Huna, 3rd Principle: Energy Flows Where Attention Goes

On the Big Island
On the Big Island

The world is what you think it is

There are no limits

Energy flows where attention goes

Now is the moment of power

To love is to be happy with

All power comes from within

Effectiveness is the measure of truth

I love this principle.   In fact this principle has changed my life. In Buddhism there is a principle called Fudo Shin which means “immovable mind.”   Both principles address the importance of focusing our attention and how that focus and attention ultimately affects our daily lives.  Wendell Berry in discussing the pitfalls of our culture, wrote about this exquisite concept saying (I’m paraphrasing), “meaningless work leads to meaningless leisure.” Why is this? Partially because if we spend so much of our time focusing on meaningless labor then that becomes the patterning of our minds and finding meaning in our lives grows ever harder.

I homeschooled my son for a period of time. When he first left school we had to engage in a process called “de-schooling.” De-schooling involved such things as not breaking up of “a learning day” into segments of 43 minutes each with a five minute break between each.   It involved learning a topic based on his interest or better yet, passion, not because it would be on a test or part of panel driven curriculum.  His natural and exuberant curiosity which had been assaulted under the regimented learning demands of a school day slowly began to blossom as it had been when he was younger! In our new paradigm of living, he could spend a whole day on say . . . science if that was what fascinated him in the moment.   On many days it was.  His energy, his focus was allowed to flow in the directions of his curiosity.   This is the foundation for Fudo Shin.

When our attentional energy is free from distractions such as worries, fears, negative self-talk, etc, then it is able to flow more freely.   Greater creativity, independence, and self-satisfaction are the logical results.   The Buddhist paradigm of the immovable mind speaks to knowing ourselves and keeping our mind focused so as to better take control of our own lives.  There is the metaphor of our minds as a “leaf in the wind.”  If we think of our minds as leaves in the wind, then when the winds of chaos blow our way, we can too easily become like that leaf being blown hither and thither.  In other words, we can easily be swept up in emotions that are painful, derail us, and blow us to places we may not choose to be.   When such winds blow in Fudo Shin practice, and one has learned to keep a strong mind focus, the more balanced and harmonious the person.  Our mind/leaf/self is a strong, centered, focused presence.

I find the Hawaiian Huna approach to this same or similar principle to be more gentle – as usual.   Energy flows where attention goes.  The seeds that we focus on, the aspects of our life that we focus on most deeply, are those which will grow to fruition.  It is the Hawaiian version of “reaping what we sow.”  Energy flows where attention goes.

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