I was watching a deodorant commercial on tv which stated that the product they were selling would enable you to do more. The commercial then showed someone throwing themselves out of a plane. Really? I was astounded by the connection that they were making. If I was throwing myself out of a plane then how I smelled at that moment, whether I had used their product or some other, would not be of any concern to me; my concern would be the ground rushing upwards towards me!
The purpose of many television commercials today is to try and convince us that we absolutely must have what they are offering. How different this is from growing awareness within of what our life needs: Right relationships with others, with the land, and especially with the Divine. I often wonder how many people have a real understanding of what their life needs, as opposed to blindly pursuing what our culture tells us that we should want.
What comes to my mind, again, is that very moment on my first visit to Hawaii, that moment on the open-air causeway between the arrival and baggage terminals, when the Trade-winds softly breathed on my skin, when the scent of flowers washed over me… that moment when, with lightening-bolt clarity, I realized that what my spiritual life needed was Hawaii! I was speaking with Mom recently about my possible move to Hilo, and we were talking about that first visit to Hawaii in 2004, and about that moment when I realized what I needed. She said that when I stopped on the causeway she turned to look at me in order to see what might be wrong, and saw my face change the very moment that that realization hit me. She says that it was at that moment that she knew, somewhere down the road, she would have a second son living in Hawaii.
In order to listen to what our inner life is saying to us, we need to stop distracting ourselves with the noise and trivial offerings peddled by mainland culture. In the end, it boils down to who will be our teacher, our Kumu: Mainland culture, or our heart’s soul?