The Huna Golden Rule: You Can Only Harm Yourself

The Ancient Hawaiian Huna Understood that we can only hurt ourselves. We cannot hurt another.  Understanding and applying this lost esoteric wisdom can set us free.

By Cathy Eck


The Huna Golden Rule

The ancient Hawaiian Hunas had a powerful version of the Golden Rule:  “What you think you do to others, you actually do to yourself.”   It is a powerful way of thinking.  In fact, when we follow this Golden Rule, we start to see a whole new reality.  We begin to free our minds of judgment, hatred, and fear.

People can hide behind the Bible’s Golden Rule:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”   It is not a bad rule.  It makes good sense.  But people say they use it all the time without even thinking about what it truly implies.  They just make absolutely sure that they don’t get caught doing anything wrong.  They make sure their mask is secure so their shadow doesn’t shine through the cracks.

One day at work, about twenty years ago, I got to thinking about the Golden Rule.  I realized that I, like most, didn’t take it very seriously.  For just a day, I decided that I would analyze my every thought, word, and deed against the Golden Rule standard.  I was horrified by what I found in my mind.  I could appear to follow the Golden Rule if I left my mind out of the equation.  But if I included my thinking in with my doing, I was a red, hot mess.

But I’m not a quitter.  I kept working on it, and over time, I was relatively pleased with my progress.  Then I found the Huna Golden Rule.  I didn’t know that I was now going to have to up my game.


What About Thinking and the Golden Rule?

Jesus pointed out that thinking badly is no less of an offense than doing when he discussed adultery.  Yet most people ignore that part of his teaching and act like a child that hides their eyes and thinks they are now invisible.  The child doesn’t realize that we can still see behind their hand mask.

We convince ourselves that we are kind when we tell little, white lies.  We think we are peaceful, when we are merely tolerant.  We think that saying something nice without meaning it still gets us points in heaven.  We gossip or complain with a victim wrapper around our words so as not to diminish our good reputation.  But according to the Huna Golden Rule, we are only deceiving ourselves.  We create bigger and bigger illusions; and we are rejecting our true Self, which has nothing to hide.

It makes sense if you think about it.  When we say even one untrue thing, we have to maintain that false perspective forevermore.  Our mind has to work to remember what we said or how we behaved so that we don’t contradict ourselves.  Eventually, we become like robots with our persona becoming as natural as brushing our teeth.  But if we are honest, we must admit that our persona doesn’t fulfill our needs.  In fact, it causes us to feel lonely, unworthy and inauthentic.  All of our relationships become conditional, and we long for real love.

Our life becomes predictable and boring; we struggle to find excitement or entertainment to help us feel alive again.  The truth is, we have lost our true nature and become unworthy, inauthentic, conditionally loving, and incredibly boring.  But we’ve created the whole mess with our secrets and lies.

I’ll be the first to admit how challenging this change of perspective can be.  After I started trying to live the Golden Rule, I’d meet up with friends and found I had nothing to talk about.  The conditional bonding that I had with my spouse and family was now exposed.  Everything that I would have said before was now taboo under the Golden Rule standards.  Nevertheless, my life was enough of a mess that I was willing to keep applying it to the best of my ability even if those around me didn’t care to play my new game.


Why Two Different Golden Rules?

I’d be willing to bet that Jesus’ Golden Rule was exactly as the Huna Masters passed it down.  I’ve found the two sets of teachings to be a near perfect match.  The Bible just lost some accuracy in translation.  Humans have been looking through the perspective of good and evil for thousands of years.  The Huna Golden Rule doesn’t recognize good and evil; it comes from a unity perspective.  But people can’t translate a concept that they can’t comprehend.


Hurting Others and Hurting Ourselves

While admittedly difficult to apply in the modern world, this amplified Golden Rule can bring peace to many sad hearts.  Think of how peaceful it would feel to experience a world where someone who bullies harms only themselves.  Someone who demands obedience harms only themselves.  Well the Huna masters were not crazy.  It is that way.  But people are taught that they should obey and respect authority, they are taught that what others think about them matters, and they are so entangled mentally and emotionally that the Huna Golden Rule appears to be ridiculous.

