With the basic elements of the ancient Secret, or HUNA, explained, we now take up the practical application of those elements.
In this chapter I wish to discuss the simpler healing methods used by the kahunas, and to point out ways in which we can all profit greatly by their knowledge and experience.
In Hawaii and throughout Polynesia at a very early date, according to the semi-historical legends of the South seas, the healers often made use of physical manipulation as an aid to what might be called “mental” healing.
This manipulation was called lomilomi, and was a combination of massage, bathing and deep manipulation—every action being accompanied by an action of mind to aid healing and relieve pain.
If we modern people would combine Swedish massage, the various baths, chiropractic, osteopathy, the use of suggestion, and the ancient religious practice of “the laying on of hands” (to heal), we should approach the scope of lomilomi as a skilled kahuna might practice it.
Case 24: Lomilomi
Dr. Brigham spent an evening giving me the details of a lomilomi treatment which he observed in the Hilo district in the early days.
The patient was a man of about forty who had returned from a long trip on foot to see the lava overflow the vast pit of Kilauea Volcano. He had come home tired out, feeling ill, and aching in various joints. He was especially pained by what seemed to be lumbago.
The kahuna who treated him was a woman. She claimed no high healing powers, but had the standing in the community which might have been accorded a nurse.
When Dr. Brigham heard of the treatment and arrived at the place where it was being given, the first steps had already been taken. The man had been sponged off with a warm tea made by boiling several herbs and leaves in water to which had been added a little salt of the unrefined sort made by evaporating sea water. After the bath the patient was dried and placed in the warm sun clad only in a loin cloth. The woman had recited a form of chant during the bathing, saying all illness was being washed away and all pain was being soothed. With variations in her words, she described the benefits being brought through the touch of her healing hands and the touch of round stones which she raked from a fire, washed off, and used to massage stiff muscles and aching joints.
The use of the hot stones was followed by the use of her hands alone, the small fire being kept burning so that she could often heat her hands before kneading deeply into sore spots.
When the patient’s aches and pains had been much relieved, she became more vigorous in her manipulations, twisting and pressing joints, starting with cracking the finger joints and knuckles, and ending by cracking all possible joints in neck and spine, especially where there was the greatest soreness or pain. The lumbago condition seemed to be centered around a very sore spot in the middle of the lower back, and the treatment there was very gentle at first with protracted heating, and at last alarmingly heavy pressure was exerted with the heels of both hands.
As a last part of the treatment, the woman placed her hands on the hands of the man and told him to rest and let the healing power run from her hands into his to make him well and free of pain. This took several minutes, at the end of which time the patient was covered warmly and told to take a nap. His face was shaded from the sun and his wife came to sit beside him and keep away flies with a small switch of green leaves.
Later in the day when Dr. Brigham inquired as to the outcome of the treatment, the man said that he had no more pain and that he felt very well except for a little soreness of the skin of his back where the treatment had been most severe.
On the face of it the treatment given above seems very simple. But when we consider it in the light of the Huna lore, and weigh each step in terms of what has been discovered in recent years, it becomes inclusive, greatly significant, and suggestive of steps which Western healers have not yet learned to take separately, to say nothing of combining in one treatment.
Step 1. The use of thermal baths is familiar to all races. The herbal decoction of the Hawaiians was frequently made with the leaves of the ti plant and held a supposed power to drive away any spirit of the low self class which might be trying to steal vital force from a patient. (On this I shall have more to say later.) Natural mineral springs which provide hot water for baths, including hot mud, are known to give relief in many kinds of illness. The Turkish or hot steam bath is a substitute and among the Navahos and other Indian tribes prolonged steam baths were taken as a means of purification before certain ceremonial rites.
The application of heat, through stones or other mechanisms has been used by healers for centuries. Modern doctors apply heat in various forms, deep electrical, surface, lights and so on. If there is to be a manipulation of joints, heat is used to relax tense muscles and allow easier manipulation.
