The 7 Huna Principles of Life – 1. Ike

Personal Development

holdingThis is a series of 7 articles based around the 7 principles of life in the Huna tradition.

Have you ever heard of Huna? It’s a Hawaiian term for “secret”. Now don’t jump off here just because you don’t want to hear another “The Secret” type story again. Huna is a philosophy (and not a set of of superficial esoteric mumbo jumbo methods) while at the same time being very practical – maybe that’s what caught my attention in the first place and I found it well worth studying. It’s not a religion that you have to join and if you are religious you should stay with your current religion if you’re happy. However following the 7 principles that are at the core of this philosophy allows you to experience your life to a much deeper and fulfilling level.

Although the word Huna comes from a Hawaiian origin, the system itself stems from the works of an American called Max Freedom Long. There is quite some controversy about it not being of Hawaiian origin (as you can read in the above linked Wikipedia article). But I won’t get bogged down in this. What I want to focus in this article are the seven principles of Huna and especially it’s practical applications.

So without further ado – let’s jump into an overview of the 7 fundamental principles of life and let’s dive into how we can apply principle number 1 today.

The 7 Fundamental Principles of Huna

In the Huna tradition there are 7 basic principles that govern life and the creation of existence. They are condensed in seven Hawaiian words. They aren’t easily translate into English language, so it’s best to use a sentence describing the essence of that word.

The 7 fundamental principles of Huna are:

  1. IKE – The world is what you think it is
  2. KALA – There are no limits, everything is possible
  3. MAKIA – Energy flows where attention goes
  4. MANAWA – Now is the moment of power
  5. ALOHA – To love is to be happy with
  6. MANA – All power comes from within
  7. PONO – Effectiveness is the measure of truth

Over the next 7 articles, I will go over them one at a time in great detail. You will not only learn the meaning of each principle, but you will also learn detailed steps on how to activate and experience that principle in your life and how to harness the power that comes from consciously expressing them in your life.

1. IKE  – The World Is What You Think It Is

This refers to the importance of belief. Whatever you believe in, you will manifest. If you believe the world is a place full of struggle and hardship, then surely hardship and struggle will come your way. If you believe that the world is a great place for adventure and happiness, that you will surely experience much more of those than the person believing in the world of struggle.

Of course this resonates with the Law of Attraction, but it also points at us being observers AND interpreters of our world. When you strip all emotion from it, just looking at the facts, you will see, that most situations have their balance of good and bad in it. But we attach meaning and emotion to a situation and therewith defining our experience.

How often have you been in a state of anger or resentment, when something small happened (maybe a child smiled at you or you saw a beautiful sunset) and suddenly the situation changed. Well, did it change on the fact level? Maybe not, but your experience might have changed drastically because your perspective changed. And from that change of perspective your future outcomes changed, because you approached things differently.

So always remember that through IKE you have the power to change first your perceived experience and then through this your actual future.

Corollary: Everything Is A Dream

The Huna shamans believe in our life as being another form of a dream. They do believe that we dream on different levels and have several layers of dreams. And as strange as this at first might sound – think about how “real” your real world really is.

Why you can’t move through a wall

If you hit a wall with your hand, you experience it as being solid. Yet, the rock it consists of is made up of molecules and atoms. Atoms, despite popular belief, have no material part in it. They are fields of energy vibrating at certain frequencies.

The only reason your hand can’t move through the wall is that the energy frequency of the wall and your hand are vibrating on a frequency spectrum that are so close to another that they disturb each other. Other frequency spectrums (like radio waves) have absolutely no problem passing through the wall.

When you hit a wall with your hand, you are not hitting material stone. It is more that the energy frequency of your hand was coming into contact with the energy spectrum of the wall and this information was send to your brain, which  then triggered the already saved memory of the experience of “Hand hitting stone wall”.

