The Meaning of Aloha

'Akahai - to be Unassuming
Lokahi - to be in Harmony
'Oia'i'o - to be Truthful
Ha'aha'a - to be Humble
Ahonui - to be Patient and Perseverant

Even today in a rapidly changing world, like a mist that clings to the mountains, is the ingredient that keeps Hawai’i constant, and what attracts people from all over the world to these beautiful islands.  “Aloha, komo mai”, which means “welcome.  Come bring your heritage, your culture, your family.  All we ask is that you learn what aloha is all about”.

Aloha can be described as "our innate sense to love things unconditionally.  It is a  symbiotic relationship and the acknowledgment of that symbiotic relationship that you have with everything in the universe around you and recognizing exactly your space within it". - Haleaka Ionalani Pule

In being one of the most isolated group of Islands on the planet, the ancient Hawaiians had to create a way of living to help to maintain harmony of the individual and family to survive.  This way of living - a formula/system for living, is called The Spirit of Aloha, with its fundamental belief being: "unconditional love....for it is the outpouring and expression of unconditional kindness, hospitality, cooperativeness with humility, unity and graciousness that touches the world of others."   - from the book, Managing with Aloha

These beliefs are nothing new in our modern western world or from other spiritual traditions, such as "love thy neighbor as yourself".  But it is sometimes difficult to remember to live by these concepts with all the stress and challenges we find in today's world around us.   This simple and practical Hawaiian "system" puts everything we already know into a package to help us to remember and put into action how to actually live it on a day to day and moment to moment basis. An example - when someone says Aloha as hello or goodbye, they are actually saying "I greet you with love" or "I leave with you love, wishing the very best for you in your life".  When someone makes and gives the gift of a lei, these same intentions are placed in each flower as it is being made.  And when the lei is placed around the shoulders and over the heart, it is believed that intention of love goes into their heart and stays there, even after the flowers or you die. Love is eternal, no matter what.   It is also, when sharing Aloha, having:

  • the utmost respect for who you are,
  • the unwavering belief that the "spirit" within you is innately good no matter what your outward "personality" or manner is expressing." 
  • their own inner "spirit" being given freely to you to receive from them, as well, and 
  • faith and trust that you will respect and honor their Aloha in return, accepting without question that they have given it to you with nothing but good intent. 

People in Hawai'i also don't just say "Aloha".  They do things with Aloha.  Aloha actually a verb rather than a noun.  It is about taking action. Your boss at work will sign emails and checks "with aloha"; smoothies can be blended with Aloha; and tour buses, according to their bumpers, are even driven with Aloha. 

It is as if people in Hawai'i are constantly surrounded by an affirmation or mantra to live with love, which spills over into the state's highly social and family-oriented culture - 'Ohana.  The Hawaiian concept of 'Ohana (the word for family), goes hand in hand with Aloha; and the word is not limited to the nuclear concept of family.  It also includes those we choose to call our family for the connection we share with them that enriches our life. For example, people with business colleagues in Hawai'i; they have a work 'ohana.

Hawaiian spirituality also chooses to always see the good.

  • when you choose to begin every interaction or task with Aloha, you are creating an atmosphere or friendliness and love.
  • Living with Aloha can help you master your own emotions and teach you to look at the bright side of life, to find what is bringing you joy in life, a smile to your face, no matter what is going on around you.
  • optimists, after all, are thought to enjoy many health benefits, including having healthier hearts and
  • adopting an optimistic attitude will not only improve your own mood, but the moods of those around you.  Have you not experienced that? 

A nationwide Gallup study from 2009 through 2018 has found Hawai'i to be the #1 state for well being and happiness - even with how expensive it is to live there. 

Aloha Is:

  • that feeling of a smile so big it cracks your face from your heart
  • the fragrance and color of a beautiful flower
  • the sound of children laughing and playing
  • the Spirit behind all creation
  • the Way of the Heart that can be practiced and experienced anywhere, anytime and with anyone
  • a path of love, harmony and appreciation for the beauty in all things and people
  • available only in this eternal moment of NOW

 
The Kahuna David Bray interprets this fundamental code of ethics – “come forward, be in unity and harmony with your real self, God and mankind.  Be honest, truthful, patient, kind to all life forms, and humble.”  He also stated that to the Hawaiians of old Aloha meant – “God in us”. 

 

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