So many people, who don’t fit in, have been told that they caused another’s pain or suffering.  But, the Huna Golden Rule renders that impossible.  It says that we can’t hurt another; we can only hurt ourselves.  I spent decades believing that I hurt others because I was honest to a fault; and it kept me in constant emotional turmoil.  I also saw myself as bad and negatively inclined because I was extremely introverted.  In other words, I was not socially gifted.  That emotional pain and suffering created stress, pain, and disease in my body.

Likewise, people were hurting me, and I didn’t even notice.  I thought they were teaching me about life or building my character.

I remember the first time that I went with a boyfriend to Catholic church.  I’d never thought much about judgment before that time.  It never really occurred to me to judge another, nor did it occur to me that others would ever judge me.  I had a self-centered orientation, which happens to be our natural orientation.  But after the priest’s long sermon on judgment and original sin, I found myself noticing the flaws in others.  It was like the flaws suddenly stood out from the person saying “Look at me.”

The priest had projected his judgmental view on to his congregation by pretending that he was nonjudgmental.  He probably thought he was non-judgmental.  Just about everyone does.  Usually we think the problems and flaws we see in others are real because they look so true.

I had accepted his projection because he was an authority figure.  He sounded like he must know what he was talking about.  And people were nodding their heads and clearly agreeing with him.  Maybe I just didn’t notice all the judgment in the world before.  But there was a confusion in me that remained for decades until I came to understand what really happened on that day.  I came into that church with the true view of the world as non-judgmental.  The priest bestowed his false world view on me.  And because I was inferior to him (as far as roles go), I accepted his crappy gift.

I was not the only one afflicted.  I listened to the conversations around me as we left the church and noticed everyone was talking about someone else.  They were following the Golden Rule that most of the world applies:  They were doing to others what was done to them.

The priest was clearly not practicing the Huna Golden Rule.  The Huna Golden Rule places the responsibility right where it needs to be.  If we see judgment, the Huna master would say it is our judgment we see projected out into the world.  He would tell us to shut up and work on our own mind.

But what is the payoff when projection seems so sweet?  Our mind doesn’t know the difference between another and ourselves.  So each time we think we are hating them, we are hating ourselves.  If we think we are judging them, we are judging ourselves.  And as we do that, we create a bigger and bigger mental illusion.  We increase the security of our false self’s mental prison.  Our quality of life, our health, and our joy suffer.  We lose our ability to love unconditionally and our divine connection.


We Constantly Meet Our Own Shadow

People who keep their fears and hatred suppressed are constantly meeting their own false self’s beliefs, their shadow.   Their lives are filled with competition, drama, and stress.  They’re rigid in their beliefs; and they see themselves as good and the rest of the world as evil.  They expect problems.  Dr. Hew Len, a true modern Huna Master, says (with a chuckle) “People don’t notice that whenever there are problems, they are always there.”  They don’t realize that one can only see the problems or the evil they hold in mind.

Unlike other therapists and mentors, I don’t see the shadow as something we have to live with.  I don’t see the shadow as our other half that needs to be integrated to be whole.  I see it as something we have to let go if we want to be free of our false self.  We were not born with a shadow because we were not born with good and evil (or judgmental) thinking.  In fact, we have to learn about those things to see them.

The ancient masters also saw good and evil as a learned idea.  Our true Self casts no shadow.  In the ancient world, the initiated ones, who truly became like Gods, were said to cast no shadow just like the sun at high noon.


Using the Huna Golden Rule to Heal

In the Huna Golden Rule, the person who sees a flaw in another would realize that they just saw their own reflection in the other.  This is especially difficult for people to apply if the other shows up as an enemy.  The one who wants to heal their mind would strip away their label or judgment of the enemy.  They would see themselves as the cause and fix their mind by letting go of the belief that brought them face-to-face with their mirror image.  Once their mind was clear, they would witness a change in their reflection, i.e, the enemy.

They would know their work was finished when they loved their reflection, even if the reflection didn’t love them back.  They’ve now freed part of their shadow; and they can never meet that part again.

Likewise, the person who reflected their shadow could also let go of the belief that brought them face-to-face with the projector so they could never play that role again.  Thus, both people would return to the place they were before the giving of the hurt — or the place of forgiving.

