Matt James Ph.D.

Focus on Forgiveness

Emotional Cleansing and Release

For greater peace and physical, mental and spiritual health.

Posted Nov 14, 2011

Growing up, you may have been taught that you can't let go of certain issues or emotions quickly. The good news is you can change that belief and experience greater peace and physical, mental and spiritual health as you learn to release unforgiveness.

Last time we discussed the Huna understanding of "black bags"—the idea that we store up emotions and thoughts we are unable to deal with at the time until we are ready to let go of them.

It is not human nature for us to hold on to grudges and bitterness because the prime directive of the unconscious mind is to let experiences go.

In the book Foundation Theory, Dr. Paul Goodwin explains how these black bags can be measured along neuro pathways. He describes how, by measuring electrical impulses along neural pathways, repressed emotions show up as blockages along the pathways within the nervous system.

Many massage therapists run into these black bags as well. While massaging certain problem areas in a client's body, the client might re-experience a wave of old emotions and feel a physical as well as emotional release. This indicates the emotions a client has stored within the black bag have formed a physical blockage. Releasing that physical blockage can help release the emotional black bag as well.

Black bags tend to go where you direct them to go by your language. Someone who doesn't like their job and continually says "This job is a pain in the neck" may find they suffer from pain in the neck or head. Any time he or she has a negative experience at work, the unconscious mind puts the black bag exactly where instructed.

The unconscious (unihipili) likes instructions. Therefore it's important to be aware of your language. If you habitually use phrases like, "I have a heavy heart" because of an event or circumstance, that can cause black bags to accumulate in that area, creating a profound physiological affect. If you never tell the black bags where to go, unihipili will spread them out evenly rather than letting them pile up in one area.

Negative emotions like anger, sadness, fear and guilt are not bad in and of themselves. They can provide us with feedback about our surroundings and our experiences. But Huna teaches that holding on to negative emotions past the point where they are ready for a natural release is unhealthy for the mind, body and spirit.

In Huna, we understand that repressed anger draws more anger. Have you known people who are always angry and seem to attract angry situations into their lives? What types of emotions do you want to store? Your emotional body will take your lead and attract more of the same.

On the physical level, most of us are naturally motivated to do some form of cleansing before we bring in something new. We shower before we go on a date. We clean the house when guests are due. We wash our food before we eat it. But in many cultures, we neglect to cleanse ourselves emotionally. We remarry while still carrying the pain and anger of past relationships. We start a new job still wounded by our failure in the last one. We view our children through the fears of our own childhoods. We pile new energies and emotions on top of old ones, and wonder why new circumstances end up feeling much the same as in the past. The black bags turn into baggage!

Huna teaches that it's just as important to noa (cleanse) on the emotional level and mental level as on the physical. If we noa first before we noho (bring down) a new energy, we're able to direct it. Noa allows us to cleanse so we are able to noho and move and direct energy from a place of aloha, from the heart.

Got questions? Please respond here or get in touch with me through my Facebook fan page.



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