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Your Three Selves
We are each unique. Each of us experiences life a little differently, and no two of us express quite the same combination of talents and skills. Yet, for all the differences, we all share the same basic urge toward mastery of ourselves and of the world around us. The urge is called by many names and clothed in many forms, but it is present in every human being. Dominant in the world today is the philosophy of achieving mastery of life by forceful control—of emotions, of people, of situations, and of the environment. Obviously, this approach doesn't work very well. Now here is a practical alternative, a philosophy that says we create our own reality, that we have the power to change it, and that the way to start is by mastering—in a loving way—our hidden self.
According to the philosophy of Huna, each of us has three selves: a subconscious self, a conscious self, and a superconscious self. All three are aspects of a whole, yet they have separate functions and must interact as a team in order for a person to have a healthy, happy, fulfilling life. When for some reason there is disorder or conflict between them, the result can be physical or mental illness and disrupted social or environmental conditions.
Most modern psychologies accept the idea of a conscious and subconscious mind, though few have yet gotten as far as the superconscious. As for the Huna concept, the superconscious is not God in the sense of a Supreme Being. It is more like God Within, the Christ Self, or the Buddha Nature of the individual. Another way to think of it is as a sort of guardian angel. The ancient kahunas did believe in an Ultimate Being—Kumulipo—which would equate nicely with the highest Western concepts of God. But, having an eminently practical attitude toward life, they felt that this Being was so far beyond ordinary experience that it was a waste of time to speculate on its nature.
Besides the three forms of consciousness and, of course, a physical body, each person has two other components: an aka body, and mana. Aka is a Hawaiian term that is somewhat equivalent to astral or ether in English. Plasma could be another English equivalent. It is the stuff of which the physical universe is made; another term is "universal substance." An aka body is a quasi-physical field that surrounds and interpenetrates the physical body, and I will have more to say about it later. Mana is the force or energy behind life, thought, and practices termed magical for lack of understanding.
Let me try to bring this rather abstract explanation down to a concrete level through the use of analogy, remembering that analogies are never perfect.
You have probably seen and heard the televised account of the astronauts walking on the moon. Try to recall in your mind an image of one of those space-suited men. Relating to Huna, now, the space suit could be likened to the physical body. From the outside it seems to have a life of its own, but all activity and purpose leave it when the man inside takes it off and hangs it up. In effect, it is dead, lifeless, without the inner man. The physical body of the astronaut, in this context, can be likened to the subconscious mind. It moves the arms and legs of the suit/body in a more or less automatic way. The mind of the astronaut plays the same role here as does the conscious mind in Huna, i.e., it gives direction and purpose to the entire physical being.
Aka is something like the air inside and outside the suit (you may remember the bright glow around the astronauts that looked like an aura), and the powerpack on the back of the suit supplies the energy (mana) that both operates the suit and provides life for the two inner selves. The powerpack also furnishes the energy to maintain contact with Houston (the superconsciousness). Houston, like the superconscious, gives encouragement and advice and knowledge, but never help unless it is asked for or unless there is danger that the mission will not be carried out.
THE SEVEN ELEMENTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL
Although the kahuna has many ways of describing the individual, I am using one here that lists seven elements, six of which have already been mentioned:
1. The Subconscious. This is frequently called "the Low Self" by those who have studied the works of Max Freedom Long, but this is not meant to be derogatory. In Huna, the proper term would be ku, or sometimes unihipili.
2. The Conscious Mind. "Middle Self" is another term used by Long, but like "Low Self" it can be misleading. This is lono or uhane in Huna.
3. The Superconscious. "High Self" was the designation given by Long, and it is good in certain ways. But calling the three selves low, middle, and high causes many problems in understanding because these terms have so many different connotations. Even the common association of the subconscious with the body, the conscious with the brain, and the superconscious with some kind of spiritual essence floating way above your head really isn't justified either physiologically or in Huna philosophy. The superconscious is aumakua in Huna, and also kumupa'a or 'ao'ao.
4. The Soul. For the sake of simplicity and practicality the soul is not often discussed because it doesn't have a function and it can't be trained. It simply exists. It is the essence of your being, your personal identity, your awareness of being aware. The Huna term is iho.
