Perhaps, nine years ago now, we were camping (actually, living in a tent) at Kaheka--the Salt Pans Park-- on Kaua'i, when we met Lou. Over these past ten years, we have met hundreds of visitors to the Island, at that particular park. Some were there for a quick swim by day, others were camping for a week. They were vacationing from Germany, Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan, and every part of the United States.
But Lou Pignolet and his wife Inger, struck up a potentially provocative conversation that continues to this day. Lou, was then the head of the Chemistry Department at the University of Minnesota. He is a low-key, soft-spoken, brilliant scientist--and an extraordinary teacher, still.
I don't remember who engaged whom first: But neither 'Iokepa nor Lou would have shirked the challenge of passionate, thoughtful exchange.
'Iokepa spoke, as he does always, from that deep place of culture. At one point, he said to Lou: "If you look it up in the dictionary, ho'okalakupua means, 'Magic' or 'Miracles.' But if you study the word carefully, what it actually says is, 'In the light of the ancestors.'"
I remember Lou being respectful. I remember him being full of important questions. Clearly, in his annual month-long visits to the Islands he'd developed an unquenchable thirst for the truth of the indigenous culture.
I remember this: At one point, 'Iokepa launched forth (as he does) about the power of our ancestral connection. He held up his arms , spread wide over his head, and he said: "Everything your ancestors lived and were, now comes down to you," and he drew his hands down into a funnel shape and held them over Lou's heart. "You carry all that they lived and were in your DNA."
I remember this too: At that moment, I cringed. "No, 'Iokepa!" I thought, but did not say. "You don't talk DNA to a scientist...a chemist...an academic..." And I looked up at Lou with trepidation. He answered with a big grin: "That makes perfect sense."
That was the beginning of our nine year friendship. This year, Lou weighed in by mail: "I'm recommending this book, even though it's everything 'Iokepa already knows and lives. But this one's written in the language I speak."
It's called, "The Field" by Lynne McTaggart. She's a British science writer. It is pure science, and it explores (in the laboratory) the spiritual paths that 'Iokepa and I walk every day.
I feel no need to convince anyone of anything. Each of us is fully capable of discerning our own measure of what is true. What I love about 'Iokepa and Lou's friendship is that neither of them looks at the other as an "other." Neither believes that it is a matter of science or the aboriginal wisdom. Both know that what the ancients lived (because they were so connected to all the elements) scientists try to replicate in the controlled setting of a laboratory.
I say: Blessings on both their endeavors.