Our social convention doesn’t require a victim to own responsibility for their part of the interaction.  Sometimes the person who cries victim is the cause.  Now don’t get me wrong, this is confusing territory.  But here is a rule that lets us know when we are at cause.  An authority can never be a victim because the authority is the one in power; they are the cause.  An authority figure is supposed to be the leader, supposed to be in control.  When an authority convinces or coerces someone to obey their perspective or accept their false projection, the person in the role of the reflection becomes their subordinate or sometimes their victim.

But I want to convince you that every victim has power.  Even if they are reflecting the most powerful dictator, bully, or rigid authority, they can regain their freedom.  If they forgive the projector, they lose their ability to reflect that authority.  They will become free from that person.  So the victim role must never be a permanent condition.


Some Common Examples

We have to face the fact that in most cases, the one who is projecting doesn’t recognize what they are doing.  Jesus said it perfectly, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”  But once we recognize the pattern of thinking of a projector, we can stop reflecting them.  We can set ourselves free.  And when more and more of us do this, the projectors will have to own their own shadow.  So let’s look at a few examples.

Johnny comes home one day and tells mom and dad that he is gay.  Mom and dad tell Johnny that he has ruined their lives.  Johnny feels terrible because he can’t change his sexual orientation.  He feels stuck in a future of guilt and shame.

What really happened?  Johnny came home and said he was gay.  That is a simple fact.  Mom and dad’s belief was exposed.  They don’t like gays.  That is a belief or lie that is within their mind (and of course, they think their belief is true).  So who has the problem?  Not Johnny.  He was just being truthful.

Johnny didn’t hurt mom and dad.  Mom and dad hurt themselves by believing something that is false.  Johnny just exposed their false belief.  He is giving them a chance to free a piece of their mind.

Mom and dad need to let go of the belief (or lie) in their head that being gay is wrong.  They might have to dig deep and feel some emotional pain from their past.  But that is treating Johnny right under the Huna Golden Rule.  Johnny was simply their mirror showing them exactly what they needed to heal.  But frequently, mom and dad would rather bestow their belief on Johnny and bury his true Self in their crap than get out the shovel and remove the shit they’ve been hiding.

If Johnny believes that he has hurt them, he will suffer.  He will feel bound to them for the rest of his life.  He’ll feel emotion every time he thinks of them or visits them.  Over time, he might not even remember why he feels that emotion.  Johnny is not going to hell for being gay.  He is living in hell for being honest to people who believe a lie about him.  The key to Johnny’s freedom lies within him.  He must recognize that what they believe only hurts them.  It is a belief and the word belief has the word lie within it for a reason.


Sarah, a southern white girl, falls in love with Ron, a black man.  Her parents tell them that they’ve ruined their lives, embarrassed the family, and hurt them deeply.  Sarah and Ron have done nothing wrong; they just fell in love.  They also exposed the hidden prejudice that mom and dad were able to hide until Sarah lovingly gave them a chance to go free.  Once again, Sarah and Ron don’t have a problem.  And if mom and dad see them as mirrors into their unconscious mind, everyone can win.

If mom and dad don’t let go of their prejudice, then their future relationship with Sarah and Ron will require everyone to ignore the elephant in the room.  The relationship will develop a superficial persona to avoid a lie that is being held in mind as true.  If Sarah and Ron don’t fall into the parent’s false view of the world, they will stay free.  But they will have to accept that the parents are not yet ready to join their place of freedom and love.  They will have to let them go.


Janice has always been a responsible and dependable person.  You could set your watch by her.  But suddenly she finds herself constantly late for work.  Her new boss hates people who are late; and he doesn’t admit that he is one of those constantly late people.  Janice thinks there is something wrong with her.  No matter how hard she tries, she finds herself late for work several times a week.

We are taught that we must respect and obey authority figures.  That is the worst advice we could ever give to our children.  It is a perspective that serves leaders who want blindly-obedient warriors and slaves to fulfill their selfish needs.  Our world doesn’t contain only wise, loving authority figures.  Children must learn to discern true from false.  They must only follow leaders who deserve their respect and obedience because they are leaders who are responsible for their minds.  Janice had been taught to blindly obey authority, and she is obeying her boss’s unconscious command to “Be late.”

