Most of us think of mana as bread in the Biblical sense of “mana from heaven”. In traditional Hawaiian beliefs, mana is the consciousness, or spiritual energy, that exists within all beings. Can you imagine living in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, yet finding yourself unhappy, or even depressed? Drs. Michelle Shine and Keti Kamalani, two top-rated research scientists, found themselves in this situation. In Mana Gardening, they share their experiences in the quest to find true happiness.
In their search they discovered the Hawaiian concept of the inner garden; i.e., the belief that we all have an inner power that provides guidance and wisdom. We simply need to find our inherent garden and tap into it. They learned to imagine relaxation, happiness, being better at something, and found it worked. This reminds me of a book and technique called “Imaging” that was popular in the 1980s; and it is scientifically proven that imagining or visualizing ourselves doing something well creates memory pathways that support us when we actually do those things. Those things can be anything from hitting a golf ball to successful public speaking; anything we want to do well.
The authors recommend 20 minutes a day of meditation, or imagining, but found that “entering their gardens” for as little as a half-second, improved their feelings of wellness. They share many of their own experiences, as well as those of others they encountered.
One thing that especially stands out for me is the suggestion that, first, instead of pushing children to compete and excel, we teach them to view a problem along. Second, ask them to come up with a solution they can manage on their own. I believe I will start mining my inner garden right away. How about you?