Origins of the Hakomi Name

Origins of the Hakomi Name

From the Co-Founders of the Hakomi Institute

In 1980 Ron Kurtz was working with a group in Connecticut including several people who would become Hakomi’s founding trainers. This group, which included Jon Eisman, Halko Weiss, Pat Ogden, David Winters and others, had come together to evolve Ron’s method of body-centered psychotherapy into a teachable format. They had also decided to form an educational institute, and had spent months searching to find a name for it. Halko Weiss, a founding trainer of the Hakomi Institute, describes:

“We were without any good leads for quite some time. Then David Winters arrived one morning and reported a dream in which he handed Ron a piece of stationery with the letterhead ‘Hakomi Institute.’ We had no idea what Hakomi might mean.”

David was an anthropologist, and given the method’s roots in Taoism and Buddhism, he researched the word in Eastern languages but didn’t find a meaningful connection. However, as a student of Grandfather David Monongye, the last of four designated Hopi prophets, David also consulted a Hopi lexicon. There he found the word hakomi, which meant “Where do I stand in relation to these many realms?”– an ancient way of inquiring “Who are you?”

Another founding trainer, Jon Eisman, notes:

“David Winters said he would check to see if Grandfather David, in his wisdom and connection to the dream world, might have insight into the dream. David spoke with him during that time (early 1981) and reported that Grandfather David was surprised to hear the word. He said that it came from ‘the old Hopi language that we don’t use anymore‘ and confirmed its meaning. He also gave David Winters his blessing for our group to use the word.”

Phil Del Prince, another founding trainer, said that when he joined the group in 1981 he remembers hearing that Grandfather David was not only surprised, but found it deeply significant and powerful that the word had come in a dream, as in his tradition the dream world was a medium for receiving sacred transmissions.

Jon wrote:

“The word’s meaning was so resonant with what we understood the work to be, and so stirring as a kind of sacred transmission, arriving as it did in a dream and with such sacred origins, that Ron and the rest of us said yes to the name Hakomi.”

Greg Johanson, another founding trainer, writes:

“It was a stunning dream, since the essence of what we were doing was inviting people into a mindful state where they could view where they stood in relation to many core issues in their lives. For a number of us, it carried the quality of the sacred, though as an institute we have tried to stay away from embracing any particular spirituality.”

Later in 1981 when Hakomi Institute moved to Boulder, Colorado, Ron Kurtz went to the Southwest. Jon Eisman writes:

“It was at that time that Ron tried unsuccessfully to meet with Grandfather David. By then we had already adopted the name and had received Grandfather David’s blessing. Ron was following up to say thank you, to honor Grandfather David as an elder and to get any more insight he might offer.”

In his 1991 book Body-Centered Psychotherapy: The Hakomi Method, Ron restated his desire to meet with Grandfather David, but was unaware that he had passed away.

Due to the sacred way the name was received, it was later decided to call Ron’s body-centered methodology the Hakomi Method.  In recent years, the Hakomi Institute’s faculty has decided to use Hakomi Mindful Somatic Psychology as a more descriptive name for our work.