5. The aka body of the individual.
6. The mana of the individual.
7. The physical body, or kino.
The roots of the word ku give us an interesting picture of the subconscious or Low Self from the kahuna point of view. The roots reveal among other things a self that can set up or establish things (like habits), that can change into something else or move from one state of experience into another, that likes to feel in control of situations, that may act spontaneously without regard for others, that can have positive or negative complexes, and that seeks peace, freedom, and relaxation. The root meanings of unihipili are very similar and include the ideas of acting as a servant, acting secretly or in a hidden way, and of becoming very attached to people, places, and certain ways of doing things. We have here from the Hawaiian language an excellent image of the subconscious that conforms very well to the understanding of modern Western psychology. It is discussed more fully in chapters 2 and 3.
The subconscious reasons like a computer, drawing conclusions from a given premise or experience. Contrary to some popular thinking, the subconscious is never illogical, irrational, or unreasonable. Everything it does is according to strict logic, but often we are not conscious of the premises that it uses to draw conclusions and undertake action. Also, the subconscious reasons both deductively (which means it can take a general principle or belief and apply it to specific situations) and inductively (which means it can take a specific experience and derive from it a general principle or belief). An example of the former might be a belief learned in childhood from one's parents that sex is bad. Unless the belief were changed, the subconscious would act accordingly in every specific sexual situation for the rest of one's life. An example might be a woman who had a bad experience with the first man in her life, and her subconscious acts as if all men are rotten from then on.
Memory is a function of the subconscious, in fact its only function, since all of its other functions derive from memory. When we consciously decide to remember something, we are actually eliciting the cooperation of our subconscious. If for some reason it doesn't cooperate, then we have that common experience of being unable to recall something that we are sure we know.
The subconscious is constantly communicating with the conscious mind, but our society has not put a high priority on this type of communication, so most people can't take advantage of this valuable resource. It "speaks" through dreams, imagination, feelings, physical sensations, and slips of the tongue.
THE CONSCIOUS SELF
The Hawaiian word for the conscious or Middle Self, lono, contains meanings of awareness, communication, desire, thought, and achievement. Uhane also contains the idea of giving life and spirit, or direction and purpose. One of the most important functions of the conscious mind is that of giving direction to the subconscious. It is amazing how many people believe that they are supposed to take orders from their subconscious. A feeling arises or a sensation occurs, and they think they must act on it. All that is happening, though, is that the subconscious is giving a message and waiting for direction. If no direction is forthcoming, the subconscious will act out of habit or according to someone else's direction. The conscious mind was intended to be the master, but seldom is. An important part of Huna practice is to regain this natural order.
The conscious self communicates through speech, writing or drawing, physical action, dramatization, and thought. It has the same reasoning capability as the subconscious, but it can also "jump" reason by creative insight. Probably the greatest talent of the conscious self is that of being able to imagine what isn't. The subconscious can only imagine what has been and create new combinations out of old experience, but the conscious self can create completely new ideas and experience.
The superconscious or High Self is a dual entity, both male and female in a special way. The word aumakua carries the idea of a "parental spirit" and a "guardian." The aumakua can also be called the "Source Self," since it is the source of individual life, purpose and expression. In that respect it is the God Within, and the kahunas treat it as an inner being rather than as a spirit that lives in the sky someplace. For the individual it gives guidance, information, and inspiration, but does not give orders. It is sad to see someone waiting for his Higher Self to tell him what to do, because it just won't happen. Once the person decides for himself what to do, however, the superconscious makes available an abundance of ideas, knowledge, and energy to carry it out. Huna offers many ways of enhancing this inspirational contact.
The superconscious communicates through the channels used by the other two selves, as well as through direct inspiration. When this happens, you suddenly know something, and the knowing is accompanied by a deep sense of peace, or a peaceful kind of excitement.
The most useful thing to be said about the soul is that it can expand, contract, change location in space or time, and even be multidimensional. Iho and its roots mean core, heart, center, self, something more, to leave and/or return, to enter, to intermarry, joy and happiness, to grow vigorously.
In English we often use the Latin word ego to mean the self (in Latin it means I), but the concept has become very distorted because of a mixture of other meanings from different sources. Freud used the term in psychoanalysis to mean the part of the mind that resolves conflicts between a storehouse of impulses he called the id, the environment, and a kind of conscience he called the superego. In addition, many religions and philosophies which hold that there is something inherently sinful or bad about humans have used the same term to mean self as opposed to others. Often they advocate diminishing or even destroying the ego, and as a result many people end up hating themselves and all their natural desires and urges.
