by Graeme Kapono Urlich
I run across many teachers these days that mix bits and pieces of various traditions together and
present them as being one of the traditions that they have selected from. There is nothing wrong with
that per say but unless it is done with awareness it can cause serious confusion, in the teacher as
well as the students, because different systems often have very contradictory views on the same topic.
I work primarily with the Huna Kupua tradition from Hawaii. Sometimes I pick up techniques and ideas
from other systems but when I choose to use them in teaching Huna I try to make sure I present them
in a way that is consistent with the philosophy in order to prevent misunderstanding or appearing to
be contradicting myself. Until people understand that all systems are made up and they can easily
switch between them and handle paradox well it simply works better that way, in my view.
Even when we look at some of the older systems of thought in the world we find infusions of different
systems. I grew up in a Catholic family and Christianity was presented as the only true way of
spiritual belief. Later on I found that many, if not all of the Catholic holy days happen to coincide
with older pagan festivals.
Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 20th which is the
nominal date of the Spring Equinox. The tradition of lighting Easter Candles may be directly linked to
the pagan custom of lighting bonfires at that time of year to welcome the rebirth/resurrection of the
Even though Christianity is a composite system it is largely coherent to a core theme and as such
works for those who choose to follow it “religiously”. I know people, and have heard of many more, who
have adopted it and applied it to repair very damaged lives in some cases and have gone on to be happy
and productive. There are other systems around that they could have used successfully with the same
benefit and I am aware of people who have used those systems in the same way.
I recently encountered a group of people who had created a real hodge-podge of a system that seemed to
contain all of the worst aspects of various other systems. They seemed to have managed to interpret
many of the teachings in the most negative way possible resulting in a very fear based and controlled
way of life.
I didn’t stick around long enough to look at it in any depth but my perception was that the system,
loosely based on Baha’i and Buddhist teaching mixed in with the hell, fire and damnation aspects of
some versions of Christianity along with a smattering of channelled messages from galactic councils,
failed to offer a clear focus for living life. There seemed to be a lot of rules and you seemed to be
breaking one or another of them no matter what choice you made.
All systems of thought on the planet (and beyond) are made up and are a blend or evolution of other
systems. At one end of the spectrum some are clearly empowering while those at the other end have
evolved in a way that controls people excessively. If they were made up in the first place then we are
free to reinvent them and we don’t all have to follow the same one. Some people will feel more
comfortable being told how to live their lives and others will want the freedom to choose for
Focus and clarity of thought are essential for having a happy and successful life. You could be the
most successful and happy owner of a multinational company, a happy and successful hobo or anything in
between, it’s for the individual to choose but focus and clarity are needed either way.
If the system of thinking you are using isn’t working for you or you don’t have much of one then feel
free to pick the best parts of various systems that are around, keep it simple but put in place some
basic structures, values, priorities and routines that support the lifestyle of your choosing.
Routines might include relaxation, meditation and breathing but gradually move into a more conscious
and loving way of living.
Graeme Kapono Urlich (September 2011)
“Angry people want to show you how powerful they are, loving people want you to see how powerful you
are” ~ Chief Red Eagle
Aloha New Zealand - School of Huna and Hawaiian Shamanism