Step 2. The manipulation of joints, deep massage and rubbing to increase circulation are all part of the ancient practice of lomilomi. While it is certain that the natives who practiced deep massage after heating and relaxing the muscles, did not have a clear understanding that certain spinal joints might be slightly slipped and so pressing on nerves (as demonstrated so thoroughly by osteopaths and chiropractors, and as denied with dogmatic violence by the strictly medical doctors—who have no training in the matter and disdain taking any) they did an excellent job of making adjustments. They pressed or pulled or twisted until a joint “popped,” if they were able to make it do so. Most joints, when so manipulated, fall back into their proper alignment if the displacement has not been of too long standing. It will be seen that lomilomi included the basic use of heat for relaxation, followed by manipulation of joints for adjustment, and deep massage and rubbing to increase circulation and soothe the patient. This was followed by a period of rest for the patient—an excellent thing in itself.
Step 3. This is the step which we moderns have still to learn to take. It is the use of vital force in healing. The nearest we have come to it is the application of electrical currents of varying kinds through the use of electrical machines. There is a new school of physicians, stemming from chiropractors, which teaches that each of the organs of the body has an electrical charge of a voltage peculiar to itself. A machine is used to test the voltage of each organ, and when any organ is found to be below the average or standard charge, treatments are given to charge the defective organ directly from the machine. While this form of diagnosis and treatment is still far from general acceptance (and in many cases is possibly mixed with a certain amount of downright ignorance or fraud), the general idea may be said to be our closest approach to the kahuna theory of vital force and its part in life and consciousness.
It is agreed in medical circles that the electrovital force of the body must be up to a certain strength to maintain health. As mentioned when discussing the basic problems of the three voltages of vital force (the mana, manamana and mana loa) the body waves and brain waves have been successfully measured and some progress made in the study of their significance in bodily and mental health and illness.
In the kahuna practices of healing, the knowledge of the vital forces and of the mild forms of hypnotic suggestion went hand in hand. In the West we made a good beginning, in the discovery of mesmerism, toward recovering the ancient Huna practice of giving the patient vital force through the touch of the hands while administering the suggestion of healing. Mesmer, who demonstrated the power of suggestion over a century ago, believed that he was healing by transferring to the patient some of his own “animal magnetism,” and that this force did the healing. He touched his patients after making a mental effort to fill himself with this force by holding magnets.
What Mesmer and his followers actually did was to use the transfer of vital force as a healing agent, coupling it (unknowingly) with the use of very potent suggestion. This point is of great importance for all students of healing and for all those who desire to gain more knowledge. Dr. Braid, coming much later than Mesmer, discovered the fact that hypnotic suggestion could be given and made to take effect without physical contact between patient and operator. He announced his discovery and gave to the world a knowledge of hypnotic suggestion, but caused the almost utter loss of the knowledge of the fact that vital force could be made to flow from one person into another with beneficial healing effects. Our doctors who use suggestion in healing and as an adjunct to psychoanalysis and the draining off of fixations, are still lacking a definite and very important part of their healing art.
Some people have a natural ability to lay their hands on another who is weak or ill and cause vital force to flow into them from their own bodies, thus strengthening the patient. This is the simplest form of treatment with shared vital force. Better results are obtained by a slightly more advanced type of healer of religious orders. This healer “lays on hands” and prays to God to do the healing. If the High Self is contacted and acts, a miraculous healing results, otherwise the best that can be expected is that the desire to heal will act as a hypnotic suggestion to cause the vital force of the healer to enter the patient and take with it the suggestion of health. Note well the dual activity here.
Vital force—bodily electricity or low mana (the voltage peculiar to the low self and the body, not the middle self and the will or mind)—has an amazing characteristic which is still unknown to modern researchers. This characteristic is THAT IT RESPONDS TO THE COMMANDS AND DIRECTION OF THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF SENTIENT BEINGS almost as if it were itself conscious.
