(Originally posted 20th April, 2004)
Have you ever read something and found that it’s changed your life forever? It might be funny, or poignant, or it might just give you a framework for understanding everything that you’ve been thinking about for a long time.
Back in 1995, when my life was going through a fairly serious upheaval, I came across a book called Urban Shaman by Serge Kahili King, Ph.D. It’s a book describing some of the principles and techniques of Huna, the shamanic tradition of the native Hawaiians.
The first few chapters of this book struck me as being incredibly profound. They gave me an understanding of how my mind worked in simple and practical terms. I don’t think I’ve ever come across something that resonated with me quite as much as this information.
I can’t say that I use much of the stuff in the rest of the book any more, but I find that I periodically come back to the opening chapters to reread and get insights into where I have been going wrong with the ways that I have been thinking and the decisions that I have been making.
Chapter three of Urban Shaman talks about the Seven Fundamental Principles, a series of ideas that form a basic foundation that just about everything else that the rest of the book goes on to talk about. The ideas themselves are rather simple, but they are also quite profound if you stop and think about them for a while.
Over the next week or so, I’m going to be going through each of them in turn and trying to briefly explain what Serge has said about them, and what I’ve come to realise about them in the nearly ten years since I first encountered them.
It doesn’t really matter if you agree with them or not. They’re not something that have to be defended as the one and only truth. Instead, they’re just a series of guidelines that can be useful at times to help understand where you’re going wrong – or perhaps even where you are going right. It’s like Serge says, if they’re useful to you, then use them. If they’re not, then use whatever works for you.