In these posts of mine, I talk a lot about mana.  It is a Hawaiian term for inherent personal energy.  Hawaiians thought that such personal energy was partly genetic  — certain families and lineages were believed to have more of it available to them than others — and partly the result of personal development.

On one level, according to Hawaiian thinking, the World is energy — flowing, flowing, flowing — energy interacting, and energy always moving.  The world as we know it is really just a space where energy flows.

Since humans are a part of the world they too are a part of this space where energy flows.  Humans can become vessels for the energy and they can become conduits for it as well.


One definition of “mana” is “personal power.”  Some people would call it “charisma” and, according to Hawaiians, it is an inherent part of every human.  Some people have bus-loads of mana.  Other people, not so much.

Here’s an interesting thing:   one executive coach whose clients include Fortune 500 company leaders, Olivia Fox Cabane, has made a career out of turning the findings of behavioral scientific studies into information about how people can develop more charisma.   She details these findings and tips in her 2012 book, THE CHARISMA MYTH:  How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Charisma.

The following YouTube video by Between The Lines Animations is the first of two whiteboard animation book reviews of the book.  (The second part includes some exercises that help you develop more charisma.)



According to Hawaiians, the seat of this personal energy they call mana was thought to be in a person’s na’au (gut).  It flowed into the world through a person’s pu’uwai (heart).

This YouTube video by The HeartMath Institute, “The Heart’s Intuitive Intelligence” has an interesting take on the Universe and our connections to it and to each other.

[The HeartMath Institute is a group of scientists who are conducting research on the power of the heart, the heart/brain connection, heart intelligence and practical intuition.  The Institute views the universe as a large network of information that each person can tap into.  The video explains how every person’s heart contributes to this “collective field environment” of knowledge and wisdom.]

If nothing else, the video is a lovely starting point for thinking on how you affect the world and how it can affect you.


It’s impossible for you to see the whole picture because if you’re in the flow of the Universe-energy and there really are no limits to the power of it all, then you’re just too small to be able to get a clear overview of the whole thing.

You’re a fish swimming in an ocean.  (Fish probably don’t even know that they’re swimming in water.  It’s just there, all around them.)

The cool thing about this way of seeing the world is that there is an implied possibility of your being able to tap into the energy that is flowing all around you.

However, as with every other power-source or power-system, your tapping into the energy that is available to us in the world will probably have consequences and effects that may not be readily apparent.

Hawaiians say that if you are wanting to live a life with mana, it is better if your actions and your interactions with the world become a prayer and an offering.  Being careful to make the offering shiny honors the Creative and helps you keep the light on.

Otherwise, it is way easy to spiral down into the dark.

One of my own thoughts about all of this is that if you really are a conduit for the energy of the Universe, one of the appendages of a vast intelligence, then you’re pretty much obliged to make yourself a worthy vessel for the energy, aren’t you?  I mean, who wants to try to harness the power of the Universe using a sieve?


I forget where this exercise came from, but this head-game did produce some interesting results.  Here’s what you have to do:  Make a phrase about power and see where the thought leads you.

The one I chose for exploring this idea about being a conduit as well as a vessel for the Universal power is “All power comes through you.”

You might want to try doing the same exercise to see what you think about it.

ALL POWER COMES THROUGH YOU.  If the Universe is about energy and you are the vessel or conduit for that energy, then probably you’re like a rechargeable battery that is plugged into some appliance which is also you.  (Hmmm….sounds like you can be a perpetual motion machine when it’s put like that.)

The only thing that matters, it seems to me, is the meaning underpinning the way you use that available energy.

As a conduit the way you bend and direct the energy coming through you will probably stem from a choice you make.  That choice will be your chance to foster Light or to allow the Dark to swallow up the World.  Heavy thought!  You, too, can be Luke Skywalker.  Sheesh!

ALL POWER COMES THROUGH YOU.  If you are a vessel or conduit for the flow of energy that animates the Universe, you should be able tap into the mana of it all.  The way you use that power depends on and informs how you continue to grow as a vessel or conduit for the energy flow.

I then had the thought that personal power has to be filtered through the human heart, the pu’uwai.  Ignoring your heart in all this stuff can lead you down some very dark roads, it seems to me.

While a human heart sounds like a really puny thing, if the HeartMath guys are right and we’re actually connecting to the collective field with our hearts, then it makes sense to pay attention to the things.

ALL POWER COMES THROUGH YOU.  My original phrase for this exercise actually was:  “All power is within you.”  I changed it because I couldn’t help thinking that each person is a really small thing.

I couldn’t get my head around  how all the power in the Universe could possibly come from inside some teeny little thing like a human.

