Three Adventurous Reactions: a Huna perspective

There are a number of ways to act in the world – to react to people, events and situations. Much is made of reactions such as flight, flight and freeze responses. These can be potentially problematic reactions whilst in some contexts being useful reactions to have.

Three qualities of reaction to events and circumstances that the kalakupua -adventurer tradition of Huna emphasises are:

  • peace
  • curiosity
  • play

As a harmoniser of relationships -both within oneself and with others, these qualities provide opportunities to increase connection and understanding.

Let’s look at each of these reactions and attitudes in turn:


He ali‘i ka la‘i, he haku na ke aloha

Peace is a chief, the lord of love.

-Hawaiian Proverb

Making peace with people, things and circumstances is extremely important. A principle condition for making peace with anything is to start with acceptance. To arrive at acceptance it is vital to overcome any feelings of resistance or denial. When one resists circumstances acceptance is not present. In these moments ones attention is not in the present moment but instead is on the past focused on what has happened and ideas about wanting things to have turned out differently. As the saying goes ‘what we resist, persists’. When resisting we are focussed on things that we don’t want and are giving energy to which maintains the status quo.

Our Lono seeks out resolution to situations and circumstances, things that are not accepted are like loose ends, incomplete and unresolved. So, to move forward it is important to make the decision to make peace with the present. This may involve forgiving and will certainly involve accepting. This is a most effective point from which to influence any desired change in circumstances. In many cases, the simple act of acceptance can cause the problematic emotions around a situation to drain away or dissolve as if by magic. Acceptance is the process by which we can say pau (it is done) and move on.

Peace provides a firm foundation on which to base the next adventure.


Curioser and curioser….

-Alice in Wonderland

Another choice of reaction is one of curiosity. Curiosity is in fact a natural urge which helps us grow in awareness and ability. From birth our Ku aspect is driven by the urge to grow, experiment and develop knowledge through curiosity. Curiosity is the force that brings new advances in all areas of human society including technology, science, music and art.

A curious thing about curiosity is how it can contribute to healing. Curiosity is the antithesis of rigid thinking which holds a problem state in place. Curiosity can enable people to engage in their own problem solving and healing. Curiosity can build flexibility and encourage experimentation and the viewing of things from multiple perspectives. Curiosity enables us to test and apply different meanings to events and of course the meaning we apply to things ultimately affects our entire view of reality.

Curiosity has been a pervasive driver in my own life. Perhaps it is no coincidence that my alakai ordination name is ‘he kanaka ‘imi ‘ike ‘ana’ which loosely translates as ‘a man seeking knowledge’. This astutely reflects my natural curiosity and desire to ask questions and find out more.

Alakai Stewart Blackburn provided an excellent summary of the role that actions spurred on by curiosity play in the path of the Adventurer:

A question defines an adventure. The answer merely says that the adventure is over. It is in the exploration that we really get to grow.

Curiosity supports growth and feeds the flames of the adventure.


In every man is hidden a child that wants to play

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Play is another possible choice of reaction. Playfulness is often a quality that is sometimes overlooked in the modern world and in some cases even frowned upon. For some it is considered to be strictly the domain of children and being an adult is considered a ‘serious business’. This is a missed opportunity and a denial of an important part of our own nature.

Being playful can be seen as connecting with that childlike part of us that has always been there. In addition, play tends to be a very in the present moment activity. Play has beneficial effects such as reducing stress, energising and increasing connection and creativity. Of course, an attitude of play is not only the reserve of children, it is equally useful for us as adults. Our Ku gets pleasure from play in direct and visceral ways whereas puzzles and problems solving constitute the nature of play for the Lono. Games are associated with play and sometimes viewing challenges and opportunities through the metaphorical lens of a game can bring new insights.

In Hawaiian myths. the demigod Maui displayed certain playful (and mischievous) qualities which contributed to his effectiveness during his adventures. I believe that in addition to love (connection) and power (effectiveness), playfulness is a key quality, value and driver of any budding adventurer. With play we have fun and without fun the world is a much duller place to be.

Play fills the adventure with joy and fun.

Nurturing peace, curiosity and play

Maybe these three attitudes are already a regular part of your repertoire – if so I suggest you keep it up and do even more. If these reactions are not common place in your life, then I would encourage you to think about situations you are in, or interactions you have, and consider how you could build more of the qualities of peace, curiosity and play into your life. Get curious and play with how this can be done!

In addition, simply taking time, through meditation and reflection, to consider what these qualities mean to you and how they might manifest, whether that be in real or imagined situations, can begin to bring more of these qualities to the fore in the adventure that is your life.

Pete Dalton ©2019

This article first appeared on Aloha International

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