It is the same with you hearing music or looking at a beautiful picture. You are not really seeing or hearing it, you are interpreting energy waves (coming from the music instruments and from the light reflected from the picture) in your brain. Your brain is creating the world you see. Just like it is creating the world you experience every time you have a vivid dream at night.

The only difference for us between a dream and “reality” is whether others have the same experience, however we know that people can be in the same situation together and yet have a totally different experience – like people being at a party or people experiencing an accident and later giving radical different description to the police.

Yes, we might meet in each others dreams, but it is still our dream – and the other has his own dream.

This might be a radical idea for some of you, but play with it for a while in your head and feel how it resonates within you.

Once you are able to embrace the thought of life being a dream, then you are at a point where you might realize that it is able to wake up within the dream (like Lucid Dreamers do in a regular dream) and change the dream (i.e. change your reality).

Corollary: All Systems Are Arbitrarily

There is an old story of a man searching for the meaning of life. After years of struggle and searching he came to a famous and very wise guru in the Himalayans. He asked the guru about the meaning of life and the guru asked: “Life is simply a bowl of cherries”. Very disappointed and angry the man replied: “I traveled far and wide, have come across oceans and been through the dangerous jungles and the deadly Sahara just to find you – and all you have to say is that life is like a bowl of cherries?”. The wise guru smiled and said: “Okay, then life is not a bowl of cherries.”

Since men developed his cortex he is on the constant search for the ultimate answer to the most pressing question of “What is this all about”?”. This is such a driving and annoying question, that man is constantly looking for something to cling to. He tried science, religion, philosophy, metaphysics, art –  you name it – just to feel save inside, protected from this dangerous question about the meaning of life.

If you follow the shamans thought process of “Everything is a dream”, then you will realize, that every answer you might come up about the meaning of life is arbitrarily constructed. No matter what you answer, you can be damn sure, that this is not the real answer, but a safety net you construct yourself to feel secure in life.

In essence, truth is what you define as such!

You make a decision to accept some systems as true and reject others. And I do the same. And each one of us has his good reasons to do so. But I came to mine because of some specific decisions I made about life and these could drastically differ from your experiences and decision.

So the question is not, whether is system is true or not; the real question is how good it is working for you.

So any system (including Huna or the one I defined for myself) is arbitrarily chosen, and none represent the ultimate truth, therefore you have to find out what works for you.

So whatever you read or hear, take it as a hypothesis and test it for yourself. If it works for you, use it and adapt it; if it doesn’t work for you, drop it and go for another hypothesis.

That’s where personal development and empiric science meet.

Action Steps for IKE

To experience the power of IKE ask yourself what your definition of the world with all its ingredients is. Complete the following sentences and come up with lots of honest answers. Dump your brain, until there are no more answers within you. And be honest – don’t paint rosy pictures. If you believe that your work is bullshit – write it down. You can’t lie to yourself. Take some time for this, you’ll be amazed what is within you.

  • I think the world is …
  • I think I am …
  • I think people are
  • I think my job is …
  • I think my health is …
  • I think my financial power is …
  • I think that my ability to experience love, joy, ecstasy is …
  • I think … you may come up with anything else that is in your life here

This is your current truth. Now you might see, why your reality is the way it is. Change those believe patterns and your world will change.

Take a look at the limits you set for yourself. It is a natural reaction at this point to get angry about yourself. Don’t do that. Be happy, because maybe for the first time you really expressed those limits that formed your current ability to experience life.

If you want to know more about Huna, I highly recommend the book “Urban Shaman” by Serge Kahili King (Amazon Affiliate Link).

So go for the action steps now and stay tuned for the next article describing the second principle of Huna KALA – There are no limits, everything is possible.

61 comments… add one
  • Patrick,

    I love this set of principles….. universal truths seem to show up in different forms… I can see the parallels with Buddhism……


    .-= ´s last blog ..Pain is inevitable – Suffering optional =-.

