Thursday, October 12, 2017

On The World As A Dangerous Place

(from a letter to a worried friend)

Let me share this with you before addressing your concerns. I am living on an active volcano. Molten lava is flowing about twenty miles away from my home and there is a crater emitting poisonous gas from a hole where the glow of molten lava can be seen only two miles away. A change of wind could force us to evacuate at any moment, and the lava could erupt anywhere at any time. All of our water must come from rain, which is also dependent on the wind, and it hasn't rained very much for two weeks. Earthquakes happen every day, usually small, but big ones like we had two years ago can happen at any time. Hurricanes pass close to us every year and sometimes land to cause great destruction, like one did in 1982 and another in 1992. Tsunamis also happen once in a while when there are big earthquakes in Japan, Alaska, or California.

Some people here live in constant fear of what might happen, and some people live here happily, knowing what could happen, but not dwelling on that possibility every day.

Another short story: Years ago a friend of mind became obsessed with the possibility of a giant tidal wave hitting the California coast, and he would lecture about it and frighten people out of their wits. Then one day while he was describing to an audience in detail the horror of watching a two-mile high wave coming toward you, I stood up and said, "Right, and while you are watching it you get hit by a car and die before the wave hits." Fortunately our friendship survived my comment, but I had to make the point that the future is unpredictable.

You live in a dangerous place in unique circumstances, but the fact is that every place on earth is potentially dangerous and pain or death can happen in a million different ways at any time and anywhere. And so can pleasure and the joy of living and loving.

Reading the news about problems will not protect you from them, because by the time it's news it's over. Imagining the worst will not protect you from the worst, it will only make you feel worse. Your imagination is your greatest asset, but it can also be your downfall unless you use it properly. You can imagine all the bad things that could happen, or you can imagine all the good things that could happen. That is a choice. You do not have to be a victim of your fears if you will use your imagination to change those fears. After all, the future is just a fantasy. You can't predict it and you can't protect yourself against it. What you can do is to coax it into being a better one with your imagination while you enjoy whatever good the present has to offer.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Myth of Supply and Demand

The subject of this article may seem to be outside of my usual range of topics, but it actually falls within the context of the sixth principle of Huna: "All power comes from within."

Over and over so-called experts attribute the high price of oil, gasoline and many other products and services to "the law of supply and demand." This mythical "law" is often stated in this way: "when supply is low and demand is high, prices rise; and when supply is high and demand is low, prices go down."

The first part of the myth is the claim that there really is such a law and that it's as basic as the law of gravity. The fact is that there is no such thing as a "law" of supply and demand. It's not even a hypothesis or a theory. It is no more than someone's opinion and some people love to use it as a simple excuse for rising prices because it provides an unprovable explanation and makes it sound like it's due to forces beyond our control.

The second part of the myth is the implication that prices rise and prices go down all by themselves, as if a ten cent increase in the price of gasoline overnight was due to gremlins or mysterious "market forces" and everyone woke up and saw the new price with great surprise, including customers, dealers, and producers.

Let's blow that myth out of the water right now. Prices rise because someone--some person or group of persons--raise the price. To make it even more clear, an individual human being--or group of human beings in agreement--decide to charge more for a particular product or service. Or to charge less; that happens, too. And that's all there is to it, folks. No mystery whatsoever. People raise and lower prices.

The important thing to look at is "why do they do it?" When we examine that, we discover that the "law" of supply and demand is even more of a myth.

Prices may be raised by people for several reasons:
a) To cover increased costs of producing a product or service. This may happen because demand for the product or service has grown so strong that the producer has to invest in more goods or services in order to produce enough of his or her own product or service to supply the demand. Examples would be someone increasing the price of gasoline because unions have increased wage levels or because the people in charge of the governments of oil-producing countries have raised the price of their oil. This comes close to the supply and demand model, but the amount of price increase is still decided by people (it is almost never exactly the same as the increased costs for lots of reasons).

b) To cover costs of projected investment in research and development of products and services that don't exist yet, and for which there is naturally no supply and demand. This reason is often used by oil companies and drug companies, among others.

c) To make more profit than is currently being made. This is often described as "charging whatever the market will bear," meaning whatever people are willing to pay. For this to work there has to be sufficient demand for something, but it doesn't matter whether there is a lot of supply or not. Some years ago an oil-company executive was publicly quoted as saying, "We are going to get the American people to pay $4.00 a gallon or more for gasoline." 

This is also seen in products and services that have established a popular brand name that people are willing to pay more for, even though comparable products may be a lot cheaper. Gucci jeans are no better than (and maybe not as good as) Levis. Apple computers are more expensive than PCs because they are Apple computers, not because they are more expensive to make or because there aren't enough of them to go around. Airlines typically raise prices around holidays, not because their costs have gone up, but because enough people want to travel who are willing to pay more.

On the other hand, some people who work for oil-producing governments or diamond companies may decide to arbitrarily restrict the availability of their products even when the supply is abundant, so they can create a false impression of limited supply and fool other people into thinking that the Law of Supply and Demand is working.

d) To hedge their bets in a time of economic and/or political uncertainty. When some people begin to lose confidence in the future, they have a tendency to raise the price of their goods and services "just in case" in order to make as much as possible before everything falls apart. When more and more people start doing this it's usually called "inflation." Again, this has nothing to do with supply and demand.

Prices may also be lowered by people for several reasons:
a) Because the cost of producing good or services has been reduced. Sometimes this happens when sufficient demand inspires and stimulates a search for more efficiency and is not necessarily related to supply.

b) Because the producer wants to expand his or her market. One way to increase demand is by making the product or service more affordable to more people, and it may be done in conjunction with "a)" above. Examples are the early automobile industry and the electronics industry. My first car, a 1937 Chevrolet (used, of course) cost me $40.00. The first laser printer I bought for Aloha International cost $5000.00, and the latest one was about $500.00. Again, This has little to do with supply.

c) Because supply is greater than demand. Producers of goods with too much inventory may lower prices just to get rid of it. Usually this happens when the cost of maintaining the inventory begins to be more than the value of the goods. In terms of services, providers may lower their prices when there is too much competition. On the other hand, in the same market some people will create a brand name and raise their prices in spite of the supply on hand.

d) Because the producer wants to attract customers for other products or services. This is sometimes called selling a "loss leader." The price is purposely lowered on a particular product or service, perhaps at a loss for the producer, for the explicit purpose of creating an opportunity to display more expensive products or services. Special sales or bonus services of all kinds are used in this way, regardless of supply and demand.

e) Because not enough people are willing to pay the price that is being asked, no matter what the supply and demand are. Another economic myth that used to be popular was "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." Sounds good at first, but the hard fact is that it all depends on what you are charging for it. The intrinsic value of goods or services, the perceived value by the producer, the perceived value by the potential customer, and the psychological value of the most the customer is willing to pay may all be very different. If you think your product or service should be worth $1000, even though the cost of producing plus a reasonable percentage of profit makes it worth $200, and your potential customer agrees that it might be worth $500, but isn't willing to spend more than $300 for that type of product or service, you might have to lower your price to make any sales, no matter how many people like the product or how much of it you have.

The long and short of it is this: people raise prices, and people lower prices. And supply or demand may or may not be factors in making their decisions. Prices do not raise or lower themselves.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Destressing Plan

The following is from a response I gave to someone who needed guidance, and I hope many others will be able to use it as well.

"I would sympathize with your plight, but my sympathy isn't going to help you. Below is a simple plan that will get you out of the mess you're in and lead you to a brighter future. It worked for me, and it has worked for thousands of others. However, although it is simple, you may find it extremely difficult. The stronger your motivation to change your life, though, the easier it will be. And note that this plan has one big flaw: it only works if you use it.

