The Bowl of Light: Ancestral Wisdom from a Hawaiian Shaman (Anglais) Broché – 14 avril 2011
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I've been studying shamanism and going to drum circles and workshops for over ten years, since March 2001. As part of this ongoing journey, I've attended a number of Hank's workshops which feature the teachings of Makua. "The Bowl of Light" discusses those teachings, and so much more, in the context of two best friends joyfully exchanging crucial information.
At his workshops, Hank usually presents Makua's teachings in a way that is politically correct. But in "The Bowl of Light," Makua's words are often very direct. For example, when Hank and Makua are discussing the Buddhist idea that there is no such thing as self, and that the self is actually an illusion, Makua notes that 'this Buddhist idea is merely a theory. I don't believe the one called the Buddha ever said this. If he had experienced authentic initiation, and we can assume that he did...he would have known differently' (page 61). Makua expressed similar candor when providing his take on 'Your Judeo-Christian-Islamic god' which Makua viewed as a mere 'concept, a thoughtform that was created by human beings and that now resides as a guest within the human mind where it is fed and maintained by the belief systems of its followers' (page 183).
Insightful and thought-provoking are Makua's discussions of the positive and negative polarities for various life roles. For example, 'The negative polarity for the scholar is theory...but this does not mean that theory is bad...The negative polarity is where we work it all out...where we learn our lessons...The positive polarity for the scholar is knowledge' (page 73).
To be sure, not all of Makua's teachings can be grasped easily, at least not by me. For instance, I still cannot come to grips with the idea that 'we are all actually dreaming twenty-four hours a day, that the dreamworld is the real world, and that this physical world we all take so much for granted is a manifestation of the dream, not vice versa.' Or that 'everything here, including ourselves, was sourced into existence by the dreamworld [which is] the same dimensional level as the spirit world' (page 83).
I find myself more in sync with Makua's refrain on the importance of knowing who you are and where you are (see e.g., page 95). Equally resonant for me is the idea that 'Each one of us is our own best teacher' (page 230). Also, I am in complete agreement with Makua's teaching that 'The goal for all of us is to seek truth above all things' (page 169).
Even serious students of mysticism may be surprised to read Makua's statement that 'Hovering within the aura of Mother Earth are certain great spiritual forces and entities awaiting the opportunity to participate actively in the work of world redemption.' And many students will be prompted to inquire further about the 'three gods who are expected to appear soon.' One will appear 'at the end of the sea and land trails which are to be reopened by the trail-keepers of the twentieth century. This god will manifest as a teacher of love, wisdom, and unity, sounding a keynote of regeneration through aloha pouring forth on all, working primarily on the astral (spiritual) plane'. The second god is 'one of lesser order, due in the beginning of the twenty-first century. Its task will be the revelation and the rectification of man's relationship with the animal kingdom...in the promotion of the protection and well being of all animals.' The third deity is a 'seventh-ray god' who will appear in the twenty-first century when the seventh ray has achieved complete manifestation' (page 96).
No less intriguing is Makua's account of the souls that inhabited humankind in the first instance. These souls 'originally came from across the universe in celestial canoes made of light...accompanied by high spiritual guardians' who would embody as dolphins and whales (page 134 et seq.), some 18.5 million years ago. 'This was a time in which the gods walked the Earth. We were those gods [but] we forgot who we really are' (page 155).
When Makua notes that 'We [as souls] descended and took up residence [on Earth] in these primitive [human] beings' (page 136), he is, I submit, essentially casting our immortal souls--our true selves--as entities who came to Earth from another dimension, and then essentially entered the beings that were already here--in a kind of benign or mutually beneficial "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." If so, it is we who are the aliens of this world. To me, this astounding message somehow rings true. But why would we souls, as such advanced beings, embark on this adventure? There are two reasons, Makua says. 'First, we were brought here to enjoy ourselves--to grow, increase, and become more than we were, in the beauty of nature of this wonderful world. And second, we are to remember our divine origins through the experience of love for one another' (page 137). Makua adds later that 'We all came into this world as holy beings, and part of our path is to remember who we are as well as where we are. We are wounded and corrupted by our experiences of this world, and our job, really, is to become holy beings once again before we check out' (page 144).
In an overall assessment of modern civilization, Makua notes (and I would most certainly agree) that 'if we take an informed look at the world today, we are all in great peril. We all seem to be anchored in the negative polarity, in fear, and this has progressively taken form in our time because of a monumental failure of our political and religious leadership' (page 166).
