Ancient Hawaiians saw the body as a gourd filled with light. Whenever they had concerns, upsets or worries, it put pebbles and stones in their bowl, weighing it down and blocking the light. The body vessel is meant to contain light, energy, pure potential, creativity and joy. It is important to clean the body regularly of baggage that impedes and clogs these. The ancient Hawaiians knew this and regularly turned their vessel over, dumping out whatever was blocking the light and joyous expression.
Hawaiians use many techniques to release what weighs them down or blocks their light. Here are some ways that they huli or turn overtheir vessels of light to clean them.
- Take care how you talk to and about yourself and others. Most of us have said to ourselves something like, “Oh, that was stupid! You dummy, why don’t you watch what you’re doing.” Many self-conversations drag one farther into negative, destructive self-talk. A first step in emptying your bowl is to talk respectfully and positively to yourself. Extending that courteous manner to others further helps keep the bowl clean.
- Resolve issues quickly so they don’t build up. Built up irritations, grudges and unspoken resentments put pebbles in your bowl that block your light. Better to talk about them and let them go rather than carry around a whole bowlful. Have you ever started talking out some disagreement with a friend or loved one and suddenly they are reminding you of something you did last week, last year, five years ago, or even when you were a kid? They never dumped out their bowl! They had been carrying around those old resentments like pebbles that blocked not only their light but how they saw you.
- Many Hawaiians regularly use their breath to clear their minds, release upsets and to center and calm themselves. The ha breath is in a one to two ratio, with the outbreath twice as long, breathing in for a count of four and out for a count of eight. Use the exhale breath to release tensions and emotions along with the stale air. In hula class if someone would come in distracted or upset, the kumu teacher would tell them to take some deep “haaa” breaths (long exhale, making a sighing sound) before letting them join the class. And before a hula performance, they would all breathe together in this slow, calming rhythm.
- Avoid shame, embarrassment, guilt and resentment. By being mindful of their connection to others and to their environment, the Hawaiians honor their kuleana, dutyorresponsibility. By keeping these connections respectful and clean, they avoid shame and embarrassment from disrespectful actions. They believe that one should caretake with humbleness these connections, whether to the land, the fish, the plants or the elders. Disrespect brings repercussions, certain outcomes, like a poor crop, no fish in the nets, or shameful feelings that precipitate poor health. Even not respecting the environment can mean it will respond back in some negative way. If this seems a little foreign, just remember you are glimpsing the experience of a different culture with subtle but powerful differences in values!
The concept of our bodies giving off light is not limited to the Hawaiians. Many master paintings portray saints, holy people, Jesus, Buddha and the like with halos of light around their heads. Kirilian photography measures the light corona of energy emitted from an energized object such as a person’s hand or a leaf. To end on a light note, they say angels fly because they take themselves lightly! The “cleaner” we keep our vessels of light, the greater conductors of light we become.