I think the thing you need to keep in mind as you play with this is that the energy, the mana, comes from the Universe/the Creative.  It’s not your power — any more than the energy stored in a battery “belongs” to the battery.

ALL POWER COMES THROUGH YOU.  The more free you are of restrictions and obstructions the easier the flow of power and energy through the conduit that is you.  This one needs more thinking on, it seems to me.

It sounds pretty spooky when you think about where “no limits” might lead you in this situation.  It may not be such a bad thing to have limits in place when you are dealing with unlimited power.

All kinds of people have studied how power flows.  The ancient Chinese philosophers who developed the I Ching oracular system counseled the world leaders they were advising about the need for developing self-control, autonomy, and responsibility.

The important thing, they seem to say, is recognizing how you hold the power and where you are directing it.

When you’re being an energy-conduit, they ask, what kind of conduit are you?  What are your motivations?  Where are you wanting the available energy to go?

When you are being an energy-vessel, how strong are you?   Are you impermeable or do you leak?

(There are many different books about the I Ching, which translates literally from the Chinese as “The Book of Change.”  One of my own favorites is THE I CHING WORKBOOK by R. L. Wing.  My copy is falling apart despite having been re-taped  together over and over again.  I keep the thing because I’ve made so many notes in it that it would be a major project to transcribe them all.)

ALL POWER COMES THROUGH YOU.  One of the consequences of that last thought about embracing limits is becoming aware of the need to develop an under-structure that is strong enough to HANDLE the flow of power.   Even enormous transformers get fried when too much electricity flows through them.  The I Ching can help with that one too.


Playing with power-thoughts can be an interesting exercise in creativity.  It does seem to expand your way of looking at the world, and, who knows?  Perhaps if it is done with the intention of helping to make the world a more harmonious place, then that could become more real as well….

Here’s a YouTube by asapScience, “The Scientific Power of Thought.”  It was put together by Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown and inspired by the book THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF by Norman Doidge, M.D.

And here’s a poem that grew out of playing with the Power exercise.  It echoes with my own affinity for Tao-ish thinking.


Another paradox at the highest level:

Having power means not using it.

A vessel you become, a reservoir,

Containing the capability for total destruction,

Controlling all by your lonesome

The possibility of the Chaos-beast unleashed.


And if you can hold it, and contain it, and control it,

Then the chaos and the ugly and the beauty

Roiling around inside this vessel that is you

Transmute to purest light,

An elixir that pours out of this vessel

To nourish the Universe.


And, if that is your aim,

Then all your strength must be concentrated,

Focused down on making the vessel impervious to

The vagaries of the dream –-

To what the world will say or do

Or demand or ask.


And you will be a very scary creature

Of light and dark and blood and bone

And only one imperative:

To hold contained the power that is inside you intact

Until it can evolve into light that

Radiates out to transform the dream.

By Netta Kanoho

Picture Credit:  The Breath of God by DeeAshley via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]



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Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below.

26 thoughts on “MANA = POWER

  1. Hal's Review of Body Weighing Scale Ebsite says:

    Your thoughts on mana and charisma, the intelligence of the heart, the power of thought… all very interesting and compelling concepts. I used to be very pensive and introspective as a teen and young adult. Well, I suppose I still am. One of the catalysts in my search for understanding of nirvana, the inner workings of the brain, the quest to write more academic lyrically, evolved from my experimentation with hallucinogens in the 70’s.

    I tried LSD 7 times, mescaline twice and mushrooms (psilocyben) once – during, oh, maybe a 5 year period. Though I was never a habitual user, I believe that having experimented with these substances altered my perception of the inner workings of the brain for the rest of my life.

    Now when I read your poetry, I can’t help but wonder if you have ever taken any mind-altering drugs yourself. Not that you couldn’t achieve similar levels of enlightenment through yoga, and transcendental meditation. I was just curious how your journey into the mind-heart connection began for you. I enjoy your writing very much.


    1. Hey Hal:

      Thanks for your visit, your comments, and your question. The impetus for my playing around with mind-games and exploring creative avenues grew out of a need to discover who I was after my world fell apart when my husband of 27 years died suddenly. Since my definition of me was pretty much me-plus-him for a very long time, it evolved in some interesting directions. It helped that there were people all around me exploring all sorts of different paths

      The shamanic trip just never held much appeal for me. I grew up in a culture where Spirit is just an accepted part of living a good life. My own feeling has always been that since I’m already enfolded and held warm by Spirit, there really is no need for me to go barging into the sacred places and making a nuisance of myself. I never could find a good why for it.

      Please come again….