This fact will be written large across the text books of the future.
The kahunas have passed on down to us in a vague and tangled form the information that the universe has been created by the ACTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS UPON FORCE TO CREATE MATTER. (I believe that is a correct statement of what they believed, but it is possible that there is much more to it of explanatory detail which we shall understand only as we make progress in Physics.)
Science tells us that all matter is made up of an electrical form of force or energy which has been set to moving in certain relations to other units of moving force, and that—seemingly because of the balance between the positive and negative forces in any given combination—we have the various forms of matter.
Huna tells us that the thing which sets this electrical force into fixed motion is CONSCIOUSNESS. The High Self can use its consciousness to cause vital force to become high in voltage and to cause changes in temperature and matter—as in fire-walking and instant healing. Above the level of the High Self are supposed to be still higher levels of consciousness which are entirely beyond human conception, but which can create on a world scale. (We pray to the High Self, asking it to pray in turn to these still higher Beings if such prayer is needed.) (Check the Christian practice of praying to God through the mediation of Jesus, the Son.)
It follows that, while the low self of a man cannot use his lesser form of consciousness to cause his vital force to make changes in matter as does the High Self, his control of the bodily vital force is still remarkable.
Baron Ferson demonstrated the ability of a trained man to fill himself with a surcharge of force. In the light of kahuna lore we conclude that this was vital force. When a surcharge is accumulated and the will is used to direct it, a flow can be sent from the hands into the body of a patient.
The important thing to be learned from the kahunas is the fact that when vital force flows from one person to another it may carry with it various substances, particularly thought forms, or thoughts embodied in their tiny shadowy bodies.
This secret of the kahunas throws a new light on suggestion—auto suggestion as well as hypnosis. The art of suggestion consists of transferring to someone else some of your low mana or vital force, and on the flow sending the thought forms of the suggestion—be it one of health or of actions to be taken by the recipient of the suggestion.
In giving suggestion the contact may be made by laying the hands on the patient. However, if the patient has once been touched, a thread of shadowy body material thereafter connects the healer to the patient, and when a “willed” command is given to the low self of the healer to reach out along the thread and touch the patient, even at a distance, contact can be made and vital force and the thought forms of suggestion sent, as along a telegraph wire. This is “absent treatment,” or treatment by telepathic means. To use this form of treatment takes training and practice.
A still further secret of GREAT IMPORTANCE is to be had from the kahunas. In the West we strive to make our suggestion as potent and hypnotic as we can when putting it to healing use. The kahunas used only mild suggestion, if it may be called that. But they knew that if a physical stimulus was used to accompany mild suggestion, the effect was enhanced to a marvelous degree. A physical stimulus is a material something, or act—a thing real and tangible which impresses the low self of the patient. Take the classical example of the doctor who gives his patient a dough pill and tells him that it will cure his ailment. The dough pill is a physical something which causes the patient to believe that a remedy is being given. The suggested healing on the part of the doctor may be hardly hypnotic at all in its potency, but when reinforced by the actual physical something—the physical stimulus—of the dough pill, the healing suggestion takes magical effect.
“Absent treatment,” which must rely on the telepathic communication of vital force and the thought forms of the suggestion of healing, is much less powerful than suggestion given with direct contact, and this is largely because of the lack of a physical stimulus to accompany absent treatment. The practitioner or healer who places his hands on his patient, and who gives healing suggestion, uses a physical stimulus in the very act of touching his patient. His very presence before the patient is a stimulus to make the suggestion take effect. But if something directly associated in the mind of the patient with healing is used, such as a medicine, even if it be useless in itself, the effect is far greater.
The low self is, as we have seen, illogical. It depends largely on two ways of getting information. (1) On learning about a thing through the five senses. If a low self sees a flower, touches it, smells it, tastes a petal and hears a bee bumbling in the flower, it gets a very strong impression of that flower—so strong that it cannot be convinced that it has not seen just that flower in just that way. (2) It gets information from the middle self which may add, in the case of the flower, the information that it is the property of the neighbor across the fence and that it must not be picked.
