The Huna approach to health

Disease is not just a physiological problem but stems from a discord between the mental, emotional and physical selves


Prior to the arrival of the missionaries in the early 1800s, the natives of Hawaii were virtually free of physical and psychological disease. How was this possible? Most people give credit to Huna, which was integral to how Hawaiians at that time lived their daily lives.

Huna is actually a modern label given to an ancient system and that system was originally called Ho‘omana. Ho‘o means ‘to make’ and mana means ‘life force’. Mana is equivalent to ki [as in Aikido], chi [as in Tai Chi] or Shakti in Sanskrit. So Ho‘omana means empowerment or to empower.

What is Huna?

Huna is an integrated system of energy work, psychology and spirituality. It is one of the original sciences of healing, enlightenment and personal empowerment. Huna isn’t a religion; it is a practice that helps people get in touch with their mana [life-force energy], to move this energy, and to understand their individual connection with the environment and with others. It teaches people how energy moves back and forth between them and everything else around them.

The majority of ancient Hawaiians fully integrated basic concepts of Huna into their daily lives—concepts such as aloha, personal responsibility and cause-and-effect. They didn’t see these concepts as complex theories that needed a lot of study. Rather, they saw Huna fundamentals as simply how things work, just the way that nature and consciousness operate.

It’s similar to the way we think about gravity. Most of us don’t have an in-depth understanding of how gravity works, but we’re pretty clear what will happen if we try to defy gravity by stepping off a 20 storey building! So without thinking, we incorporate the ‘law of gravity’ into what we do and how we do it.

Huna and the mind-body connection

Ancient Hawaiians didn’t have to discuss or analyse the mind-body connection. It was simply a way of life. Like current Western thinking, they believed that the unconscious mind is responsible for preserving and running the physical body. But they did not believe that physical ailments or issues are created by physical causes alone.

Huna would say the physical body goes off-kilter into dis-ease due to the mixed messages we give the unconscious mind. For instance, we say we want to be healthy, but then we eat unhealthy foods. We say we want to feel energised but we don’t take time to rest. When the unconscious mind gets conflicting messages, it may stop working properly, follow the message that is the easiest, or even begin to create dis-ease out of confusion. From the Huna perspective, this is the basis of all physiological disease, not germs or viruses or aging, so disease cannot be explained or fixed on the physical plane alone.

Huna and neuroscience agree

As modern neuroscience has proven, input to your senses, including a directive or desire from your conscious mind, creates an electrical impulse. As soon as the impulse gets to the end of a neural pathway, it releases a chemical. Researchers say that this chemical is then picked up by every cell in your body. As Deepak Chopra puts it, “Every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your internal dialogue.”

To be healthy, not only should you avoid conflicting messages, you want to produce the right messages to release the right chemicals. To raise the energy vibration—and improve health—in your body, you’ve got to do something to get the right electrical impulses to trickle down into the physical. So in Huna, we ask ourselves:

“What am I creating in my head and what chemicals are those thoughts releasing, trickling down into the physical?”

Trickle down

When I use the phrase ‘trickle down’, I’m not just referring to the chemical release through your system. In Huna, like most esoteric systems, it is believed that the plane above the plane with which you’re working is the controlling or directing plane. In other words, a higher plane trickles down to a lower plane.

Take a look at the graphic of three minds and four bodies.balancing-your-life-force-400x293

If you’re working on your physical health, the body above the physical body—the emotional body—will have a great deal of control over it. You may have some conscious control over your physical body but the emotional body rules the physical body. Think about people you know who hang on to negative emotions over a prolonged period. The destructive impact on their physical bodies is often painfully apparent. Emotional stress creates damaging physiological consequences all the way down to the quantum.

To be healthy, not only should you avoid conflicting messages, you want to produce the right messages to release the right chemicals

By the same token, the mental body rules the emotional body, so a limiting decision or belief can prevent you from releasing a negative emotion. For example, if you firmly believe that your guilt keeps you from ‘doing bad things’, that belief of the mental body will block the emotional body from releasing your guilt. Or, if someone believes that releasing anger toward another is a sign of weakness, he or she will have trouble releasing anger.

Ancient Hawaiians believed that any physical, emotional or mental issue also affects the other bodies because they’re all interrelated. Therefore, the best healing begins from the highest plane possible. The ancient practice of Higher Self therapy or Ho‘oku‘u [literally ‘to make release/let go’] is most effective because it incorporates the spiritual body and trickles down through all of the others.

Ho‘oku‘u [Higher Self Therapy]

The highest plane, the one that governs all the planes beneath it, is your Higher Conscious Mind or Higher Self [which is related to your spiritual body]. When you connect with your Higher Self, you have access to universal energy to rebalance all four bodies for your complete healing.

Great, but how do we do that?

Well, to begin, acknowledge that you have a Higher Self and that you are already connected with it. I work with chants, ceremonies and mediations from Huna to strengthen this natural connection. Obviously, I can’t teach you those through this print medium, but here are three simple things you can do to connect with your Higher Self.

Find what resonates with your spirit

Take a moment now to remember a time where you experienced a spiritual moment, however you define it. As you think of that moment, what was going on? What were you seeing, hearing and feeling? Can you recapture the feeling of that moment to experience it again? By reliving it and feeling the presence of Higher Self, you can begin to recognise when your Higher Self wants to communicate with you.

Do something you love

One of my kumu [teachers], Uncle George Na’ope always emphasised the importance of finding and doing what feels good and right to you. You can connect to the Higher Self through dance, singing or chanting. Communing with nature or listening to beautiful music also gets the mana loa [spiritual energy] flowing. Even simply hanging out with people you enjoy or laughing out loud raises your vibration. Don’t underestimate the power of doing something you love!

Try meditation

Meditation changes the energy travelling across our neural pathways and this energy trickles all the way down into the physical. Personally, I have spent a lot of my life studying and practising meditation. Spending time with a meditation that works for you enhances the mind-body connection as well as the connection with the Higher Self.

To sum it up, from a Huna perspective:

  1. All physical dis-ease is caused by imbalance in the four bodies or miscommunication between the three minds.
  2. The best therapy comes from the highest plane possible, your Higher Self.
  3. You are naturally and always connected to your Higher Self. To support healing, trust and consciously strengthen that connection in whatever ways feel right to you.

Mahalo—to your perfect health!

This was first published in the May 2015 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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