    • Patrick

      Mick, there are indeed several parallels to Buddhism (the sleep metaphor, etc.). I guess that people who get to the core of universal truth might use different words for the same experience, yet the words aren’t the experience just like the map is not the territory.

  • Hey Patrick,

    Didn’t know about the Huna tradition. Reading your post, first impression is great. Seems practical and spiritual at the same time. Now you got me curious. ;)


    .-= ´s last blog ..The ultimate tool for managing your emotions =-.

    • Patrick

      Hi Eduard, hope your curiosity got you into more of the meat :-)

  • I lived in Hawaii as a child and have visited often since. I’ve had spiritual experiences there, but I had not heard of Huna. It’s an interesting framework for talking about these issues. Thanks for your frank summary and insights, and I look forward to the rest of the series…

    .-= ´s last blog ..HOPE: Fortune Cookies That Come True… =-.

    • Patrick

      I stumbled over Huna several years ago, and while it is not the only system I use, I find it highly beneficial and I think it is a great framework for your own system of philosophy.

    • olapono

      Great point! Since huna is not a Hawaiian tradition. More of a corruption and misinterpretation evolved into a business. The world is what you think it is?

      Is it? Arguably yes. In my opinion, definitely yes. But is that healthy? Allows for everyone to be running around in their own little worlds? Think about that.

      And is this the definition of ‘ike? No. Even if this was not intended as a definition, the first of the seven principles of Huna is contradictory.

      1. nvt. To see, know, feel, greet, recognize, perceive, experience, be aware, understand; to know sexually.

      To know. Not to think.

      Think about how the entire business of Huna is based in misinformation.

      • Patrick

        @olapono: I am not in the position to tell you what is authentic about Huna and what has been turned and twisted to make it more appealing to people – either to sell it better as a system or to make it more accessible towards people who do come frome a different background than those who where born in Hawai. I guess it is the same with nearly all traditions who have appealed to people as a means to influence or control other people. My own religion (Christian) is a prime example of corruption and misinterpretation. Yet there are hidden, under all the lies, misinformation and corruption, gems of truths, that sometimes are so deep burried, that they aren’t accessible to most people. Yet they are there.

        The ultimate litmus test is your own experience – and whether anything you learn is beneficial for your own growth and development when applied in your life. Therefore I don’t care too much about whether something is authentic, as long as it is beneficial.

        So is the world really what you think it is – yes, in my opinion. I think that most people are running in their own little world anyway – especially if they never have thought about what creates their world. But when it comes to the question, whether that realization is healthy or not, then of course you come to the fine line that separates enlightenment from delusion. And yes, there have been numerous people who jumped straight into their grave from a high place following the delusion that anything they could imagine becomes their world.

        Thank you for the definition of Ike – it reminded me of the verb know and recognize in the Bible, which are also used for sexual descriptions – which also shows me, that throughout the traditions this knowing (which has nothing to do with the collection of facts) is at the core of enlightenment.

        Because of this I brought into the article the 2 corollaries. Because underneath the more superficial “The world is what you think it is” are much deeper realizations.

        • Could we ever experience the “real” world without any interpretation from us?
        • Could we ever “know” something for real? What if everything is an illusion or a dream?
        • Is the moment I “know” that I am enlightened not the moment I’ve felt out of it?

        I would say that being aware is maybe the best definition – and if you are aware that you think and create at this moment, then that could be described as an Ike-Moment.

        Thanks for bringing this up.