As for her boss, he’s certain that he told her to be on time.  He’s even disciplined her again and again.  But his unconscious projection is louder than his conscious, spoken message.  She just can’t avoid being engulfed in his giant shadow.  He projects it on Janice because he won’t admit that the judgment he feels about being late is the judgment he feels toward himself for not letting go of his own beliefs that cause him to be late.


Everyone Wants to Be the Boss

People who project want to be authority figures to escape the pain of being someone else’s reflection.  Being an authority comes with an illusion of control.  The authority thinks they can fix others or at least boss them around which only delays dealing with our own false self.

We find false-minded authority figures behind every social injustice.  Police brutality, war heroes who become abusive spouses, and dictators are all false-minded authorities with huge superiority complexes.

But even many people in normal roles are unconsciously projecting.  The truth is that doctors and healers are usually healing themselves.  Therapists are often fixing their own minds.  Lawyers are usually fixing their own sense of injustice.  Teachers often need to learn.  And politicians are always fixing their own giant messes.  We aren’t bad for projecting so long as we don’t break the mirror we see.  We want to use the mirror to fix ourselves.  The goal to being a good leader or boss is to use others to show us what beliefs we need to let go, not to impose our beliefs on the people were are supposed to be serving.


Fixing My Own False Mind

When I finally realized all of this, I took a hard look at the people that I thought hurt me.  My mind desperately wanted to keep my seeming enemies separate and bad so that I could remain good.  Being a victim came with benefits.  I eventually came to realize that they did me a huge favor by showing me what I could not see.  My true Self didn’t care about being good; it was already good.  It was my false self that wanted to be good; and for it to be good, someone had to be evil.  My true Self wanted to be free.

Eventually, I saw that those who played the opponent role in my life were lifting me toward my freedom.  I let them off the hook in an instant.  In fact, I was truly appreciative for their support.  You have to really love someone to play their reflection, even if you do it unconsciously.  True to the Huna Golden Rule, I also freed part of myself when I freed them.

Then I decided to let myself off the hook for the times that I believed I hurt another by reflecting their baggage.  That was much harder, not because it was different from this side of the table.  It was harder because I had the belief that they had to let me off the hook; after all, they put me on it.  Then I realized that might never happen.  I had to dig deeper for my freedom.

I was overwhelmed by how awful it felt to be hanging on someone else’s hook.  I continued to free people that I believed were bad or wrong because I knew that my perspective expanded and insights came with each person I released from my mental prison.  I could now clearly recognize that I didn’t want to do to others what was done to me.

Eventually, my mind became clear enough to see that since no one really hurt me (they could only hurt my false self and that was false), I never hurt another even if they thought I did.  I simply exposed a belief in them just as other did for me.  When we are caught in the false world, we can’t see that our enemies are really our healers.  We can’t see that every experience has the potential to take us closer to freedom.

In that moment, both Golden Rules rang true.  I healed the illusion that I hurt others or they hurt me; so I was no longer hurting myself.  And I vowed to continue down this path so that I’d no longer do unto others what I didn’t want done to me.

Living this way takes time and offers constant challenges.  We’re all masters of suppression and projection, and we were all trained to see ourselves as separate.  Now that I understand the Huna Golden Rule, the key to non-judgment, true forgiveness, and freedom, I know I’m heading in the right direction.  And one day, when I no longer need a mirror to see my dirty face, I’ll reach the paradise that the Huna masters promised.


Cathy Eck has a Ph.D. in esoteric wisdom; she has been studying the lost wisdom of the ancient indigenous people for decades.  Learn more about her work, her mentoring program, and her research at



Cathy Eck is a true pioneer always pushing the boundaries of thought and beliefs. Cathy is courageous about exposing the status quo. While her ideas might not be popular, they are effective, practical, and true. They create unity where division once existed. They create love where hate had reigned. They create joy where pain and sorrow were once normal. They are ideas worth considering and hopefully embracing.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tony

    Thanks for sharing. This is a very powerful article.

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