Ken Sereno
Insurance Adjuster / Investigator
& Writer

“Dreams are the yearnings of the gods
bestowed upon men to create great things.”
[The Way of the Kahuna]

Children who know their purpose in life are very fortunate for they have a focus, an ability, which speed them on the way to growing up – I was never so fortunate.

Kainalu Elementary School
Kainalu Elementary School

My first memories were that of my home in Kainalu on the island of Oahu.  I went to Kainalu Elementary School then Kainalu Elementary.  Family at that time was all important, as I suppose it is for most kids, but if you separate life out into it’s parts – self, family, groups, mankind, plants and animals, the physical universe, the spiritual aspect, and God – I suppose, at that time, I was most involved with family and the physical universe.  I loved the sandy beaches, the morning sunrises, the cool morning air, the long lazy evenings and the ever present sound of the sea and Mom and Dad

'Kailua being in prison'
"Kailua being in prison"

Long about thirteen I left the fairytale (not an illusion but simply that point of view) of childhood and became more aware of the adult world as it is.  It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where that changed but I suspect it was the day I arrived on the campus of Kailua High.  It was like being in prison – my books were stolen the first day and I had to retrieve them in the boy’s bathroom.  Fights broke out on campus and Mr. Kane the PE teacher administered instant justice – a paddling of anyone within 10 yards of the fracas.  But in time that too passed, with effort I established niche in the pecking order of school society – football, baseball and slightly above average academics.  Then life as I knew it changed – Mom and Dad decided to move to Maui.



I arrived on the grounds of Baldwin High School in my junior year not knowing anybody and feeling rather grim. Kailua High was now just a dream and this new place seemed rather bleak. Mom and Dad were brought up on Maui and came from old families, the Haias of Hana and the Tavareses of Paia and thus wanted to return here – I drifted along.


Bamboo swaying in the wind
Bamboo swaying in the wind

It took some time but I made friends and took up surfing and exploring the byways of upcountry Maui.  Baldwin High looked more interesting, more colorful, more friendly. There were several people that made a distinct impression on me – my American Problems teacher, whom I have written about previously in the newsletter, Antonio Funes, for his fire (intention, ambition), Helen Nii (for her smarts and maturity), Peggy McElwee (for her friendliness and grace) and Natalie Delgado (old flame), and I finished high school with a B average but without a purpose in life and I recall that graduation with leis up to my nose and all the little groups of families standing on the grounds savoring the sweet joy of graduation.  I figured as I looked over my classmates that they all knew whom they were and what they were going to do with their lives; I was the only bamboo swaying in the wind.

Buddhism and Eastern Religion
Buddhism and Eastern Religion

It was then off to college (half-heartedly) for I really wanted to travel.  I studied religion (know thy-self) and discovered my professors were simply spectators seated in the stands of life as it marched by.  I suspect most were Christian or Atheists, and here I was studying Buddhism and Eastern Religion, and looking for something more than money and a home on the island.  So I went into the navy – at least they practiced what they preached.

...various corners of the world
...various corners of the world

It was a byway of life (the navy) to explore and I went to boot camp in San Diego and then sailed around Boston Harbor till the end of the Viet Nam War.

I had plenty of off time and studied on my own and somewhere along the line my purpose fell out of the confusion that was life and it was – “to explore.”  Not to study, not to sit and watch as life went by, but to participate, to ask questions, to get to know the high rollers as well as the flotsam and Jetsam of life. This took me to Norfolk, Virginia, and back to Boston and then to various corners of the world.

What's my purpose?
What's my purpose?

I studied, I observed, I listened and I learned.  All the man-on-the-street philosophical questions, I asked – What’s our purpose for being here?  What’s my purpose in life?  What’s valuable?  Where do we go when we die?  Is there a God? And on and on.

For three years I studied in Europe and the Caribbean. I saw Portugal, Spain, and Madera Island off the coast of Portugal (where my ancestors came form).  I explored the Canary Islands and then over to Bonaire in the West Indies and the other numerous Islands there: St. Vincent’s (with it’s live volcano), Grand Bahamas Island, Freeport, Curacao, Trinidad, Jamaica, Bermuda Nassau and so on.

I had the advantage of studying outside of the western university view of the world (secular view) and thus came to an understanding of the basic two views of the universe.

'I figured it out for myself'
"I figured it out for myself"

And, what are these?  Well, they can be phrased in two questions:

Did the physical universe create Man?  Or did Man (spirit) create the physical universe?  All the religious traditions point to the latter; but the western (University) schools of thought to the former.  Most other beliefs or views have their roots on one or the other of these fundamentals.

I figured it out for myself and then went on with life. I was a church councilor for some years, and a cabinet maker later (ironic, huh? Jesus profession before he went out to preach). 


I did insurance investigation and wrote 2 novels – The Genesis Stones and The Last Kahuna.

Kahuna should be out next April on Amazon.  A Kahuna is a master craftsman in the Polynesian tradition.  The book is takes place in the late 1800’s and Aeala, the apprentice navigator is forced to take his small band of refugees across miles and miles of wild open sea in search of a new home.  The vision of that new home, a verdant island in the South Pacific, and his faith in the vision, send him and his small band into an adventurous physical, magical and spiritual journey.

"Life goes on;
if one keeps an open mind and observes, truly observes,
without letting his prejudices (and fears) get in the way,
he becomes more certain, more able, more kind
...and more wise."

Aloha nui,