So many people are struggling with economic conditions, their health or personal losses. My heart goes out to everyone facing such struggles. Yet we are fortunate to live in a time when we can tap into powerful, validated concepts for personal empowerment and healing.
Some of these ideas are very ancient yet timeless in their relevance for us as human beings today. For instance, consider the idea that our ability to forgive others is tied to our own state of being. The more positive our outlook, the less likely we are to find fault with others and the easier it is for us to forgive when we feel we have been wronged.
True happiness is not superficial. It springs from a deep sense of congruency. The Hawaiians express this in the word Pono. It means to be right with yourself. Not as in "I'm right, you're wrong," but to have an unwavering sense of rightness in yourself. This I have found is the key to creating lasting change in our lives.
Over 21 years I have been fortunate to teach thousands of people around the world about Huna, the ancient Hawaiian discipline of energy, healing and consciousness. I studied Huna at an early age under masters such as the late Uncle George Na'ope who was named by the State of Hawaii as a Golden Living Treasure, and my family was chosen to carry on a distinct lineage within the Huna tradition.
Some of these concepts are so simple. For instance, the ancient Hawaiians understood that in life, we are truly meant to be empowered individuals. The more accurate name for what I teach is Ho`omana, which means to be empowered. We are also meant to have happiness. We are meant to have prosperity, to have that optimal experience of living.
We've been led to believe for so many years that we are disempowered, that we live at the whim of circumstances around us. No doubt external factors - the loss of a job, our health or an important relationship - can affect our outlook. Yet there are some basic ideas from Hawaiian culture that we can reclaim to tap into a sense of empowerment, peace, Pono.
It boils down to: How do you view the world and experience life every day? Every day, we're given a seed of positiveness (an ano`ai) and we're meant to plant that seed and incorporate it into our lives.
Are you comfortable within yourself? Are you truly happy? At the end of the day, you are in charge of your happiness. When you understand that, you discover what it means to be Pono.
Now, that's easier said than done. But it starts with focusing on your own state of being. One of the people who contributed a great deal to our Huna workshops, David Sheppard, said, "It'll take your entire life to figure out how to play God in your own universe. Stop trying to figure out how to be God in other people's universes." That's a really nice way of saying, "Focus on you. Focus on your happiness and finding out what makes you happy."
The source of true happiness is not in what we have or what we do but in our being. Because when you know your purpose, what you're meant to do flows from that and what you're meant to have flows from that. Then the things that you have and the things you do will bring you happiness because they are tied to your reason for being.
Out of our ability to be Pono with ourselves flows our ability to forgive others, the process the Hawaiians call Ho'oponopono. But it begins with finding your own path and your own happiness. We'll talk more about that next time.
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Matthew B. James, MA, Ph.D., is President of Kona University and its training and seminar division The Empowerment Partnership, where he serves as a master trainer of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), a practical behavioral technology for helping people achieve their desired results in life. His new book, The Foundation of Huna: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, details forgiveness and meditation techniques used in Hawaii for hundreds of years. He carries on the lineage of one of the last practicing kahuna of mental health and wellbeing. To reach Dr. James, please e-mail him at info@Huna.com.