Part One - Reduce physical stress.
The Plan: Breathe like a dolphin. Dolphins do not breathe automatically, every breath has to be conscious. The best way to breathe consciously is to put your full attention on something you are holding in your hands as you breathe. Start with one minute out of every hour and work up to five, until doing it frequently is a habit. You may be amazed at how much physical stress this relieves.

Part Two - Reduce emotional stress.
The Plan: Take responsibility for your stress. No one else causes you stress. They never have and they never will. What happens is that someone does something you don't like and you react by stressing with some variation of fear or anger, which affects your body and your mind. Which makes you less healthy and less effective. As long as you blame others for your stress you put yourself in an endless trap. Start by taking responsibility for your reactions, then do something to change those reactions. If Dynamind seems like too much, use TFR - think about what upsets you, feel the reaction, then relax the area of your body where you feel the reaction. Begin with small things and work up slowly to the big ones.

Part Three - Reduce mental stress.
The Plan: Change your expectations. Most people create expectations by remembering negative events from the past and projecting them into the future, which produces confusion, discouragement, and despair. The fact is, the future is wide open and absolutely no one can predict it with certainty. Nevertheless, another fact is that if you expect the worst, you will subconsciously help to bring it about, and if you expect the best you will subconsciously help to bring that about. The problem is not that negative expectations appear; the problem occurs when you dwell on them and treat them as truth, when all they are is fantasy. The best solution is to rigorously change every negative expectation to a positive one as soon as it appears. The positive expectation is also a fantasy - a product of your imagination - but it helps you feel better and helps you prepare for success.

So that's it. Very difficult, I know, but I emphasize again that it works. If you find a better plan, then use that, but if you don't do anything, nothing good will happen."

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

On Prayer

First of all, you should realize all that prayer is telepathic. In other words, prayer is a concentration of thought which puts your mind in contact with the object of your prayer. It is not the same as meditation. The main difference between prayer and meditation is that prayer is specifically seeking an effect, while the goal of meditation may be pure understanding or the joy of contact. Also, meditation may be undirected, while prayer never is.

In prayer we are trying to do something or to get something done, either for ourselves or for someone else. We pray to get an effect, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, or physically. Since an effect is involved, energy has to be involved, and all prayer involves the transmission of energy, either toward or away from the one who prays.

Most commonly, prayer is directed toward a spiritual being, however the individual conceives that being. This is natural and proper, but unfortunately many people get discouraged because their prayers are apparently not answered. Certainly this may be partly because they have complexes or beliefs which prevent them from making contact, but the major reason is that they are not praying for the right thing.

I am not suggesting that they were praying for things they didn't need or for something that was contrary to the will of a spiritual being. The problem was that they were praying for that being to do something which it is not in its nature to do.

In the prayer form known as the Lord's Prayer that is found in the Christian Bible, Jesus states that we should ask for energy ("our daily bread"), cleansing (forgiveness), and guidance. A little further on in the chapter of Luke (11), Jesus makes the famous statement about, "Ask, and it shall be given unto you...." This has been taken to mean that you can ask God for anything you like and you will get it, although in practice it obviously doesn't work out that way. The reason is revealed only a few lines further. What is to be given is the Holy Spirit. In other words, energy, ideas, and inspiration. We find this same idea in the Old Testament, in Sufi, Hindu, and Chinese writings, as well as in Hawaiian - namely that what we receive from above is the wisdom and the power to act. But it is we who must do the acting.

This brings us to the point of fact that there are essentially two types of prayer: vertical and horizontal. By vertical prayer, I mean that which is directed toward God or the Higher Self or toward someone in spirit. From this type of prayer we can only get inspiration, knowledge, understanding, and energy. Note carefully that the guidance we may get is in the form of ideas and inspiration. We do not actually get the kind of guidance that tells us exactly what to do and how to do it. That kind of guidance implies the making of choices, and that is our sole prerogative.

Horizontal prayer is that directed toward our everyday life, either to heal or help ourselves or others, or to change the future. This type of prayer is accomplished by us, and its effectiveness is determined by our beliefs and by the amount of energy we put into it. We each create our own experience of reality, the circumstances we find ourselves in, and through prayer properly understood we can change those circumstances. But it is the individual who changes the circumstances, not God and not any other spiritual being. From them we only get the tools; they will not do the work for us.

Friday, August 11, 2017

What About Me?

"What about me?" is a common cry among people who feel that they have given too much of themselves to others and have neglected their own happiness or development. Sadly enough, this cry, however heartfelt it may be, is based upon some serious misconceptions about the relationship between Self and Other.

Let's begin with the fact that a large number of people in many different cultures have been brought up to believe that the welfare of other people is far more important than their own. The usual result of this is that such people spend a large portion of their lives - and some spend all of it - suppressing their own emotional needs and desires while trying their best to ensure that the needs and desires of others are fully satisfied. The inevitable result of this is a great deal of psychological, emotional, and even physical pain.

One reason for this is that suppressing one's fundamental emotional needs and desires always leads to psychological, emotional, and physical disharmony of some kind or another, depending on the degree of suppression. This is because emotions are forms of energetic movement whose nature is to be expressed in thoughts, feelings, and actions. Suppressing this movement causes tension, and unrelieved tension causes disharmony. The fundamental emotional needs and desires - to feel connected and to feel effective - are energetically creative when they have an outlet, and energetically destructive when they do not.

A second reason for the pain is that one can never fully satisfy the needs and desires of others, no matter how hard one tries, because needs and desires are subjective, not objective. This means that no matter how much you do for other people, or how well you do it, they always have the option to decide that what you've done is not enough. This increases your feelings of disconnection and ineffectiveness and increases the pain or discomfort of your own suppression.
A third reason is simply that the whole concept of putting the welfare of others above one's own is based on an assumption that there has to be a choice between you and them, between total selfishness and total selflessness. I wonder who made up that stupid rule. I say "stupid" because either way the result is disharmony.

Total selfishness leads to feelings of isolation and despair, and total selflessness leads to feelings of isolation and despair. It's a lose-lose proposition. Even when the choices are less than total, for some people these pathways have a tendency to produce increasing cold-heartedness and inhumane behavior on one end, and increasing resentment and violent behavior on the other.
Remove that one assumption and it's amazing how things can change. It's entirely possible to take care of yourself and take care of others if you want to. You can be happy and share happiness, be rich and share the wealth, empower yourself and empower others. Amazingly, you can even discover - if you remove the above assumption - that sharing happiness increases yours, sharing wealth increases yours, and empowering others empowers you.

There is another side to the problem, however, and that is when the need for connection and effectiveness so great that one is always looking for signs that others don't care enough. It could be a friend who doesn't write or call often enough or when you want them to; people who don't appreciate what you do for them in the way you want to be appreciated; strangers who don't pay attention to you when you want to be noticed; and many other forms of behavior that seem to demonstrate that other people don't care enough about you no matter what you do. Some people with this problem get depressed, and some get angry enough to make themselves sick.

The real problem here is that a person with this kind of need doesn't care enough about himself or herself. This lack of self appreciation can become so great the responsibility for appreciation is thrust onto others, usually with strict rules about how they should behave so that the lack of appreciation can be monitored and quantified, thus justifying the rules. Besides the physical, emotional, and mental stress this can cause, the demand that other people behave correctly has the effect of making them want to avoid you, rather than get closer. Trying to solve the "What about me?" crisis by this method is like trying to attract flies with vinegar instead of honey. The solution, when you are ready to take responsibility for your own experience of course, is to start practicing unconditional love for yourself as far as you are able. That means starting with 10% if you can and increasing from there, with no need to ever reach a hundred. And reducing your rules for others by 10% as well.