The low self relies on the evidence of its senses more than on anything else. It is always a little reluctant to accept the information offered by the middle self, for the simple reason that it has learned that this form of information is not always correct. For instance, as a child the middle self may have decided that it would be great fun to roll down hill in a barrel, even if the low self was frightened at the idea. The experiment may have proved very painful, and the resulting deduction (animal-like reasoning power) on the part of the low self may have been that the middle self was not too reliable in its conclusions.
Many ills are caused by fixed ideas held by the low self. These fixations are usually illogical, but they are stubbornly held. It has been said that three-fourths of our ills come from such mental causes. While this may be an exaggerated estimate, the importance of mental causes of illness, accident or trouble is not to be ignored. If we add the fact, learned from the kahunas, that the future of each of us is built by our High Self from the hopes, fears, plans and thoughts of our daily lives, we may say that all our states and conditions can be traced to some mental origin. (To these “origins” the kahunas add the chance of attack by poltergeists or by normal departed spirits composed of combined low and middle selves, and living in combined low and middle shadowy bodies. Such attacks are far more frequent than is supposed.) We must also keep in mind the chance that we may pick up a suggestion which will result in illness or accident, even if the person or circumstance giving the suggestion may be said to have no intention of doing harm.
An example of a circumstance giving us a suggestion of illness may be found in reading any report on the findings of psychoanalysis. A typical case almost always involves a person who became very low in vital force through weariness or illness, then (when the middle self was weakened and unable to give the low self a logical explanation of a physical stimulus in the form of something shocking) some shocking thing took place. The shock may be caused by suddenly seeing a crippled or injured or very ill person, or one maimed, or one just being injured. Or the shock may come from a sudden thought which comes to the weary person and becomes illogically “fixed” in the low self. A woman, when tired after a dance, saw a man with part of his face eaten away. Her low self associated the diseased face with itself illogically but disastrously. The woman became certain that her own face was becoming diseased, and could not be reassured. She went from doctor to doctor until a psychoanalyst got to the bottom of the trouble and brought the incident to light where it could be rationalized and “drained off.” In another case a very ill and tired young man slipped on an iron step. Thereafter he was illogically terrified by any iron step and could not use it. Psychoanalysis brought to light the cause of the trouble and cured it.
The low self is accustomed to having the middle self IMAGINE things all day long. Most of our leisure thoughts are about things that are not real and solidly present. Because of this, the low self, when told by suggestion that it is healed of a malady, inclines to consider such a statement just another imagination. It is quite convinced that it is ill and that nothing has been done to heal it. It therefore refuses to accept and react to the thought forms implanted into it by way of the hearing when the healer speaks the healing suggestion. It is the same when we try to pray with full faith and try to tell ourselves that we “have received” that for which we have prayed. It is the same when we try to “hold the thought” that we have a new house or a healed body. The low self does not co-operate. It acts like a naughty boy, sneering and thumbing its nose at our efforts. IT TAKES NO STOCK IN THINGS IT CANNOT VERIFY WITH THE SENSES in some way.
If the healer gives the suggestion of healing, and at the same time administers a dose of medicine with the suggestion that it will heal, and if the patient will keep mentally relaxed and not tell his low self that the medicine is no good, the suggestion BECAUSE OF THIS PHYSICAL STIMULUS in the form of actual, tangible medicine will be accepted and acted upon. In other words, the low self which has not healed the illness as it should ordinarily have done, is caused to set to work and bring about the condition of health suggested by the healer and the medical dosage.
If one prays for a house, uses faith, declares that he has already received the house, and gives thanks for the gift of a house, he may get results only if he uses a physical stimulus to impress his low self that the house really has been given and is on its way. A woman I knew who prayed for houses and usually got them, had in some way divined this secret of the need of a physical stimulus. She told me that she prayed, then got a board and a nail, set them before her and proclaimed that they were the beginning of the house which was being given in answer to the prayer. It worked, slowly but surely, for her. She accumulated houses until she was able to live on her rentals.
