Lessons From A Hawaiian Temple

hawaiian healing humility Jul 12, 2023

During my Hawaiian healing training in 2018 with Kumu Jeana Iwalani Naluai, I was taken to a sacred heiau (in other words, ancient Hawaiian temple grounds).

Kumu Jeana tied a sarong over each of our shoulders (over the left for the women, over the right for the men) and tied up a ti leaf ho'okupu to be offered on our behalf at the altar. When we arrived in the ruins of the building, all thirty of us students paused and slowly dispersed in complete silence. Thunder rolled in the distance. Thunder rolled in our chests. I'd never felt energy more palpably, more intensely and more universally. Everyone stood alert, anchored and humbled.

I asked my kumu if this place was one I could return to. She said "yes, as long as you bring an offering and come with reverence."

So I returned to this heiau, barefoot, sarong over my shoulder, salted 'uala in tow for the offering. I'd been a few more times without kumu and each time I got a different message: clear, concise, powerful.

"Ease up - it's not all so serious."

"You're doing enough."

And this time... "Be humble."

As I stood in the center-front of the heiau, this one shook me. I felt like I was being reprimanded by the gods, by Ke Akua themself.  For the first time in my life, I felt what it felt like to be "god-fearing." I'm wrong, I'm bad, I failed. I stopped myself in my tracks. This wasn't my philosophy. Dogma and shame wasn't my religion. I breathed and resourced my internal sense of safety until I was receptive enough to listen again.

"Be humble." I felt.

The last fifteen minutes on the grounds started making sense: from the second I approached the path in, I felt like I couldn't face the structure head-on. Instead, I intuitively glanced at it out of my peripherals and circumnavigated the outside of the rock walls. I'd never done this before, but birds chirped and geckos cackled along my route as if to guide me and affirm my direction. I trusted.

As I felt moved to enter the walls of the heiau, I felt called to lower my gaze. One foot in front of the other, my cervical spine facing the sky. My head felt exceptionally heavy. My gait exceptionally slow.

This is when I got the message.

"How can I be humble?" I asked silently.

"Be vulnerable." I received.

Be humble. Be vulnerable. Be humble. Be vulnerable. Be humble. Be vulnerable.

These words chanted themselves like a mantra I was listening to inside my head over and over as I walked in a trance.

"Please show me." I requested silently.

Instinctually, my body lowered gently to its knees and pressed its forehead to the earth.

I thanked the ancestors, the land, the wisdom, myself.

I exchanged ha (breath) with them all.

Mahalo. I said out loud.

"I love you." I felt.


As I let this wisdom integrate over the coming days, I found the places ego could be exchanged for humility in my life:

  1. Trying to do too much 
  2. Not trusting the process or timeline
  3. Taking relationships for granted
  4. Believing I know best for someone's journey

And more. Humility is a practice that takes, well... practice. Everything here belongs. Everything and everyone here is wiser and more ancient than we know. You are powerful, but you must know your limits. Your limits actually help you leap bounds. Wanna know more? Let's chat 1:1.


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