There are still choices to make, of course. You'll have to decide when and where and how you will express your own needs and desires, and you may have to decide when and where and how to help others fulfill theirs. Finding a harmonious flow between taking responsibility for your needs and desires while NOT taking responsibility for the needs and desires of others and still being willing to help them, may prove to be a challenge. But a challenge is not a duty, being good to yourself does not require guilt, and doing good for others without expectations on either side can become a source of joy.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Age Of Electronic Shamanism

A very subtle, quiet, and pervasive revolution of sorts is in progress all over the world right now. It's happening in homes, schools, and offices with the help of computers, game systems, and electronic devices of many kinds.

What is quite remarkable about this revolution is that most of the people involved in it aren't even aware of it. They are conscious participants without being conscious of participating.

Let me increase your awareness of this revolution by relating it to some of the practices of shamanism, a general term for using the powers of the mind and the forces of nature to increase knowledge and influence material reality. Some of the things I'll discuss are practiced by people who would not think of what they do as shamanic, but using shamanism as a basis makes the discussion more simple and clear.

Let's begin with telepathy, usually defined as mind-to-mind communication with someone or something in the absence of physical contact. Modern scientists love to debate its existence, but virtually any group of three or more people willing to talk about it will have personal experiences with telepathy to share, whether with another person, an animal, or something else. In addition, every culture in the world has stories of telepathic experience as part of its lore. Scientists tend to deride these accounts as being "anecdotal,' meaning based on personal experience rather than research, but personal experience of telepathy is as real as personal experience of love, and research does not make it more real.

So, let's take a closer look at telepathy, the experience of knowing the thoughts and/or feelings of someone or something at a distance without a physical connection. In many shamanic and other cultures this is accomplished on purpose with the help of physical tools, like crystals, pendulums, and patterns formed by symbols of various sorts, such as Tarot Cards, I Ching coins, or the knuckle bones of sheep. In modern times the same thing is being accomplished with the help of radio, television, computers, and cell phones.

I can hear some people crying, "Wait! That's not the same thing. Those things are physical!" And I reply, "Crystals, pendulums, and symbolic patterns are physical, too." And these people cry out again, "But radio and television waves, electromagnetic fields, and microwaves are also physical, and they can be measured." And I reply, "It's time you learned that those waves and fields you just mentioned are no more physical than what we might as well call 'telepathic' waves and fields."

The fact is that radio and television waves, electromagnetic fields, and microwaves cannot be measured directly. The only measurements that can be made in relation to them are measures of the physical effects they produce on devices designed to respond to them. The waves and fields themselves are as non-physical as anything can be. Furthermore, let's examine what actually happens when you listen to a radio program, for instance. Someone speaks into a microphone. Something in the mike vibrates in response to the sound wave pattern, and this vibration generates a non-physical electrical signal that somehow retains duplicates of the original voice patterns. More physical equipment processes this signal and converts it into non-physical radio waves of a certain measured frequency that also somehow retains duplicates of the original voice patterns. These waves are broadcast from the station in, apparently, a 360-degree, three-dimensional ripple. The antenna of your radio, attuned to that particular frequency, converts the radio wave to an electrical signal that eventually stimulates the vibration of a membrane of some type that generates sound waves carrying duplicates of the original voice patterns to your ears. Amazing, isn't it?

Now, the brain can be considered as an organic device designed to respond to telepathic waves and fields, which would include the conscious awareness of thoughts and emotions from others without the use of eyes or ears or mouths or gestures. And just as a radio cannot pick up a station it isn't tuned to, so a brain does not pick up thoughts and feelings it isn't tuned to, either. A thought or a feeling is broadcast out in all directions from someone or something, maybe using a brain and maybe not. 

Assuming your brain is tuned to that particular telepathic frequency, something in you picks up the signal and converts it into electrical impulses retaining some degree of duplication of the original source pattern and these go to various parts of your brain, depending on the content of the pattern, where, again depending on the content, you end up with some kind of sensory, emotional, or kinesthetic awareness accompanied by measurable chemical and physical changes in your body. Because most people are not used to tuning their brains to telepathic input, there can be a lot of distortion in the final interpretation of the signal. That's why physical devices like crystals, pendulums, and symbolic patterns can be useful in keeping the reception closer to the original pattern, by converting the input into visual and kinesthetic output. I think we still have a long way to go in developing more accurate devices for receiving telepathy, but then early radios weren't so great, either.

This is all leading up to my contention that the electronic devices that we now use to transmit thoughts and feelings are not, as some think, leading us away from the development of our natural telepathic abilities, but are instead serving to subtly train us in those abilities, especially as they become smaller and more efficient and more accurate. They are helping to create a subconscious expectation of how easy it is to communicate with someone halfway around the globe, so much so that fewer and fewer words are becoming necessary to communicate our thoughts and feelings. Just think about the fact that a simple emoticon like :) can make you feel good, and a few letters like AOS can, if you are a teenager, let you or your friend know that an adult is at your shoulder looking at what you are doing, so be discreet (AOS = Adult Over Shoulder). Adding to this effect is the now standard 5-second clip used in advertising. You often hear that it's because the attention span of the audience is getting less, but since people still watch much longer segments in normal programming, it is actually increasing people's ability to get more information from less input.

Another electronic technique is training people to absorb more information from what at one time would have been an overwhelming amount of information. Here I'm speaking of the common practice of many television news programs, especially those devoted to financial news, of presenting multiple, simultaneous inputs of information. CNBC, for instance, will have one or more people speaking as two lines of type at the top of the screen give current market results for stock funds and commodities, while two lines of type at the bottom - one moving faster than the other - give current quotes of various types of stocks, and another small screen above those two displays information or news that may or may not be related to what the speakers are saying. Since our brain is constantly receiving far more information that we are usually consciously aware of, this may be helping to prepare us for paying more attention to telepathic input that we would usually ignore.

I have emphasized telepathy up to this point, but practically every shamanic skill is being practiced by more and more people today without them fully realizing it, especially by those many millions who are joining virtual worlds through a computer connection. To demonstrate my point, I will use only one such world as an example, that of Second Life. For those not familiar with this kind of experience, the standard operating procedure is to use your keyboard and a mouse to manipulate an "avatar," meaning a digital character that represents you in a virtual three-dimensional environment.
In a typical Second Life session, here are some of the shamanic skills you are likely to engage in:
  • Telepathy: this is usually done by "instant messaging" someone who may be anywhere in the real world.
  • Clairvoyance: you do this with a "camera view" that lets you see things around corners and far out of the line of sight of your character.
  • Levitation: whenever you wish, in most virtual locations, you can leap into the air and either float or fly to a destination of choice.
  • Astral Travel: just open a map, choose a location, press a Teleport button, and "whoosh!" you're there faster than a Star Trek transporter could take you.
  • Shape-shifting: as you will it, you can change your body shape, your skin, your eyes, and your hair to suit your own fancy. You can even turn yourself into an animal.
  • Materialization: with a beam of energy projecting from your avatar's hand, you can cause a wide variety of fundamental shapes to appear out of nowhere, and then you can turn them into houses, boats, planes, clothing, jewelry... nearly anything you want.
  • Healing: this is one of the most amazing effects, because the results produce actual changes in your living mind and body. To understand this, you have to realize that we all have a subconscious tendency to mimic the state or action of anything we put our full attention on. One of the ways this tendency is used in Real Life is to have athletes watch videos of experts in their field, and then practice what they've seen. Experiments demonstrate that the performance of the viewers increases significantly after the viewing. Another way, used in many, many areas of Real Life, is to imagine vividly what you want to do or be, and then do it or practice being it.Back to Second Life. When you immerse your avatar in a steaming hot tub, your physical body begins to relax. When your avatar meditates in a forest or a temple, your real mind and emotions calm down. When your avatar stands in a field of energy, your real body feels energized. In some cases, when another avatar uses healing touch on yours, or gives your avatar a massage, your real pain can go away.
If we look at this phenomenon with the concepts of Rupert Sheldrake, hundreds of millions of people all over the planet are generating and sustaining behavioral and mental morphic fields that will make it easier and easier for more and more people to begin expressing shamanic talents and abilities that are usually associated with legends, fantasy, or science fiction. The talents and abilities area real, however, even though up until recently they have only been practiced by a few. Now, however, millions and millions of people are involved, and the training of the whole human race has begun.
Will this revolution happen easily? Most probably not, because so many people's lives are based on fear. The most common potential areas of resistance are these:
  • Fear of anything electronic or electromagnetic. This is based on ignorance of how such devices work, and many people don't want to learn.
  • Fear that people will become addicted. This is based on ignorance of what addiction is. People of very low self esteem can become addicted to anything at all that brings them any degree of pleasure. If you take one source of pleasure away from them, they'll simply find another.
  • Fear that people will become so dependent on electronic devices that they will lose their natural abilities. This is based on ignorance of human nature. Human beings are tool-using creatures. We always have and we always will use tools to enhance our natural creativity.
I just remembered a story I was told a number of years ago about a white Australian and an Aborigine who were hiking together in the Outback and got lost. The white Australian said to his companion, "Hey, why don't you use some of those powers you're supposed to have and get us some help?"
"Okay," said the Aborigine, and he pulled a cell phone out of his back pocket and called some relatives.
"Wait a minute," said the white Australian. "I thought you people were able to communicate with your minds!"
"Oh, sure, we can do that," said the Aborigine, "but this is so much easier!"