With all the war, inhumanity, and terror prevalent in our ultra-modern world, it would be beneficial if we had a way to deal with the insanity that engulfs us. Enter "The Ancestral Grand Plan," the chapter in which Makua advises that `from the perspective of the average person who thinks in terms of earthly happiness, the plan should be something joyful as well as something that makes life easier. But from the perspective of those of us who have moved into the spiritual hierarchy, and these include those spiritual seekers who attend your [Hank's] gatherings, the plan of the ancestors involves creating those circumstances that will raise and expand the consciousness of humankind' (page 191). Sounds daunting but...'The world is really quite simple...Either you're in fear or you're in love...As we face our life's challenges and learn our life's lessons, it's love that gets us from one level to the next' (page 146), while we negotiate all of the "levels of reality" (page 153 et seq.).
In the chapter "On Becoming Gods," Hank relays Makua's shared wisdom on 'What we know about the spirit world, or what some call the divine.' This wisdom 'comes through to us while we are embodied in three primary ways: through our direct experience of nature...through our dreams and visions and insights often gained in meditation...and through the testimonials of those authentic mystics who have been gifted visions in an awakened state of consciousness...When we enter into such an awakened state...many opportunities then become available to us [and] allow us to experience the higher levels of spiritual experience. This has nothing to do with organized religion...which is why our religious traditions have always been so threatened by genuine mystics and visionaries' (page 223).
That same chapter includes a somewhat disturbing discussion of a "the deceivers" (called "archons" by the early Gnostics, as Hank observes in a footnote on page 250). Makua describes the deceivers as those 'free-ranging psychic entities, invisible beings [not spirits] who function as mind parasites...they especially attach themselves to our political, economic, and religious leaders--to all the major players in the game.' During Makua's discussion of the deceivers, Hank pointedly interjects, "I thought furiously and responded, 'The Christian massacre of the pagans...the Dark Ages...the Thirty Years' War...the Inquisition...the witch hunts...the Holocaust...9/11...' Makua smiled sadly and simply nodded in agreement" (page 226).
Even more disturbing than the thought that "the deceivers" are in our midst, is Makua's assessment that `there is virtually nothing we as individuals can do' about the `questionable machinations or our politicians...virtually all of whom are allied with the corporate world and the military' (page 232). As a 9/11 Truth advocate working to bring about a real investigation into what really happened on 9/11, I press on in the belief that Makua may be wrong when he says that there is virtually nothing we can do. However, I would acknowledge that the effort often seems hopeless. Nevertheless, I do believe that even a cursory examination of the evidence will, at a minimum, help each of us discern who we Americans really are, and where we are--benighted subjects of an imperial nation that has masterfully used deception to create a world of terror to justify its perpetual wars and conquests. So give 9/11 Truth a look-see, if you have not already. You can start by doing an internet search for "remember building 7".
Since the official 9/11 conspiracy myth--that 19 angry Muslims with boxcutters somehow outwitted the most sophisticated military defense system on the planet, four times in one day--is used to justify our nightmare existence, undoing this myth, or at least exposing it, should be a top priority, in my view. Pursing 9/11 Truth is also consistent with Makua's assessment that 'For humanity at large to experience a true global awakening...we will have to accurately perceive and understand the everyday world that we all take so much for granted. And seeing it as it is, as well as what it could be, we must consciously choose to change it [and thereby escape] the dark programming of the deceivers' (page 237). Simultaneously, and/or as a backup position, I would agree with Makua that we should 'encourage, advise, and help each other to find our way quite independently of the corrupted world state that our politicians and our lobbyists [and, I would point out, a complicit media] have created and thrust upon us' (page 232).
One very special area of resonance for me is Makua's teaching--which I came across for the first time while reading "The Bowl of Light"--that 'We [humans] cannot connect with Teave ['the eternal and sacred source from which all life flows and from which the world of form came into being' (page 177)] in any way that is meaningful to us as long as we are still souls embodied in human form. We have to go through intermediaries to do that...through the spirits...These beings are like extension cords between us and the higher intelligences, and these in turn serve as links to the great Source Teave' (page 183). I resonate with this perspective because the presence of intermediaries so accurately describes a vision I experienced at a Celtic shamanism workshop a few years ago, during a suggested "journey to God."
