By Amita Schmidt
As part of his ancient Hawaiian spiritual training, Kahu (priest) Abraham Kawai’i taught about the internal family to his students in Hawaii in the 1960’s. This internal family understanding had been passed down from his elders, and his elder’s elders.
This ancient Hawaiian spiritual teaching on internal family systems, is a reminder of the timeless power and interconnection of IFS (Internal Family Systems Therapy). Although Kahu might have different approaches with these ideas, we are all one family in bringing these truths and understandings to the world. The understanding of internal family crosses centuries, nationalities, and cultures. Bless us all, and thank you to Dick Schwartz and Kahu Kawai’i for this timeless work we are all doing together. The following is Abraham Kawai’i’s ancient offerings on understanding and adjusting the internal family as a way to freedom:
Internal family as the true source of our spiritual power
- Family, your internal family, is the source of your spiritual and emotional power. It is where your mana (spiritual power) is generated and expressed from. You adjust the members of your family so you stand powerful in your place at the center of your universe.
- You will never be alone—there is always a member of the family there.
- Family is the internal universe of You, and it is where your wealth lies and your spirit resides… Refine it with compassion and your life will become a living prayer.
- This work is to find the dignity of the universe of Yourself. It is also about bringing those who want it to a place of dignity and joy within themselves.
Components of the internal family
- Family is everything that you are. What are you? Who are you? You are every thought, emotion, idea, longing. Family is everything in your existence. Everything you touch, everything you hear and speak, everything you walk to, come from, or stand upon, every moment of your life.
- You need to be aware of your space of existence all the time. What is your space of existence? Your space of existence is everything you see, hear, smell, touch or feel. Everything you walk to, come from, or stand upon. Every longing, every thought, and every desire; everything you speak, every part of your body, every cell, every hair, every movement, every moment of your life. If you are aware of your space of existence and claim responsibility for it, you are at the center of your power. There is nothing you cannot achieve, in this existence or any other.
- Everything you feel and everything that is here is a member of your family. In your mind if you are angry, that is a member of your family. If you are sad, that is a member of your family. Grief or anger can only be an obstacle when you don’t recognize it as a family member.
- Fear is a child of yours. The pathway through fear is the pathway to being One with oneself.
How to adjust your internal family
- In a loving and unassuming way, understand yourself totally and completely. Approach your family members with dignity. To build and manifest the depth of yourself, you need to adjust yourself in a way that affects your internal family.
- Family is always there to support you and move you forward. A family member is never an obstacle.
- All members of your family need to be given time to express themselves. You might express anger, or fear for a moment or two, and anger or fear will be satisfied. They are never an obstacle in your life. The good, the bad and the ugly are all family. Members of your family are a gift to yourself, one that when not judged or labeled will contribute to the quality and the harmony of your existence.
- The members of your internal family are never a burden to be crushed or eradicated. The members of your family are to be cherished and given a task to do, so you will find wholeness and completeness on your path in this life.
The effect of this work with biological family and loved ones
- If one member of the family makes a great step and changes, the whole family changes as well. If you make a quantum leap in your consciousness, you become the tip of the spear and the family gets the ride too.
Mahalo to Jody Mountain for her teachings of Abraham Kawai’i (www.lineageoflight.com) and Tamara-Hrehorczak-Stephens for her book “Abraham Kawai’i: A brief history of the man, the kahuna, and kahuna bodywork” (2012) the source of many of the quotations above.