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Self Mastery

Back when Aloha International was first being formed, we listed one of our goals as being "To provide the means for individuals to attain self-mastery." This sounds very well and good, but it means nothing until we have defined what we mean by "self-mastery."

There are connotations to the word "mastery" that may lead some people to the wrong conclusions. If this word is taken in its sense of controlling or ruling, or exercising power over someone or something, then it is easy to imagine a kind of relationship with ourselves in which we use our will to browbeat our "self" into submission, put a leash on our emotions, and forcibly repress all our bad habits and tendencies. Such a course will unerringly lead to catastrophe. 

Mastery of this kind is nothing more than an ego trip based on a false premise. The false premise, of course, is that a person or thing can be beneficially controlled through the use of direct or implied force. Such an approach always generates fear and anger and the least amount of compliance possible. It amazes me that in spite of massive evidence showing that this is the most inefficient and ineffective way to get anyone to do anything, governments keep on doing it to to their people, and people keep on doing it to themselves.

Those who suppress and repress with force do so because of their own fears. When the people running a government do this it results in a neurotic society, and when an individual does it personally it results in a neurotic individual. Sooner or later, that which is held in check through force of will is going to explode in destructive fury. Self-mastery of this type is closer akin to slow suicide.

When Aloha International speaks of self-mastery, we are using mastery in its sense of having the ability to apply expert skill and knowledge. With respect to the self, this means having the knowledge and skill to properly direct the tremendous energies and talents of the self. It must of necessity include an understanding of yourself as a functioning entity in relation to the rest of the universe. This is self-mastery of the highest type: Knowing what you are, who you are, why you are, and where you are going; and also knowing how to get there.

The last sentence above defines the individual goal. The goal of Aloha International, then, is to provide road maps, guidebooks, compasses, walking sticks, and hiking skills to individual men and women trodding their individual paths of life.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

What Does That Mean?

"Knowledge must always be expressed in the lifestyle and language of each different culture for it to be accepted and believed." This is a statement by Dr. J.R. Worsley in regard to acupuncture, but it can be applied to any other field as well.
Just recently I was counseling a woman from India who had been living in California since her youth. A while before calling me she had consulted an Indian guru who had advised her to read the fifteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu holy book. The woman read the chapter over and over, but was completely confused because she didn't know what she was supposed to learn from it. She understood that it was about non-attachment, but it kept talking about a banyan tree, and although this woman was originally from India, she had never seen a banyan tree, so the metaphor made no sense to her.

At first I tried to explain what a banyan tree was so she could understand it, but with no memory to relate to it still didn't make sense. Then I switched metaphors, first using an example of rain, then of a mirror, both of which she'd had experience with, and both of which enabled her to understand what the book was really teaching. What she had to learn is not important here. The point is that in order for her to learn the lesson, the knowledge had to be "expressed in the language and style" of her existing culture for it to be accepted and believed.

I just read a Dilbert cartoon in which he tries to explain to his mother that he is neither a railroad engineer nor a typewriter repairman, but a software engineer. When she asks him what he does, he says something like "Well, today I debugged a TCP/IP network with a system analyzer," and she replies with something like, "You mean all you did was start a bot to search out bad packets?" The fact that she knew immediately what he was talking about was quite funny, especially since she knew that he was using "computerese" to cover up the fact that he really didn't do very much. It was even funnier IF the reader also knew the special language of computer geeks. On the other hand, as far as my wife was concerned the cartoon might as well have been written in ancient Sanscrit and she couldn't understand why it made me laugh.

Like many fields and systems, Huna has its own specialized terms, based on the Hawaiian language, but when trying to relate to people unfamiliar with Hawaiian or Huna we need to use words and descriptions that nearly everyone can grasp. Remember, one of our purposes is to strip away the veil of unneeded mystery from the things we are teaching.

Those of us who are teachers of Huna often take it for granted that other people already know what we mean when we use terms like "Lono," and "Ku," and "Aumakua," and we may get so involved in our teaching that we ignore the blank faces in front of us. And shockingly--to us--there are billions of people out there in the world who haven't the faintest idea of what we are talking about when we mention "The Aloha Spirit."

The point of all this is that communication is not merely the imparting of information, it is the exchange of information. The exchange does not always have to be verbal, however. It can also be in the form of behavior. If you teach someone a healing technique, and the person is able to apply the technique in the way you have taught, then the behavior of that person is their part of the communication exchange. If the person is unable to apply it, then it is up to the teacher to change his or her side of the communication. In a different, but related field, someone whose name I do not recall once said, "There is no such thing as a resistant client; there is only a therapist who doesn't know what to do."

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Climate Change

Not too long ago I received the following cry for help, mirrored by many similar ones from others:

"Since I saw the Al Gore movie about the Global Climate Change I can't stop thinking, feeling, and experiencing this Change and all that is coming with it. I feel quite discouraged and pessimistic about the human destiny. Although I was aware of the situation I wasn't aware of the magnitude of the imbalance humanity has created and the short time we have to do something about it and if we really have enough time, determination, unity, will etc. to do something effective to preserve life on Earth.
What I most fear is the way I imagine we are all going to disappear. I know that everything changes constantly and that the climate has changed lots of time before, but the speed in which it's changing is what I fear most, and the catastrophes that are already occurring and making lots of places uninhabitable for plants, animals and people. I find myself thinking very often that no action would be enough at this moment because the disharmony is gone too far. I would appreciate any advice or enlightenment you could give me about it."

First, please get back into the present moment. In very practical and realistic terms, neither the past nor the future exist. The real world is the world that you are experiencing in this moment. If there is any good in it, bless it to strengthen it and help it to endure and grow.

The global climate is obviously changing, but then it always has. We know from geology that the Earth has gone through a number of dramatic climate changes over great periods of time as long as humans have been on the planet and before. According to the geological record there were times when glaciers covered most of the Earth (even in Hawaii!) and other times when the arctic was tropical. More recently, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in the area of Belgium and Holland, major climatic changes produced catastrophic floods from a rise in the sea level, costing the lives of a hundred thousand people. It is common for people to think that bad weather in their own lifetime is the worst there ever was.

Nevertheless, no one knows what direction the current changes will take, how long it will take, or how much influence human behavior is having on the changes. During a trip to Alaska we cruised into Glacier Bay. A shipboard talk on the subject produced the startling information that when Captain James Cook sailed there most of the bay was blocked by ice, and when we were there most of that ice had melted away. So there is no doubt that the Earth is experiencing a change of climate, but there is great doubt as to whether we can do anything about it.

