by Graeme Kapono Urlich
People usually talk about trauma as though it is a thing and have various views on how to heal it,
many of which seem to involve isolating from possible triggers while it heals itself. It can happen
that way but it is likely to take a very long time and be quite a lonely process. This approach could
also have some undesired consequences.
In Huna and Kalakupua tradition trauma is seen as behaviour, as is all illness and
disease. The behaviour often derives from our reactions to an event, or series of events, as
protection, and has been held onto long after the event is over out of fear or anger, or both. This
can be anger that it happened, fear that it will happen again, fear of becoming the thing that caused
the event or an expression of grief. It can be many things, even a reaction to something that happened
to someone else.
Trauma can also derive from a perception that something may have happened or behaviour learned from
someone to whom something has happened or believes something happened to them. I think what is called
generational or cultural trauma may derive from learned behaviour but trauma is always the present
moment behaviour of an individual, regardless of its origin, and it is always within the power of the
individual to change that behaviour. It may take some time and effort as well as guidance but it is
Whatever the source of the trauma, it always carries with it a huge amount of tension that often leads
to compounding behaviours that reinforce the trauma behaviour, creating experiences that we react to
with greater and greater intensity. Self-destructive behaviours, physical pain and illness are common.
It has been observed though, that several people could experience the same things and some will
develop varying degrees of trauma while others won’t at all. What is different is the reaction to it.
If we have developed some of these behaviours then, here is an approach that may well accelerate the
The first principle of Huna is Ike, the world is what you think
it is. Trauma is more easily healed when thought of as behaviour. This changes it from a vague and
obscure thing to something that can be observed and helps to focus on things we can change on a
practical level. I define healing as “manifesting a beneficial change” rather than “fixing
something wrong”. This way of thinking helps to alleviate tension from self-judgement or a
perception of being judged.
The second principle of Huna is Kala, there are no limits. In
this instance it means it is always possible to heal trauma.
The third principle of Huna is Makia, energy flows where
attention goes. In the healing process, it is important to focus on the present and observe
behaviour, especially feelings, with a focus on how we want to be, which direction we want to be
moving, and the wonderful possibilities that open up when we release the tension of trauma.
The fourth principle of Huna is Manawa, now is the moment of
power. Now is when we can make changes in our lives. Persistence with the process is important.
Even when we start to make positive changes in life tension increases temporarily and this can be
very uncomfortable at first but patient persistence eventually carries us through with the focus on
a better future.
The fifth principle of Huna is Aloha, to love is to be happy
with. Often when someone is suffering trauma there is a self-judgement that maybe they deserved
what happened and the way they feel is punishment for what they did to deserve it. This is perhaps
an extreme but it is important to pay attention to things we do well, constructive things that help
us feel better even a little so we begin to build a trend towards feeling better and better.
The sixth principle of Huna is Mana, all power comes from
within. It is important to build confidence and self-esteem in the healing process. Often people
lash out at others and/or themselves, using anger to feel powerful for a time. This is always
temporary, often followed by guilt, and can lead to more and more tension building up. In
healing we teach techniques to build up the real inner power we all have. This power is always calm
and gentle while being assertive and effective in constructive ways.
The seventh principle of Huna is Pono, effectiveness is the
measure of truth. This means that there are many, many ways to release tension and heal trauma.
Some ways will suit some people and be more effective for them than for other people. Some
therapists and therapies will appeal to some people more than others while some people may prefer
to work on their issues on their own. While there are often common traits, the complexes are unique
to each individual. There is always more than on way to do anything.
Because there are no limits there will be a way that works for us if we keep looking and working
towards a better future. Ku (subconscious) works on the basis of WIFM, “What’s in it for me?”
Many people hold onto trauma because there is an emotional payback, sympathy from others for example.
Ku is always motivated by joy and only holds onto painful behaviour because of a perceived
benefit and if we give it a more joyful benefit for a new behaviour there is an automatic motivation
to make the change.
This is such a huge topic, too big to cover fully here, so I have included links to some useful videos
and articles. Please contact the author for more information, links, articles and books. May your
healing journey be blessed with "me ke aloha me ke mana me ke pono", with love, with power
and with effectiveness.
Graeme Kapono Urlich (May 2022)
A Destressing Plan
Self Esteem Meditations
PTSD & Dwelling In The Past
Don't Make The Past Wrong
Dynamind Technique Demonstration
Four Ways To Increase Self Confidence
Aloha New Zealand - School of Huna and Hawaiian Shamanism