If suggestion is given at the time that vital force is transferred through the hands of the healer, and the massage and manipulations act as a physical stimulus, the combination is most perfect. Lomilomi at its best included all three of these important elements. In addition, medicine might be administered, as herbal baths and doses. Kahunas of a special class were expert in the use of native herbal medicines.
These are Life-Giving secrets indeed. Vital force is life. Without it, consciousness in the form of the low and middle selves cannot function. Without it, the physical body dies.
Restore the vital force and implant suggestion in the mind of the low self that the force is to be used for healing the body. Use a physical stimulus to cause this suggestion to be accepted. Do this while laying on hands, or use absent treatment through the connecting threads of shadowy body material. This is magic. It is low magic while prayer to the High Self and instant healing is High Magic.
I knew a man who was bedfast with hardening of the liver and who was in constant pain. A doctor who had stumbled upon the secret of the laying on of hands and had practiced this form of healing, coupled with suggestion, began to treat the sick man. He told him that he could not restore his liver, but that he could remove the pain with suggestion and spinal adjustments. He made slight adjustments and so “laid hands” on his patient. He gave suggestion as he willed to send healing and soothing power into the sick man. After the second treatment the pain left and the man left his bed. He had a weekly treatment and lived without discomfort for three months, dying suddenly, an easy death.
I saw the same doctor take a nurse, aged fifty, who had been sent by her hospital doctors to live with her daughter until she died. They could do nothing for her and gave her a few months to live. No one knew just what was the trouble. She had lost her vitality by degrees and could not walk. She could speak but a few words at a time, always passing into hysteria and sometimes convulsions. This wise doctor undertook her treatment, making slight spinal adjustments while administering suggestions of returning health and strength. After six weekly treatments the woman was in better health than she had been in years. She walked freely and with her head high. There was spring to her step and a glow in her eyes. Although the doctor knew nothing of the kahunas, he had unwittingly learned to use two simple forms of treatment, neither of which is magical or greatly effective by itself, but when combined are the essence of the life-giving lomilomi.
The practice of hypnotic suggestion in the healing of physical and complex conditions is at present uncertain and in disrepute. Doctors do not study the use of suggestion except in rare instances. Only the psychoanalyst and psychiatrists turn to suggestion, and these get feeble results because they do not know the magical secret of using the physical stimulus and of learning to transfer from themselves a flow of vital force to replenish the patient.
Vital force is like the widow’s mite—it increases as it is given. I know a man who has made a practice of healing by laying on of hands and willing his healing force to enter and heal his patients. He calls on the spirits of his dead relatives to aid the process, and some of his healing has been remarkable. I asked him whether or not he found that he exhausted himself by giving out the healing force. He replied that, on the contrary, if he did not use it up in healing, he became miserable and had to take violent physical exercise.
Vital force is made from the food we eat. Almost any person could start out and walk twice as far as he expects to walk on a given day. The daily food of each of us would supply vital force enough for much more physical or mental activity. The physiologists tell us that food is turned to blood sugar which is in turn burned up when we begin to exercise and need vital force. When we do not use up all the blood sugar supplied by the food of the day it is thrown off by the liver as waste.
By an effort of the will one can cause the low self to create an excess supply of vital force. Almost anyone can learn to do this in a dozen lessons of twenty minutes each.
When we have more vital force in our bodies than some other person, and lay our hands on that other person with the will to give them vital force through our hands, the flow commences.
The flowing vital force becomes almost human and intelligent in its response to the willed command of the middle self. It will go to the sick part of a patient’s body and strengthen it. It will carry the thought forms of suggestion with it when suggestion is given silently. It will do its work better, however, if the suggestion is also given by voice and the low self of the patient made to understand what is being “willed” to happen by way of healing. If the vocal suggestion is made with the aid of a physical stimulus, it will be most powerful. Let that stimulus be manipulation, massage, heat, bathing with some healing fluid, or giving some dosage.