The Gore movie was very well done and helps us to be more aware of what humans are doing to contribute to environmental pollution. It does not prove that human behavior is causing all the changes in climate, nor does it prove that the earth as we know it is doomed to destruction. What it does is offer scientific speculation.

Scientists are not super-wise. All they can do is to gather data, interpret that data according to their own rules, and use a computer to process that data into a probable outcome--based on the data they gathered, their interpretations of that data, and the rules they programmed into the computer for processing that data. That's not even prediction, it's speculation based on limited information.

When Gloria and I were in Africa in the late sixties and early seventies we got newspapers and magazines from the USA that were full of dire warnings about environmental pollution and how it was destroying the country. The impression we got in Africa was that the whole USA was covered by a cloud of soot, that all the streams were muddy brown and clogged with dead fish, and that walking outside was to risk one's life. When we returned to the States in 1971 it was a shock to see bright blue skies, clear streams with healthy fish, fully living forests, and people walking everywhere without dropping dead from bad air.

Human behavior clearly has an effect on the global climate. In addition to the pollution caused by industry and transportation systems, agricultural practices cause deserts and destroy animal habitats, land and ocean waste dumping affects sea and land animals and environments, and clear-cutting of forests and urban development alter things as well. And each of these has an effect on climate. However, let's not forget the effects of volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis, which are produced by the Earth herself. While there is no doubt that humans are part of the problem, we still don't know how big a part.

Nevertheless, it is very important that we take steps to clean up and improve our systems of transportation and industry, to work for a better and healthier environment for ourselves and the rest of the natural world, and to support those who are working for this. It is just as important not to give in to fear and panic or doom and gloom based on what other people are saying about the situation.

Huna philosophy says we are never helpless, because we have more resources than just physical ones to make changes. After all, the physical world is only a convenient illusion. We are spiritual beings in a spiritual universe first of all. As shamanic healers our role is to heal, what we can, when we can, where we can, and how we can. If we bless the present, trust ourselves, and expect the best while we are taking whatever positive action is possible, then we are doing the most that can be done. There is no point in getting upset because we think we could or ought to do more and do it better. There's a Hawaiian pidgin expression that sums it up very simply: If can, can; if no can; no can.

By the way, the Earth is not helpless, either. She has a life of her own and a will of her own. As a living entity she can choose to be happy as a desert, a waterworld, a ball of ice, or the incredible mixture that she is today, with or without the same variety of life that exists now. We do not have to worry about saving the Earth, but we do have to concern ourselves with saving human beings and all the other living beings we care about that inhabit her if we want them to continue. So, do your best and rely on a Higher Power to make sure that everything works out perfectly, even if it's different from what you might think that means.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"Huna" means "The Secret"

There really is a secret process that allows you to achieve just as much health, wealth, happiness, and success as you can ever desire. The funny thing is, it's never been a secret.

As some people discovered an unimaginably long time ago, the best way to keep a secret is to tell everyone about it, over and over and over again in many different ways until they stop paying attention and forget about it. Then someone "rediscovers" the secret and everyone gets excited about it until it's old news and it gets forgotten again.

Possibly the oldest form of the secret process is found in Huna, a name of convenience given to the very ancient esoteric knowledge of Polynesia. As a word in Hawaiian, ka huna actually means "the secret." Interestingly, this particular word has the connotation of something hard to see, not something intended to be kept hidden. The process itself is described in the Hawaiian proverb, Makia ke ali'i, ehuehu ka ukali (literally, concentration is the chief, energy is the follower), which I first translated in my 1985 book, Mastering Your Hidden Self, as "Energy flows where attention goes."

In other words, to achieve all your desires, keep your focus on what you want, and not on what you don't want, a version of the secret expressed frequently in the Seth Books by Jane Roberts. Other versions of the secret process can be found in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, in Buddhist and Taoist writings, in Yoga sutras and Sufi poetry, and of course in the works of more modern writers such as Wattles, Hill, Emerson, Holmes, and many others. One nice thing about the Hawaiian version of the secret is that it includes specific instructions for putting it into practice. These instructions can be found in the roots of a little-understood Hawaiian word, haipule.

The Pukui-Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary defines haipule as meaning "religious, devout, pious, reverent, to worship,, to hold prayers or service, to consecrate a heiau, and a church service," but this is obviously a Christianized interpretation of this very Hawaiian word. More likely, it's original meaning as a whole word was based on the word hai (to offer) plus pule (prayer, blessing, spell). That is, haipule is a term relating to a process for making good things happen.

The actual process, according to my Hawaiian uncle, William Kahili, is found in root meanings of the word. More accurately, the roots describe four ways to maintain a positive focus, which is the key ingredient of the secret.
Ha, meaning "life, breath, spirit." 
Breathe deeply and get emotionally excited while thinking about what you want, or at least feel as positive and happy as you can. When you lose your focus, breathe deeply to get back into the present and start over.
I, meaning "to speak." 
Speak the words that describe what you want, aloud or silently. When you find yourself speaking negative words related to what you want, stop, breathe, and go back to saying what you want instead.
Pu, meaning "to issue forth, to appear like smoke." 
This is a poetic description of imagination. Imagine what you want in as much sensory detail as you can. When you find yourself imagining what you don't want, stop, breathe, and imagine what you want again.
Le, a short form of lele meaning, basically, "to move." 
Whenever you are thinking or speaking about what you want, assume a positive posture and move in confident ways. When you find yourself feeling depressed, helpless or disillusioned in relation to what you want, stop, take a deep breath, and change your posture or the way you move into a more positive and confident mode.
You don't have to do everything every time you think of what you want, but each method reinforces the other and helps you to maintain your positive expectation.
So that's it. The secret is out. Or, as the ancient Hawaiians would have said,
Ahuwale ka nane huna
"That which was a secret is no longer hidden"
(from 'Olelo No'eau, by Mary Kawena Pukui)

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Identity Imperative

As we listen to and look at national and world news reports we see evidence of enormous conflicts between people who have identified themselves with very different ways of thinking and feeling and behaving. People who identify with different religions are at war with each other; people of the same religion who identify with different interpretations of it are at war with each other; people who identify with different political systems are at war with each other; people who identify with different interpretations of the same political system are at war with each other.

On a more local level, people who identify with different athletic teams in the same sport seem to be getting into sometimes serious fights with each other more frequently; people who identify with specific groups called gangs often have serious fights with each other, as well as with non-gang members of the society around them; and identity conflicts of a serious nature often arise between families or even individual strangers.

Two important questions that come out of this observation are: "Is there a fundamental urge to identify with something - an 'identity imperative,' so to speak - that is more powerful than other urges?" and "why does such identification so often lead to conflict?"

To answer the first question, the urge to identify with something--an idea, a belief, a philosopy, a religion, a way of life, a political system, a group of some kind, a territory, or even another person--is no more nor no less than a combination of the two fundamental urges of all human beings to connect and to be effective.

We have an initial urge to connect because feeling connected, feeling ourselves to be part of something else, is a source of pleasure. By itself this leads to pleasurable relationships with people, animals, plants, and other aspects of the world around us. When the thing we connect to also helps us to feel more effective or powerful, another source of pleasure, then we have a strong tendency to identify ourselves with that thing, to consider it and us to be virtually identical. That's why so many people proudly declare that they are "members" of something or other (the word "member" means a "limb" or an integral part of something). It's also why people like to wear clothing, costumes, badges, pins, and tatoos that help them feel more connected and powerful.

The answer to the second question above is that the more insecure we feel about our connection and our effectiveness, the more fearful we become about their loss, which leads to painful feelings of isolation and helplessness. When this insecurity and its related fear become intense enough there may be a very strong suppression reaction. A common effect of this reaction is to perceive contrasting or opposing forms of identity as a threat to one's very existence. 

