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Living Symbolically
by Pete 'Ike Dalton

Symbols are everywhere. This not only includes the symbols that we experience in our dreams whilst asleep but all the symbols that we have in our waking dreams too. If you shift your perception you can consider that everything is symbolic. Through the practice of Huna and my work in hypnotism, I am led to believe that symbols are the most powerful means of understanding ourselves and the world around us. Working on a symbolic level can provide rapid and permanent changes to ones well being, relationships and circumstances. By changing the symbols in our inner world we effect changes in our outer world. And what's more, because living symbolically is so natural, making these changes can be easy.

The techniques of Huna are rich in symbolism. This includes creating and working in a special place such as the garden tiki, shamanic journeying or using symbols to effect healing. One of the first most powerful experiences I personally had with symbols was healing a problem I had had my knee which involved a considerable invasive surgical procedure. I chose to take the disempowering post operative symbol that a surgeon had been providing me with and change it to something more empowering and the effect was near instantaneous and persistent. Using symbols to help facilitate changes in others is also wonderful way of working. It's especially useful as you as the therapist do not need to know what the client's symbols are.

Communication between our three aspects of self, Lono, Ku and Kane is more effective with symbols. Symbols are the deep language of the Ku. My Ku certainly likes to bring symbols to my awareness and we often have fun changing the symbols for maximum effect.

So, if this is all so good and easy then what can prevent us from living symbolically?

1. We may not believe the world is symbolic. This is a strange viewpoint, as when you think about it, we experience symbols all the time. We cannot not experience them. On a simple level, I take a journey to another city and I am bombarded with masses of symbols through advertising and promotions alone. Whether these are overt or subliminal these are symbols produced with the intent of having an effect on you. Symbols are everywhere in our outer and inner reality.

2. We may not believe we can do anything with the symbols we experience. It's important to remember that symbols are not fixed--everything is in fact in flux. It is your reality and your symbols and your interpretations of that symbol. If you don't like a particular symbol or it is not empowering then simply change it or change your interpretation of it.

3. We may not pay attention to the symbols around us. I think this is the biggest challenge to living symbolically. To work with symbols we need to establish the habit of paying attention to them. If we do this, we notice symbols more and can use them more effectively. Indeed at times Ku may present us with symbols as a way to communicate something extremely important, it is vital that we get these messages and take action.

This brings to mind the following Hawaiian saying:

Ka po nui ho'olakolako, ke ao nui ho'ohemahema
"The great night that provides, the great day that neglects."

It is easy for us to neglect the powerful symbolic messages that come to us through our dreams. I would recommend living symbolically. Start to notice the symbols around you in your inner and outer reality. Enjoy the richness of communication and experience that this provides. Consider what your symbols mean, what are the messages they convey? If you don't like something, change the symbol or your interpretation of it. Experience the powerful effects of doing this. Have fun in the process.

Pete Dalton is an Alakai of Huna International living in the UK. For more information on his work visit his website

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