The fourth principle of Huna Kupua is called: Now is the moment of power.
Like all of the teachings of Huna Kupa I have encountered, it is both a common sense, everyday experience, and profoundly deep spiritual knowledge.
Most spiritual teachings, no matter where they come from and when they came about, recommend some version turning your attention to the present moment. It is featured in almost all schools of self-mastery, traditional or modern- martial arts, marksmanship, academia, acting, rhetoric, athletics, dance, gymnastics or Yoga. You could fill entire libraries with the pop psychology books about it. And there is this very personal experience that when you're paying attention to what's happening, and you're not hemming and hawing- you feel better, and people like you more.
According to the third principle, energy flows where attention goes, whatever you put your attention will receive your energy.
Therefore, if you put your attention on your immediate surroundings, by noticing all kinds of intricate detail- those surroundings will receive a boost of your energy. They will start to vibrate with the pattern of your habitual thinking- they will continue to exist charged with the experiencable version of who you are.
That's charisma. That's all there is too it! Entire books have been written on the subject, courses have been taught, people have been moved, nations have risen and fallen because of people who filled their surroundings with their energy giving speeches, having performances, and waiting for the train at the subway station on a lazy Sunday while noticing the kid with the red lollipop and the tattered hair. Of course, these people's ideas and habitual thinking had something to do with it- but they would never have had such a great effect on their surroundings if they had not become intimately aware of them- and because of that, their surroundings become intimiately aware of them.
Interestingly, there is more to it than is commonly understood. Being really strongly aware of your environment while interacting with it is probably the best way to do anything. Everything runs more smoothly, and you're happier, and most likely everyone is.
Now here's where it really gets interesting. Your environment doesn't necessarily mean your physical experience.
That's the confusing part of the most common understanding of being present in the west. Normally, on the same shelf as the "being present books", you are confronted with the "visualize your perfect life books", which are concerned with the future, and the "fix your emotions" books, which are concerned with the past. What gives?
In Huna Kupua this is not really a problem, because there is no difference between your sensory input, your plans, or your memories- it's all just experience. It's all a dream. You are perfectly free to attach special importance to certain experiences, such as your physical family or what your body senses tell you about its condition. I recommend that very much- this is the game we signed up for, so it's good to play it well. But your physical experience is not inherently different from your imagination, or the dreams you have at night. It's just more consistent because it was designed to be- by you. Or at least you, on a higher plane, when you were still with your higher self, and not focused on this particular plane of existence, yet. Those epiphany-like experience where your connection to your higher self shine through, that are not physical but also a bit different from imagination, those glimpses- that's right now too. But so are your daydreams, your memories, your passing thoughts, your inner dialog (if you have one, not everyone do, and some, like me, got rid of it), your opinions, or even the pictures that form in your mind when you read the paper, or scroll through endless light-filled scrolls of words on your smartphone.
But if it's all the same thing- why bother working with the present at all? Well, there is one thing, that is, for practical purposes, not in the present. If you look at your memories as the factual past, you are affirming to yourself you can't change it. If you look at them as memories that you have right now, then, suddenly, that's flexible.
Same goes for the future. If you consider the future to be a pre-made roll of film that is cranked through a projector- that would be you, in this rather limited worldview- by a universal machine called fate, then there's nothing you can do about it, so you can go back to continuing to behave and think and feel exactly like you do right now. And by golly, more of what you've got is what you are going to get, and your future will be just as limited as you think it is. If, however, you consider the future just a set of possible outcomes that are created for your experiential enjoyment by your higher self based on the attitudes and ideas that you hold right now, then you can do something about it. Then there are- remember the second principle- just no limits to how much you can affect your ideas about the future. And you can change those, because you are thinking in the pattern of those ideas, right now. Then, suddenly, the future is flexible. It's all happening right now.
It goes further yet.
Once a friend of mine asked me to check out her back pain, and I traced it back to a conflict that happened in her home town in the middle ages. Taking a linear perspective, that conflict was preserved in the local culture, in the way people habitually and without questioning it thought and felt and treated each other. Using some probing, I traced that pattern all the way back to two brothers fighting.
Now from a normal perspective, that happened- many hundreds of years ago. Nothing we can do about it, the future isn't set in stone, but the past certainly is. Or is it?
Not according to the teachings of Huna Kupua. If dreams and thoughts and ideas and my personal past are just patterns habitually living on right now- would it make any sense at all for that to be different on a larger scale? Of course not.
So I went in and changed it. I talked to the brothers, and after a while, one of them noticed he was just acting out of spite and didn't really want to be king after all. He abdicated, made peace with his brother, was given a generous place to live, and everyone lived happily ever after- in my newly created version of the past. And my friend's subconscious mind liked that version so much, it accepted it- and her back pain went away. It was never there- the conflict didn't happen, the village culture was never wartorn and filled with spite, everyone always treated each other better- so there was no reason why my friends back would be painfully cramped, there was no conflicting emotions to cause it.
