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Obstacles: Opportunities in Disguise
by Jim Brinkley

Huna teaches that there are no limits and that we each have the power to create the lives we desire. So what do we do when we encounter obstacles? Obstacles, like everything else, are created by our thoughts. Since we do not consciously place obstacles in our own paths, we must be doing so subconsciously. Our subconscious mind (ku) acts on memories of instructions that were at one time issued, or at least tacitly agreed to, by our conscious mind (lono). These commands are obeyed, even though they are no longer relevant, until they are replaced with updated ones. Everything in our physical experience is a reflection of our thought experience and outdated instructions are often reflected by the subconscious as messages to the conscious mind in the form of obstacles.

You may experience these outdated commands as fear of change, doubts about your own abilities, uncertainties regarding your own self-worth, lack of self-esteem, resentments over old hurts, anger at your own inability to manifest something, or guilt over what your subconscious perceives as mistakes it has made in the past. Your subconscious mind always wants to cooperate with you (i.e., with your conscious mind) and it always wants to be in loving harmony with you. However, any or many of these negative emotions may impede your subconscious in its quest to manifest your current wishes. The way around any obstacle is to enlist the cooperation of your subconscious by teaching and guiding it in a loving, empowering way. Since all obstacles are created in thought, they can be removed in thought.

Since all limits are illusions and since every obstacle is a reflection of some unresolved emotional conflict perceived by your subconscious, every obstacle is actually an opportunity. It is an opportunity to remove limits and to resolve a conflict. It is therefore very helpful to view each apparent obstacle as a challenge instead. The challenge is to find the hidden opportunity.

Several years ago, I hired an associate at work. His workload developed slowly and he was not as busy as he wanted to be. In fact, I had to take a salary cut to subsidize him, which I was willing to do because the workload was more than I could handle alone. One day he unexpectedly informed me that he would be leaving. My initial reaction was one of failure, disappointment, fear, and depression. I knew that I could not handle the work alone but I also knew that there was not enough work for both of us.

For several days I wallowed in these self-defeating thoughts. Finally I realized that there had to be an opportunity I was not seeing. After spending some time in meditation using techniques I had learned in my Huna studies, I was inspired to call a colleague of mine and ask if he might have any interest in joining forces. It turned out that he also had too much work for himself but not enough for two. Together we had enough work for three.

We became affiliated and added first one and later another new partner to our group. We have reduced our overhead, been able to take more time off, and have had the pleasure of working together in the type of work situation we had both always wanted. None of this would have happened without the challenge, which I perceived at first as an obstacle resulting from failure on my part.

Some spiritual teachers refer to this phenomenon as the law of vacuum. By this they mean that when something departs from your reality, it creates a vacuum that can draw in something new and better. My first associate had to leave in order to attract the opportunity for an ideal career environment. Sometimes a lover or even a spouse has to be left behind in order to make room for a more beautiful relationship. Termination from a job, as unpleasant as it can be, can allow an even better career opportunity to present itself. This is just another way of saying that every apparent obstacle is simply a challenge to uncover a hidden opportunity.

For each of the huna principles there is a key word that summarizes the principle. For each principle there is also a challenge. The challenge to awareness is ignorance. If you are ignorant, you cannot be truly aware, so practice seeing!

The challenge to freedom is limitation. If you feel limited in any way, you are not truly free, so practice clearing away limits. The challenge to focus is confusion. If you are confused about the direction you want to take, you cannot be focused in any direction, so practice focusing.

The challenge to persistence is procrastination. If you procrastinate, you are not be acting in the here and now, so practice being here. The challenge to love is anger. If you harbor anger and hate, you cannot truly love or be loved, so practice sharing joy.

The challenge to confidence is fear. If you find yourself afraid of something or someone, you cannot be confident, so practice increasing your self-confidence. The challenge to flexibility is rigidity. If you tend to be inflexible in thought or action, you will be less effective, so practice new ways of being effective.

There is a place you can visit in spirit at any time to practice removing limits, overcoming obstacles, harmonizing challenges, and discovering opportunities. It is called The Land of Challenges. The purpose of a journey there is to encounter an apparent obstacle, harmonize with it, and discover the hidden opportunity that is always present. Every journey in spirit is a thought exercise in which you are training your subconscious (ku). Since what your ku learns in the reality of thought will be reflected in your physical reality, the more you practice creating opportunities from challenges in the realm of thought, the more you will find yourself doing the same thing in the physical world.

I invite you to come with me to The Land of Challenges in order to convert an obstacle to an opportunity. To reach this land, go to a quiet place and get comfortable. Pick a time and place where you will not be disturbed. Exclude distracting sensory input by closing your eyes and by choosing a place without noticeable sounds or smells. Think of a goal that you are striving for in your life. Then imagine yourself walking down a path in a quiet, secluded, peaceful setting. Look for some sort of an entrance. It may be a hole in the ground, a cave in the side of a hill, or an opening in the trunk of a large tree. Once you have found the opening, go in. You will be in a tunnel that is well lit and large enough to walk in comfortably. The tunnel will slope downward, into another realm of reality. As you exit the tunnel at the far end, you will enter the Land of Challenges.

In front of you the there are several pathways. Choose one and begin walking down it. Ahead of you will loom your first challenge. It may appear as a fearsome beast, an immense wall, a raging river, a volcanic eruption, or any other symbolic challenge your subconscious conjures up for you. Once you see it, first recall that the challenge, like everything else, is alive, aware, and responsive. Talk to it, using speech or thought. Explain your goal and your need to get beyond the challenge and to learn of the opportunity it has to offer. Find out what its needs and goals are and attempt to mutually arrive at a way to accomplish both its goals and yours. Together, harmoniously discover an opportunity to cooperatively resolve your challenges and to attain your goals.

After you have shared loving cooperation with your challenge and discovered the opportunity hidden within or beyond, you may proceed along the path to face another challenge or instead return to the realm of separation; i.e., the physical world. When you are ready, take a deep breath, open your eyes, and return to the present. Bless your newly discovered opportunity and take advantage of it!

When you first journey in spirit to the Land of Challenges, the journey can be very frightening. You are using guided imagery, which is another way of saying creative dreaming. Since you are dreaming a dream, albeit an active one, it can easily turn into a nightmare. You may find challenges so intimidating that you are uncomfortable staying in the dream, and therefore unable to face the challenge. This is a very natural experience for the novice. There is a wonderful way to avoid it.

You have available to you at any time the help of a very powerful, knowledgeable, and fearless spirit helper. This spirit helper may take the form of a person, an animal, a cartoon character, or any other form you wish it to take. It may be female, male, or genderless; young, old, or ageless. It (like you) has no limits!

To discover your spirit helper, simply return to the underworld. As you begin to walk down the path toward your first challenge, ask for your Spirit Helper to appear. If you prefer, you can ask your Guardian Spirit (super-conscious or aumakua) to send your spirit helper to you. It is usually more effective to allow your spirit helper to present itself in whatever form it chooses rather than to consciously assign attributes to it. Once your spirit helper arrives, take a little time to converse with it, vocally or telepathically, until you are comfortable in its presence. Feel its love, its wisdom, its protectiveness, and its strength. Know that it will be with you every step of the way on your journey in spirit to the Land of Challenges. When you face any challenge that seems insurmountable, simply ask your spirit helper for the guidance you need and it will be given to you.

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