  2. Michael Stanley Jr says:

    Wow! This is very fascinating. This is definitely a different website worth bookmarking. Mana is the secret we all know and the best part of it is if you are not naturally born with Mana it can be developed and learned. You have explained Mana in a way that anyone who reads this website will understand. I will buy the book The Charisma Myth. thank you very much for sharing. I do have one question “How has using this knowledge/power changed your life?”

    1. Hey Michael:

      Thanks for your visit, your comments, and your question.

      Playing with the mind-games and mindsets have helped me grow a life that fits me. I like it. I move through my days doing the things that nourish me and the people I touch and that’s been a blessing that has grown directly from the processes for following my gut and living with heart that I’ve discovered while playing in the world. As you play and explore the Universe, it seems, the Universe responds by helping you to what you want most. It’s all good.

      I truly believe that I am punahele, a favored child, of the Universe. I also believe that every one of us humans is a favored child of the Universe. Trying to make our way through this world and all its confusions, we tend to forget that. Playing with mindsets and exploring them deeply helps to remind us of our good fortune.

      Please come again….

  3. Audrey L. K. says:

    Hello, and thank you for writing this interesting article on mana! I lived in Hawaii for a while and studied with a kahuna who shared similar information about the energy system and the role it plays in our daily lives. There is so much more to existence than what meets the eye–so strange to me that many people doubt this phenomenon. I love the way HeartMath helps to concretize this information and present it in a way that is scientific. 🙂

    1. Audrey…thanks for the visit and your comments. I do appreciate it. Please do come again….

  4. Great article I like how you tie mana, charisma, and power of thought together. The best thing is these attributes can definitely be increased with the right type of understanding and practice. When people are in this higher state they feel on top of the word and they have the ability to do anything they truly put their mind to. Best part about it all is happy people foster more happy people, because it is truly a contagious state.

    1. Hey Cliff:

      Thanks for your visit.  It really is amazing how contagious happy can be….

      Please do come again….

  5. Scott Hinkle says:

    Thank you for this post.

    I never studied Hawiian culture or beliefs but I don’t think they’re alone in the whole energy of the universe way of thinking.

    I wonder if this energy is what leads many of us to get an uneasy feeling around others that you can’t explain or triggers that shiver that goes down your spine from time to time.

    I like the idea of power-thoughts.  Many times I’ve noticed physical change and/or sensations based on just thinking about something.  Why not exercise that phenomena and see if you can manifest the change you’re looking for?

    Thank you.  This give me a lot to think about and test out.


    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Scott.  I do believe that you hit it dead-on, with your idea of power-thoughts.  The way your physical self changes when you think about something are often an indication of the direction you might need to go — toward something or away from it.   

      When the thoughts make you feel bouyant, it may be a signal that you need more of those kinds of thoughts.  When the thoughts make you feel down or leaden, maybe it’s a signal that you need to get away from the situations causing those thoughts.

      Our right brains are the seat of our intuition, it seems to me.  Because the right brain doesn’t do words so well, I think it uses other ways to communicate with us.

      It’s a thing to try, anyhow….

      Please do come again.

  6. Christine says:

    Wow, first of all, the blog on your website really got to me. The words in your heading “living out loud” also struck a chord with me. I had known the word mana for many years, but I didn’t know what it meant or where it came from. It was just a name of a musical band I knew, but now that I know the meaning, I can make more of a connection to them and their music. The video by the Heartmath Institute is very good and eye-opening. Perhaps because I have just been through a difficult past days, your words and the videos resonated so much with me, but I feel that it was what I was meant to read today. So, I am sure that your blog will help a great number of people. 

    Over the years I learned how to connect with the Universe, and by doing so I learned a lot about myself. It is true that we are too small to get a clear overview of everything, just like the fish in the ocean (which was a great comparison) Tap into the energy. I understand that too, I think. I did that only two days ago and I could feel the energy run from my fingertips all the way through my arms and my chest. I loved how you explained how we are worthy vessels and your phrase about power stuck with me, “All power comes through you.” I will make my own phrase of power.

    I have heard many people talk about the Universe and how we connect with it. Although it is a topic of great interest to me, few writers/bloggers have gotten my attention; one is Gabrielle Bernstein, and the other one is you. So, congratulations! I think you’re doing a wonderful job, and you should get a lot of followers on your blog. 

    I am so glad I was offered to review your website, and I hope that my comments are any help. I love the layout of your website. It is beautiful and peaceful. 

    1. Christine, thanks for the visit and for sharing our thoughts.  I’m glad you found the post useful and that it resonated with you.  I like that you want to use the phrase, “All power comes through you” your own.

      Please do come again….

  7. This was a fascinating read. I found the concept of mana very intriguing, and another take on the personal energy theories. I think of this is quite true. How we handle and deal with the power and energy of our thoughts and actions is a crucial lesson. I have found since I started actively paying attention to my thoughts and energy actions, that it has affected almost every aspect of my life positively. 

