I recently had the good fortune to teach Huna to a wonderful group of people. Whenever I do this is I am reminded of the power of the part of us that we call the Ku or body mind. Years ago I remember how inspired I was reading "Mastering Your Hidden Self" by Serge Kahili King and learning many different ways to become aware of this aspect of self and how to enhance inner communication and rapport. It"s hard now to believe that I was ever unaware of this aspect of myself and not in "Ku-mmunication" with it, yet that's how it was for many years. Generally in western society this aspect of self is undervalued or simply ignored.
I am also reminded of how empowering our inner communication can be as well as how destructive it can be at times. Criticism, whether of our self or others, is toxic. Many people jeopardise attaining their dreams due to relentless and unreasonable self-criticism. This may include a voice inside that can nag and encourage doubt and insecurity. Not only that, on an energetic level it goes deeper and can extend to physiological symptoms and disease, so pervasive is the reach of our self-talk and critical attitudes. Deepak Chopra writes "every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts". This means that every word, image and sensation that we have has an impact on us in some way. We have a choice to make the effect an empowering and enhancing one or not.
When it comes to self-talk for many people this seems to just be one way traffic. They listen to the voice and take it on board as though it's the "truth" and it sticks. In dialogue with others it"s natural to respond and point out areas of differences that arise. In self-talk many people have a tendency to take it as a given and not counter it. One of the first things I did to overcome self-criticism was to view it as the beginning of a dialogue and not just agree with the voice inside if the messages were not empowering. This simple technique has reaped significant rewards for me.
Criticism of others can have immensely harmful effects. When used as a way of shaping other people's behaviours, criticism rarely has the desired effect as ultimately the means determines the ends. Criticism generates fear of abandonment and rejection and low self-esteem. We also know that fear affects the Ku and generates stress which in turn can manifest itself in many unfavourable ways. In addition, the Ku takes everything personally so when we criticise someone or something else it also has a detrimental effect on ourselves. A double whammy! Biochemically it has been shown that critical behaviour increases cortisol levels which can inhibit thought processes and increase sensitivity. Alternatively, positive dialogue produces oxytocin which increases feelings of well-being and contentment. While it is impractical to completely avoid criticism we can be mindful of how we speak to others and think about our intention and what we are really seeking to achieve when we are inclined to be critical.
I like the wisdom of the symbolism of the Hawaiian nose flute, which is played using breath from the nose. It is considered to be a symbol of blessing as it is believed that the breath from the nose is more pure than the breath from the mouth. This is because the mouth speaks and with speech comes criticism.
Alternatively, positive talk and laughter boost health and wellbeing. I recently watched a well known sketch by the US comedian Bob Newhart where his character's counselling technique is to tell the client to "stop it!". I have seen it many times and it never fails to make me laugh. The endorphins and positive reactions to laughter should not be underestimated and should be very much encouraged. Using our inner self talk and outer conversations for good, thinking before we speak, and thinking about the effect our words have on others and ourselves can only be a positive step towards making the world a better place. And when it comes to criticism - just STOP IT!
Pete Dalton ©2015
Pete Dalton is an Alakai of Huna International living in the UK. For more information on his work visit his website www.urbanhuna.org.