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Inner Gardening
by Graeme Kapono Urlich

In many shamanic and spiritual groups people talk about “shadow work” and “killing the ego” among other things. Shadow work seems to be about exposing hidden negative traits and/or energy attachments, past life trauma and all sorts of things. These are held responsible for all of life’s troubles and the focus is on removing them. The problem is, with this kind of focus, it produces a lot of resistance and tension that is likely to prevent progress and/or create more problems. There is nearly always something else to fix once you solve one problem.

In Kupua (shaman) tradition from Hawaii, being an adventurer tradition, we take a completely different approach. We search for the good things about ourselves, and others, and cultivate those. We focus on things we want to achieve and only deal with any issues that arise in that process. The rest doesn’t matter because it is not adversely affecting what we want to achieve here and now.

In this way we vastly reduce the level of what we have to “fix”, we make it much easier because there is far less tension produced in the process and we don’t get overwhelmed trying to understand why we feel bad and things aren’t working. It’s easier to work with the symbols in the garden, increasing the beauty and harmony, leading to greater confidence and effectiveness. It can clearly be demonstrated with muscle tests that there is a built in motivation for the subconscious mind, Ku, to move towards joyful benefits rather than enduring the implied judgement of fixing something deemed to be wrong or bad.

We all have a garden in the inner or dream worlds. When we visit this place often it becomes a familiar place, where everything in it reflects a belief that we have, and we can see measurable changes as we progress with improving our lives. In Kupua tradition it is called “structured dreaming” and we use the idea of three levels in the inner worlds. The garden exists in the middle world, Kahiki.

Kahiki is the place in the inner or unseen worlds that is most like the outer world. Part of the meaning of the name is to “transplant” or “to cross over”. In esoteric knowledge this means that when we make changes in the inner garden they will have an effect in the outer world and our waking life. One of the concepts is that the outer life is a dream that we are dreaming into existence.

From the inner garden we can journey to other levels of the inner worlds, calling upon power animals, angels, gods and goddesses etc., to journey with us for assistance or simply as company. As a shaman trained in Kalakupua, I most often journey with one or more of the Hawaiian goddesses but whoever turns up when I call is appropriate.

The upper world is called Lanikeha and the lower world is called Milu. There is no real hierarchy in using the idea of levels, this is simply a limitation of language and translation, but just as the four levels of reality we work with in Kupua tradition are different ways of looking at the physical world, the inner worlds are split arbitrarily into three levels to help set and maintain focus for journeys with different purposes.

As we explore the inner garden we can talk to aspects of it to garner meaning. As we do so we can assign new meanings or make changes. We can remove the weeds of unhelpful beliefs and plant seeds of confidence, wellbeing and prosperity. We can even practice skills that we want to develop physically.

In Kupua tradition we can also use the inner garden for all kinds of healing work and this has proven to be very effective. From our garden we can visit the gardens of others, even governments and corporations, to do healing work. We can call the spirit of others into our own garden to do healing work for them or to ask their assistance in self-healing.We can call upon any help we want to achieve our goals and as we begin to see the effects of our efforts more quickly, we are inspired to keep progressing.

The “Inner Worlds” may be viewed in terms of the seven principles in the following way:

Ike. The world is what you think it is. If we accept the idea that the inner worlds exist and working there will affect our outer life, they become available to us as a powerful tool for change.

Kala. There are no limits. The inner worlds are infinite and, rather than being connected with the outer world, they coexist with it.

Makia. Energy flows where attention goes. The more focus and presence we have in the inner worlds, the more vivid and sensory we can make the experience, the more effect we will see in the outer world.

Manawa. Now is the moment of power. The inner worlds reflect who we are now and we see the effects of changes we make there very quickly. As we make more and more changes, affecting the underlying belief patterns, they build momentum in the outer world.

Aloha. To Love Is To Be Happy With. There is nothing to fear in the inner worlds. They are our own creation and they reflect our current beliefs. As we work in there, in a loving cooperative way, outer world relationships begin to improve.

Mana. All power comes from within. In the inner worlds we can practice using our innate inner power and see results, building confidence. This doesn’t mean we have to do all the work ourselves. We can call on helpers and find tools in the inner worlds to assist our work there and we can practice doing it without fear.

Pono. Effectiveness is the measure of truth. The inner worlds give us another powerful way to influence our lives in positive ways. We can test things out and change our minds more easily in there if we decide we prefer something different. It’s a much more flexible place than we usually allow the outer world to be.

I endeavour to visit my garden at least once a day to maintain my ability to focus there even if I don’t have a specific journey I want to go on. Masters of any skill maintain their mastery with ongoing practice and I have found this to be a very useful and highly effective way to work.

Graeme Kapono Urlich (June 2022)

These are some useful videos to begin the process.
Using the Inner Garden
A Journey Into The Garden of Knowledge

Aloha New Zealand - School of Huna and Hawaiian Shamanism

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