When people ask me what Huna teaches about the ego, I first have to find their frame of reference. If it is Freudian, I just say we don't even use the concept. Freud made up a system that was useful in many ways, but it doesn't have anything to do with Huna. If the reference is to the self, I say that far from seeking to diminish it, we seek to expand it as much as possible because the more we experience the Universe as our self, the more harmony and love we can create in it. Conflict always comes from a belief in separation. Let us diminish the separation, not the self.
THE AKA BODY
When trying to relate Huna to Western science and psychology, we have the most trouble with the aka body because orthodox science and psychology don't accept it as real yet. For a correlation we have to turn to "psychic" science or parapsychology and the theory of ectoplasm, also called bioplasm by the Russians and psi plasma by some American parapsychologists. Astral and/or etheric bodies are other metaphysical terms for the same thing.
The aka body is close to the physical, but more tenuous than air, so that it completely penetrates the physical body and surrounds it like an atmosphere or aura. To those who can see it well, this body is more or less bright and glittering, changing shape and color with every thought and emotion. The aka body holds the pattern for every cell and organ in the body, so that growth, repair, and maintenance can proceed smoothly. The aka body is very sensitive to thought, however, so that distorted thoughts held for any length of time may distort the pattern and eventually the physical body as well.
One Huna working theory has it that everything that we come into contact with through any of our senses is forever linked to us by an aka "thread" between the object and our aka body. Another working theory from Huna that might be considered more "modern" is one that suggests a universal field of aka in which individuals, locations, and objects are differentiated only by their unique frequency vibration. By "attuning" your mind to the right frequency, you can make contact with anything in the universe, and your subconscious retains the frequency memory of anything you come into contact with through your senses. Neither of these two theories is more true than the other in Huna terms, for truth is what works for the individual.
Mana has three basic meanings in kahuna teaching, which sometimes causes confusion among students. The most fundamental meaning is "power," whether divine or not. The other two basic meanings deriving from that are "authority/confidence" and "energy."
"Power" means "to be able," and this applies equally to skills, attitudes, and energy that can do work. In the history books it is recorded that King Kamehameha, who united the Hawaiian Islands, had a great deal of mana. Now some have taken this to mean that he had an abundance of divine energy flowing through him, but it is more likely that those who said it were referring to the fact of his absolute authority as ruler, or even to the unshakable confidence that enabled him to achieve his goals.
Mana is not just ability, just confidence, or just energy, but actually refers to all three working together. The kahunas had words to use for confidence (paulele, hilina'i), authority (kuleana, hano), skills (loea, akamai) and energy, (mahi, uila) when they wanted to make distinctions. They used mana when they meant the combination. A kahuna uses mana in the process of healing, which means he uses mentally directed energy, confidence, authority, and skill. This is his "power." In the same way, everyone has mana to some degree or another, which can be increased or diminished according to circumstances.
Nevertheless, in introductory teachings mana is usually equated with terms like ch'i, prana, orgone, od, and others which refer to life energy, bioenergy and even emotional energy, although the more correct Huna term for these would be ki, the same word sound as used in Japanese. By learning to increase and direct mana as energy, you also increase your skill, your confidence, your authority, your power in general.
THE PHYSICAL BODY
Kino, the physical body, has roots, which mean "a highly energized thought form." In Huna teaching your body is a materialized thought of your High Self, modified by the acquired attitudes and habits of your conscious and subconscious minds. Because of this, the condition of your body—its appearance and state of health—can to a very large extent be altered by changing your attitudes and habits, in other words your self-image and your behavior. Your body responds instantly on a cellular level to your every thought and feeling. Most often this takes the form of muscular or organic tension or release. By learning to master (i.e., direct) your thoughts and feelings, you can thus exert tremendous influence on your body. If you attempt to control or repress your thoughts and feelings, however, your body will rebel, instantly or eventually, with pain and/or disfunction.
Excerpted from Mastering Your Hidden Self by Serge King. Copyright © 1985 Serge King. Excerpted by permission of Theosophical Publishing House.
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Posted January 14, 2012
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