So a losing sports team, or its fans, may feel compelled to fight the winners, or their fans, and even destroy anything associated with them. Do something that an insecure identifier interprets as an insult to his or her source of identity and you may receive a death threat, or worse. In some cases people become willing to sacrifice their lives to maintain their own identity as well as the "life" of what they identify with. That will not happen, however, unless such people have decided that their own lives have no worth in any other context. Self sacrifice with the intention to harm members of another identity is therefore a desperate attempt on the part of extremely insecure people to maintain a sense of belonging and personal power.

The more secure you feel about your identifications, the more tolerant you naturally are of other identifications. If you have no doubts about the goodness or rightness of your ideas, beliefs, or behaviors, then you tend not to care about the ideas, beliefs, and behaviors of others (as long as they don't physically threaten you, of course). 

On the other hand, the more insecure you feel about your identifications, the more you will react with fear and anger and the desire to destroy anything and and anyone that doesn't agree with your way of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Unfortunately, although this is essentially a position of weakness, it can cause great damage among those who are basically more tolerant, but not yet secure enough or wise enough to realize that tolerance is not the same as unbounded permissiveness.

Nevertheless,
Ma'alahi ka ha'ina, pu'ika'ika hana
"Simple the explanation, difficult the execution

Friday, April 14, 2017

Trust

While teaching workshops, especially when I'm teaching about relationships, I am often asked, "How can I trust people," or "What do you do when someone betrays your trust?" And some will make the comment, "I've learned not to trust anyone."

It's a difficult topic to explain, mainly because so many people are confused about what it really means to trust someone.

In its most simple form, to trust someone is to have the confidence, faith, or expectation that a person will do what he or she has said they will do. That trust is considered misplaced or broken or betrayed (depending on how emotional one becomes about it) when the person does something else instead, regardless of any extenuating circumstances. So a child may wail endlessly to a parent that "You broke your promise!" even when a parent was not able to carry out a promise for a very good reason. However, it has to be said, a lot of people, sometimes including politicians, make promises with no intention of ever carrying them out.

A more complicated form of trust is when you expect people to behave in a certain way because they have always behaved in that way, or because they should behave in that way (according to your rules), or just because you want them to behave in that way, whether they have ever promised to do so or not. I know a number of people who have been disappointed or felt betrayed because I didn't do what they wanted me to do, or what they thought I should have done (without telling me beforehand, of course). And, I have to admit, there have been occasions when I have felt disappointed or betrayed when people didn't do what I expected or wanted them to do.

Both of these kinds of trust can be lost very easily if we blame others for how we feel about their behavior. It can also make it much more difficult for us to trust anyone else in the future, because most of us don't like to feel bad, and a lot of us are even afraid of feeling bad.
Since I believe strongly that we are all responsible for our own feelings, I decided to find a way to trust more and feel disappointed less. My solution may not be satisfactory for everyone, but I present it here in case some will find it useful.

First, I looked for a form of human behavior that was common to all people everywhere. What I found was that, invariably, all people everywhere will always do what they do. Therefore, that allows me to trust 100% that everyone will always do what they do, no matter what I may think or feel about it.

Second, I found that all people everywhere will always do what they believe is best for them. This gets a little more involved, because some people believe that following their own self interest is more important than anything else, some believe that doing what others want is also best for them, some believe that keeping promises is best for them, and on and on. Nevertheless, it means that I can trust 100% that people will always do what they believe is best for them, whatever that may be.
Third, as a consequence, it means that I cannot trust 100% that anyone will always do what I want or expect them to do. Or, to put it more positively, I can trust 100% that someone at some time will do something other than what I want or expect them to do.

When that happens I limit any feelings of disappointment by taking responsibility for those feelings and reminding myself of the first and second forms of behavior above (and I never use the emotionally-loaded word "betrayal" anymore). Then my next step is to make other plans that do not require specific people to do specific things.

As a result, I am able to maintain good friendships with people who didn't do what I wanted or expected because it didn't coincide with what they believed were their best interests, and even work with them in other areas where our interests do coincide. So, trusting people to keep their promises, to behave as expected, to do what they "should" do or what you want them to do is always a risk.

Trust is very important, to be sure. Our society and economy could not function unless a majority of the people involved did what was expected of them. As individuals, I believe that we can all function better if we understand how trust works and why, sometimes, it doesn't.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Enabling Power

There is a power in the universe that has a very peculiar characteristic. It enables things to happen.

Some people call it "grace," some call it "infinite intelligence," some call it "the Holy Spirit." In Arabic it's called baraka, in Chinese it's called li, and in Hawaiian it's either wai ola (water of life) or kumu uli po (invisible steering foundation - from David Malo). There are many other terms in different languages, of course.

Some people think it comes from "God" by many various names, and some people think it's just there. Some people think you have to be a special person to experience it, or to do or say something special like a ritual, or to be initiated by someone else who has it, or attain a special state of purity or whatever, or to fulfill some other qualification.

To begin with, let's acknowledge that its very existence is theoretical. In other words, it's an interpretation of phenomena. In this world of ours we all experience phenomena - sunshine, rain, gravity, electromagnetism, pain, pleasure, happiness, unhappiness, etc. and etc. Experiences and circumstances are phenomena, too. After we experience phenomena, depending on our level of curiosity, we usually try to interpret the phenomena. That is, we create theories about why something is the way it is, how it works, and so on. Sometimes these theories can be tested and sometimes they can't.

A good example of the latter would be the main conflicting theories about how the universe came to be. In the United States these are generally divided into the Judeao-Christian theory that God created the universe and its ensuing order by an act of will, and the so-called Scientific theory that it all started with a Big Bang and the ensuing order was either by happenstance or a "natural" effect of the bang itself. The thing is, neither of these theories can be tested. As long as they are thought of as theories, they are merely interpretations of phenomena, but when they are assumed to be true they become articles of faith. This kind of faith can be very useful to individuals for whom it gives a sense of emotional security, but neither one of these theories can be tested, and when the believers of either one begin to fight each other it looks absurd.

The theories of electromagnetism, on the other hand, can be tested, and for the most part they have proven extremely useful for most people around the world. This doesn't mean that the theories are necessarily true, it only means that they are useful. In fact (no pun intended), one thing that makes them so useful is that they are usually treated as theories by the people who use them and remain open to modification of the theories or the appearance of new ones. Theories of healing can be tested, too, and like the theories of electromagnetism, they are most useful when they are allowed to be modified or replaced by others as the occasion requires.

So, what about the theory of an "Enabling Power?" Well, this theory can also be tested.
The way to test a theory is to begin with an observation of phenomena, then to come up with assumptions about how the the phenomena are produced, and finally to devise a way to test the assumptions in such a way that anyone who understands the theory will be able to reproduce the experiment and get the same results.

The theory of the enabling power has been around for a very long time, and very clear instructions have been provided in numerous times and places of how to access it or to put it into action in specific ways. Nevertheless, in spite of more availability than ever in these modern times, the theory is very rarely tested in the way that it was meant to be. In the past this was sometimes due in part to the obscure way in which the theory was explained.

Here is a related quote by Kumarajiva, an Indian Buddhist: "When one is free from both evil and good, one's inner potentiality identifies with the higher reality."

And here is a related quote from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tse: "Oftentimes without intention I see the wonder of Tao; oftentimes with intention I see its manifestations. The wonder and the manifestations are one and the same."

In Book One of the Yogic Aphorisms of Patanjali it assumes that the reader already knows about the Enabling Power and says, "It is perfectly all right to form mental patterns, so as to direct the flow of this ever-moving Life Force into form for the purpose of taking dominion, or for the purpose of setting up a situation."

All of these are rather abstract, and not easily understood without a lot of explanation.