In my view, Makua made a very wise decision when he chose Hank "to become the kahu, the caretaker, of [Makua's] sacred writings" on ancestral wisdom (page 207). Thankfully, Hank has written "The Bowl of Light," which presents for all those who might be interested, an opportunity to encounter and absorb Makua's true Hawaiian mysticism. Yes, Makua has noted that 'At this time few will understand this mana'o (wisdom) or its implications' (page 208). However, if you would like to have a shot at joining this select group of spiritual truth seekers, I would strongly urge you to read "The Bowl of Light."
Wesselman introduces us to Hale Makua, a person of extraordinary wisdom. Makua conveys, through the author, a heart-broadening view of the life in all things. I found Makua's teachings clarifying in regard to the structure of the universe and where we are in our journey as humans on planet earth. The book is packed, no fluff. I think there could be three books here, and i hope there is.
August 2011: Just got done reading Bowl of Light for a second time. This is an amazing book. It can be read 3, 5 or ten times and you will learn new things each time.
The chapter titled The Life Roles is the most confusing and most difficult to accept. Our souls are calculated in maturity (new to old ) via 7 levels. "Baby souls" are number 1's, 2's, and some 3's. So a #1 is a Server ( restaurant, hotels, taxi drivers, cashiers etc etc) #2 are Artists or Artisans ( I am one of these), #3 Warrior (military), #4 Scholar ( school teacher, professor etc), #5 Explorer/Sage, #6 Priest/Prophet/healer and #7 King, Queen, world leader. Each of these levels have a positive polarity (what they offer to the world) and a negative polarity (what leads us into self deception). While I don't want to think of myself, because I am a professional artist, as a "baby soul" level #2 this is not my criticism. I just believe that this is an inaccurate way to interpret our soul level. I believe that there are as many "baby souls" leading the world (maybe more) as there are "old souls" ringing you out at the supermarket. There is more that I believe that contradicts this theory but I am no sage. I just want to keep learning and enjoying life and maybe read a good book.
I see that there is one review by a Hawaiian, Mele Malama, who gives the book one star and sees it as a ripoff of her culture. (All the other reviews are gushing and uncritical). I recommend reading this review. I also looked at some of her other reviews, uniformly negative on New Age-y treatments of Hawaiian shamanism and spirituality, and I trust her more than this author. Many Hawaiians are still pretty mad about what happened to them; it was only a hundred years ago, of course it isn't exactly all over yet either, and they remember. Evidently they don't like having their culture "bastardized" and exploited by outsiders. I wish I could read, or listen to, or experience, a presentation of some of these matters by somebody who's the real thing, but I gather that maybe it doesn't lend itself very well to written presentation, and maybe the Hawaiians don't want to share it anyway!
I had fairly high hopes for this book, because it's supposed to be a summary of the teachings of a genuine Hawaiian kahuna or elder, by someone who knew him well. My first, and lasting, impression, is that it's at least as much an expression of the author's ego. He claims to be a shamanic practitioner (not of Hawaiian tradition) and to have various visionary and spiritual experiences; this book isn't supposed to be about that, but to some extent it is. Wesselman makes it clear from the very beginning that he's not a student, but a "colleague" of Makua; he's a shaman too, he knows just as much as Makua, and while that all could be true, I don't think it's the best attitude for his biographer, or whatever, to take.
One very unfortunate thing about this book, I think, is that Harry (Hale) Makua is said to have spoken mostly in Hawaiian English aka pidgin, but Wesselman has chosen to translate everything he said into his own fluent but pompous academic-ese. Then he usually also reports what Makua said as a dialog with him-- the two of them being on an equal footing and agreeing with each other-- both in this same academic voice, so it really sounds like Wesselman talking to himself. I can understand that he might not have been able to report what Makua said in his own voice, but what this reminds me of is a little book called "On the Way to Language" by Heidegger, where he invents an imaginary "Japanese" and has a conversation with him, and has "the Japanese" saying stuff that only a German would say.
Actually, you can hear Hale Makua on YouTube, and he has a Hawaiian accent, but his speech is fluent and grammatical standard English (he was in the Marine Corps for 20 years, after all; you don't speak pidgin when you're in the miliary on the mainland or overseas); I haven't yet listened to all of it, but I haven't heard any Hawaiian-isms, any pidgin. Maybe he'll throw in some expressions here and there if I listen to enough, but he isn't speaking da kine, and he certainly doesn't speak in the pompous, sesquipedalian manner Wesselman gives him in the book. I'd recommend NOT buying the book, but listening to Makua on YouTube.
