As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I recently assisted at a training for 175 people who wanted to be certified as NLP practitioners. In that post I wrote that “NLP [Neuro-Linguistic Programming] is a set of tools that will allow you to communicate better with yourself (between the conscious and subconscious mind) as well as communicate better with others in order to achieve ecological goals. For the purposes here,¬†ecology means good for me, good for you, good for the community.” In fact, I have heard several people use this definition and have also read it many times. The focus, here, is on NLP being a set of tools. And while that’s not inaccurate, it’s also not exactly right.
One of the creators of NLP, Richard Bandler, actually wrote this:
NLP is an attitude and a methodology¬†that leaves behind a trail of techniques.
So¬†the actual idea is that NLP is not just a set of techniques. Rather, it’s an attitude, a paradigm, an approach to life. This attitude, one of personal responsibility and the need for action, includes a few methods that result in numerous techniques.
In the group that trained me, the same group I assisted in the recent training, they present a four-fold concept in relation to the mind, that is quite similar to the Kabalistic four worlds. They describe it this way:
Without going into too many details, most of these aspects of an individual have challenges communicating with each other. For example, your conscious mind might say, “I want to stop smoking.” The unconscious says, “Not going to happen.” This disagreement can lead to all sorts of issues.
One of the many things NLP can help you do is have the conscious and unconscious aspects of mind become congruent and act together for the sake of the individual. But that’s only one-half of the challenges. The other half relates to the higher self (AKA God/Goddess, “energy,” the collective unconscious, etc.) and getting the results of the ultimate energy in harmony with the conscious and unconscious, then getting the result transferred to the physical body for manifestation. From what I can tell, most schools of NLP don’t get into this aspect. The one I work with does, by way of ancient Hawaiian Huna.
Unfortunately, many people today are actively involved in what has been called cultural appropriation, the adoption of one or more elements of one culture by another. In many instances, such appropriation is a normal result of societal evolution. But in some instances the assumption of cultural elements is often incomplete and done to further financial goals or as a result of a conscious misunderstanding of another culture. As I put it in a recent workshop I gave, merely being able to go into the yogic position or asana known as “downward dog” does not make a person an enlightened being. And yet, there are people who think that by taking hatha yoga classes, wearing cotton clothes, and eating saag paneer (an Indian dish of cooked spinach, spices, and chunks of cheese) they have become gurus.
Negative cultural appropriation often occurs when people of one (usually larger) culture adopt certain superficial aspects of another (usually minority) culture and claim to know everything about those aspects. This resulted in a recent disaster where a person described as a “New Age Guru” had his students take part in a Native American sweat lodge. Not understanding the actual concept of the sweat lodge, but applying some of his own concepts to it, the result was several deaths that should not have occurred.
My friend, the last Scott Cunningham, bemoaned the fact that he could not get into the inner secrets of Huna because he was an outsider. Although the parents of the head of the NLP group I study with are not originally from Hawaii, the head, Dr. Matt James, grew up in Hawaii and continues to live there. His family has been initiated into one of the lines of the Huna that can be traced back for 28 generations, and he is authorized to share the knowledge.
There are many strains of Huna. The famous Hula dance is originally a part of these spiritual traditions. In one version a particular move consists of jutting the knees straight forward. In another are of the island chain, the same Hula move has the knees pushed forward, but are separated by a 45-degree angle.
With all of his training and practice in a legitimate thread of Huna, you might think that the head of the school I’m involved with would be denouncing the other strains of so-called Huna, especially if Westerners were culturally appropriating only parts of a tradition (without full understanding). Instead, he lives by an old Huna saying, one that has resulted in peace between different traditions:
A Ohe Pau Ko Ike I Kou Halau
(“Think not that all wisdom is in your school.”)
If there were anything that was appropriated from Huna by practitioners of Western mystical traditions, I wish it were this concept! Instead, practitioners are often so deeply involved in attacking each other (or thinking that others are attacking them) that they spend more time denouncing each other than actually doing the work.
Okay. Assume that some other group denounces one aspect of your group. Is your group so weak and powerless against someone else’s words that you “have to defend your order” from them? If your group is really strong, powerful, and a legitimate path, what difference does someone else’s words make? Remember, A Ohe Pau Ko Ike I Kou Halau: think not that all wisdom is in your school.
So why, then are there “Witch Wars” and wars between other magickal groups that are on a parallel path? One reason may be money. If you are the real and only traditional blah-blah group then you get the dues of anyone wanting to be in such a group. Only a few such groups have enough membership for this to be a reason. Or it may only be a partial reason. The other main reason is twofold: egotism and power. When you read such silly wars on the internet, I would ask you to read between the lines. When some group has member after member saying, “We have to defend our order!” ask a simple and powerful question: “Why?” Is their order that weak?
If you have participated in such useless and ultimately meaningless “wars,” I would just remind you of one last Huna concept. In Hawaiian, there is no word that translates as “sorry.” There is no way to say, “I’m sorry.” Instead, there is a traditional ritual which involves saying, “Please forgive me. I forgive you.”