Huna And The Body
I would like to share a few of my reflections about Huna and how the body is represented. Some of the following may appear obvious, but I am going to write about it anyway. Based on personal experience it's really a plea to be 'mindful' of the beauty and importance of the body and not to neglect it.
I sometimes feel that there is a risk when embracing the Huna philosophy of not giving enough attention to our bodies. Ok at this point I imagine a barrage of objections to what I have just written e.g. 'what about hula? what about lomi lomi and other healing techniques involving the body? etc etc. Just bear with me - I can explain.......
We have the concept of the three 'selves': Kane, Lono and Ku. Of course this categorisation is not a definitive truth nor the only way of conceptualising ourselves. It is however a useful way to think about ourselves in order to harness our capability and give focus to particular aspects of ourselves in order to enhance our effectiveness.
Ku is sometimes referred to as the subconcious aspect of ourselves. This can be a useful term at times, however, this can have the effect of ignoring the fact that Ku also refers to our physical body and its associated functions. For this reason I prefer to use the definition "body-mind" when referring to the Ku. In addition, much shamanic practice operates in the realm of the imagination. The Kupua tradition is no exception here, meditation and symbolic work are important components. While this is the case, it is all too easy to forget we are situated in a physical body.
In addition, in daily life it is very easy to get "lost in our thoughts" and become "out of touch" with our physical bodies. The general 'busyness' of modern life if left unchecked can result in a prevalence of stress and negative thought patterns and a feeling of detachment from our bodies.
In Huna our universe is created by our thoughts. Everything is energy: indeed the body is considered to be "kino mana" - a highly energized thought form. Despite the energetic nature of the universe, though, we cannot simply ignore the physical nature of our bodies. While it is possible to change the energetic pattern of our bodies, this is not always the most effective way of making changes. As we choose to live in the physical paradigm so we need to work with it to be more effective.
As we know, paying attention to our physical body is a direct and effective way to bring about great pleasure. In addition, in Huna it is often said we are most effective when our three selves are working in harmony. While I have heard this phrase used in many contexts and defined in many different ways, for our purposes here it is worth remembering that one component of this is paying attention to our physical body. We are more effective when physical stress is reduced as this can reduce blocks on the mental and spiritual realms as well. In Huna there is a notion of "clearing the path" ie reducing tension and blockages that inhibit the flow of, and experience of, energy in our aka field. Working on the physical level is an important way of doing this to improve effectiveness.
So all I am providing here is a subtle reminder to remember the physical aspects of ourselves. With that in mind what can we do? Well, there are literally hundreds of things we can do to connect with our bodies so I will present just some methods that I use as suggestions:
Engage in bodywork. Receiving or giving some form of body work such as lomi lomi or kahi loa.
Move mindfully. Moving with attention on the body is useful. I find that kalana hula - a form of hawaiian energy dance is great for this.
Pay attention to your Ku. Yes, it's that simple, but it requires that you remember to do it. Often when we experience stress and blockages we forget the simple stuff. Simply acknowledging and blessing our three selves regularly is a great way of getting in touch with each of their qualities including the physical body.
Focus on your body in meditation. I have used the Garden Tiki meditation to bring attention to my physical body. One example of this involves finding a beautiful part of my garden (mine is by a cove) and seeing my physical self in front of me sitting relaxed. I take a good 360 degree look at the physical form, how it is positioned, the depth of breathing etc. I then merge with my physical body and settle into the form that I have examined and meditate on the sensations of the physical body both inside and outside. You can of course also work in other ways in the garden, for example, you can see the entire garden as a symbol for your body and make changes that way.
Breathe. Ok we all know this is important, but mindful breathing such as piko piko or ha breathing is a great way to focus on our bodies as well as encourage relaxation. Even a short period of a few breaths helps to make the connection.
Drink water. It is easy to forget how important the simple process of drinking water is. It is also too easy when forgetting this to become dehydrated.
Listen. Our bodies communicate with us all the time, however we don"t always listen. It is my belief that one of the fundamental skills of the adventurer shaman is the ability to listen whether that is to oneself, or all the things in the world around us and inside us. Aches, pains, bodily changes and memories can all provide points of attention for bodily focus and can be used to make changes.
Pete 'Ike' Dalton is an Alakai of Huna International living in the UK. For more information on his work visit his website, Learn Ancient Magic for Modern Living.