Now that we have learned from the kahunas that suggestion is only the transfer of vital force from one person to another, and the accompanying transfer of thought forms, to which the relaxed recipient reacts, we can see how foolish have been our fears of hypnosis.
The fear of hypnosis and of any form of suggestion has been almost a phobia with us for the century since mesmerism was discovered. We could not understand it and so we feared it. Because the use of suggestion had not been plainly described and advocated in Biblical healing, the Church warned against its use, as it has warned against all psychical research. (And as it has warned against all medical and scientific progress for centuries on end. Religion always becomes rapidly crystallized and resists anything new that threatens to cause it to change its beliefs or practices.)
I have been hypnotized fully as many times as I have hypnotized others in my experimental work. I have suffered no slightest evil from it. I have watched the use of hypnosis and suggestion for thirty years. I have talked repeatedly with operators and their subjects, not once finding any single thing to show that it is harmful.
Each of us is constantly using auto suggestion. If I “will” to rise from my chair and walk into the next room, that is simply a matter of giving the thought form of the desired action to the low self. It has become accustomed to react to such thought forms when presented by the middle self, and it reacts automatically. It causes the body to rise and walk into the next room.
Auto suggestion is less effective than it should be in its general application by those hardy souls who have guessed its value. The trouble is that it lacks a fitting physical stimulus to go with it. For physical ills, auto suggestion takes effect best if given at the same time that medicines are taken, provided the medicine is not one which has been tried before and has become known to the low self as a failure.
A fitting physical stimulus which has been advocated is that of using vocal affirmations. One speaks aloud, affirming that he is healthy, wealthy or wise. The sound of the voice is a physical stimulus, and if used often enough and with the “Will” (coming from the middle self) to accept it, has definite suggestive effects.
Since the development of recording instruments for sound, suggestion has been experimentally given by such an instrument during sleep. The record is set to play softly at some time during the night, and the person receiving the suggestion goes to bed determined to accept and react to the mechanical suggestion. As full relaxation is obtained in deep sleep, and as the logical conscious mind is asleep and does not contradict the suggestion as heard by the subconscious or low self, the suggestion sinks home as intended. In the next few years we may see amazing work done in this way toward rebuilding health and personality, even stimulating latent talents, abilities and genius.
In recent years investigators have been at work trying to find out to what extent we have been suppressing our abilities and talents by accepting auto suggestion or the unmeaning suggestion of our friends, to the effect that “you can’t do that.” How many of us know whether or not we can paint, write, lecture, invent, promote or organize? Some self-appointed teachers have soberly sold courses telling us that we have been hypnotized by the “You can’t do that” suggestions surrounding us, and telling us how to un-hypnotize ourselves and blossom out. The results observed on the part of students have not indicated much success, but the basic idea may have been fairly close to a part of the truth. When a better method of freeing ourselves from our fixations of “you can’t do that” are found, the results should be increasingly better.
Meanwhile, it is high time that we who have not crystallized our beliefs, and who can still accept new truths, get to work experimentally to see if the methods which worked so well for the kahunas will work equally well for us.
I am positive that the majority of a group of newly graduated doctors, regardless of the schools from which they come, could be taught to use the magically potent methods of lomilomi in a course covering, say, sixty days. The ability to accumulate and transfer vital force would come quickly, and—with that art once learned—the need of learning to administer deep hypnosis would be entirely obviated.
Almost anyone, man or woman, can learn to use light suggestion. An hour of practice each school day would make expert operators out of the average doctor in the sixty day period. The rest of the class time would be profitably taken up with the business of learning the new psychology which we are recovering from the kahunas. Out of the groups of doctors thus trained, a few might learn to use the kahuna methods of producing instant healing.