In 1910 a man named Wallace Wattles published The Science of Getting Rich, in which he lays out his version of the theory and its practical application. In his book he says that the theory is of Hindu origin, and that it is the foundation of the philosophies of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Schopenauer, Hegel, and Emerson. Here is a quote from his summary:
There is a thinking stuff from which all things are made... A thought in this substances produces the thing that is imaged by this thought... Man must form a clear and definite mental image of the things he wishes to have, to do, or to become... Too much stress cannot be laid on the importance of frequent contemplation of the mental image, coupled with unwavering faith and devout gratitude."
A British writer, James Allen, published a work in 1902 called As A Man Thinketh. That he had grasped the basic concept is evident in the poem he wrote as a preface to his book:
"Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills.
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass
However, while his book speaks of thought, desire, and action, it does not mention faith, belief, or expectation. Not surprisingly, Allen started out poor and ended up poor, while Wattles started out poor and ended up very well off in every way.

Another writer from the same period was William Atkinson, also known as Yogi Ramacharaka, who published Mind-Power in 1912. Although nearly the entire book is devoted to the development of desire, will, and imagination as a way of accessing the Enabling Power, in the last chapter, as part of a list of twelve faculties which need to be developed "by the man who wishes to gain the dynamic qualities," he calls "Earnest Expectation" one of the three "features of success," and says further:
Be not a mere dreamer or visionary, but cultivate desire; then develop earnest expectation; then will to act. Each of these is necessary.
I could quote from hundreds of books that contain the same idea, but here is an exceptionally clear quote that's about two thousand years old: "I say to you whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says shall come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:23-24 RSV)"

It's hard to be more clear than that, but for some reason even good Christians either just won't try it, or still don't really understand it. Please note that nothing is said here about having to do or be anything special before this can happen, nor is there any such thing in the preceding or following verses.

If we accept the above instructions as a way of accessing this Enabling Power (by whatever name we choose to give it), then it's clear that prayer (or whatever else you want to call deciding what you want) by itself is not enough. The critical factor is belief. Now, if everyone agreed on what "belief" means, there would be less of a problem, but some people think of it as a wishy-washy kind of "hopeful wishing," others as an abstract concept of "faith," and still others just can't accept that there isn't any more to it.

And yet, it really is that simple. Decide what you want, and expect to get it. What you need most of all is confident expectation, or no doubt in your heart. If words and images help you to clarify what you want, then use them, and if words and images plus strong desire help you achieve confident expectation or remove doubt, then use them for that. The tricky thing is that you can't cheat. You can't just say the right words, and you can't just hold the right images, and you can't just build up a strong desire. The full power doesn't manifest until you have no doubt in your heart. It won't work just by using confidence like a bandaid. The real key is confident expectation, which is the same as no doubt.

To understand this better, think about an electrical or electronic device that you might have around the house. There are a lot of superficial reasons why it might stop working, but the essential reason would have to be that electricity isn't reaching the motor or the motivating component. Right now I have a computer sitting on one of my desks that isn't working. Actually, the computer worked fine at the repair shop, and it worked fine when I got it home, but it stopped working when I plugged in a firewire cord. The superficial problem is a defective firewire input. According to electromagnetic theory, however, the real problem is that when that input is connected, electricity can't get to the computer.

My wife and I travel a lot and we always have great good luck when we do, even if we experience lost luggage, flight delays, or missing itineraries. It isn't because we are lucky. We are lucky because we expect good fortune. As my wife puts it, "It's like riding an escalator. You do all the planning and you buy the tickets and you get on the plane and the rest just happens."

On the other hand, we are presently [at the time of the original writing] in the process of selling our house, but it isn't happening. The superficial problems are that the timing isn't right, the market has changed, interest rates have gone up, and so on. But according to the Enabling Power theory, each of us still has too much doubt in our hearts. Superficial doubts, like "Will we find the right house?" or "Where should we live?" are not important. What's really in the way is the heartfelt doubt that says, "Do we really want to do this?" Until that's resolved, confident expectation can't reach the Enabling Power to turn it on.

In your own life, for big things or little things (the Enabling Power doesn't care if you want a million dollars or a good pair of shoes), practice developing the feeling of confident expectation or the feeling of no doubt. You do this by first remembering or noticing things in your life that happen easily, without effort, once you've put your emotional attention on them. Then you do your best to remember how you felt after that. Sometimes it's a feeling of just "knowing" that something will happen, and sometimes it a feeling of not caring whether it does or doesn't. "No doubt" is the key factor in both cases. Finally, you practice thinking about what you want and feeling the "no doubt" feeling at the same time. When those two things click into place, stuff happens.

ADDENDUM: Our house sold almost six months after this article was written. Three months after the article my wife and I assumed a state of confident expectation and bought another house and moved in even before the old house was sold. Then we took a walk through our old house, complimenting each room, thanking it for the good memories, and saying a formal goodbye. We left it with no doubt about finding a buyer and one showed up immediately with a cash offer at a time when no other homes had any offers. We had to adjust our asking price, which was our "action" component, and the sale went off without a hitch.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Who Owns Your Happiness?

Recently I found myself getting very unhappy with someone about something. As the unhappiness grew I was reminded by myself that happiness is a choice, so of course I began to use Huna-related techniques in order to get happy again (mainly Dynamind, Blanket Forgiveness, and Permission).
The problem was, they didn't work very well in this instance. Oh, they provided relief from the major tension and eliminated the anger, but I was still unhappy.

So then I started thinking about the unhappiness itself. It was a form of resistance, of course, but resistance to what? The initial experience of unhappiness had to do with resisting what someone else had done, and that produced anger. The later unhappiness felt more like a mild form of depression. I know that depression is associated with feeling out of control, but I had given up trying to control the person I first got angry with, so what was the issue I was still having a problem with?

Finally, I realized that it was related to a whole lot of things that had happened in the world that I was unhappy about, meaning a whole lot of things that I didn't like and that I didn't feel I could do anything about. And I wondered why I had to be unhappy about things I couldn't do anything about. And then I realized that I had fallen into one of the oldest unhappiness traps in the world. I had made my happiness dependent on the behavior of other people. I had, in effect, made them the owners of my happiness, able to dole it out to me by choice, by whim, or even unintentionally. My happiness no longer belonged to me.

Well, of course, being me, I couldn't let that state of affairs continue. Nevertheless, I found it surprisingly difficult to recover the ownership of my own happiness.

The awareness of what I had done helped a lot, but the hard part was training myself to feel happy regardless of people, places, circumstances, and events. I was amazed to find out how much my happiness depended on so many little things like temperature, sunshine, food preparation, news, voice tones, whether machines worked the way I wanted them to or not, bills, bank account levels, the availability of things, whether other people were happy or not, and on and on and on. My happiness was owned, not just by one other person, but by a whole multitude of things. To use a business metaphor, the ownership of my happiness was divided among thousands of shareholders.

To continue the metaphor, I am in the process of "buying up" all those shares. My aim to to create a sole (soul?) corporation where I own all the stock in my happiness, where I am the only one to decide whether I feel happy or not. It's a process, because every day I discover shareholders I didn't know existed (it's easy to recognize them: they "make" me feel unhappy). Nevertheless, it's a buy-out that I have every intention of achieving. I will own my own happiness. Will you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Human Cycles

In the world around us we can see the operation of all kinds of cycles, events that follow a repeating sequence of connected activity. The changing of the seasons is one example, the movement of water from liquid to vapor to liquid again is another, and so are the cycles of day and night and the changing phases of the moon. Some people believe in a cycle of life, death, and rebirth, but since that is not so easily demonstrated, it has to remain a theory for most other people.

There are two significant characteristics of a cycle that are of interest here. One is the repetition of experiences, and the other is the uniqueness of those repetitions.

