy and productive. There are other systems around that they could have used successfully with the same benefit and I am aware of people who have used those systems in the same way.

I recently encountered a group of people who had created a real hodge-podge of a system that seemed to contain all of the worst aspects of various other systems. They seemed to have managed to interpret many of the teachings in the most negative way possible, resulting in a very fear based and controlled way of life.

I didn't stick around long enough to look at it in any depth but my perception was that the system, loosely based on Baha'i and Buddhist teaching mixed in with the hell, fire and damnation aspects of some versions of Christianity along with a smattering of channeled messages from galactic councils, failed to offer a clear focus for living life. There seemed to be a lot of rules and you seemed to be breaking one or another of them no matter what choice you made.

All systems of thought on the planet (and beyond) are made up and are a blend or evolution of other systems. At one end of the spectrum some are clearly empowering, while those at the other end have evolved in a way that controls people excessively. If they were made up in the first place, then we are free to reinvent them and we don't all have to follow the same one. Some people will feel more comfortable being told how to live their lives and others will want the freedom to choose for themselves.

Focus and clarity of thought are essential for having a happy and successful life. You could be the most successful and happy owner of a multinational company, a happy and successful hobo or anything in between. It's for the individual to choose, but focus and clarity are needed either way.

If the system of thinking you are using isn't working for you or you don't have much of one, then feel free to pick the best parts of various systems that are around. Keep it simple, but put in place some basic structures, values, priorities and routines that support the lifestyle of your choosing. Routines might include relaxation, meditation and breathing but gradually move into a more conscious and loving way of living, if you want the highest level of fulfillment you can have.

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