        • olapono

          “I would say that being aware is maybe the best definition”
          Maybe? This says it all. In the face of the actual definition you decide to make up your own. Foundational for huna, cultural theft and appropriation.
          So you justify the ethnocide that huna propagates through continued Hawaiian cultural dilution globally by saying it’s worth it if a “gem” here and there helps someone else? Is that near this core of enlightenment you mention? Sounds like strip mining.
          Because huna doesn’t admit to this, Huna says “Come! Learn these Hawaiian secrets.”
          “Come! Help yourself at the expense of a dying race to whom the concept of self is utterly foreign.”
          I understand you “don’t care too much about whether something is authentic, as long as it is beneficial.”
          Beneficial to you. You need to include in your mission statement that you also care nothing for the damage inflicted by your ignorance of authenticity. You can babble on and on about self, but here’s a simplified course in Hawaii that you should not take my word for but research for yourself if you want to purport to be an authority.
          Hawaiian philosophy is not about self-help. It’s about communal sustenance. It’s about acknowledging we are intrinsically linked and do not live in our own little worlds. Salvation—for lack of a better word—is in the dirt under the fingernails of a community, not in the thoughts of an individual. You can go round and round with self, and ponder the rest of your life, but hopefully realization dawns that huna is just another infomercial. Shallow as the depth to which you appreciate or even acknowledge it’s negative impact.
          • Could we ever experience the “real” world without any interpretation from us?

          You’ve already admitted you care nothing for authenticity. So you have no right to ask this question.

          • Could we ever “know” something for real? What if everything is an illusion or a dream?

          Great question. What a brilliant illustration of the total speculative nature of huna and anything else lacking in foundation. Is that what you believe? What aspects of huna have you combined with Christianity? And how do they benefit the illusion or dream that is your life? And which do you give credit to when helping yourself or some other self? (I know, you don’t care.) Instead of starting from a place of knowledge you start from a place of speculation, this makes your ability to render aid useless, because you don’t know where it came from, what aspect of it helped, and what in the makeup of the person you helped allowed them to be helped, and lastly of least importance: who else was affected?

          Is the moment I “know” that I am enlightened not the moment I’ve felt out of it?

          How often do you feel “out of it?” All you’re doing is saying enlightenment is ignorance and giving yourself permission to ignore. Do what you like, but when you’re not in the position to speak to the authenticity of your product—please—do some more research and stop talking.

  • Wow, wonderful post. I didn’t have idea about this way of thinking. The similarities with Buddhism are amazing too.

    Looking forward to the rest of the series. Many thanks for sharing Patrick!

    .-= ´s last blog ..Slowing down or working hard?… =-.

    • Patrick

      Alejandro, I guess that truth has many ways of expressing itself through different channels.

  • I think the world is …an illusion
    I think I am …an asset to our world and good to the core
    I think people are interesting
    I think my job is …wonderful
    I think my health is …amazing
    I think my financial power is …big
    I think that my ability to experience love, joy, ecstasy is …in every moment
    I think …blogging rocks

    .-= ´s last blog ..Living A Life Of No Regrets =-.

    • Patrick

      Tess, these are great believes that will empower you a long way :-)

    • As long as you can get these beliefs accepted at ku level (subconscious or body mind) they will work very well for you. If there is resistance at ku level to any belief that we are working to program stress is produced that we must resolve.

  • Patrick,

    At this point in my life, I use one standard for the beliefs I adopt: Will it bring me more joy? If not, I try to remain mindful about the belief. It is really a practice as we can easily “fall asleep” , especially in areas were our “buttons” get pushed. But that’s great too – life is a journey.

    This first principle is powerful – I LOVE the bowl of cherries story.

    I look forward to reading all the articles as I can see that each principle contains pearls
    of wisdom! Amazing how universal some principles are between cultures.


    • Patrick

      Lauren, focusing on the joy (not necessarily the short term but the long term joy) is a great way to ensure that all of your inner parts are working in the same direction.

  • Kirsten

    hello! I came across your web site doing some searching on line – love it! So clearly written. Am currently studying with/ffrom Dr. Serge King — and I had a feeling you may have learned about huna through him as well! Did a bit of searching though your older articles here and found that you have!! I smiled and clapped for a moment in a laugh of recognition! How the world is!! :) I’m in Virginia, but have lived in Hamburg and love it!! And ironically recently I had a huna question, called hawaii and got a woman who was house sitting who was from …. Hamburg!! (a huna alakai). So me on east coast Us called west to hawaii talked about huna with a woman from Hamburg and now do some searching and come across this by you!! Ah!!! what a world!! :)!!!