    1. Hey Clare:  Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  It is a truth that paying attention to your thoughts and your actions do seem to have a positive effect on people’s lives.  

      Please do come again.

  8. Wow Netta, this is some really serious stuff to consider.  After reading your post I thought about a lady and her husband that were from Hawaii while attending our son’s basic US Army graduation in Lawton, OK last August.  

    I had never met anyone from Hawaii. What I found out was they are extremely friendly and caring people.  The lady had brought an authentic Hawaii lei to her son for him to wear after the graduation ceremonies.  Well, the drill sergeants quickly said no to that. 

    My wife and this lady had become good friends on Facebook and through text messages before we even met the couple.  After the drill sergeants nixed the wearing of the lei the lady gave my wife that beautiful hand made lei which we brought back to Virginia.

    So, I guess that is the perfect example of “MANA”.

    Thanks for the great post!


    1. Welcome back, Calvin.  Thanks for sharing your story.  I do agree that the gifting of the lei to you was a perfect example of mana.  A gift is meant to be given….and it was lovely that your friends from Hawaii were able to widen their circle by giving the lei and the aloha and connection that is woven into it to you and yours.

      Please do come again….

  9. Hi Netta,

    The power of the mind has been a lifelong fascination of mine, which started in my late teens. I have, in recent years, developed an interest in eastern philosophies, and I do practice meditation. I believe in the flow of energy, not just throughout the world but throughout the universe. I read a book about forty years ago, about the ‘Universal Subconscious Mind’. Unfortunately, I can no longer remember the title of the book. I’d love to re-read it.

    I found your article enthralling. I felt I connected with what you were writing. I like both videos, so much so, I ordered and downloaded the audiobook ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’. I am a strong belief in the power of the mind. We are what we think. Only today, I told my teenage son, ‘you will earn what you think you are worth. If you think you are only worth £200 a week then that is all you will earn. Your brain will see to it that your reality matches your imagination.’ 

    I could go on writing about this all evening but thank you for publishing this post. It has made my day worthwhile.

    I look forward to reading more from you.

    Best wishes,


    1. Paul, thanks for your visit and for your enthusiasm.  That book you mentioned is tickling my brain now as well.  Unfortunately my inner Rolodex guy is asleep at the wheel!  (Sigh!) . Hmmm…I shall need to try and track it down again.  

      I do think what you told your son is right on.

      Please do come again….

  10. Twack Romero says:

    I’d have to say, that if I was to describe myself in a way that will explain how I felt about this article, it would have to be as a journeyman. One that has been travelling, surveying, commenting and digesting over time but always moving forward. Now you have given me reason to pause and choose whether I want to explore another path. 

    For some, we can move through life and know that there are ‘dots’ that need connecting. Not everyone is aware of the dots or might be but decide not to give them any meaning, they’re just dots, so what. 

    As you continue, if you pay attention, you will be able to join some of the dots. You could spend an entire life without ever seeing the picture the dots represent but that would be OK, as just knowing, finding and joining can be reward in itself. 

    I have now come to realise that although there are many dots, there are also many pictures to be made. Maybe when you stand back and look, they form a type of mural, all joined together and part of each other. It looks as though I may have found another set of dots. I have managed to make one picture and thought I was near to completing another, that was until I read your post.

    1. Hey Twack:

      Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  How exciting!  I’m so pleased with your new paradigm — that there are “many pictures to be made,” and that the pictures might be a part of an interrelated mural.  Cool concepts!

      Please do come again….

  11. Fahim Shahriar says:

    Thank you for your post regarding mana. I am not used to this term. This is really an interesting article. Yes, I do believe too we have some personal energy within ourselves. Can we relate this term with the law of attractions? It’s a great idea to make the world a harmonious place with the power thought exercise. Thanks again for the article.  

    1. Fahim, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I like your leap:  using the power thought exercise to make the world a harmonious place is a wonderful idea!

      Please do come again….

  12. Antarctic Adventures says:

    I love this article and it relates to what I have been studying! 

    I like when you mentioned “All power comes through you.” So true! Energy is always flowing through you and the divine works through you as well. 

    Thank you for this and for giving me a completely different perspective on the use of energy!

    1. Antarctic Adventures, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I’m glad the post resonated with you.

      Please do come again.

  13. This is a fascinating concept and one that I agree with. If our world is all about the energy around us then it would make sense that we should be able to plug into it through thought to be very powerful and charismatic people. 

    I have met a few and remember each of them now for how they shone like a beacon in a crowd of people.

    I enjoyed your poem too.

    1. Welcome back, Lily.  I’m so glad the post resonated with you.

      Please do come again.

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