At least, from then on, that's the way it was for my friend. The history books didn't change- that would require a lot more people changing their pasts so the collective momentum would be changed. That happens all the time- it's called a "discovery of new evidence". But we didn't have to wait for that- it's her past that needed changing, and it didn't matter that it stayed the way it was for her other family members, althought it probably did rub off a little bit.
Similarly, I was participating in a mystical ritual commonly called a music festival. There were a lot of lights and ecstatic dancing and a couple of very special cups of tea. So what happened is that we were all dancing and having a good time, and I was getting these thoughts, that, by golly, this is how ecstatic experience is done today. Suddenly, I switched in a flash of light to a completely different setting. I was looking down on a man, who wore a very stern expression on his face, the look of a man who has had a hard life. He was holding a gnarly, very special wooden staff. He wore the skin of the wolf, with the wolf's head dropped over his own, so his face was looking out of the wolf's mouth. This was not contemporary. I don't know exactly why, but I could tell that this was a long time ago, like high middle ages. I could tell he was having a mystical experience of his own- directly under me was a large bonfire. He was holding out his hands, staring at the fire, and chanting, and suddenly- he looked up!
And saw me.
I was this guy's vision.
I looked down. He looked up. He looked up, excited. I realized that, to him, this was serious business- I got flashes and senses from him, hard times came upon his village, the crops aren't coming the way they should, there was discord, a famine loomed, and his people where growing desperate. His ritual was a serious attempt to help his people in this time of great urgency.
Then I realized he expected me to say something useful.
I didn't know even where to start. I stared at him for an endless moment. He stared back, expectantly. Then I blurted out-
"Uh, nice wolf costume"
Then the experience was over and I was back in front of the speakers playing some friendly, melodious electronic music, and the playful clear plastic flowers as big as palm trees that were slowly opening and closing with their tiny electric motors, and the fog, the colored lights, the glittery faces and the home made unicorn effigies people were holding up.
It wasn't until much later I contacted the man and found out that he had gotten exactly what he needed from the experience, which was a vision of a man who didn't have anything better to do all weekend than to listen to music and dance with his friends. It was even later that I found out that, this man, that was me- in a different incarnation. And in the hard times he had come upon, seeing himself in the future, with thousands of others, playing like children- that had made him happy. And he took some of that lightness with him, and he studied it with all the medieval diligance he had in him. Almost miraculously, he tells me, the problems in his village had gone away.
Now, this experience- by any common standard, that was a particularly colorful hallucination that any number of people might have who like to frequent music festivals- or, say, get curious about what might happen if they eat some of the things that grow in their backyard. In the Huna Kupua teaching, the experience makes perfect sense. Not so much the catalyst, that's not really important- In Huna Kupua you traditionally travel unassisted, for greater self-direction- but that was the first time that I visited, as my consciousness, another time.
You can just tell, the energy is different, the kinds of things people feel make up a pattern, and you know. It was the same, hyper-solemn vibe you can get from, say, reading ancient texts or visiting really old buildings. Medieval people were masters of gravitas.
And I can interacted with it. That man- past me- that guy is real. You can just tell, somehow. Of course I could still consciously reinterpret that, but it really, really felt that way. And yet here I was, and he was back in his time, a thousand years ago, in the hills high above the British Islands.
What's surprising about this is how unsurprising all of this is, from the Huna Kupua perspective. If you really take it literally that everything is happening right now, then, of course, past and future events are all at the same time, and we can love, and care about, and feel for those who come before and after us just as we do for ourselves, and we can visit any time we like- not by travelling to the past, but by shifting our experience of what is right now the the energies that we would usually call the past, but which are happening right now. And by doing that, if we make changes, we are also going to be changing energies that are important to our everyday lives, right now, as well.
And yet our idea of right now goes even further than that.
Using any number of mind techniques, we can visit areas- all as real and existing as ours- that don't really exist with any concept of time at all- they just don't make sense that way, they'd be like static, like flipping through the pictures on a picture book. But you can go there, in your mind, just like you would visit the past and the future, and interact. And, like the past, the things you do in these dream worlds will have effects in your sensory environment when you get back. Those are commonly known as shamanic journeys, or magickal rituals- or daydreams or imaginary friends.
So if we expand our idea of what it means to be in the present moment to all of these possible worlds, is that no matter where we are- no matter how everday and matter or fact or how unusual or mystical our experience of consciousness may be- the more fully we can take it in, the less we hold back, the more awareness we can muster, the fewer limits we place on our experiencing, the less resistance we have to letting this great stream of energetic awareness that we call life flush through us, the better everything that we do will be.