    • Patrick

      Kirsten, unfortunately I haven’t met Serge Kahili King live but his writings do fit in very well in my general approach to life and spirituality. Interesting though it seems that Hamburg is the German spiritual counterpart of Hawaii – if only I could say the same thing about the weather :-D

  • Kirsten

    (ps filled in email form but do not have address which have been checking now – so it si not a real address, just a filler)

  • Similar to the Huna beliefs, several other old cultures speak of dream realms and “awakening from the dream”. The toltecs come to mind as well as many old sages i.e. Rumi .
    More recently are the Matrix movies that had the hero finally awaken from the distorted dream of the planet.
    Here is a favourite Rumi quote: “To be a Sufi, forget the past, put it all away;Turn a brand new page, rescue your being from yesterday;Become a child of the present age, of youth, of wisdom — Never leave this bountiful moment, this eternal day.”

    A newer age enlightened philosopher (Jed McKenna) puts it rather bluntly by advising if you want to become enlightened (wakeup from the dream) just do 3 things: 1. sit down 2. shut up 3. keep asking yourself what do you know to be really true

  • Girlinasmallcafe

    Some great principles there. Many truths to be found. Just as there are many truths to be found in many places. Calling another venue for truth “mumbo jumbo” in order to make your “chosen venue” seem MORE true isn’t necessary. Every venue for truth is valid, and each one exists for someone. That’s because being unique individuals we all search for it in different ways and in different places. And no one venue contains ALL truth. Continue searching out and sharing truth, but remember one of the most important truths. This one hid itself in a Disney cartoon…”if ya can’t say sumthin’ nice, don’t say nuthin’ at all.”

    • Patrick

      @Girlinasallcafe: I agree that there do exist many paths – actually there exist as many paths as there exist creatures. Each one of us who follows another path than his own is definitely on the wrong path. Now I am not about bashing someone else’s path, but I have been on some real esoteric ones myself. And I know that there is a lot under the sun, that todays science is not capable of explaining.
      Yet I’ve also seen a lot of Mumbo Jumbo happening on many paths – with Mumbo Jumbo I don’t mean esoteric per se, rather an esoteric touch that organizations, cults, authors, people use to cover fad information. As an example, I know that the power of Reiki by itself is existent and can help people to heal, yet there is some sort of cult amongst a lot of followers of certain “schools” of Reiki.
      And I’ve met official Reiki Masters (you can get these “Certificates” by doing some weekend seminars) whom I know where doing a lot of Mumbo Jumbo just by looking at them and their lives. If someone comes up and wants to send me divine energy, who is sick, whose life and relationships are about to crumble, then I know, that something with that teaching is not right. Yet they cover it up with Esoteric rituals (what I would call Mumbo Jumbo) without realizing the real meaning in their own lives.

      What I mean is, they talk way more about “The Light” than they express it in their own lives.

      I hope I made it clear to you.

  • Huna is not Hawaiian

    • Yeah. Huna is American. If the world is what you think it is you can justify anything without being bogged down my actual knowledge. #changethename

    • Patrick

      You are right. I always had linked to the Wikipedia article, where that discussion was documented. Now I have also added a paragraph noting this and referencing the Wikipedia article again. Thanks for pointing out.

      • Donovan Kanani Cabebe

        Please stop perpetuating the LIES. while these principles are good advice no part of any of this is HAWAAIIAN. There is only one way to gain the knowledge of Hawaiian spirituality and that is to immures ones self in the very community that is practicing. live in and with it, here in Hawaii. This is only a misappropriation and manipulation of Hawaiian cultural and intellectual property. What you call HUNA Is nothing more than a foreigners miss-interpretation of in Hawaii. HUNA as presented here never existed in old HAWAII the very word HUNA as presented here, it’s self is made up.