Year after year, in temperate climates, we can experience the sequence of spring, summer, fall and winter. But every season is different every year whether in different locations or the same ones, and in spite of the arbitrary dates of the solstices and equinoxes, every season starts and ends according to the whims of Nature. In the animal world we can observe cycles of migration, of hibernation, and physical changes of skin and fur and color. Yet, even though the same animals are involved, each experience in the sequence is always different, both for individual animals and for different animals of the same group.

There are cycles in the lives of human beings, too, some dramatic and some more subtle.
Probably the most dramatic and influential of these cycles for women is the menstrual cycle, because it involves not only physical changes, but emotional and mental changes as well. And those personal changes may have dramatic effects on other people, as well.

In my experience and study of many cultures around the world I've found that this powerful cycle does not affect all women in the same way. While the same basic physical changes occur, emotional and mental reactions to those changes can vary tremendously. These reactions, of course, then affect the physical reactions to the basic changes. While the experience of individual women in the same culture can vary greatly, the modern, Western assumption that the period of menses is always a time of great stress is simply not a reality in some other cultures. Cultural attitudes about it can have a very strong effect on the personal experience. In some cultures the period is treated with shame and fear, in others as a mere inconvenience, and in others as a time of culminating female power.

Physical changes, even the most natural ones, always create a certain amount of stress, because it is a natural response of the body to resist change. The degree of stress that an individual woman experiences during menses, however, depends partly on her attitudes about it, and partly on the amount of stress she is currently experiencing from other sources. The more stress she is under for whatever reason when menses occurs, the more strongly her body will react to it.

The more or less monthly cycle of menses happens within a larger cycle that doesn't have a specific name. This one starts with the onset of menses at puberty and repeats itself with the onset of menopause. Although very different in detail, both are part of a human cycle of physical change.
The start of menstruation, called menarche, normally occurs between the ages of 8 to 16 (12 is just an average). Menopause is said to occur between the ages of 45 to 55, with individual differences, of course. Some women experience what is called "perimenopause" for several years before the major changes of menopause appear, and this is when "hot flashes" may start. Although "hot flashes" are associated with menopause also, not all women have them. Since many men may not know what these are, I'll explain that they are "episodes of flushing with a sensation of heat that may or may not include sweating, and are often accompanied by palpitations and sometimes followed by chills...Hot flashes are most common during the first 3 years after menopause...and...50% to 90% of postmenopausal women experience hot flashes (source: www.knowmenopause.com)." These figures were based on studies of Australian women over a period of seven years, so the figures might be different for other countries and cultures.

What is of interest for us at this point of the article is that the hot flash symptoms of menopause are identical to symptoms brought about by other forms of stress. At various times in my life, even as a young man, I have had the same types of symptoms, the most alike being when I was suffering from bouts of malaria. And I only suffered from those bouts of malaria when I was also under a great deal of stress from other sources. The inevitable conclusion, based on my ideas about stress, naturally, is that the symptoms of menopause, and all other symptoms of cyclic change, are due to a natural resistance to those changes compounded by an excessively high level of stress tension from other causes.

Since this is an article on human cycles, we can assume that men have cycles that are similar to those of women. Male puberty is an obvious place to start, since it begins at roughly the same age period as does that of women. Although the cyclic changes that follow are not nearly as obvious as those that women have, from personal experience and conversations with many other males I can vouch for the fact that men definitely do have cyclic periods of sexual arousal that differ in period and intensity for different men. And there is a growing body of scientific evidence that men experience a close equivalent of menopause, called "andropause" or "viropause," between the ages of 40 to 55 (with exceptions). Here are some of the typical symptoms that have come out of studies (source: www.midlife-passages.com):
Hot flashes and sleep disturbances
Fatigue, loss of a sense of well being
Depression
Joint aches and stiffness of hands
Irritability and anger
Reduced libido
Reduced potency
Changes in hair growth and skin quality
If it sounds similar to what women go through, it's because the relationship between the testes, testosterone, the brain and the pituitary gland is the same as the relationship between the ovaries, estrogen, the brain, and the pituitary gland. And, exactly as with women, the intensity of the symptoms corresponds to the ongoing level of stress tension that each individual is experiencing.

The conclusions are three:
1. Men and women have very similar cycles of life changes.
2. The more you do to relieve stress tension of any kind, throughout your life, the less troublesome these natural life changes will be.
3. If you are already in your menopause/andropause phase, the more you do to relieve stress tension of any kind NOW, the less troublesome these natural life changes will be.

Here is a related Hawaiian proverb: 

Pi'i ka nalu, he'e ka nalu, ke nalu nei ka moana
Waves rise, waves recede, the ocean is full of waves
(this contains a play on the word nalu, which means "wave" and "to ponder something." Therefore, another translation could be "Thoughts come, thoughts go, there are many things to think about")

Friday, January 6, 2017

Thirteen Questions

Some time ago I was asked to fill out an interview questionnaire based on thirteen questions, but I don't remember whether it was ever published. The website of the organization sponsoring the interview is now devoted to something else, so I thought it might be interesting to the visitors of this site if they could read my answers to those questions.

1. What is the greatest dream in your life?
The greatest dream in my life is for everyone on Earth to be able to access their own power, to understand how to love each other, and to know the benefits of using both of these together.

2. What does true happiness in life mean?
True happiness comes from being able to experience happiness as a conscious choice.

3. What is the most valuable thing that one cannot buy and why?
One cannot buy health, because it has to come from within. Not all the best medicines or treatments or doctors or shamans or psychics can make one healthy if one's body and mind do not respond to them.

4. What are your 3 most important tips for enduring health?
Bless the present, trust yourself, and expect the best.

5. What do you believe is the meaning of life?
Human life, like any life, simply exists. It is we ourselves who apply meaning to it ... or not.

6. If you knew that the world was going to end tomorrow, what would you do today?
I believe that a hypothetical question deserves a hypothetical answer, so no matter how I respond to a question like this my answer would be pure fantasy. Therefore, I might as well say I would try my best to finish my current computer game.

7. What are in your opinion the 3 biggest mistakes that one can make in life?
In every moment we are always doing the best we can in that moment, given our current beliefs, desires, fears, expectations and state of mind and body. A "mistake" simply means that we didn't get the results we wanted from whatever we did. In other words, our plan didn't work. Rather than dwell on "mistakes" it would be better to make a new plan.

8. Where do you find comfort during difficult times?
In Nature. In times of high crisis or stress, when I'm not directly involved in healing it, my mind, body and spirit get relaxed and recharged by walking alone in natural surroundings, whether along a beach, across fields, or through woods. It is not just the distraction from the troubles that helps. I actually get insights and inspirations from stones, trees, and flowers that help me solve my problems.

9. If you had three wishes to fundamentally change things on earth, what would you wish?
I would wish that human beings could fly, that they could teleport, and that they would never experience fear.

10. What can an individual person do to promote a peaceful society?
Be peaceful. Outer peace has to begin with inner peace. Violence is committed, and/or directed, by insecure and fearful people who believe that the only way to bring about peace is to force others to do what they want them to do. This kind of behavior never has and never will result in any kind of peace. Achieving peace requires peaceful means carried out by peaceful people.

11. Assuming you meet somebody who knew the absolute truth to every question, what 3 questions would you ask?
I would not ask any questions because there is no such thing as absolute truth in an infinite universe.

12. Which book (or books) have impressed you personally and why?
The Bible, because it is such a rich source of inspiration and ideas; the Seth books, because they are a treasure trove of excellent techniques for self development; the works of Odgen Nash, because I love his quirky humor; and practically any book of science fiction or fantasy because they stimulate my own imagination.

13. What would be your most important piece of advice for people who are searching for a fulfilling life?
Be a healer. It doesn't matter what kind of healer, as long as you remember that in helping others to heal themselves you are healing yourself, and in healing yourself you are preparing to be a better healer for others. The art of healing can help you develop all the other qualities you may wish for, and it helps to expand your spirit to a far greater extent than anything you might accomplish by only going within.