We are here at the 45th Huna workshop, and I wanted to share something from my Huna book:


Papa Bray taught a beautiful metaphor for one aspect of maintaining a healthy mind-body connection. When individuals had an experience but didn’t have the tools to deal with it in the moment, or if they didn’t know how or weren’t ready to release the emotions connected with it, the unconscious, unihipili, took that experience and put it into a metaphorical black bag. They then closed that black bag and stashed it somewhere in the body until the person was equipped or ready to release it.


Take for example the death of a loved one. Emotions that death evokes can be overwhelming to handle initially. Every culture has a different view on the appropriate amount of time for grieving and an appropriate form of expression. If you would not or could not release those emotions appropriately for any reason, unihipili stored them into a black bag until the time was right for you. The Hawaiians believed that at some point, either consciously or unconsciously, you would know that it was time to release the experience that had been stuffed into your black bag.


If the realization is conscious, the Huna system has a process for internal self therapy or higher self release. As they did in ancient days, you can visit a volcano and symbolically take all of your black bags out and throw them into the volcano to be destroyed, as Uncle George once described. This would be an example of an external release. The fire element is helpful with transformation and change, so visiting a site that is connected with that element is a form of release. Because “as above, so below” is so powerful, what happens or exists outside, happens and exists inside as well. The external expression (above) affects the internal (below). With guidance from your higher self and some focus, the negative emotion can be released and everything made pono within you again inside, no matter what you are dealing with.


Sometimes, however, your unconscious mind, unihipili, decides, “You’re ready to let it go.” The bag opens and all of the emotions and experiences are relived so they can dissipate. This can happen anytime. We’ve all experienced having a good day when out of nowhere and for no apparent reason, sadness bubbles up. Papa Bray said this is a signal from unihipili that “You’re ready to let it go,” so it is perfect to express the emotion. In ancient times, if Hawaiians felt sad, they would weep; if they felt anger bubble up, they would express it and allow it to dissipate. As they did so, they knew it was natural and expressed gratitude for the release. They had faith that unihipili knew when the time was right and trusted that they had the tools and techniques to handle it. They would release the black bag and move forward.


This points out a difference between Western society and the ancient system of Huna. In the West, when negative emotions surface out of nowhere, we panic. We don’t see the upheaval as a positive signal from the unconscious that we are ready to resolve the issue, but rather a signal that something is wrong with us. We medicate, we deny, and we avoid. We push those feelings back down below the surface.


To the Huna way of thinking, this only confuses the unconscious mind. Unihipili is working hard to preserve the body, to release anything that could upset the mind-body balance. The unconscious mind knows that you need to remove the black bag of unreleased negative thoughts and feelings from your neurology before it makes you sick. It can’t understand why you won’t let that black bag go.


Your unconscious hears you saying, “I want to be happy.” So your unconscious mind replies, “Then let go of your sadness.” “No,” you insist, “I don’t want to be sad, I want to be happy.” And your unconscious mind repeats, “Okay, then let go of your sadness.” You are annoyed now. “There must be something wrong here. I don’t want sadness, I want happiness!” Eventually the unconscious mind gives up: “Oy vey. Do what you want!”


In Huna, we purposely let go. If a black bag comes up, we are taught to thank our unconscious mind, and honor ourselves by trusting that we have what we need to move through it and let it go. Releasing the black bags is a form of higher self therapy. The higher self enters the body and the unconscious mind, and pulls the black bags out. You don’t have to know what’s in your bags. It’s not our conscious mind’s job to remember all the times that you were angry or specifically what made you sad. All the conscious mind has to do is give the higher self permission.


The unconscious mind and the higher self only operate with permission from the conscious mind. A person’s conscious mind can deny the existence of the unconscious mind. It can even deny the existence of the higher self. But when permission is granted, the unconscious mind organizes the memories, holds those black bags for you, and signals you when the time for release is right. When you consciously decide that you are ready to release what should be released, the conscious mind invites the higher self in with the help of the awaiku (good spirits). All the conscious mind has to do is relax and let it happen, and be willing to let go. The higher self takes care of the rest. The conscious mind’s job is to simply allow the other minds or selves to do their jobs. (Initiation to working with awaiku with others is presented in Level 2 of Huna training. In Level 1, students are taught to do the process with themselves. See back of the book for the CD to guide you through the Level 1 process.)


It is not human nature for us to hold on to things because the prime directive of the unconscious mind is to let experiences go. Growing up, you may have been taught that you can’t let go of certain issues or emotions quickly. This is your opportunity to change that belief.


My mom described my grandfather as a very forgiving person who would let go of any negative emotion as soon as it happened. Have you ever known someone like that? Or known the opposite? The simple question is: Which one do you want to be? It is possible to let go of things easily. It takes an incredible amount of energy to hold onto feelings that are no longer useful for us. What else could you create in your life with the energy that is now dedicated to holding on to what you no longer need?