        This from the HAWAIIAN DICTIONARY Pukui.
        1. nvs. Minute particle, grain, crumb, gram, speck, tiny bit, scrap, minutia; small, little, powdery. (This word is similar to hune 2.) Cf. hunaahi, huna kai, huna kaua, huna lepo, hunalewa, huna olonā. Ka hāʻule ʻana o kekahi huna o ke kānāwai (Luka 16.17), the voiding of one dot of the law.
        2. nvs. Hidden secret; hidden. Cf. huna, a stative usually following nouns, and the transitive verb hūnā. Wahi huna, hidden place, sexual part. Lua huna, secret cave. Mea huna, secret. Kahi huna (Oihk. 18.7), nakedness. (PNP funa.)
        3. (Cap.) n. Eleventh night of the month. (Malo 35.)
        4. n. Common, fine, red seaweeds (Hypnea spp.), irregularly and more or less densely branching, thorny looking; eaten cooked, furnishes a good colloid when boiled.

        HUNA IS NOT HAWAIIAN period

  • Kahu

    This Huna is Hawaiian, I learned it from Hawaiian sources. There are different versions of Huna that are not Hawaiian.

    Is this presented in a traditional Hawaiian way? No. These are the principles extracted from Hawaiian culture and practice presented in a modernised and westernised format without the cultural wrapping.

    Conscious knowledge of these principles would have been limited to the Kahuna orders of which there were quite a few. These principles are drawn from the Kupua (shaman) tradition.

    Hawaiian words tend to have many meanings, not all of which are in the dictionary.

    Huna is a modern name for it, and one not recognised by many Hawaiians, but it was known as ike huna or no’eau huna (esoteric knowledge or esoteric wisdom) in Hawaii and is known today as kura huna or important knowledge in New Zealand Maori.

  • Having read over the material presented in the BLOG and the comments: regardless of the depth of Hawaii-ism, the benefits of this notion perpetuates / justifies the cultural objectives, and personal self aggrandizement of the practitioner, due to a fundamental absence of codifying good and bad. In the other-words, the bandit is as faultless as the good Samaritan.

    • Patricks

      Even if you don’t codify good and bad, the system doesn’t put up the bandit and the good Samaritan on the same level of experience. Both make different decisions and both get (and deserve) different reactions (by the Universe as well as society).

      Whether a codification of good vs bad behaviour is better than making clear to the individual that he is always responsible for his decision and therefore also the only one who can control the resulting reactions, is to be discussed on several levels.

      On the individual level I prefer a conscious individual who chooses his actions due to his insight in his own freedom of choice way more that an individual who follows a codified set of rules about Good and Bad behaviour.

      On the level of society that might be harder to implement but still should be the goal, although I understand that unless each individual is enlightened enough – we need Laws who are based on good and bad behaviour – although these change and are therefore not universal.

  • In the end what is authentic?

    I don’t need to know the origins of a hammer to drive a nail. But if what I have is a screw, I’m screwed if I don’t have the wisdom to go back to the tool box. I find the “energy flows where attention goes” the most useful on a daily basis, when my mind hijacks the steering wheel and my thoughts drift to the outcome I don’t desire, I steal it back with ho’oponopono.
    I’m sorry,
    please forgive me,
    Thank You!
    I love you.

    And then I re-member who I am.
    Gratefully in love.
    Do understand however that love is still in beta.
    We’re working on it,
    balancing our empty, with our open.

  • Rita

    Drama drama what the hell. if it only helps one person what right does any one else
    have to say any think and be negative about another person’s views some times it’s best to say nothing at all I am reading the secret which is another book but the same things are followed its helping me and don’t care about the drama that’s all I need to know and feel .

  • Numbers

    The questions need to be rewritten. If the world is what we think it is…?

    (W)e are not in the dream the dream is in (U)s. Double U is VV master number.

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