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The Guru, The Blindfolded Students And The Kona Experience

Mahalo For Sharing Your Aloha

City of Refuge
The “I Hate Kona” Post: I received this email from a visitor: “Moving to Kona? Don’t waste money or valuable years here! Couldn’t get out of that place fast enough! Hawaii is the best place…. just not Big Island… bored to tears in the 2 years I lived here… Maui or Kauai–those are the islands that are the best! Unless you are ready to die or never date again!!”

The Kona Message: Her email instantly reminded me of an ancient folktale from India about the Guru, Blindfolded Students, and The Kona Experience. In case you haven’t heard it in a while, it goes ‘something’ like this…

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Beginning ‘The Kona:’ Once upon a time, it was a very early California morning and there were six random individuals who were near a covered bus stop when a heavy rain began. Each ran, seeking shelter from the rain, from different directions.  They waited as the rain continued. Then The Guru appeared and sought shelter as well. 

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The Guru looked at the six strangers said, “You were all chosen to be here right here, at this very moment. It isn’t random that all of you came together at this very moment.  It is Friday morning. I want you to come with me, today, right now. I will pay for your flight, your housing, and your food. You will be back Sunday night. What you will experience is self-discovery. It is called ‘The Kona.’ 

The Kona – Different Perspectives Before Even Visting: In unison, they exclaimed, “The Kona?” The first person asked, “I have heard of The Kona but didn’t think it was real. How do you know all this?” Then the second person replied, “I know for a fact that the entire Big Island is, like, stuck inside an Elvis movie time warp. My grandmother told me!” The third person said, “My uncle, used to own a record store, told me that upcountry Kona is like Yasgur’s Farm.” A fourth person said, “My neighbor, is an artist. He said, “Kona looks like Haight Ashbury never left.” The fifth person said, “I remember my philosophy professor telling us, after she visited the Big Island, the whole Big Island is full of hippies,” she paused then added, “the good kind.”  The sixth person disparagingly asked, “All I know is that they have a volcano there! But Bruno Mars is from Honolulu, so that is good.” Then they talked among themselves, “We have never been to The Kona”,  “We have never experienced The Kona. Let’s all go, together!”  They were all extremely excited for The Kona.

The Kona Begins: The six strangers were stoked as all of them had nothing planned for the weekend and were ready to participate in The Kona. As part of their student training, The Guru instructed them to place a blindfold over their eyes. The Guru said, “Your task is to awaken all your other senses, experience The Kona and determine what The Kona means to each of you. Experience how you can become The Kona.”

Kona

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want. ? Lao Tzu

The Guru shepherded her six, now Blindfolded Students, and begin their trip to the airport. “You are simply a clay pot that has been bombarded by mainland life. But, your clay pot is unfired and ready to be remolded into the shape you truly deserve to be,” she said. “I will not shape you, your experience will shape you. You are ready to live… The Kona.”

The Kona Arrival: Upon arrival, each Blindfolded Student went out with a different Hawaiian host (‘ohana) to explore The Kona. The families would take each student to their favorite place in The Kona. None of the students knew where they were going or where the other students would visit.

Each student spent the entire day with their host, blindfolded.

Later that evening, the Blindfolded Students were dropped off by their new ‘ohana so The Guru could help them understand their own unique experiences of The Kona.

Quietly, the Blindfolded Students gathered together.

The Kona Task: The Guru began, “When you feel the miracle of the wave, you can begin to understand the flow of your universe. When you feel the caress of the trade winds, you sense your ancestors sharing their aloha.   When you step onto the land, the aina , you are walking the sacred ground and you begin to understand what came before you.” She paused and said, “This is your task.”

The Blindfolded Students, listened carefully, with their auditory senses heightened, feeling that something profound was beginning within each of them.

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The Guru said, “Let’s explore ourselves and The Kona.” Then she paused and with eyes closed, in the lotus position, said, “You are shaping your own clay.  And those that you meet, and The Kona, will influence the shape of your pot.”

“Ahh,” all the students thought silently. Beneath their blindfolds, their minds grew aware.

The Guru inquired, “Great Blindfolded Students, share with each, all that you discovered about The Kona.”

Earlier, they had just been lost souls, without comprehension of what The Kona was. Now that each student had experienced The Kona, they were ready to share their understanding.

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The First Blindfolded Student: “Oh, The Kona is steep and rocky, much like my life is back in California. But here, though it feels more challenging and adventurous, it also feels ephemeral,” said the first Blindfolded Student who had explored a path in The Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary. 