I was also hoping for a clear presentation of a coherent, practical system for personal growth; maybe there was no reason to expect that. I once heard a presentation of "kahuna" which involved a lower self, a middle self which is the ego, and a higher self, and the idea was that you (the ego) can't talk directly to the lower self, where all the real mojo or shakti is, so you had to get in touch with your higher self, which would relay the message to the lower self, which would generate your desired results. Might be New Age BS, might not have anything to do with Hawaiian culture, but it was kind of interesting, had a certain logic, and claimed to produce practical results. So i thought, well, maybe the Hawaiians know something about personal transformation, psychology, and getting results, maybe I could learn something useful here. I didn't find anything like that. To me, the information presented was fairly incoherent, abstract, and the problem is, you don't know what to believe. You can read about "Hawaiian shamanism", "Huna", "ho'oponopono", all written about by nonHawaiians; the Hawaiians seem to have an extremely low opinion of it and resent it very much (it's not just Mele, as you'll find out if you read reviews of other books on similar subjects. They all show this pattern of several 4 or 5 star reviews, and then there's one 1 star review by a pissed-off Hawaiian).
So-- there might be some accurate information in this book, but first of all, Makua isn't exactly the Pope of Kahuna, or Big Kahuna; he may have indeed been an elder, and known a lot, though I rather doubt he really has oral genealogy going back 28,000 years as claimed. Whatever he says is not necessarily what other Hawaiian shamans might want to say. He may have been making some of it up, or all of it even; he might have been playing jokes on his friend/anthropologist, as the Samoans did with Margaret Mead; _Wesselman_ may be making some of this up, or all of it, or have misunderstood a lot of it; you can't tell where the real stuff, if any, leaves off, and where what Makua may have made up, and what Wesselman may have made up or misunderstood, begin. I could be completely wrong; this may be a gold mine, but you'd have to have other sources of knowledge to be able to tell.
I give this one star because 1) it seems to me like a lot of New Age kukai (Hawaiian word, I think you can guess what it means);
2) it's somewhat self-serving, a lot about Wesselman stroking himself instead of being an honest broker; and 3) there might be some truth in it, or not, but no way to tell. It doesn't offer a lot of verification, other sources, doesn't really connect to any body of work that I can see, and doesn't really seem to present a coherent whole.
Try listen Hale Makua on YouTube instead, eh?
I personally found there were too many Hawaiian words in the book; they were intrusive, coming in the middle or at the end of a thought I wanted to dwell on. Others may find the words welcome. And I can't believe I am saying this, but . . . there is too much laughter in the book. In person, fine; on a page, it comes across as phony or forced.
Honestly, these are the book's main flaws. Not bad, really, for within these pages are paragraph after paragraph of important, knowledgeable and ancient wisdom that we need to hear. Makua is an interesting chap and he and Wesselman make an unlikely couple. Makua gives him information, not only in answers to Wesselman's questions but also to his unasked questions.
Some parts are quite confusing (like "stones in the north"). I skimmed them. Other parts are riveting, especially the chapters, "The Ancestral Grand Plan," and "On Becoming Gods." Makua's teachings about positive and negative polarities held deeper meanings for me than any found elsewhere. I like that he talks about the importance of 2013 (beyond 2012) but felt uncomfortable with his references to "the e'epa," or deceivers, which he explains "are not spirits. They are free-ranging psychic entities, invisible beings who function as mind parasites." That sounded too much like "the devil," which I do not believe in since it makes human beings ignorant victims.
I appreciated Wesselman's elaborating on statements of Makua's and how he brings science, particularly physics into the mix in a perfectly harmonious way. He mentions that to "proclaim himself or herself as a shaman . . . is a sure way to lose power." He relates the laws of thermodynamics, that energy can neither be created or destroyed, to immortality. And so much more.
It is pointed out that humility is one of the most outstanding qualities every spiritual seeker and teacher must show. If not, Makua says, humbly, "I am in the presence of a spiritual seeker, yes, but one who still has great lessons to learn."
Makua speaks a great deal about "lessons." Every word struck me as significant and I profited from each one of them. He sums things up by saying, "Your life is your practice." He states that one must "love yourself first."
Many of these things spiritual seekers already know, but Makua puts them in a different context, and, really,
we cannot hear spiritual truth too often. I found the book totally worthwhile. It was a "bowl of light" for me.