The Way of Aloha
by Wayne Kealohi Powell
The word Hawaii is not only the name of an extraordinarily beautiful group of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but it is also the name of the people who settled there long ago. The spoken language of the ancient Hawaiians was Polynesian and developed from their relationship with the great beauty and natural diversity that surrounded them. Tied so closely to nature, the Hawaiian language literally vibrates with deep spiritual meaning, rooted in the natural elements that surround us.
Hawaiian words are born of natural concepts and have many meanings,
each of which is determined by the context in which they are used. The world HA~WAI~I
express several root meanings. Here are just a few:
HA: the Sacred Breath of Creation of Life
WAI: the Sacred Water that Sustains Life, a symbol of great abundance
‘I: emphasizes what comes before it!
HA~WAI~I can, therefore, be interpreted as, "the people and place gifted with an abundance of the forces that create and sustain life." The people and the islands are called Hawaii and Aloha is their way of life. Ancient Hawaiian life was enamored of Nature as divine energy. Songs and chants praised the moon and the stars, the rivers and the flowers, the wind, the creatures of the sea, and the beautiful island paradise of Hawaii. Hawaiian songs related to the rhythm and movements of nature. Believing that the center of the universe exists in all beings and things, the ancient Hawaiians knew humility, compassion, patience and joy, developing a deep respect for nature and Akua--the-Spirit-in-all-things.
As a tourist in Hawaii, you might be given an “aloha!” from the locals at the luau or the airport, but you'll have to look much deeper to find the roots of the word Aloha which extend to a spiritual philosophy of life. Commonly, you hear Aloha being used both in greeting and in parting. It is also said to mean "love surrounds you" offering friendliness, acceptance and kindly blessings. Aloha is an all-encompassing concept that has been translated by Lomilomi Matriarch Auntie Margaret Machado, to mean: "the breath of God is in our presence.”
'The Way of Aloha' addresses a prevalent modern concern----most of us in the world today have been trained to respond to our challenges in life as warriors. We've been taught, ”don’t talk to strangers,” and “the world is a dangerous place”----the root belief of the warrior. "The world is a loving place" is at the root of Aloha. Reacting to life as a warrior is sometimes easier for us, simply because it is what we are taught from our cultural heritage. And, in our history, it is a path that has proven to be effective at least for most short term issues. Serge King says that, as warriors, we will emphasize the danger, the destruction of enemies, and the cultivation of allies. As a competitive (warrior) society, we've been taught that we must 'conquer or be conquered' to win control of over our circumstances, or to succeed at anything in life. The warrior will kill or strive to eliminate all that’s in the way of his having what he wants.
In contrast, 'The Way of Aloha' is a practice that emphasizes acceptance, forgiveness, and cooperation through the development of Ike--spiritual awareness and Ha’aha’a--humility. It is through the cultivation of Mana--divine inner-power and Lokahi--unity, a very real and easily integrated practice of skills that allows the individual to explore existing personal problems while simultaneously immersing oneself in the ethic of true allowance. "Love and be loved," the idea of Aloha, is a very active yet nonviolent path, a practice of non-judgment and forgiveness.
In Aloha, one asks, "What can I give?" rather than, "What can I get?"
'The Way of Aloha' perceives life as a series of circumstances that we attract to ourselves, gleaning from the opportunities they offer us to learn more about ourselves, teaching us to act more consciously and effectively. Aloha will bring a new response into your life, creating Pono--harmony and balance in all your relationships. Being Pono, is being open and flexible in your thinking of how you will receive the answer to a prayer or a desired outcome. Sometimes it requires that you don't think, or try, you just hold the focus lovingly, pray about it, or simply give it up to God. Ho’o-pono-pono is ”to make more right what is right.”
Mana is the principle of divine inner power that is essential to the Aloha philosophy. It encompasses the ideas that we all are equal and each one of us has the authority to think for ourselves and live our own truth. As Serge King has stated, "all power comes from within.” There is no need for protection when one's root belief about life is 'the world is a loving place.’ Each of us can choose to dis-allow into our personal space anything or anyone, yet resistance can be very draining of our energy. Learning to navigate through circumstances with Aloha will bring the most benefit for all.
Within us is the center of the universe, where we find the living God, Aumakua.
When we truly attune ourselves to this divine Source, we find it to be infinite in both scope and power. It is uswho have the choice of how to use this awesome power of Life. The warrior will use it to destroy enemies, within and without.
'The Way of Aloha' teaches us to find or create ways to use it for the benefit of community and society, and to heal ourselves and others. Interestingly, the way of the warrior and 'The Way of Aloha' can accomplish the same goals using entirely different means and approaches. If you were to meet the highest masters of either path, chances are you could not tell them apart unless you saw them in action.
Here is one accounting of an ancient tradition from a Kahuna that tells us:
When a boy was becoming a man, or a girl was becoming a woman, the Kupuna--elders would send them to a sacred temple to be transformed by a deep-tissue-massage/dance-turned-spiritual-awakening called Lomilomi. Each individual would immerse themselves into this awakening process until their spiritual, sexual and creative energies were fully integrated. This powerful ritual assisted each youth in adjusting to and accepting the joining of heaven and earth in their body. When the Lomilomi Kahuna--Master determined that the youth had become a more fully integrated Trine Being, more willing and accepting of their role as a young adult for their Ohana--family, he would send them back to the village. This rite-of-passage initiation, the giving and receiving of Aloha through ‘temple style’ Lomilomi everyday, could go on for weeks, until full integration occured. This shamanic art form of healing was well kept secret for a long time.
A Kahuna named Abraham Kawai'i brought this sacred knowledge out of the Hawaiian temples and into the global mainstream. This same Lomilomi Temple-style massage/dance ritual is helping many people today all over the world, move gracefully through profound challenges by allowing them to access this deep Aloha--wholeness of Being. Today, it is possible to receive this beautiful and transformational art form of healing from many practitioners around the world.
Essential to creating a life of community living is the idea of Kahi---oneness, and Lokahi--unity. To practice Aloha, we will give up our deeply rooted assumption that we are all separate---in order to feel our inner connections with all people, places, and things. It's the belief that we are all separate that enables us to dump raw sewage into our beloved Kai--oceans and spill each other's blood in senseless wars, our ultimate mis-creation, which actually contradicts our most basic human need: to love and to be loved. This is the spiritual law of Aloha.
Aloha is pure joy. It's also the fragrance and color of a beautiful flower, the sound of children laughing, and the taste of ripe tropical fruit dripping with nectar. Aloha is the wondrous rhythm of Life, as well as the Spirit in and behind all creation. 'The Way of Aloha' can be practiced and experienced anywhere, any time and with anyone. It is a path of love, harmony and appreciation for the beauty in all things and it is only available in the eternal moment of now: manawa or pa’a. There is a saying in book one of Conversations with God that reminds me where Paradise is: "When I don't go within, I go without!"
Please take a moment now and just say the word slowly: A-L-O-H-A. Say it again even more slowly: A~L~O~H~A. Taste it in your heart, and feel it in your body! Close your eyes and feel your energy shifting as you say it a few more times. Letting it in while breathing deeply for one full minute can change your day, your mood and your life. Feel the warm loving feeling this generates--the sun is now shining in your heart! This is the gift of Aloha!
E ho'omaika'i O la'a kea me ke aloha pau ole
Blessings of sacred light and everlasting love