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The Second Blindfolded Student: “It was not at all like that for me! The Kona is like walking past a bouquet of lush flowers with the fragrance gently encompassing my face,” said the second Blindfolded Student who spent the day walking along Ali’i drive.  

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The Third Blindfolded Student: “Not so! The Kona is like a sweet melody of lullabies, ebbing and flowing, singing of the beach,” said the third Blindfolded Student who went to Old Kona Aiport Beach and sat next to the ocean all day.  

Kona

The Fourth Blindfolded Student: “No, no, no! The Kona is like a graceful, gentle, caressing hand, free of judgment. I have been stressed all my life, but here…” The fourth Blindfolded Student spent the relaxing day looking at coral and shells on the beach at the City of Refuge – Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.  

City of Refuge

The Fifth Blindfolded Student: “Heavens no! The Kona is like pampering spa, I am so relaxed. I enjoyed being pampered,” said the fifth Blindfolded Student who went to a local luxury resort

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The Sixth Blindfolded Student:  “No way! The Kona is like a powerful bully, relentlessly beating me up, never quitting, making my life tough, making my life miserable. I don’t know why it is always, always me,” said the sixth Blindfolded Student who spent the day watching the waves endlessly explode onto lava at Wawaloli Beach Park.

As each Blindfolded Student shared their story, their understanding, the other Blindfolded Students began to learn there is more to The Kona than just their own, individual experience. 

With that, the Blindfolded Students all removed their blindfolds, forever.

Where Are The Blindfolded Students Now? 

The First Blindfolded Student: “Oh, The Kona is steep and rocky, much like my life is back in California. But here, though it feels more challenging and adventurous, it also feels ephemeral,” said the first Blindfolded Student who had explored a path in The Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary. 

Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary
The First Blindfolded Student – Now works at a travel adventure company visiting Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to Hilo to Hawi to Kona and is now learning how to scuba.

Kona Farmers Market

The Second Blindfolded Student: “It was not at all like that for me! The Kona is like walking past a bouquet of lush flowers with the fragrance gently encompassing my face,” said the second Blindfolded Student who spent the day walking along Ali’i drive.  

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

The Second Blindfolded Student – Now owns a flower farm and makes leis for visitors and haku leis for weddings with her three employees.

Kona Farmers Market

The Third Blindfolded Student: “Not so! The Kona is like a sweet melody of lullabies, ebbing and flowing, singing of the beach,” said the third Blindfolded Student who went to Old Kona Aiport Beach and sat next to the ocean all day.  

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

The Third Blindfolded Student – Has learned how to play the ukelele and performs Hawaiian songs at local establishments.

Kona Farmers Market

The Fourth Blindfolded Student: “No, no, no! The Kona is like a graceful, gentle, caressing hand, free of judgment. I have been stressed all my life, but here…” The fourth Blindfolded Student spent the relaxing day looking at coral and shells on the beach at the City of Refuge – Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park.  

Kona
The Fourth Blindfolded Student – Now practices and teaches yoga daily and just received her massage degree.  Leads a peaceful and stressfree life.

Kona Farmers Market

The Fifth Blindfolded Student: “Heavens no! The Kona is like pampering spa, I am so relaxed. I enjoyed being pampered,” said the fifth Blindfolded Student who went to a local luxury resort

Kona
The Fifth Blindfolded Student – Is now a concierge at a luxury resort pampering others as she likes to be pampered. 

Kona Farmers Market

The Sixth Blindfolded Student: “No way! The Kona is like a powerful bully, relentlessly beating me up, never quitting, making my life tough, making my life miserable,” said the sixth Blindfolded Student who spent the day watching the waves endlessly explode onto lava at Wawaloli Beach Park.
The Sixth Blindfolded Student – Still says, “Don’t waste money or valuable years in The Kona!” as she now lives in a trailer in Sacramento, California and is still unhappy.

Kona Farmers Market

Update – Blindfolded Student #6:  Moved to The Kona, now an addiction recovery specialist and is planning to participate in the Kona Ironman event. 

Kona Ironman

Once a month all the Blindfolded Students get together at Magic Sands Beach, to bodysurf and talk about how they met, how they changed and what The Kona still means to them.

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Moral of The Guru, The Blindfolded Students And The Kona Experience: The Kona is whatever you want it to be, and what you make it. The Kona is created by your own reality, your own perception, every single day, wherever you are.

Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical ParkMahalo for ‘Liking’
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Mahalo For Sharing Your Aloha
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